16 August 2020

This is why startups should be happy with candidate dropout


Candidate dropout. It’s something that most founders, hiring managers and recruiters highly fear. Cause let’s be honest, we all want to have at at least some choice when hiring a new team member.

I don’t belong to that group – an honest disclaimer here, though: I am one of the founders of Equalture, and our tool will always cause some candidate dropout, simply because we collect more data and insights from a candidate earlier in the process. And that means it takes a bit more time for candidates to complete an application.

So that makes me slightly biased in this discussion. But although I’m biased, given my position as founder of this company, I’m also a founder searching for the best-fit people to successfully grow this company. So from that perspective, I should also fear having less candidates per job opening to ‘choose’ from. 

In practice, however, I don’t experience this fear at all. And in fact, I’m even very happy with candidate dropout. Here are my three reasons why.


Reason 1: Fear of candidate dropout reduces your screening quality.

The most natural response to your desire to decrease candidate dropout is to make it easier for them to apply. And easier in this scenario often means less time-consuming. The Apply with LinkedIn functionality, for instance, is becoming more and more popular, because it facilitates basically just a one-click apply. 

The impact of simplifying the application, however, is that you have less information to base your initial candidate evaluation on, having two possible consequences:

  1. You wrongfully reject candidates who could have had a fair chance of moving forward if they would have had the possibility to show more of themselves than just a LinkedIn profile or resume;
  2. You advance lots of candidates based on track record, who are in practice a misfit with your company culture or job, but you lack information to discover that right away. 

So you either let high-potential candidates walk away, or you spend too much time on non-fit candidates. 


Reason 2: Without being aware of it, you already eliminated a huge talent pool even before the actual application.

Lots of research has been done to validate if candidates are looking for an easy-application-experience – and what factors actually make or break their experience. Funnily enough, being able to apply with minimum effort is not often on that list of desires.

What candidates do desire is being able to present themselves well. And if you then decide to reject a candidate, at least for these candidates it feels like they have had a fair chance of showing what they are worth. 

Here at Equalture we have created a short survey for candidates who finished their application through our platform, in which we asked them what they liked and didn’t like about this application experience (in case you don’t know our tool yet, we offer an application experience in which you can connect your LinkedIn to your application and play a set of games to learn more about your skills, potential and personality – read more here)

To provide you with some frame of reference, when a candidate applies to one of our customers’ jobs, it takes at least 10 minutes to complete the application. Compared to an Apply with LinkedIn experience, this is 10x more time. 

Out of all 361 candidates who provided us with their feedback, only 6% stated that they thought the application experience was a bit too long. In contrast to that, 38% stated that they very much valued this application method, since it allowed them to show more of their capabilities and personality instead of only being evaluated based on relevant experience, which is normally very hard if you only need to upload a resume for instance. And finally, 19% stated that they probably wouldn’t have finished their application if they didn’t have the possibility to show more of themselves, besides a LinkedIn profile or resume. 

Funnily enough, lots of the hired candidates in that period belonged to that 19%. 

So whereas we think that candidate dropout is caused by too extensive application experiences, high-potential candidates actually tend to walk away when it’s too easy. and therefore limits them in their ability to show themselves.


Reason 3: There’s nothing more important than motivation.

Finally, my third reason is the most important and most simple one. 

If someone doesn’t want to take the effort to walk through a 10-to-15-min application experience in order to potentially work at our company, I also don’t want to spend my time on that person later in the process. We only want to hire people who are just as much in love with our product and vision as we are. And those highly motivated people for sure don’t mind spending 15 minutes on an application. 

And indeed, that sometimes means that we have less candidates. And therefore, sometimes it takes a bit longer to fill a position. Rushing your hiring practices, however, has never worked out well for any company. Maybe on the short term, but for sure not on the long run. 


Cheers, Charlotte
Co-Founder & CEO