Baby, It’s Cold Outside (And Candidates Are Feeling It Too)

December 12, 2022

Ashley Meyer

Ashley Meyer

Christmas is coming! Warm cocoa, logs on the fire, scented candles, spiced wine, twinkling lights, and the gentle falling of snow; how Hallmark. Then there’s the reality of hiring managers on vacation calls, meetings being moved around to accommodate Christmas parties, and HR departments asking to push hiring off until budgets reset in Q1. The list goes on.

Someone typing

In the midst of this, in the bleak mid-hiring-winter, sits the candidate awaiting that offer or the promise of next steps, but baby, it’s cold outside.  

In a season where things slow down, how do you keep candidates warm, how long should you keep them waiting and how does this affect the hiring process. Well, truth be told, this could apply to any season.  

Here are some common scenarios you might find yourself in: 

  • The interview is done, and you like the candidate, but you’re waiting on another interview just to be sure
  • The hiring manager/decision maker is out of town, but you are ready to make the offer and can’t do so until they get back
  • The candidate has other offers pending, but you’re not ready to make the offer or engage in the 2nd/3rd interview. You also don’t want to miss out on them either; decisions, decisions! 
  • The holidays are in full swing, and you’re considering waiting until the new year to hire

On the candidate’s side, they may be facing: 

  • Counter offers from their current company 
  • Competing offers from other places they may be interviewing 
  • Perceived lack of interest due to lack of contact from the hiring team 
  • The strangely inevitable appearance of more opportunities; openness to exploring new roles opens the flood gates 

There is one fact to remember in this process: The longer it takes, the more unstable it becomes. 

When it comes to keeping candidates warm, there are several actions you can take to ensure your company remains top of mind for them and that they are most likely to accept the offer when, like Santa Claus, it appears as the true gift it is. 


It starts with communication. Communication, communication, communication. No news is still news.  

How many times have you waited for a delivery to arrive? The introduction of parcel tracking helps you know what to look for, what to expect and when delivery is due to take place. There is a comfort and security in knowing where you are in the process, even if the process is moving slowly. 

Additional contact with the candidate gives you an opportunity to build more rapport, dig for potential hindrances that may arise during the process, and take appropriate action. As a hiring manager or recruiter, you want to know what’s on their mind. Changing jobs, or change in general, is emotional, even if the change is good. A recruiter who checks in daily when an offer is pending could make the difference in the candidate accepting the offer, or heading in a different direction. 

The Soft Close

If an offer is yet to be made but is expected a hiring manager/recruiter can (and should) use the soft close. The psychological effect of this puts the candidate in a position of expectancy. This soft close will also uncover what may affect the candidates yes and solidifies what they will need to accept. The last thing you want is to lose a candidate based on something that could be easily negotiated (vacation time/pre-booked time off, misalignment on benefits). 

Verbal Offers

Verbal offers are another way you can keep the candidate warm. While HR/management teams are solidifying the official paperwork, this can be a successful way of securing the candidate. They know the offer is coming, they are aware of what it is going to look like (outside of minor details and contractual terminology). 

If a candidate has competing offers and urgency is paramount, then the verbal offer is a great tool. If you use this approach, make sure the candidate is informed of when they should receive the offer, or if there are any delays. This is when the relationship between the recruiter, hiring manager and the executive team is of utmost importance. 

Partner Relationships

That partner relationship is next on the list of how to keep a candidate warm. Having an executive team member or HR manager reach out to the candidate can be an affirming touch. This demonstrates intent and that the candidate’s impact is already being seen in the organization. 

The Candidate Experience

In addition to this you have small intentional acts that amplify the candidate experience. This could look like invitations to company events, on-brand gifts, or introductions to the team members they may be working alongside. The intentional acts can help in the deepening of connection and buy in. Think of it like a pre-onboarding process that connects the candidate to your team and ensures you stay top of mind. 

All this centers in and around the quality and frequency of connection; if we could leave you with one word it is communication.  


Refreshing perspectives and practical expertise from the Titus team.

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