Securing top-tier early career talent requires more than just an offer – it requires engaging with candidates during the post-offer stage.

During our recent presentation as part of an AAGE session, I was excited by the enthusiasm and eagerness of graduate employers towards the significance of having a retention strategy for the post-offer stage. As a hot topic currently, with offer reneges being a constant source of discussion amongst employers, I was keen to share some practical insights here to assist graduate employers in comprehending the significance of retention strategies and how best to incorporate them.

The graduate journey

Infographic of the graduate journey stages

Finding and hiring top talent is only half the battle for graduate employers. Once you have identified and extended an offer to a promising candidate, ensuring they remain engaged and excited about joining your organisation is crucial. This is particularly important during the post-offer stage, as candidates may be weighing multiple job offers and considering their options.

This article will explore effective ways to keep candidates warm and interested in your company during this critical phase, ultimately increasing the chances of successfully onboarding them as new hires.

  • What is the early career post-offer stage of the recruitment process
  • The importance of keeping candidates engaged and excited
  • Strategies to keep your early career talent warm
  • Keep candidates warm - the cost savings vs. starting the recruitment process again
  • Common post-offer challenges and how to address them

The importance of keeping candidates engaged and excited in the post-offer stage

Keeping candidates engaged and excited in the post-offer stage is crucial for several reasons.

Firstly, it ensures that the candidate remains interested in the company and the role they have been offered. By continuously communicating and providing updates about the next steps and the onboarding process, employers can keep warm the candidates and ensure they retain interest and accept other offers.

Secondly, maintaining candidate engagement helps to foster a sense of belonging and excitement within the cohort. By including candidates in pre-employment activities or providing them with resources to connect with current employees, they feel more invested in the organisation and its culture.

Lastly, tailoring the post-offer engagement to the individual can significantly impact their overall satisfaction and commitment to the company. Recognising their unique needs and interests and addressing them in a personalised way demonstrates that the employer values them as individuals and is invested in their success.

This personalised approach can build a strong foundation for the candidate's future relationship with the company, enhancing their motivation and reducing the likelihood of them reconsidering the offer.

Strategies to keep your early career talent warm

Keeping candidates warm and engaged throughout the hiring process is crucial for a successful recruitment strategy. 

Simply offering a competitive salary and benefits package is no longer enough. Recruiters must actively make efforts to build and maintain relationships with potential hires.

Here are a few effective strategies for keeping candidates warm:

Build a structured development program from post-offer to start

Introducing a professional development program is essential to prepare and retain your graduates and new starters cohorts effectively. This program should ensure that selected talent is motivated, engaged, and fully prepared for the workplace. It should consist of a tailored training and coaching program after the graduate offers, focusing on individual development and providing valuable organisational insights.

Customise the content and messaging of the program to align with your employer, industry, and role-specific needs. Continually reinforce your messaging and emphasise the importance of individual growth. 

Create built-in touchpoints within the program that allow you to share experiences, showcase projects and roles easily, explain company culture, and engage in project activities. This will help create a more engaging and interactive experience for your graduates.

A properly structured program will provide your offered graduates with opportunities to enhance their skills, knowledge, productivity, motivation, and overall understanding of the workplace from day one, setting them up for success in their careers.

Readygrad can help your organisation develop and implement a retention program to prepare your offered graduate cohorts for the workplace. 

Regular communication

Regular communication is critical to maintaining a strong connection between employers and post-offer graduates. 

During the onboarding or recruitment journey, staying in touch helps build trust and keep everyone involved. One important aspect of regular communication is providing updates on the onboarding process and timeline. This helps to keep new employees informed and engaged and reduces any uncertainty they may have during their transition period. 

Additionally, sharing company news and updates with new graduates shows transparency and keeps them connected to the organisation's vision and values. 

Regular communication helps nurture relationships with graduates and reinforces the company's commitment to providing a positive experience throughout recruitment. It is an essential aspect of any successful personal or professional relationship. 

Personalise the graduate experience

Regarding the graduate experience, staying connected with candidates is crucial for their growth and development. 

One way to personalise this experience is by assigning each candidate a dedicated point of contact. This individual will be the go-to person for any questions, concerns, or support needed throughout the journey.

Another way to personalise the experience is by offering tailored feedback. This could range from providing meaningful advice to highlighting unique skills and achievements that the candidate has demonstrated throughout the recruitment process. 

Tailoring communication to the candidate's preferences and interests further enhances the connection. Understanding what resonates with each individual can create a more meaningful and impactful exchange.

Regular and personalised communication plays a vital role in creating a positive experience and ensuring the success of graduate candidates. 

Create a culture that your candidates want to be part of

To create a culture that candidates want to be part of, a company must understand the importance of a strong and positive company culture. This encompasses the values, beliefs, and behaviours shared among employees. A positive, inclusive, and supportive company culture attracts top talent and helps to retain them.

Creating an environment that fosters growth, learning, and career development opportunities is crucial to keep your talent. Additionally, providing employees a safe and welcoming space to communicate openly and collaborate effectively is critical.

Furthermore, engaging in meaningful conversations about diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives can help ensure candidates feel welcome in your organisation.

Offer valuable resources and support

For early-career candidates, embarking on a new job or starting their career can be exciting and daunting. Organisations increasingly focus on providing helpful resources and guidance to ease the transition and offer valuable support. 

This includes access to relevant industry articles and insights, allowing these candidates to stay informed and up-to-date on the latest trends and developments. By offering such resources, organisations can help early-career candidates better understand their chosen field and enhance their professional growth. 

Organisations have a responsibility to support individuals as they prepare for their roles and begin their careers. Readygrad provides extensive retention programs to assist graduate employers in preparing their early career cohorts for the workplace, ensuring a productive and successful career.

Plan social events or networking opportunities

After successfully securing a job offer, the post-offer stage presents a critical period for graduates to start building relationships and integrating into their future workplace. Companies increasingly recognise the importance of organising social events or networking opportunities tailored to graduates to aid this transition.

These events aim to introduce the candidates to the company's culture and provide a platform for newcomers to connect with current employees and establish valuable relationships. It also encourages the connectedness of the incoming cohort – where a shared journey and experience with other incoming graduates can be a huge positive.

Inviting candidates to attend company events or virtual meetups could allow them to socialise with colleagues in a more relaxed setting.

Moreover, facilitating connections with current employees can aid in fostering mentorship and collaboration, setting the stage for a successful and engaging work experience for the graduates. 

To keep warm and nurture the candidate experience, organisations should seek innovative ways to support continuous learning and growth. One practical approach is offering online courses or training programs that allow new hires to enhance their skills and knowledge flexibly and conveniently. This enables new hires to keep up with industry trends and best practices and demonstrates their commitment to professional development. 

Additionally, employers can encourage post-offer graduates to attend relevant webinars or conferences to expand their network and gain insights from industry experts. By investing in skill development for new hires, companies can foster a motivated, engaged, and high-performing workforce.


Reneged offers


Keep candidates warm - the cost savings vs. starting the recruitment process again

Keeping candidates warm in the post-offer stage of the recruitment process is essential for organisations to save costs and avoid starting the entire process again. 

Hiring managers should ensure that communication with the candidate remains consistent and engaging, providing them with regular updates and feedback.

By maintaining a warm relationship, organisations can prevent candidates from accepting other offers or losing interest in the role offered. This personalised approach ensures that candidates feel valued and that their needs and concerns are addressed. 

Additionally, keeping candidates warm allows organisations to tap into a potential talent pool for future roles without restarting the entire recruitment process from scratch. This saves time and money on advertising, sourcing, screening, and onboarding costs. 

By investing in the post-offer stage and tailoring it to the individual, organisations can significantly reduce the risk of losing a candidate and the subsequent expenses associated with starting the recruitment process all over again. 

Common post-offer challenges and how to address them

After a rigorous recruitment process, post-offer graduates often face common challenges as they transition into their new roles.

One of the key challenges they may encounter is imposter syndrome, where candidates feel inadequate and doubt their abilities to perform well. To address this, organisations must provide a supportive and nurturing environment that fosters self-confidence and growth. 

Additionally, implementing mentorship programs or assigning experienced employees as buddies can help alleviate these concerns by providing guidance and validation. Encouraging open communication and providing regular feedback will also enable graduates to overcome their challenges and thrive in their new roles. 

Address potential concerns or reservations about investment in post-offer engagement

Investing in post-offer engagement is crucial for any organisation recruiting and retaining top talent. However, some concerns or reservations may arise. One potential concern is the cost associated with implementing and maintaining engagement strategies. 

Companies may need help allocating resources to build relationships with recruits who have already accepted their offers. Another reservation could be these strategies' effectiveness in keeping the recruit engaged and committed to the company. 

However, addressing these concerns is essential as post-offer engagement programs have been proven to reduce turnover rates and increase overall employee satisfaction significantly. When implemented correctly, these programs can create a positive and lasting impression on recruits, enhancing their long-term commitment to the organisation. 

Provide strategies for overcoming internal resistance to candidate engagement initiatives 

 Internal resistance to candidate engagement initiatives can often hinder the success of recruitment efforts. However, there are several strategies that organisations can adopt to overcome this resistance.

Firstly, it is crucial to communicate the benefits of candidate engagement initiatives to all stakeholders and address any misconceptions or concerns. Additionally, training and education on the importance of candidate engagement can help alleviate resistance.

Moreover, involving key leaders and influencers within the organisation can help create a culture that values and supports candidate engagement efforts.

Lastly, implementing measures to prevent reneges, such as clearly defining expectations and incentives, can help ensure candidates' commitment and reduce internal resistance. 


In conclusion, it is crucial to maintain candidate engagement during the post-offer stage for new starters. This can be achieved by keeping candidates warm and informed about the progress of their offer of employment. 

By implementing effective strategies, employers can strengthen their relationships with candidates and ensure long-term engagement. It is essential to emphasise the benefits of keeping candidates engaged, both for the company and the candidates themselves. 

For the company, maintaining candidate engagement leads to better retention rates and higher productivity levels. On the other hand, candidates who feel engaged and supported during the onboarding process are more likely to be satisfied with their job and the company they work for. This can result in higher levels of job satisfaction, increased motivation, and improved performance. 

Therefore, prioritising candidate engagement throughout the hiring process and beyond is in the company's best interest. 


Strategies for the Post-Offer Stage: Frequently Asked Questions.

How important is a keep warm strategy in the recruitment process?

The keep warm strategy is crucial in the recruitment process because it helps to maintain a positive candidate experience and keep candidates engaged throughout the post-offer stage. This strategy ensures that top candidates feel valued and connected to the organization, increasing the likelihood that they will accept the offer and join your talent pool.

What are some effective keep warm strategies for early career candidates?

There are several effective keep warm strategies for early career candidates, including:

  • Regular communication to keep candidates warm and interested
  • Providing relevant resources and information about the organization and the role
  • Offering opportunities for candidates to engage with the organization, such as attending events or networking sessions
  • Assigning a personal ambassador or mentor to each candidate for individual support
  • Creating a talent community or online platform where candidates can connect with other early career candidates and learn more about the organization
How can recruiters keep candidates engaged after they have accepted the offer?

Recruiters can keep candidates engaged after they have accepted the offer by:

  • Providing regular updates about the onboarding process and what to expect on the first day
  • Assigning an onboarding buddy or mentor to help new starters feel welcomed and supported
  • Checking in with the candidate to address any questions or concerns
  • Providing opportunities for the candidate to meet and connect with their future team or colleagues
  • Offering additional training or resources to help the candidate prepare for their new role
How can organizations tailor their keep warm strategies to each individual candidate?

Organizations can tailor their keep warm strategies to each individual candidate by:

  • Gathering information about the candidate's interests, aspirations, and preferred communication methods
  • Sending personalized messages or content based on the candidate's preferences
  • Offering opportunities for candidates to engage in activities that align with their career goals or interests
  • Providing support and resources specific to the candidate's role or industry
  • Creating an individualized timeline for the candidate to follow throughout the hiring process
  • Having open and honest conversations with the candidates about their expectations and preferences 
  • Encouraging candidates to ask questions or provide feedback on how they can be better supported during the recruitment process.
Why is it important to build relationships with new graduate hires?

Building relationships with new graduate hires is crucial for several reasons:

  • Boosts Engagement: When graduates feel connected and valued, they are likelier to engage in their work.
  • Increases Retention: Strong relationships can significantly reduce turnover rates among early-career employees.
  • Promotes Growth: By building relationships, employers can better understand the ambitions of their young employees, thus helping them to provide appropriate opportunities and challenges.
How can we keep graduates motivated and engaged during the post-offer stage?

Keeping graduates motivated during the post-offer stage requires a proactive approach:

  • Regular Communication: Keep them informed about their roles, responsibilities, and how they fit into the larger picture of the organization.
  • Mentorship Programs: Pair graduates with experienced mentors who can guide them through their first few months.
  • Recognition and Rewards: Regularly acknowledge their efforts and achievements, this can be a significant motivator.
What kind of training and development opportunities should be provided to early career talent during this stage?

Investing in training and development opportunities is key to retaining early-career talent:

  • Onboarding Training: Provide comprehensive onboarding programs that equip them with the necessary skills and knowledge.
  • Professional Development: Offer courses and workshops that help them grow professionally.
  • Leadership Training: Identify potential leaders and provide them with the training necessary to advance their careers.
What is the role of managers in retaining graduate employees in the post-offer stage?

Managers play a pivotal role in the retention of graduate employees:

  • Provide Guidance: Managers should serve as mentors, providing guidance and support.
  • Feedback and Recognition: They should provide constructive feedback and recognize the efforts of their team members.
  • Career Development: Managers should discuss career aspirations with their team members and help them map out a path to achieve them.
How can we measure our success in retaining early career talent?

Measuring success in retaining early career talent can be done through a variety of metrics:

  • Retention Rate: Track the percentage of graduate hires who stay with the company after a certain period (e.g., one year).
  • Employee Satisfaction: Conduct surveys to gauge employee satisfaction and engagement levels.
  • Career Progression: Monitor the career progression of your graduates within the organization; rapid advancement can be a good indicator of successful retention strategies.
Rohan Holland
Rohan Holland

Rohan is a graduate recruitment and development specialist. With extensive experience managing graduate programs and professional resourcing roles in organisations including BP, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto, Rohan has worked throughout Australia and abroad. He has a passion for sharing graduate program insights and coaching graduates to be better prepared for the recruitment process and the study to work transition.

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