Let’s turn the clock back to November 2012. You are the line manager and someone in your team has just resigned. You advertise the position internally, you phone one or two recruitment consultants and want to start interviewing as soon as possible. When do you want someone to start? “Yesterday.”
The next week you work through a couple of CV’s and meet with two candidates who look promising on paper. You inform them there are a couple of steps in the process like a panel interview and assessments. They are excited about the role. It’s almost December, you have deadlines to meet before you go on holiday and you never schedule the next steps. In the meantime the candidates are also thinking more about their upcoming leave and the end of the year than the role you are considering them for. At this stage, their salary expectations are market related. The one is only due for an increase in April 2013 and a bonus in May so it’s still a couple of months away.
It’s Christmas, New Year and as you wait for your panel members to return to work, you start thinking about the recruitment process again towards to end of January. You set up the assessments for the beginning of February and two weeks later the panel meeting can happen. By this stage your favorite candidate is luckily still in the market and hasn’t been placed. You invite one person only for the next round. He is still keen to continue with the process but he doesn’t sound as excited as the time when you received the feedback from his first meeting. He interviews well and after 4 months, you are ready to extend an offer. You remember the package he is on from your first discussion in November and start working on figures. You extend an offer and all of a sudden, he isn’t sure he is going to accept. In your mind it’s a good offer and it looks like he is going to turn down your offer.
What went wrong?
- Time kills deals. Good candidates want to work for good companies and they have the expectation to receive feedback, which isn’t an unfair thought or wish to have. Four months is a long time.
- You only had one candidate in the final process. The ideal situation would have been to invite at least four people for the first round that you are left with 2 or 3 strong candidates at the end. If you only have one person that declines the offer, you have to start all over again and this is a costly mistake to make.
- I thought that he really wanted the role? He did! In November. Since then he went on leave, started 2013 with his New Year’s Resolutions and because he is a human just like you, he changed his mind.
- The offered salary wasn’t enough. In November he still would have moved for a market related 10% increase. He was unhappy in his current role, over worked and had the end of the year blues. Now, four months later, the size of his current portfolio has become bigger and his increase is only a month away. A 10% increase is not going to make the cut anymore and he is also getting a substantial bonus based on the past year’s performance. He has already planned what he is going to do with the money and if you can’t match or exceed what he will be getting, he isn’t interested.
- You are losing out. You are losing out on a good candidate and the second guy you interviewed has already started his new job in January. Other companies move faster than you and could also be making more attractive offers. Where you could potentially have the role vacant for 6 months, your competitor might be four months ahead of you in terms of production because they secured the necessary resource soon enough.
- You didn’t give the candidate enough reasons to be patient. Some processes take long and yes, you also don’t need to rush things and make a wrong hiring mistake that could have even bigger repercussions. But you could have saved it by personally explaining to the candidate why the process is taking so long and sharing with him the vision for this role in the long run. You always have to sell your company, the brand, the position and why it is an opportunity to wait for. You can never assume that just because you are a leading organization that your next employee will feel the same loyalty to the company. He won’t, as he never worked there so you can’t expect it of him.
Always consider how you would have felt if the tables were turned and you were the one applying for a new role. Will it impress you more if someone gave you feedback within a day or a week or are you ok with the fact to hear nothing for 2 months? Will you feel valued and respected?
At the end of the day good candidates take their careers seriously. The ones you want to employ are hard workers who invest their time in energy where they see a potential return on their investment. If you are not it, they won’t be the ones signing the offer letters you could be extending.
It is possible to secure the best talent quickly if you use the right methods. You never have to compromise on quality in exchange for speed. You can have both. And the candidate you want.