Ready… Set… Stop? How Not to Hire a Candidate

Over the past year, I’ve seen a trend emerge that may be inhibiting business success and expansion. Companies are interviewing their top candidates once, twice and three times. They are thoroughly vetting candidates in order to narrow down the field to a single finalist and ultimately make an offer. But when it comes to crunch time, companies are not scheduling a firm start date. To their detriment, they are delaying the hiring of the right candidate for the job at hand. Holding back from investing in top talent will cost many organizations through a lack of vision.

Recently my team and I encountered a situation where our client, a leading national material handling systems integrator, hired a senior sales executive whom we referred to them. However, they asked their new hire to delay giving his resignation for one month so that the current executive holding this position could finish a project and be transitioned. During this lag time, the new hire received a counteroffer and promotion from his current employer and ultimately decided to stay and accept his newly expanded role.

When it comes to a delay in the hiring process, here’s what I know:

Time kills deals. Time can be your enemy if you procrastinate on hiring decisions. Companies need to close candidates at the peak of their interest, i.e., from the time they hear about the job through their second and third interviews. They also need to set a start date. If you don’t move during this time, the candidates’ interest level drops with each passing day.

Vacant positions have high costs and negative impacts. Jobs that remain open for long periods of time cost companies staggering dollar amounts, not to mention other adverse effects including the loss of idea generation, low employee morale, extra work for management and reduced competitive advantage.

Yesterday’s success is today’s failure. In searching for top talent, you must do things differently even when it comes to the hiring process. If you aren’t practicing contemporary methods, you’ll fall behind. Businesses today need to be fast moving and agile in order to do what it takes to land top performers.

Leaving a negative impression. Candidates can readily accept when they are told that someone else was selected for the position. But to keep your choice candidate in the dark after you have taken them to the brink of hiring will leave a lasting negative impression and your candidate will most likely choose other avenues to pursue.

Buy, don’t just window shop. You’ve invested a lot of time, effort and company resources to bring a candidate this far. Now is not the time to pull back. Be a good decision-maker and go with your gut instincts to either eliminate the candidate or hire them. It is not in anyone’s best interest for you to wait and not make a move at all.

Dan Charney is managing partner with Direct Recruiters Inc., a Cleveland, Ohio-based search firm for companies in automated packaging and material handling systems.

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