This is a sentence most recruiters hate having to say, but unfortunately one that we end up saying far more often than one would imagine. If you are a hiring manager frequently losing out on top talent, make sure you are not making one of these mistakes.
You just want to see a few more candidates so you can compare Candidate X to them
You receive quite a few CVs, interview a handful of the applicants, and one candidate in particular stands out far above the rest. After meeting with Candidate X you ask your recruiters to please send another ‘Candidate X’ as you need a similar person to compare this individual to. It makes sense right? You need to have comparison candidates in order to make an informed decision right? Well, to a certain degree yes, but you also need to check yourself and make sure that what you are asking is a feasible request. If you’ve met a few people and only one has truly stood out you need to consider that this person might just be an exceptional find, and the longer you wait for recruiters to find you a comparison candidate, the greater your chance of losing Candidate X to another company.
Your interview process takes too long
It is vitally important to interview people properly before you hire them. This is unquestionable. The trouble comes in when there are extended periods between the first interview and the final decision where you have to coordinate staff diaries to arrange interviews, wait while certain managers are away on leave, arrange assessments, and wait for a weekly or even monthly meeting to make hiring decisions. (I had one client whose process took over 2 months from CV submission deadline to offer stage). Realistically there is a very slim chance that stand out talent will still be available for extended periods of time, especially when they are actively interviewing at other companies.
There are also a few things you can do to keep your role in the front of the candidates mind while you go through the hiring process.
Keep your recruiters up to date
Even if all you have done is shortlist 5 of the 10 applicants you have received for possible interviews, it is important to keep your recruiters as informed as possible so that they can keep the candidate up to date. Candidates who may be tempted to accept an offer elsewhere may hold off on doing so if they know you are keeping them in your process, especially if yours is a company they would love to work for. Likewise, if there is an inevitable delay between interviews, let the recruiter know the reason for the delay – passing along a message that the COO would like to meet with the candidate and you are trying to arrange a date for them to fly into the area will really help to keep the candidate interested, whereas ‘we’re waiting to hear back regarding further interviews’ does not inspire much confidence.
Meet and greet
If you know you are going to make an offer, and are just waiting for the paperwork to be processed, don’t go quiet in the interim. There is a strong chance the candidate will assume they have been unsuccessful. Even if you cannot directly state your intentions, you can provide interview feedback and set up another ‘interview’ where you invite the team the individual will be working with to give them a brief ‘interview’. This is a useful tool that has a dual purpose – you are keeping the candidate interested and also, by giving them a chance now to meet the people they will be working with, help lower anxiety about the move at a later stage which will in turn help make it easier for the candidate to leave their current company.
Sometimes losing out on an incredible candidate is unavoidable, but hopefully these pointers will help to curb the frequency of these losses for your business.