Five reasons why slow hiring process kills all deals

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Last week I got a message from a senior executive candidate, who is in the running of becoming the new Managing Director for a multi-national company. He said he was pulling out of the hiring process. He and other top candidates met the client five weeks ago and to date no decision or update have been forthcoming.

There is no way you will impress senior executives with a slow recruitment process. Period.

Let me tell you how candidates feel when you drag out the hiring process. Picture this; it’s Sunday afternoon. You met a charming man or woman on Friday or Saturday night. You gave your mobile number expecting to get a call over the weekend. But no one calls.  It’s now Sunday one week later and still no call. Suddenly, five long weeks later, you get the call! Question: What’s the probability that you will say yes to an invitation so long after your exciting first encounter? Yes, me too. Thought so.

Very likely there is no scientific study to capture the exact amount of time a person can stay excited about a new career opportunity, but there is no doubt that excitement fizzles over time and the amount of time is shorter than you might think.

The people presented to you are waiting to hear from you to find out when you wish to move to the interviewing process with them. Time kills all deals and you must respond quickly to resumes presented to you. It is vital that shortlisted candidates do not have to wait too long for feedback.

To complete a successful executive search it’s crucial to keep the momentum and move forward as quickly as you can. Don’t forget that most candidates from headhunters are sitting in good positions already and do not necessarily need your job. A talented candidate is the headhunter’s product. But it’s the only product I know of that can speak – a “product” can say no. And if that happens, you will have lost important sales, man-hours, or whatever it is for that particular function, as the search process then starts all over again.

By definition, executive search assignments are difficult-to-fill positions, but keep in mind that the executive search firms specialize in this field and have the capability of finding qualified and hard-to-secure talented candidates. They will put people in front of you that match the profile you have given. You should be aware though, it’s going to be up to you to attract them to your organisation. You must convince them that their careers will be better served with your organisation than where they are. You need to close the deal (in this case your preferred candidate).

There you have it. You can learn from FMCG companies, how they use speed as a competitive weapon. A key to their success is developing the speed-to-market approach. When it comes to identifying and hiring staff, CEO’s, hiring managers and HR practitioners need to develop a best practice playbook how an effective hiring process will become a competitive advantage to get the best talent on-board. Good luck.

Tom Sorensen

Tom Sorensen is an executive search veteran with over 25 years of experience recruiting in Asia, Europe, and Africa. He has worked in executive search in Thailand since 2003 and is recognized as one of the country’s top recruiters and most profiled headhunters.