Is your company sending mixed signals to job candidates? Today’s talent market moves fast–lightning fast. Five years ago, companies could afford to take their time making hiring decisions. In some cases, a month might pass before a hiring manager followed up with a candidate, and that candidate would still be interested and available. That’s not the case now. Decision delays and communication confusion are costing companies top candidates and hurting their employer brand, but it doesn’t have to be this way.
Market realities demand clear communication at every step of the hiring process, especially if your decision-making timeline is longer than expected. Think you’re communicating clearly? These are three common phrases I frequently hear from hiring managers–and what top candidates tell me they actually hear.
“Our decision timeline for next steps will be several weeks.”
Companies think they’re saying: We’re being thoughtful and intentional, carefully vetting everyone before moving forward.
Candidates think they’re hearing: This company needs three weeks to decide between first and second round interviews–that’s a lot of time. I’m not sure if they know what they’re looking for in a new hire.
“We’re not ready to make an offer yet.”
Companies think they’re saying: We’re going to consider a few additional candidates to be sure we’re making the right decision.
Candidates think they’re hearing: This company isn’t serious about making an offer. I’m not going to waste any more time with them.
“We promise to get back to you next week, but may need more time.”
Companies think they’re saying: It’s okay if we take longer than we promise–it’s better to move slowly and deliberately than make a costly hiring mistake.
Candidates think they’re hearing: This company never follows up when they promise to–what other promises will they fail to make good on? How can I trust that they’ll promote me or support the development of my skills?
Hiring with Speed and Confidence: How to Avoid Decision-Making Paralysis
Recruiters often compare the process of matching candidates and companies to dating-our job is to find that person who pairs perfectly with your company’s needs, just like a relationship matchmaker. Just like the world of dating, once we’ve found you the perfect person, there’s no need to play hard to get. Unfortunately, some companies continue to play this game or let cold feet get the better of them.
As recruiters, our job is to help you find the candidate who meets your experience/skills requirements, geography requirements and compensation requirements. That’s why we bring companies a fully vetted and carefully curated list of top choices–rather than a laundry list of 30+ options. By presenting only the best-of-the-best, we’re streamlining the hiring process so you can move quickly and confidently, just like today’s market demands.
Still, I understand that decision-making paralysis can take over. Hiring mistakes are costly and no one wants to be responsible for choosing the wrong person. Our most successful placements occur when hiring managers trust their recruiters and communicate clearly with candidates. To keep decision-making timelines as compact as possible, bring stakeholders together before starting the interview process and align to the “must-haves” and “nice-to-haves.”
Companies that are willing to commit are also pursuing your top-choice hire. If you don’t want to lose this hire to the competition, you need to communicate clearly and decide quickly. Transparency matters: be prompt, let candidates know where they stand, and follow-up as promised. These gestures may seem small, but they can make or break your chances with a top candidate.