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Hiring Candidates: Why Didn’t You Buy The First Pair Of Shoes You Saw?

By Emma Tee on

This is generally the muttering of my poor husband after being dragged round a million shops trying on endless pairs of shoes, only to go back to the very first shop we visited to buy the first pair I tried on. (Deep down, I knew were ‘the ones’!) Let’s face it, it’s a valid point and a sentiment probably echoed by a million other spouses. It’s really important though, isn’t it? No-one wants to spend their hard-earned cash and realise later in the day that there was a better/cheaper pair and you just didn’t make the time to look for them. And this can be applied to the hiring process.

Shopping Around

As tenuous a link as this may seem, a lot of clients work in exactly the same way when they’re looking to recruit their staff. And once again, you can understand why they would do this. Hiring any new member of staff is a really big deal, and one you don’t want to get wrong. Get it wrong and you could lose clients or cause disharmony in a mostly harmonious team. And you will most likely be the one doing the firing alongside the hiring. It’s understandable that you’ll want to interview the ten most relevant candidates that have sent their CVs through to you, even though the first candidate was brilliant and perfect. What happens if there might, just maybe, be someone better?

Does This Strategy Work?

But is this a strategy that works in this current, candidate-driven recruitment market? Unfortunately we’re seeing a lot of evidence that it isn’t. If you’ve tried to recruit any level of agency experienced PR, advertising, marketing or developer candidates then you’ve probably experienced two things. Firstly, very few CVs coming through. Secondly, when you do see one you like, a cancelled interview as they’ve already accepted a new position.

If this has happened, you’re not alone, and you really mustn’t take it personally. This year alone we’ve seen more roles coming through from clients who haven’t used a recruitment agency before simply because they can’t recruit their positions themselves. Most have had at least one candidate reject their offer of employment because something more suitable came through. Some have even been let down at the last minute as market-savvy candidates realise their worth in the market place and accept an offer but continue to look for other roles. Not exactly moral behaviour, but the number of confirmed cases is on the rise.

What Next For The Hiring Process?

What we’re trying to say is that candidates are thin on the ground. And, when they do appear on the recruitment market, they can be very active and know their market value. Sadly, this is where the shoe analogy ends. While there’s a very good chance that the first pair of shoes are still there, this won’t be the case with good candidates. If you wait too long to set up the initial meeting, or delay between first and second interview, chances are they will have gone from the market.

No-one is suggesting that you should make an offer just for the sake of it. There’s no point getting those shoes home and, as pretty as they are, not being able to walk in them. And in the same way, if a candidate isn’t right, no amount of shoe-horning is going to make them fit. But if your absolute gut instinct is that they’re the right candidate for you, move quickly. Tell your consultant (or them directly) that you’re interested in them and explain next processes. Get a good understanding of the offer they’re likely to accept. Be aware of the competition in the market place. Make the first offer you give them be the one that they will accept. Let your competitors be the ones with the cancelled interviews!