Going Too Slow

A Turtle Crossing a Start Line - Kathbern Management Toronto Executive Headhunters

In our previous post, “Beware of Under-Sizing the Job”, we drew attention to a common error whereby companies focus their search effort for senior candidates on skill sets that satisfy immediate business needs without weighing the additional capabilities that are likely to be required in the coming years as the company grows.

With the mindset that new senior hires should have the potential to grow along with their position over time, the next challenge is figuring out how to find a reasonable number of qualified candidates to consider. Our advice… avoid going too slow.

Unfortunately, many organizations maintain the view that candidates will wait through a very long recruitment process for the privilege and the hope of receiving an offer of employment. In our work, we have seen candidates subjected to as many as 11 interviews, several of which required travel to distant locations. In some cases, very good candidates took other offers part way through the process because, faced with a good offer from elsewhere, why would they continue in a process that is slow, without any assurance that it would end with a satisfactory offer? The very best candidates have alternatives, and the ones who don’t are the ones who are likely to be left standing at the end of a grueling selection process.

The best candidates will get the earliest and most attractive offers from those employers who have an organized recruitment process that moves from start to conclusion efficiently. A candidate may want to work for your organization, but if they have another offer in hand with a short deadline for acceptance, they are in the position of either waiting for your slow offer (which may not come at all or may not be attractive enough to accept) or playing it safe and taking the offer before them.

What is the Answer?
Ensure that your hiring process is streamlined enough to allow you to screen, interview and compare candidates efficiently. Assign someone to handle the scheduling of initial interviews, testing and follow-up interviews for all candidates with each of the individuals in your organization who will be involved. Someone has to have responsibility for moving the process forward and for keeping candidates informed. Candidates will also be more likely to continue in the process if they are receiving regular communications as to where they stand and what is next.

Ensure that your internal process allows you to quickly generate a professional offer and have it delivered to the candidate in a timely manner. Also, by asking about the candidate’s other job opportunities and potential offers during the interview, you can get a sense of what the competitive situation is with this particular candidate and what time frame may be evolving.

In our next post, find out why decision makers make lousy screeners.


Kathbern Management is an executive search firm based in Toronto, helping companies find the executives and senior managers who not only have the experience and credentials to fulfill their responsibilities, but also have the emotional and “fit” requirements that will enable them to be successful in a particular environment. We simplify the process and, through our deep research, are able to bring more and better candidates forward than would ever be possible through a do-it-yourself passive advertising campaign.


Contact us today for a free consultation about your key person search.

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