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Several hiring misses that have taken place in this week alone have tempted me to write a letter that goes something like this:

‘Dear Hiring Manager, you have (again) let a top quality, fully qualified candidate slip through your fingers. And the reason for this particular slippage, is nothing other than your company’s incredibly long and protracted recruitment process. Why did it take so long? You interviewed the candidate months ago. You liked him. A lot. And then…..nothing. For months. What on earth were you waiting for? Well, he’s moved on now, to another company that had their ducks a little more in a row. Sorry for you.’

Here’s the reality. Even in a slow-ish market, in a weak-ish economy, talented professionals are in very short supply. The best ones will frequently have multiple opportunities under consideration – firstly, they almost always have a job already. So whatever you’re offering them must be competitive with their current company and role. And then, they may periodically be sought out by other firms to test their interest in a new role elsewhere.

Just because you have a headhunted candidate who is not actively on the job market, does not mean that you have endless time on your hands to make decisions about whether to hire or not. Whilst you’re chewing the cud, the candidate’s current company may be offering her promotions or increasing salaries and benefits. And new opportunities may knock on the candidate’s door too, for her to consider while she’s waiting…..and waiting….and waiting for some forward movement in your recruitment process.

So, don’t be surprised when your top quality, highly qualified candidate is no longer available when you finally decide to move your chess piece. Time kills all deals, and job offers are no exception.

Next time, align your ducks, your cows and your chess pieces, so that you can move just a little bit faster.

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