The Need for Speed

Adele Mezher
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In a world where Donald Trump makes snap firing decisions and Nike pushes you to “Just Do It” it can still be uncomfortable to think about moving fast when you’re making a critical hire. While it is an absolute necessity to fully screen and thoroughly interview a candidate – even a dream candidate, the one that had you at hello – it is an absolute tragedy to drag your heels and let weeks, sometimes months, pass without making a move.

While we are certainly not advocating a “speed dating” form of recruitment and selection, there are valid reasons to forge ahead once you’ve identified a candidate that fits your organization’s culture and brings the requisite skills and experiences to the role.

These five realities will help you maintain momentum at critical junctures of the hiring process:

  1. The recruit call often awakens a dormant desire and causes an individual to become introspective. He may start thinking about his current role and if it is truly affording him a sense of satisfaction. After several meaningful conversations with a recruiter, an executive who had initially received a cold-call regarding an opportunity expressed, “I didn’t realize just how unhappy I was until we spoke!” And once a candidate’s eyes are opened, he may begin actively searching for a new position, a more fulfilling position, and your opening may become one of several that are competing for his attention.
  2. Various business scenarios could lead to the sudden availability of high-caliber talent: loss of funding, a poor business climate. When such a candidate hits the market, he will make a huge splash. Because that candidate is considered to be in high- demand, he will inevitably be scooped up quickly. That means you have to act faster than everyone else.
  3. The candidate is also assessing you during this period, thinking about their ability to be successful in your organization by judging your ability to make decisions. Taking too long to come to a conclusion will only reflect poorly on you.
  4. An inability to make up your mind will cause you to lose momentum. Hiring is a dynamic activity that carries with it a sense of urgency. You can be indecisive over which flavor of ice cream to pick. You cannot be indecisive about a hire that will ultimately impact the success of your mission. Do you have all the information you need to make a decision? Then what’s left to think about?
  5. Search is inherently scary to staff members, board members and funders. The longer it takes to make a decision about candidates that are in the mix, the less confident they feel about the decision that is ultimately made. Making a decision with all due haste once the necessary data has been collected will allow your hire to get started with all of the confidence that you have in him.

It’s always helpful to have a search partner who can help move the process along and ensure you have the information you need to make a good decision. However, if you are managing the hiring process on your own, always remain aware of your candidate’s timing. Ask questions to learn whether or not you are in competition with other opportunities or if he already has an offer on the table.

When you meet the dream candidate, move him through the process quickly and remember to sell as well as assess. Sell him on your mission; share the excitement around the role and its impact on the organization. This will engage the candidate in the discussion and also connect him emotionally to the mission, putting you at an advantage if a competing opportunity surfaces.

It can be utterly deflating to learn you’ve missed out on your dream candidate because you took too long to come to a decision and make an offer. However, if you move speedily you can catch your dream candidate before he vanishes!