How not to lose your ideal candidate

Recruiter: How did today’s interview go for the Software engineer?

Hiring Manager: The interview went great all five people that interviewed the candidate agree that they would be a great fit for us.  You hit the nail on the head with this one.

Recruiter: That’s great news! Would you like me to call and make the candidate a verbal offer?

Hiring manager: We’re going to hold on to the offer for now, we would like to see some more candidates. Maybe we can find a few more just like this candidate.

Recruiter: Ok, have your needs changed?  Do you now have multiple openings for Software engineers?

Hiring manager: No, we just want to keep our options open.

Recruiter: Ok, but if we wait, we may lose this candidate.  They are actively interviewing with other companies; if they were a perfect fit are you sure you want to spend more time interviewing?

Hiring manager: Can you just keep looking please?

Recruiter: As you wish.


Does this ever happen to any of you? Holding on the right candidates because your hiring managers want to see more people? If so, here is a trick I have been using when setting the expectations with HM’s who insist on continuing to interview when you have identified the ideal candidate.

Continuing to interview candidates once we identified the correct talent that is your ideal fit is like continuing to look for your lost keys for an hour after finding them and saying hey, I found my keys and I have places to go, but let me continue to look to for other things.  The problem with that is while you continue to look you put down your keys and lose them again! It’s the same concept with candidates. Leave them on the hook for too long and you will lose them. No matter how hard you try to keep them warm.

Therefore, I always suggest that you have a process for interviews and expectations around when to make an offer.  We establish these while having the intake call.  On this call it’s important to identify the wants and needs of the hiring manager to fill the open position; but, it’s just as important to set the expectation of what your interview loop looks like and how the offer process will work.  If you can get your HM to commit to the process on that call you can hold them accountable when you identify the ideal candidate and put a stop to the continuous interviews.

In a tight market there is no time to wait on the right candidate, because their next opportunity is right around the corner, and the worst thing you can do is lose that ideal candidate to your competition.

By Lindsey Roundtree | People Science Director of Client Services


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