From the beginning of my time in the recruiting industry, the term “time kills deals” was beat into my head. I know that the recruiting industry is not the only industry where people use this term, but what it means is that the more time that a deal takes to close, the more likely you are to lose that deal.
I suppose this principle can be applied to many industries, but it definitely applies to hiring new employees. The more time that the hiring process takes to complete, the more likely it is you will not hire the person you want.
I was working on filling a position that was very difficult and called for a rare skill set along with rigid educational requirements. In my 16 years in this business, it is the most extensive and time consuming search that I've ever done. I spoke with over 100 people about this role and emailed it to 1,000 or so people within the plastics industry. I also networked extensively online. With all of that, I only found three people that were a potential fit.
The hiring process included two initial phone interviews and then a trip to my client's headquarters for a multiple interviews. Two out of the three candidates were asked to come back for a second round of interviews with a new group.
Because it is so hard to coordinate a candidate's schedule with several other busy professionals, the time between the second phone interview and first face-to-face interview was about four weeks. The time between the first face-to-face interview and the second face-to-face interview was also about four weeks.
Then, after the second candidate interviewed for the final time, it took almost another two weeks to decide which candidate they wanted, but they still had not made an offer. By the time my client narrowed down who it was that they wanted, 14 weeks had passed. At that same time, the candidate who they decided on called to tell me that he was contacted earlier in the week by a local company (working for my client would have entailed a relocation), and they were going to talk to him the next day, which was a Friday. The candidate called me back the next Tuesday, four days later, to tell me that the other company had made him an offer and he accepted. It was a very good offer, he didn't have to relocate and he felt the company really wanted him since it didn't take them long to decide that he was the right fit.
Here we were 14 weeks later and there was still no offer, and my client doesn't get the person they want. Within a week, the other company realizes that they have just found a highly specialized candidate in their backyard and moves as fast as they can so they don't lose him. They successfully bring him on board. This other company understood the concept that “time kills deals.”
The labor market is very tight these days. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May's unemployment rate was 6.3 percent. For someone with a bachelor's degree or higher, the rate is 3.2 percent (seasonally adjusted). If you are looking for someone with bachelor's degree or higher, that probably means that the person you are looking for is someone who is employed and is reasonably happy in his or her current job. It probably means they are not desperate to work for your company. It probably means you need to expedite your hiring process because the pool of candidates is slim and “time kills deals!”
Dan Regovich owns and operates AJ Augur Group LLC, a Mentor, Ohio-based executive search firm for the plastics industry.