I’ll set the stage: The candidate you’ve presented is “just perfect”. You know it, your client knows it and (in some cases) unfortunately, so does your Superstar. We often test the candidate’s motivation in a search and ask them to participate in a variety of activities to ensure we are investing time (and more importantly, our client’s time) in someone who is genuinely interested in taking things to the next level.
Clearly, there are signs you should watch for. You need to make sure you are constantly testing the candidate’s motivation to validate everything is on track (or not). It’s our job to provide the checks and balances in the search process to make sure we are not wasting everyone’s time. After all, if there is no commitment from the candidate to forge ahead, it doesn’t make sense to stay engaged – right?
Well… you go through your normal screening, interviewing and spend face-to-face time with a candidate (you know in your gut) that he/she has all of the “right stuff”. It’s time to move to the next phase, and they apply the brakes (I don’t mean gently) and everyone feels it. Follow-up interviews get postponed, the reference process gets delayed… and on and on and on… you get the point!
What gives? You know you went through the position profile in detail with the candidate, and all parties agree there is clearly more than just a fit. The profile meets and exceeds the need on both sides of the table – it’s all good. Right? You test the chemistry and feel the love between the candidate and the client. They both feel the same way. It’s a perfect match!
Here’s the challenge folks… We (you and me) are not all wired the same way. Like it or not, that’s the way it is:-(
Some of us are “ready-shoot-aim” types, while others are much more deliberate and analytical in any major life decision they make and guess what? The last time I checked, changing jobs still ranked as one of the most stressful life events – in the top 5! Some people just require more time. You may not like it, and your client may be scratching his/her head and wondering what gives? This is where you need to understand the situation for what it is and take some time to stand back and let your candidate conduct the proper amount of diligence that they deem necessary in order to get to YES.
Pushing (too much) for the benefit of your client or your wallet can start a downward spiral in your search that may be difficult to overcome. Guide, offer advice, listen, answer questions and by all means be there for your candidate and take a real honest approach to making sure they are ready to pull the trigger. The process of closing the candidate needs to be delicate and natural and NOT just because you (or your client for that matter) have some self-imposed time-line (did I mention a recruiter’s commission – didn’t think so) you feel you have to meet.
Remember…we are not all wired the same way. That will never change. Stop for a minute the next time you feel candidate resistance in your search process. He/she may be trying to tell you something or you may uncover an objection that can easily be overcome.
Sometimes you just need a little more time to bring your search to a successful conclusion.
Tim Tolan is a partner at Sanford Rose Associates and specializes in Executive Search in Healthcare IT. He’s a closer, and you really don’t want to call him unless you’re ready to bring out the bazooka to bag some big game. When I started Fistful, I checked four references on Tim – his wife, his kids, his pastor and a client. The references were great, even if it sounded like they were reading from a sheet of paper. I just chalked that up to them being “detail oriented” in their feedback….