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Good Candidates Age Faster Than Homemade Bread....

It's true - the clock is always ticking with good candidates.

With bad or average candidates, you can really do what you want.  Take your time, be indecisive, lose focus - whatever - bad to average candidates will be there whenever you get your act together and actually want to make a hire.

Good to great candidates are different.  They've got a lot of reasons not to switch, or if they're an active candidate, they've got good to great options on the table.  They don't have to wait, and in most circumstances, they'll be gone in 14-21 days.  That sounds like a lot of time, but it's not... mainly because you have 3 to 4 points in your interview process where things usually stall out.

With bad candidates, you can stall at all of those points and have limited risk of losing them as candidates.  That's why they're bad candidates, right?

Good to great candidates age faster than homemade bread with no preservatives/chemicals in it.  

Stall at your own risk.  Forward this post to a hiring manager if needed to emphasize the best candidates in the candidate pool will be gone by the time they get back to the hiring process.  Or they won't trust you after that and simply stop returning your calls - mainly becuase the heavy courtship present early stalled out.  

You've got 14 days from the time of the first call - max.



I could not agree more. I'm currently a passive candidate in that I've been approched about an interesting opportunity. After interviewing, which I think went well (???), the company has been keeping contact but it is moving at a snails pace. I'm now having second thoughts about moving on from my current employer and not sure if a move to a company that can not make a decision - one way or the other - would be a wise move. The leason for me as an HR pro is to make sure you strike while the iron is hot. Push the decisions so that candidates are still thinking positively about the opportunity.

Amy McDonald

I agree with what you have to say for the most part, but I also think sometimes the delay is about hiring process. I am a stickler when it comes to the process. There is a reason for those background checks,3rd and sometimes 4th interviews. If the hold up is due to a requirement in the hiring process not being met, you have to ask yourself if the candidate is really as great as you think. It opens the company up to risk if you skip steps in the hiring process. I do think there are cases where it is a lack on the part of the company to make a decision. In that case, they are, in fact, missing the proverbial boat.

Mac Byrd

One of the toughest stages of the process is qualifying the candidate - before s/he becomes a candidate and not just another applicant. A new tool that helps with this is Booyango. Michigan-based Booyango.com, is an early stage talent/opportunity internet portal, offering free membership to Professionals and Businesses during its beta development stage. People at all stages of their career will find new global job opportunities on this new, permission-based Career Opportunity Network that automatically pre-qualifies them for open positions. Businesses will find hard-to-find talent and be able to pre-qualify candidates in advance of ever seeing a resume from applicants for new positions. Booyango can be a great time-saver in the process of finding the best opportunities and the best candidates in the hiring process. Learn more at www.booyango.com.

Janice Perron

It's very challenging to keep those "A" candidates interested when the hiring process/decision-making is painfully long. As recruiters there is not much we can do to control this but employers need to take a critical look at their hiring & decision-making processes for the sake of efficiency and to ensure that they don't lose the interest of high-potential candidates because they don't appear to know where they are going or can't decide who will make the hiring decision.

Glenna Cose

Timing! It often comes down to timing! As Bob Fosse's Chorus Line choreography illustrated....timing is key. In the dance of interviewing and hiring, the steps have to be spelled out before one knows what's to be expected. Determining the skills, identifying the match, sense of urgency, and most importantly, communication are all factors. Stalled deals WITH COMMUNICATION go forward. Stalled deals WITHOUT COMMUNICATION create barriers. If a great candidate is within reach, and things are dragging....lead the dance by show them the steps necessary to finish the dance.

Doug Halve

I would say that a good candidate has a shelf life in my market of 10-14 days. However it is the working passive candidates that can appeal most to employers. Matching the right talent with the best opportunities is a solid way to work. Acknowledging the top tier professionals and quietly tapping them on the shoulder to see if they are interested in learning about new opportunities is a solid recruiting methodology. If they are happy, let them be. If they are interested in hearing about positions that fit their long term career goals, keep an ear to the ground for them. However DON'T twist their arm to make a move if they aren't interested and are happy. It's a better model for everyone.


Thank you for this article, which I forwarded immediately to my hiring managers. I am passionate about moving fast. Passive candidates are not applicants, they need to be treated like high end customers with multiple high touch points. Yes, processes have to be respected but they also have to serve the business needs, not the other way around. It is our job as recruiters to position the role as a professional challenge to maintain the passive candidates' interest, to qualify them quickly and thoroughly, to influence managers to consider them and move fast, to avoid delays in the process like multiple panel interviews and a drawn out decision process, and to keep in constant communication with the candidate about what to expect. With a little advance planning you can close a candidate in a week.

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