In recruitment, timing and engagement are crucial

There was a really interesting article* in Recruitment Grapevine a few days ago.  Expectations! (sic) Recruitment Services, a recruitment firm from the Cheltenham/Gloucester area has conducted some anecdotal research which suggests that if your firm wants to secure a good candidate it needs to move more quickly to make an offer than had been the case previously. Specifically, rather than having a ‘window of opportunity’ of 2-3 weeks as was the norm during the recession, often candidates can be lost to a competitor’s job offer if you don’t get your own offer made first, sometimes even within 24 hours from interview.


Although there are no claims as to the statistical robustness of the information gathered by Expectations!, I found this a compelling argument.   There is no doubt that employees, in general, sat tight during the recession, with job insecurity, allied to the fewer jobs available, making it a very much harder, more long-drawn out process to winkle a good candidate away to a new position. Now, with the so-called ‘jobs miracle’, there are far more opportunities and people can – and are – moving more freely, and in some instances more quickly, between jobs. 


That said, although some candidates are making the decision more quickly, there is some evidence that time to hire is getting longer in 2015, partly as firms’ investment decisions are delayed due to the uncertainty caused by the general election.  So we have circumstances in which companies want to take longer to hire, but, in those sectors where there are not skill shortages, candidates are responding more quickly to the first offer they fancy, leaving the other firms who wished to employ them frustrated at having delayed their decision and thus missed out on their ideal candidate.


From the recruiting company’s point of view, it’s clearly undesirable to lose a good candidate because you haven’t made a decision/offer quickly enough.  This is where a good recruitment consultancy can be very helpful, especially to a smaller company who might otherwise think it is not worth paying for this service. Professional organisation and communication throughout the recruitment process makes such a difference.  Whereas a candidate will not necessarily tell one firm of the two other jobs he or she is in for, a recruitment consultant will be in daily communication with them and can provide an independent assessment of the various merits (and demerits) of different potential new employers.  Crucially, the consultant will be able to manage the candidate’s expectations, encouraging them, where necessary, to wait to make the right decision, matching their skills and experience to the recruiting company most suited to them, rather than taking the first, seemingly attractive offer on the table.  Who was it - a much wiser man (probably a woman in truth!) than me – who came up with the proverb, “marry in haste, repent at leisure”? 

* you can see the original article here.