Time Kills All Deals

“Time kills all deals” is an expression that can be associated with a number of different industries but is especially relevant to the hiring process and the search industry. Timeliness and a sense of urgency need to be embedded in both the search firm’s and employer’s hiring processes.

Timeliness in research, recruiting, qualifying, reference checking, and debriefing candidates after interviews must be standard operating procedure for recruiters. Recruiters, candidates, and clients need to work together to not only schedule interviews on a timely basis but also minimize the number of steps in the interview process. Candidates need to supply references upon request and any other requested information within 48 hours. An initial phone interview is often necessary, but more than two rounds of face-to-face interviews can become problematic as far as attracting and retaining the best talent throughout an elongated interview process. The ideal scenario is to schedule a face-to-face interview within a week of a phone interview.

At our firm we spend over 95% of our time targeting and calling gainfully employed professionals who are not actively looking for a new opportunity. Subsequently, it can be difficult and sometimes unreasonable for these candidates to request two or three days off to interview multiple times. Companies requiring two or more rounds of face-to-face interviews may unintentionally restrict themselves to considering mostly unemployed candidates, as employed candidates progressively bow out as the hiring process is prolonged. This is not to say we do not recruit the unemployed or they aren’t talented, but the qualified candidate pool in this scenario becomes rather small. It is also essential for candidates and clients to provide timely feedback following interviews.

As the interview process proceeds, a myriad of circumstances may develop that can “kill the deal” including competitive opportunities, promotions, salary increases, as well as candidates developing concerns about an employer’s ability to make timely decisions. If we, our candidates, and our clients adhere to our mutual timelines, the result is an efficient and exhaustive search process, which is why our search firm’s average search length is 79 days from receipt of the retainer to the candidate’s verbal acceptance of the offer.


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