A recruitment miracle? when you need to start over

Updated: Nov 25, 2018

I have to say that I don't believe in miracles – achievements are usually earned by hard work, sweat and tears.

But you have to admit that recruitment is sometimes a cosmic event – all the stars need to align; the right role, the right candidate and the right manager. If one of those is off track, it simply won't happen.

I cannot count the number of times I thought that the process was moving to a successful conclusion, only to find that something disrupts it all – another offer, a change of heart (manager or candidate), or internal changes in the organisation. Sometimes it's not the candidate or the manager, it's the whole structure around them that shifts and forces us to put things on hold, change the R&R or even cancel the position.

I used to get very upset when things like that happened – when this miracle of closing a position faded away. It still upsets me, particularly when the candidate’s experience is damaged in the process. I believe the fact that I'm still getting upset after more than 18 years as a recruiter shows that I still care. In my eyes, this is a good thing.

On the other hand, though, you also need to let go. If you did everything you could, and still get a negative result, it probably wasn’t the right match. Sometimes this happens in the final stages of the process, which can be extremely frustrating for everyone involved! But these things happen.

I think it's our roles as recruiters to pick up the pieces and make sure both sides are ok. From the candidate’s side, it's important to close things on a positive note (send a follow-up email). For the manager it’s essential to ensure s/he is not giving up. I always recommend not rejecting second choice candidates until you have a final answer from your first choice and the contract is signed. This way you have a Plan B. It’s easier said than done, though, as managers tend to prefer the ‘first dress’ they saw (first dress syndrome – where you tend to prefer the first dress you saw in the shop and leave because you cannot have it).

If you don't have a Plan B, and you need to start from scratch, I recommend sitting with the manager and reviewing the process. The work they have already done is still valuable – getting insights into the current market and the candidate pool. Review your funnel, consider a different sourcing approach or suggest the manager reviews the skill set s/he is looking for. Try to take the candidate you lost as an example and see where you can find similar profiles. Use the ‘people also view‘ option on LinkedIn

as a good starting point. Above all, take a deep breath, remind yourself that no one is going to die, and move on with sourcing.

for tips that will help you define the right profile with the hiring manager check my blog about choosing the dream dress- mind mapping for kickoff meetings

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