Battle Stories The War on Talent - Speed Kills (1)


Have you ever met the perfect candidate, only to have them slip away because you were too slow in the hiring process? You’re not alone.


63% of candidates have accepted another offer because their preferred company took too long in the hiring process.


This tells us something critical. Your top choice candidates are available for a limited amount of time and in order to win the “war on talent” – your entire hiring team has to be on the same page and willing to move as quickly as possible when you meet an A+ candidate.


Here is a recent, first-hand example, that demonstrates what this entails.


One of our clients, a leader in the Cyber Security Space, was hiring for a niche, competitive, hard-to-fill Marketing role.


After 4 weeks of targeting and connecting with candidates, we met one who fit exactly what our client was looking for. But here’s the catch – this candidate already had an offer extended from another company.


Let’s call this candidate Mike.


Mike had a lot of interest in this other company, and their offer exceeded his salary expectations. Mike had been given 5 DAYS to accept the offer from the other company.


We had met Mike on a Tuesday. His offer from the competing company was presented on Monday. We knew if we had any shot of hiring Mike, we would need to move as fast as possible in the interview process and the hiring managers for our client needed to be on board with this.


To make this a successful hire, we scheduled 3 rounds of interviews on consecutive days –


  • 1st Round of Interviews: Wednesday
  • 2nd Round of Interviews: Thursday
  • 3rd Round of Interviews: Friday morning


And extended a verbal offer, which he accepted, on Friday afternoon.


We pulled this off quickly, but this wasn’t easy. There were a few key things we did to make this possible.

  1. Prevented Any Delays in the Process

Firstly, we ensured that the hiring managers did not create any delays in the interview process. When one of the hiring managers told us he had to push his Thursday interview to Friday or Monday, we knew this would derail the whole process, and without a doubt, we’d lose Mike. We explained the situation to the hiring manager and swayed him to rearrange his schedule so he could hold that critical interview. Bottom line: Do what’s necessary to hold interview times when the clock is ticking.


  1. Built Rapport with Key Stakeholders

Next, we had to ensure that Mike and his direct manager (the VP of Marketing), built a relationship that would allow them both to feel confident in a fast hiring decision. The VP of Marketing had a good initial impression when he met Mike, but he expressed it was just that – an initial impression. We knew they needed to build more rapport. So we decided to include the VP of Marketing in the second round of interviews, which he was not initially scheduled for. This ultimately was key to the success of the hire because they both gained an understanding of what it would be like working together. Bottom line: If the parties involved need more time together, then schedule more time together.


  1. Pre-Closed the Candidate Before Final Interviews

Lastly, our pre-closing process was critical. We connected with Mike on Thursday afternoon, after his 2nd round of interviews,  and gathered the information we needed in order to present a competitive offer almost immediately after the final interview. We gathered his compensation details from his other offer – even down to the benefits and vacation time. We collected his references. We answered questions he had and put him in a position where he’d be able to accept an offer when it was presented. Bottom line: Gather the information you need before the final interview to make a competitive offer.


  1. The Biggest Key: Be In Control of Your Candidates.

This was a big win for our client. And there are few big takeaways in how to be in control of your candidates from this story. 

  1. For starters, in looking at the company presenting the competing offer, the reality is that they let Mike slip away. They made a fatal mistake in giving 5 days for the offer to expire. We would advise against this unless there were extenuating circumstances.

    Formal offers should expire in 24-48 hours.

    At this point in the process – the candidate will have a sense of what they need in order to accept the position. The offer is a final step in ensuring that all needs are being met. By presenting an offer that extends beyond 5 days – you’re setting yourself up for failure.

  2. We advised our client to be flexible in order to put Mike in a position where a hire was possible, but throughout the process, our team remained in control. For example, Mike told us he would be unavailable Friday afternoon to connect with our team. This is when the verbal offer needed to be extended to him. While it would have been easy to defer to Mike, we told him “we would appreciate some flexibility on his end as well. If we could find a few minutes to connect before the weekend that would be beneficial to the both of us.” By being in control of the process – we were able to connect with Mike Friday afternoon, answer his final questions, and ultimately lead him to accepting the offer before the weekend.
  3. Lastly, we knew that it would take a competitive offer in order to land Mike. If we didn’t have an understanding of where Mike was in the process and presented a “low ball” offer, he would have passed. Since we gathered that info in the pre-close call, we knew what the offer needed to consist of in order for him to accept.


Remember when it comes to the “War on Talent” — Speed Kills.


Operating with urgency is critical to the hiring process.


This is one of many examples of how Talent Retriever helps our clients win the war on talent, and help improve the speed, quality and efficiency of their hiring.


For more information on connecting with Talent Retriever, click here