4 Home Truths: Why Your Preferred Candidate Took The Other Job

Recruiting top talent is never an easy game.

Three things are for certain – in any recruitment process, you’ll never find more than one or two people with a truly high level of potential and performance. Secondly, you can guarantee that if you want them, there are other organisations closing in on them too. Thirdly, never assume because you’ve found one person, there will be many more. It doesn’t happen like that, unfortunately.

Yet, I bet you’ve all been in that heart-breaking situation where you find a great hire, only for them to take another role.

Unlucky? Maybe. More likely, it’s because your recruitment process has let you down.


Your recruitment process reflected an indecisive organisation

Top talent makes their mind up on the basis of what they hear, read, see and feel about the organisation – both quantitatively and qualitatively. They will judge your organisation, and whether it is right for them, through your recruitment process. Often, a great match can be undone by a laboured, chaotic or overly onerous recruitment process. Just like a customer would walk away from a purchase if the website was too difficult to navigate, or kept crashing, your top talent will walk away from a messy process.

You didn’t show him/her the long game

Often, we’re too busy interviewing to stop and think WIIFM (what’s in it for them). Yes, you want to do your due diligence, and they will expect this. But beyond this, they want to understand the long game. Where could this go for them if they perform well? What are the options? They will also be assessing if this type of thinking is even on the radar – as top talent won’t join an organisation that doesn’t invest in long-term career development.

You paid lip service to how much you wanted him/her

You gave them praise at the end of the interview. You passed on to your recruiter that you really liked him/her and to keep them ‘warm’. But then, you went an interviewed other people, just to make sure. Top talent, by their nature, don’t miss a trick – they’ll read between the lines. At the critical point of a candidate transitioning from an interviewee to a potential hire, they need to not only be ‘warm’ but hot – you must behave like they are the only priority for you. If not, they’ll find someone else who does.

Ultimately, you took too long

All of this usually boils down to one point – you took too long. Chaotic, extended interview processes to one side, in the mind of top talent, you’re either ‘in’ or you’re ‘not’. Organisations that don’t make decisions or have a tendency to act slowly are a major turn off for top talent – top talent wants to join fast paced, agile enterprises that ‘make things happen’ – like they do. That peer that has been away for 2 weeks – get them on video conference. That person still making a decision – give them a deadline of end of day. Excuses won’t win the war on talent, action does.

Top talent doesn’t wait  – so don’t make them!

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At Barden we invest our resources to bring you the very best insights on all things to do with your professional future.
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