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Prime Time Recruitment: Why Timing is Everything for Recruiters

by | Feb 3, 2020 | Recruiter Training, Top Echelon Blog

“As a general rule, you should assume that time is always against you when you’re trying to make a deal–any kind of deal.”

Robert J. Ringer, author

These words are as true today as they were when Mr. Ringer wrote them in his best-selling 1973 book, Winning Through Intimidation.

I receive calls daily from recruiters who want to know how they can get their clients to move with a greater sense of urgency throughout the hiring process.  Companies have to move quickly if they hope to successfully compete for the most sought-after talent. As one recruiter stated, employers fit into one of two categories: “the quick . . . or the dead.”

As important as it is to move with a sense of urgency, employee selection should not be undertaken at the expense of a properly focused evaluation process.  If this occurs, the hiring process will be compromised and desired outcomes may not be achieved.

Timing IS everything for recruiters and search consultants

Nevertheless, timing is everything.  If the hiring process moves too slowly, the candidate may lose interest or pursue other alternatives.  On the other hand, if the hiring process moves too quickly, the candidate may not be ready to accept an offer and in fact, could turn it down because they feel pressured to make a premature decision.


Your client cannot hire someone who does not want to accept their offer.

Therefore, a properly structured hiring process must accomplish a minimum of two objectives:

First, it must execute a balanced evaluation component that accurately measures the candidate’s capability to do the job, willingness to do the job, and ability to positively interface with management, peers, and subordinates.

Second, it must build within the candidate a strong interest and willingness to become part of the organization.

The greatest likelihood of your client gaining an acceptance to their offer is for them to extend the offer at that point in the hiring process where the candidate’s interest is at its peak.  However, this should only be attempted if the evaluation component of the process has been completed.

During the initial discussion with your client, at the point where you’re qualifying the job order and establishing the hiring process, you need to emphasize the importance of timing. As a result, you might say the following:

“In order to achieve our objective, we need to properly measure each candidate against our agreed upon selection criteria.  At the same time, we must build an interest in the candidate on wanting to work for your organization.  After all, you cannot hire someone who does not want to work for your company.  Does that seem reasonable?”  (If “yes,” proceed.  If “no,” find out why.)

“In this competitive hiring environment, the best outcomes are achieved when we can issue an offer at that critical point in time when the candidate’s interest is at its peak and the evaluation process has been properly completed.  To issue an offer at any other time, except when these two events simultaneously occur, could compromise the likelihood of a successful outcome.  Can you appreciate the importance of this approach?”  (If “yes,” proceed.  If “no,” find out why.)

Prime recruitment time depends on YOU

At this point in the discussion, it is imperative for you and your client to agree on a unified strategy for evaluation and interest building.  You must accept joint responsibility for properly completing these most important steps in the hiring process.  Anything that inhibits the timely accomplishment of these two steps must be eliminated from the process.  Anything that enhances the effectiveness of the process should be included.

You are the most critical component in the entire process.  It is your mandate to locate, evaluate, generate interest, and position qualified candidates within a properly structured hiring process.  It is also your responsibility to establish the timeliness of that process.  This must be accomplished at the front end, when you’re qualifying the order.

By properly executing this strategy, you’re working in the best interest of everyone involved, including yourself.  However, it takes confidence to stand your ground.  The ultimate qualifier may be to ask your client the following:

“Why would I agree to work within a process that is designed to compromise the likelihood of a positive outcome?  That doesn’t make sense for either of us.”

Remember, once the process begins, timing is everything.

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