In the first edition of Career College Central magazine we engineered a hiring process that managers can use and modify to their needs. The response to the article and this blog has been excellent. Thank you for your questions/comments and please keep them coming.
But what if the hiring process doesn’t run as smoothly as I described in my article? What happens if things get delayed to a seventh week or beyond? The hiring process I engineered can move much faster or slower in the real world. Of course I always recommend moving quickly as “time kills all deals.” Some of our best clients shrink this process down to two or three weeks. I have also seen it expanded to seven or eight weeks. Only you know what your organization is capable of handling. Move quickly, keeping momentum at a premium, but only if it works for you. If things get delayed by a week, it probably won’t ruin the process, but it does give your competition a better chance of hiring the same candidate.
But what happens if you don’t get a verbal or written confirmation that they accepted the job 24 hours after the offer is made? When does time become an issue and you begin to look at your second choice? What questions can you ask to determine if your candidate is just taking his or her time in making a decision … or stalling because they are not interested?
When a candidate tells you they want the job and you extend an attractive offer, it is not unfair to request a written response within 24 hours. What is that candidate going to know in 48 or 72 hours that they won’t know in 24? This time period allows them to go home, talk it over with the people they trust, and come to a final decision. If they need more time to “think,” you don’t have to ask any questions to know it’s probably a stall tactic. Candidates stall for many reasons. Perhaps they are waiting to see an offer from a competing company. Maybe they want to use your offer to leverage a counter-offer from their current employer. Worse yet, they might shop your offer around. Regardless of the scenario, don’t be tempted to give them more time. It usually means you are going to get bad news later rather than sooner. This extra time can also put you at risk of losing your second candidate. Make your offer letters valid if accepted within 24 hours and put it right on the letter; then hold firm. This is why I suggest not making offers on Fridays. I can almost guarantee if you make an offer to a candidate on a Friday that they will ask for “the weekend to think about it.”
To answer the second question … time becomes an issue 24 hours and one minute after the first offer went out and is not accepted. You should immediately contact your second choice if they are a viable candidate and make them the exact same offer.