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  • Writer's pictureSeán Carter

Time Kills Deals: The reason companies lose out on good candidates

​A client dropped a phrase into conversation quite recently ‘time kills deals’ this couldn’t be more appropriate as a title for this blog. This phrase may have been a throw away comment, but this cannot be stressed enough when it comes to the hiring process; when the interview and hiring process drags on and on, top talent will give up and move on to other opportunities.

In a competitive candidate-driven market the candidates tend to hold most of the power, shifting the balance away from the hiring company. This is especially true when it comes to executive level and hard to fill roles. In certain sectors and seniority level ‘the right people needed to fill these positions’ are in very short supply and at times are in incredibly high demand. Employers really need to examine all areas that may increase their chances of attracting and hiring highly sought-after talent.

One of the main obstacles hiring companies fail to address when it comes to losing out on qualified candidates lies within their hiring and interview process. A long drawn out process has the potential to drive talented candidates away superfast! Trust us, we see this happen more often than we would like and can almost predict it well in advance. In addition to our years of experience within the industry and listening to our candidates, several reports have been conducted by independent research firms pointing out the following interesting facts:

· Almost 60% of candidates say the most frustrating part of their job search is the long wait after interviews to learn whether they were successful or not.

· 25% lose interest in the role/company if they have heard nothing within one week

· 50% lose interest if there has been no status update within two weeks.

· If the interview process is drawn-out (2-4 weeks), almost 40% lose interest and will pursue other roles. Almost 20% will decide to stay in their current role.

· Over 30% believe a lengthy hiring process makes them doubt the hiring companies’ ability to make other important decisions.

Ultimately when hiring top level talent time really does kill deals. The longer the process, the greater the risk in being out manoeuvred by the competition. Additionally, a long drawn out hiring process can negatively impact the organisation in other ways such as:

Damaging employer brand.

Job seekers carry out their own due diligence on companies prior to making a formal application. Online review sights such as Glassdoor have become a first port of call for potential applicants prior to fully engaging in the hiring process. Company reviews for having poor interview procedures can be easily found online and can ultimately affect future applications. Scaring away potential future leaders of your organisation. According to Glassdoor, 84% of candidates would consider leaving their current employer if another company with an excellent reputation offered them a role. Brand reputation not only attracts clients but strengthens your chances of getting great talent on board.

Drop in innovation, delivery and revenue.

If an important role remains unfilled for a long time, this will have a negative impact on revenue, delivery, contribution and innovation. The longer vacancies remain unfilled the greater the negative impact.

Impact on other, current employees

When a vacancy has been open for an extended period someone within the team will be picking up the slack. The added responsibility can lead to stress and low morale. This could negatively impact the company staff retention rates.

Top talent is in seriously high demand right now. It is very unlikely that they will wait around for a company to take a long time to decide. By tightening up your interview process you are giving your organisation the best chance possible to keep the star candidates engaged in the process.

Please Note: We are not encouraging companies to cut corners and to potentially hire the wrong person, as this could prove costly to your business in the long run. Our advice is to ensure you have robust hiring procedures in place that will enable you to move quickly to secure top talent when they are engaged with your company.

Tips on how to keep the interview process moving:

1. Clearly define your needs before you begin recruiting.

Do you foresee any problems that could prevent you hiring a candidate immediately? If the answer is YES, can this be resolved and if not, is now the right time to hire?

2. Block book time in key decision makers diaries for interviews and debriefs.

Lock interview slots in decision makers calendars. Make sure all decision makers agree on the final job description, salary, start date, interview process etc

3. Interview smarter, not harder.

If the candidate or interviewer is unavailable for an interview – consider rescheduling the interview via a tech platform, such as facetime or Skype. Also, schedule multiple in-person meetings on the same day and so forth. This saves time and does not require the candidate to take multiple days leave to attend interviews. Ask to see candidates non-compete clauses as early in the process as possible, seek legal advice on what they can and can’t do if you were to hire them.

4. Keep lines of communication flowing.

Provide updates and feedback after each step in the process (directly to the candidate or through the recruiter). Candidates expect to be provided feedback quickly. Provide candidates with an accurate timeline on the decision-making process and any unexpected barriers that may slow the process.\


Getting tied up in hiring procedures and company bureaucracy can make extending an offer difficult. If you have identified a candidate that you don’t want to lose - close the deal! Offer the role verbally contingent on A, B, and C checking out. Provide the candidate with details of the renumeration package, opportunities for professional development, perks and potential start date. This will ensure the candidate remains fully engaged and excited.

As recruitment professionals we have a wealth of experience working with companies with good and bad hiring procedures – don’t be afraid ask for our advice! We have learned about what works and what doesn’t work. There is no one-size fits all solution, as every company may encounter their own hiring challenges. If you found this blog useful and would like advice relating to your hiring process please contact


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