How Many Frogs Do You Have to Kiss?

How Many Frogs Do You Have to Kiss??

frog princeI know it’s November and everyone is thinking turkey. But I’m thinking frogs! Some hiring managers sometimes feel they have to “kiss a few of them” before they find their prince (read “ideal candidate!”)

I am also increasing convinced (after nine years of recruiting) that there are two types of people in this world:

There are those who, when they see what they want, act on it immediately. (You know, these are the guys who buy a car in one afternoon, the first house they see or marry their high school sweetheart.)

And there are those who see what they want, but want to see what else is out there. Why do I tell you this? Read on.

Recently we were called to conduct a search for a mid-level marketing manager for a very large consumer electronics company. I met with the hiring manager for two hours while we defined very thoroughly what she needed in her department and what the qualifications of the ideal candidate would be. I met with the rest of the marketing team as well (4 people) so I would have a clear idea of the people who were on the team and how they would interact with the new hire. We were all set — every aspect of the position was clarified.

Then, the worst thing that could have happened did. We found the ideal candidate too fast. She looked great on paper, had all the agreed upon qualifications, and when we sent her in for an interview, she aced it! They brought her in for a second interview and all agreed she was a terrific fit.

But, there was a problem. They hadn’t seen any other candidates and they felt they had to see more before they made a final choice and an offer. I asked the hiring manger how many other candidates she would like to see while I quietly comforted our #1 candidate that we had to go through the process while she remained their first choice. Can you guess what happened?

While we extended the search for an additional four weeks to get three more candidates interviewed (remember, we’re juggling five schedules here) our #1 took another job. The hiring manager was sick with upset that she “lost” her candidate. Could this have been avoided? I think so.

There is a always a potential cost to you in extending the process while you see more candidates — even in a market that has a glut of candidates. (Remember — the good ones don’t last long!)

So, what can be done to make you feel more comfortable with your decision to hire the ideal candidate, even if they are the first?

  • Clearly define the position and the ideal candidate.

    Needless to say, it goes a long way towards increasing your comfort when you know exactly what you are looking for. Then, when they show up, whether they’re the first or tenth, you’ll know it. Remember the Supreme Court Justice who couldn’t define pornography but said, “I’ll know it when I see it.” Well, if that’s your hiring philosophy, you’re in big trouble! Spell out what you need — everything — and then go searching for your candidate.

  • Even though the market is lousy, good people don’t stay unemployed long.

    Yes, there are a lot of good people who are looking right now, but what does that have to do with your position and your company? There still may be only a handful of people who qualify for your job. Get out of the “cat-bird seat” mentality and hire in a timely way. Believe it or not, there are other companies hiring too!

  • Have a time frame and stick to it.

    Don’t behave as if you have “all the time in the world.” Hiring is like any other project you have in your company. It has a beginning, middle and END. Set a time frame for your hiring (in this market, depending on complexity of position, skills needed, etc. somewhere between 3 to 6 weeks.)

In the end, while there is a benefit to exploring some of the possibilities, there is also a risk that your #1 candidate (read “prince”) will sprint away while you’re kissin’ them frogs!

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