What Happens When You Find the “Right” Job Candidate Too Fast?

Here’s the scenario:

You have an opening and you do your recruiting thing. You find a candidate, and lo and behold, they are great!

What luck, you think to yourself. The hiring manager is going to thrilled. Boy, my job is easy!

Do I need to even go on?

You set up the interview with the hiring manager. She also thinks the candidate is great. Done deal, you think to yourself. Then “it” happens.

Finding the “right” one too fast is a killer

The hiring manager — she does that thing they do, those hiring manager types — says that statement that we really don’t want to hear:

“Let’s take a look at a couple more before we decide.


Just like that, this job went from being easy to being horrible! You found her Mr. (or Mrs.) Right and now she wants to see two more Mr. Rights! Doesn’t she know, Mr. Right only comes around once!?

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Grizzled Recruiting Veterans know what I’m talking about. Finding Mr. Right too fast is a killer. So, how do you get around this?

Two options that you can take

There are two ways, neither of which is preferred over the other:

  1. Hold Mr. Right and show them Mr. and Mrs. Wrong. The problem with this is that while you’re messing around showing the hiring manager Mr. and Mrs. Wrong, Mr. Right might just find Mrs. Right Job for him and you’re done holding hands with Mr. and Mrs. Wrong – with a hiring manager saying “I want Mr. Right – Go find me Mr. Right!”
  2. Present Mr. Right, and present Mr. and Mrs. Wrong soon after. This works about 75 percent of the time if you have secondary candidates waiting to go – timing is everything with this. Hiring Manager sees Mr. Right. Wants to see who else might be on the market. You quickly show them Mr. and Mrs. Wrong. Hiring manager makes quick decision to go with Mr. Right.

Selling the hiring manager on Mr. or Mrs. Right

Either way, getting a hiring manager to understand the market — and what they have — can sometimes be a sales job!

Too many hiring managers believe you can present them a slate of Mr. and Mrs. Right! But in reality, you know that you got lucky finding one Mr. or Mrs. Right – and the chances of finding more are slim to none.

Ah, hiring managers … you can’t live with them and you can’t legally shoot them.

This was originally published on Tim Sackett’s blog, The Tim Sackett Project.

Tim Sackett, MS, SPHR is executive vice president of HRU Technical Resources, a contingent staffing firm in Lansing, MI. Tim has 20 years of HR and talent background split evenly between corporate HR gigs among the Fortune 500 and the HR vendor community ? so he gets it from both sides of the desk. A frequent contributor to the talent blog Fistful of Talent, Tim also speaks at many HR conferences and events. Contact him here.


5 Comments on “What Happens When You Find the “Right” Job Candidate Too Fast?

  1. Been there a few times, but the worst was when I found THE PERFECT person for a niche job with the second resume I presented. I walked it in to the hiring manager’s office and said, I found THE PERFECT PERSON. He agreed and hired him – the spot was open for less than 2 weeks, start to finish. BUT, on the Recruiting Process Feedback Evaluation, the HM gave me an “Unsatisfactory” rating on number of qualified candidates presented… go figure!

    1. Ugh, how frustrating! To me, the recruiting process should last just as long and be just as far-reaching as it needs to be to find a single candidate that you want for the job. What’s the point of spending a lot of time and money to get 3 exceptional candidates if you can find one in a fraction of the time? If there’s only one opening, you only need one candidate.

      Of course, you don’t want to be in a position where you’re hiring someone because they’re the best in a crappy pool. But if you have one candidate that you know is great, that you have complete confidence in hiring, why waste your time finding more?

  2. Wow, what is the problem if you find the right one, why BS and prolong the process, because people would rather be indecisive(thinking that they are just making sure). The right fit candidate does get better with time, they get away and go to the next firm. I think when firm tip their indecisive hand they give the candidate more time to really say “do I really want to work for these guy? It has mess written all over it.”

  3. This is too true. Managers easily say “Let’s keep looking” after they interview a great candidate. But when it’s time to actually hire the said great candidate, he already has another job. Boo.

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