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Running a Successful Search- The Big Mistake

I have led or have been a part of over 300 searches for new employees in my career. I strongly believe that how you handle a search says volumes about the type of organization you are and your style and culture of leadership. Running a successful search means doing it professionally and following up with each and every candidate. The big mistake is failing to do this.

When you interview a candidate in any manner, do not ghost them if you choose to go a different direction. Follow up with each and every candidate and state whether they are moving on or they are not. Show them the courtesy of professionalism that you recognize the time and energy they spent on submitting materials for the position and preparing for an interview. Choosing to simply move on with no response after a face to face interview demonstrates a complete lack of professionalism and is a cardinal sin of searches. .

Organizations that fail to follow up professionally are demonstrating reasons why prospective employees should not want to work at that company or organization. Too many individuals choose the easy way out when running a search to simply ghost the candidates and provide no feedback. Do you honestly believe an organization is going to treat you differently if you are hired for the position than the way they treat those they do not hire? These same organizations will complain loudly when the candidates does this to them but fail to see the problem when they do it.

Not only does the failure to follow up hurt your organization immediately, it will keep successful people from applying in the future for open positions. Applicants who are ghosted will talk to their friends and colleagues and share how unprofessional your approach was to them. This will cost you the potential to hire quality people in the future. As a consultant I have shared with many potential applicants concerns about how a company conducted the interview process. Trust and respect are earned and it goes both ways.

These are my easy steps to running a successful search.

1. Develop a complete and thorough job description and advertise in the likely locations to attract the individuals you are seeking to attract. Failure to do so will result in a lack of qualified candidates.

2. Determine how many initial interviews you are willing to do and schedule them. Give the candidates a full list of expectations on what you want to discuss and with whom they are meeting.

3. Thank those not moving on via phone for applying for the position and wish them well. Even a voice message is better than not hearing any feedback. Schedule the candidates you wish to further interview for those sessions. Give the candidates a full list of expectations on what you want to discuss and with whom they are meeting.

4. Each step of the process is a thank you for those who did not move forward and a complete and comprehensive plan for those who do. Having a candidate show up to simply meet with current staff who are not prepared with questions and conversations starters is a complete waste of time. You want to make sure sure that all candidates have the same opportunities to sell themselves.

5. When you are ready to make an offer for the position, have all your ducks in a row. Do not offer positions until you have all the details worked out on start date, salary, bonuses, benefits, etc. Negotiate via phone or in person, never by email.

6. Never announce a hire until it is officially signed sealed and delivered. It might just save embarrassment for all parties.

While this process takes more time, it represents your organization in a positive light and will bring candidates back again for other additional open positions. It demonstrates you care about all your employees and prospects and not just the ones you choose to hire.

There is a reason why firms like EMP exist. If you do not have the time to conduct a professional and thorough search, hire a firm like ours to do it for you. If your search firm is not following up with all candidates, you might do more harm than good with your hiring process.


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