It's one of the most common complaints we hear from new technology clients: they missed out on a great professional because they delayed making a job offer to a qualified candidate. Ouch.

When you delay a job offer, competing firms can swoop in, make an offer and take the candidate off the market. When this happens, you have to start the process all over, losing valuable time and effort. Many times you don’t find a candidate equal to the one you lost.

So how long is too long? In a recent survey of 400 Canadian workers, nearly one-quarter (24%) said they lose interest in the firm if they don't hear back within one week after the initial interview and another 47 per cent lose interest if there's no status update from one-to-two weeks post-interview. 

Here are some tips to help you avoid job offer delays and streamline the hiring process:

  1. Have your budget approved. Not having approvals in place before you start the hiring process can slow things down. Is the job requisition approved? Is the budget approved? Do you have the authority to sign off on the offer without having to engage other resources at the last minute? Know the answers to all of these questions before starting the hiring process.
  2. Finalize the job description. Do you have a finalized job description and know the required skills necessary to perform the job duties? Many times we see clients who are not exactly sure what they are looking for. They add additional requirements and skills to their wish list late in the hiring process. This wastes time because it means current candidates are likely interviewing for a job they are no longer qualified for, and you have to start the process again.
  3. Define your interview process. Identify your process and stick to it. Many firms will take a candidate through the interview process and not extend an offer, even though the candidate is quite qualified. They add more meetings and extra steps, such as one additional manager interview, a team interview, etc. Further steps can reduce your odds that the candidate is still available when you do make the offer.
  4. Waiting for the perfect candidate. Don’t lose out on a very good candidate while you continue looking for another that likely doesn’t exist. Many times that perfect candidate never comes along and you lose out on a highly qualified candidate. If a candidate possesses the “must-haves” to be successful in a job, consider moving forward even if they may not possess all the “nice-to-haves.” Keep in mind that nearly a quarter of IT pros we surveyed lose interest in a job one week after the initial interview.
  5. Know current market trends. Many hiring managers approach their hiring based on articles they read that reflect flat employment trends. This leads them to believe there are plenty of IT pros looking for jobs, so there is no reason to rush making an offer.But it’s not a flat employment market for tech pros, unlike some other sectors of the job market. Unemployment rates for skilled professionals are much lower than the overall employment market.
  6. Get over past hiring mistakes. If you’ve never made a bad hire, you probably have not done a lot of hiring. Making a bad hire happens. When you’ve hired someone who doesn’t work out as you’d hoped, you may be much more cautious the next time you hire. Don’t let past mistakes allow you to miss out on someone who could be your next great lead developer or help desk manager. Tightening up your due diligence, such as checking references thoroughly, is probably a good idea, but dragging out your hiring process because you’re nervous can mean missing out on top talent.

The success of technology initiatives is dependent on the people you have working to solve the problem. When you have an open seat, your project timeline and budget are at risk. It’s tough to find qualified candidates — when you do, move swiftly.

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