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Why less can be more when it comes to recruitment… on candidates

Updated: Aug 17, 2020

“We really liked Bill and Mary, but can we see a third?”

This is a phrase that nearly all recruiters have heard. A lot. I totally get it – sometimes decisions are hard – particularly when a decision will lead to someone working with you for many years. But what we must realise is that it is not always the fact that we cannot decide because we have not seen enough candidates, but one of the below:

You probably liked the candidate(s) you have already seen but you feel that hiring the first person you have seen would be too hasty. If you have a great talent first time round then celebrate this – hire them double fast, do not slow down. Remember the role of a headhunter, talent manager, job ad, your network etc. is to get a great new colleague to join your team... Not a great shortlist of 5 people to see. If you can regularly get world class talent without seeing loads of candidates it is not luck or a sign of you settling for less, it is a sign that your talent acquisition processes work!

They did not hit every single point on your requirement wish list.

Here, there are two things to consider. Firstly, no candidate is risk free or perfect. So you have to decide then whether what the candidate lacks is a non-negotiable or whether it can be learnt or coached and is an area that their other positives make up for. Before asking to see more candidates, remember you do not always have the luxury of them waiting for you - are you prepared to walk away from the candidate completely?

You know that they are not right but because there were some good things about them you can’t bring yourself to give a concrete no.

Rejecting someone from a process is so rarely about someone’s likeability or that they interviewed terribly. Rather than inadvertently getting their hopes up, reject them from the process but give them really honest feedback about why.

Of course, there are times when it is right to put a candidate on hold, or it genuinely in everyone’s best interest to interview more people. However, making a well thought out and certain decision does not have to mean elongating the process. When it comes to recruitment, less candidates can give you more in terms of saving you time, giving candidates a better experience and increasing the likelihood of securing the person you want by not stalling... not to mention having someone on board adding value faster!

If you feel you are asking to see more candidates too often when recruiting then we would be more than happy to offer advice on how to tweak your processes to deliver more value from the time you spend on recruiting.

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