Know When to Stop Filling the Candidate Pool

By Rhonda Werner

When hiring, it’s common nature to want to review as many candidates as possible, right? You want a POOL of candidates and with all pools, the more people the merrier. Not exactly.

If a pool sits for too long, without any viable action, it becomes stagnant. Candidate pools are the same way.

Stocking the pool can take time. So sometimes the best candidates get presented early on in the process and then they have to wait. Wait for more candidates to be interviewed. Wait to see if someone better comes along. Wait to see if someone else has the exact match the employer is looking for, even though the likelihood of perfection is slim.

So, what happens when people are forced to wait? They look at other jobs. They interview and get hired by organizations that are more nimble, quick and decisive. They start to draw conclusions that this organization obviously cannot make decisions quickly so am I really going to want to work for them?

Establishing a large pool of candidates would be great in theory. You can compare a lot of people and look at various skills, personality styles, and experience. That works if you can keep the candidates in the pool but what starts to happen is the best candidates get caught. Caught by employers who can quickly spot top talent and make offers. Your pool becomes nothing more than those candidates who are average at best or that no one else wants to hire. You missed out on the best by taking too long to stock the pool.

In the survey we conducted in late 2019, 84% of respondents said that the long wait after the initial interview to find out if they advanced to the next step was the most frustrating part of the job search. People do not want to linger in the pool for long.

So, what’s long? If you’ve made steps to have an initial phone screen with a candidate, 75% say more than four days is too long. That’s less than a week. A candidate expects to know if they are moving forward in the process within four days of a phone interview.

What about length of the ENTIRE interview process? And by that, I mean from that initial phone screen through the company hiring an individual. How long do candidates feel like their swim in your pool should take? 78% of our respondents say that anything over 15 days is too long.

By taking some time to really know what are the must-haves and the like-to-haves in any hire, as well as making sure the entire hiring team is on the same page PRIOR to initiating the search, it will help move the process along. Be sure to keep in communication with candidates. If you say we will let you know by X date, let them know by then, and if your decision hasn’t been made by that date, also let them know.

At Career 1 Source we help navigate through all these hurdles by establishing those must haves and like-to-haves and keeping the candidates engaged in the process. We even make things easier for clients by building job models to determine on a behavioral level if a candidate is a fit.

Your pool doesn’t have to be fully stocked; it just has to have the right stock.