New Rule: Act Quickly on Job Referrals

When you’ve been around the tech world as long as I have, you know a lot of people. I am often asked to use those connections to help CEOs fill a particular position. I am happy to help with job referrals, and I try to refer only A players. The problem I have run into several times this year is that after I made the recommendations, the organizations have taken forever to make a decision about whether to hire the person or not.

I don’t expect a CEO to hire someone just because I made a referral. Every organization has unique characteristics that might make someone a poor fit. What I do expect is for the organization to make a timely decision.

There are four reasons it is critical to move quickly in hiring decisions:

  1. It’s important to realize that a candidate is generally most excited about working for you when they first hear about the opportunity. People are flattered that someone would seek them out for a particular job.
  2. Time kills that excitement. If one of my contacts is willing to be considered, every day that goes by decreases his or her interest. Even after a full interview, the candidate sometimes waits weeks to find out if there is going to be an offer, all the time wondering: “Why hasn’t someone called? If they really wanted me wouldn’t they have contacted me?”
  3. Good people have choices in the current market. Once they open themselves up to considering making a change, they will quickly start exploring other options.
  4. The first firm to contact a candidate has the inside track on the competition. However, if a company dawdles, another organization will often sweep in and take the prize.

We had a rule at my company NetQoS that once we engaged with a candidate, we had 14 days to either make an offer or pass. I am going to put in a similar rule for my job referrals: If you want a referral from me, you have to promise you will either make an offer or tell the candidate you are passing. The new rule will make it better for both of us.

Also check out my 10 rules for recruiting and hiring.

1 Comment

  1. This is so true and extends to any decision that people must be prepared to change for.

    The CEO who thinks they are adding value by contributing (too much) or maintaining control costs their bottom line almost immeasurably.


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