After decades of IT hiring, something that I have learned is that companies serious about hiring top talent always make hiring decisions very quickly. They may spend months or even years looking for someone that is a right fit for the organization, but once they have found them they take action immediately.
This happens for many reasons. But mostly it comes down to wanting to secure resources once they have been identified. Finding good people is an expensive and time consuming process. Once you have found someone that is considered to be the right fit for the need and the organization, there is a strong necessity to reduce risk by securing them as quickly as possible. A delay in making an offer presents an opportunity for that resource to receive another offer or decide to go in a different direction. Months of seeking a good candidate, only to lose them because of a delay of a few hours or days in making an offer is a ridiculous way to lose money.
Delays in hiring suggest that either the situation has not yet been decided upon or that the process has not gotten a priority and that other decisions or actions inside of the company are seen as more important than the decisions around staffing. And, of course, it may be true that other things are more important.
Other factors being more important are exactly the kinds of things that potential candidates worry about. Legitimate priorities might include huge disasters in the company, things that are not a good sign in general. Or worse, maybe the company just doesn’t see acquiring the best talent as being important and delays are caused by vacations, parties, normal work or not even being sure that they want to hire anyone at all.
It is extremely common for companies to go through hiring rounds just to “see what is out there.” This doesn’t necessarily mean that they will not consider hiring someone if the right person does come along, but it easily means that the hiring is not fully approved or funded and might not even be possible. Candidates go through this regularly, a great interview might result in no further action and so know better than to sit around waiting on positions, even ones that seem very likely and possible. The risks are too high and if a different, good opportunity comes along, will normally move ahead with that. Few things signal that a job offer is not forthcoming or that a job is not an ideal one than delays in the hiring process.
Candidates, especially senior ones, know that good jobs hire quickly. So if the offer has not arrived promptly it is often assumed that offer(s) are being made to other candidates or that something else is wrong. In either situation, candidates know to move on.
If hiring is to be a true priority in an organization, it must be prioritized. This should go without saying, but good hiring slips through the cracks more often than not. It is far too often seen as a background activity; one that is approached casually and haphazardly. It is no wonder that so many organizations waste countless hours of time on unnecessary candidate searches and interviews and untold time attempting to fill positions when, for all intents and purposes, they are turning away their best options all the while.