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Pressure vs Urgency in Hiring

We’ll decide when we decide!

We have our process and it works for us!

If they really want to work here, they'll be fine with this process or not a fit!

These were common themes echoed by Clients and Companies for the ten years following the ‘Great Recession’, when qualified candidates were plentiful, accommodating, and….patient. Most client companies interpreted any sort of ‘pushing’ from recruiting agencies and search firms as being intrusive, annoying and serving the purpose of those service firms trying to get quick sales and commissions. And in some cases, they may have been right…back then.

For the early 2010s up until the close of the decade, companies enjoyed a bountiful buffet of mainly localized candidates tied to commute distance, minimal obvious competition for prized skill sets in those localized markets, and worked to set up lengthy, thorough, and exhaustive processes for their acquisition of Talent. The Unemployment Rate in 2010 was 9.3% with 14M people unemployed.

Great! Only the best and most committed will get hired!

‘And then COVID hit’…a refrain consistent among most of these types of companies explaining their hiring processes.

While the working professional showed they could do most of their work remotely through the pandemic, they began to realize a commute didn’t have to exist. They realized they could market their skills and experiences far outside their geographic market, and subsequently could command more leverage. Companies needed to respond by being flexible with hybrid options, additional incentives, re-structured compensation models, and an efficient decision-making process for their hiring. And some have done just that. Most have not.

The Unemployment Rate currently in 2022 is 3.6% with only 5.9M officially unemployed – that is a 62% reduction from ten years ago. Most Companies aren’t even looking to employ that 3.6%, they are looking for the ‘already employed’ - who currently enjoy their present companies’ efforts to retain them, in addition to daily inquiries for other opportunities from remote-based employers across the country.

And yet, despite all of this in play – outside recruiting firms and agencies who deal in this world are constantly under threat of being perceived as ‘pushy’ by the Clients they serve.

'How dare they ask if the interview can be sooner! Bill, Steve, Jan, Deborah, Dave and the other Steve are all showing they are busy on their calendars! The nerve of that agency!'

We would like to describe the difference between Pressure and Urgency, from our perspective.

Pressure, as applied to Clients by recruiting agencies to make hires – is what Client Managers feel when their ‘gut’ does not agree with the hire and the recruiting rep pushes a potential mismatch. This can happen far too often and can give all recruiting firms a bad reputation leading to monikers like outside agencies, 3rd party firms, vendors and the like. We prefer professional terms of endearment like Partner, Valued Service Provider and Teammate. Pressure was soooo 2010s.

Urgency, specifically pertaining to a Company’s ability to be efficient AND decisive in their hiring process, is all the rage now. Companies that have these characteristics in their process (or at least learn how to set it up) will see more good candidates, fill their positions faster, and do it with people who stay.

Urgency is a mindset that must be present at the intersection of Client, candidate, and recruiting partner in order for all parties to win in this marketplace.

What does Urgency look like?

  • Feedback on candidates within 24 hours

  • 2-3 Steps in the Hiring Process (which occurs over days, not weeks)

  • Scheduled ‘debriefs’ immediately following interviews with decisions

  • Open to ‘Contract-to-Hire’ as an avenue to secure talent quickly, evaluate them during a contract period, and feel great about converting them to permanent

  • Decisive, Top-Down Management of the Process

What does the absence of Urgency look like?

  • Slow/No feedback on candidates for open positions

  • Positions that have been open forever with Managers fine with it

  • Plenty of cooks in the kitchen, everyone has a vote, hiring by overwhelming consensus

  • Several stages, conversations, panels, exercises, and interviews separated by weeks of scheduling, rescheduling, calendar-checking, ‘keep them warm’ requests, etc

  • Repeated ‘more candidates’ requests, comparison candidates, and Purple Unicorn hunters

Recently, we had a Client Manager with an obvious distaste for ‘outside recruiters’ and resented when our team followed up with a polite email for feedback on a candidate after 2 days. He is a linear interviewer…one candidate at a time, set up interview a week out, no feedback on any others until the first one is decided upon (usually by requesting an interview with a different candidate instead of actual feedback on the first).

Needless to say, a hire has not been made for that position which has been open for months. Perceived Pressure, and no Urgency. That one is on us.

The strong recruiting and service firms who are in the business of delivering great candidates to your Company are out of the business of Pressure. There’s no need. They know that if a Client Company can’t/won’t understand the hiring market and listen to recommendations from those on the front lines, there are other Companies who will and do. If your Company needs some advice, we can help.

On the other hand, we work with some amazing Companies who fully grasp what we are both up against in the market and do their very best to streamline, reduce bottlenecks, and speed along decision-making to secure the talent they need in this environment. To them, we say THANK YOU!

You know who you are, we tell you every day.

*Stats from US BLS and DOL

About the Author:

Mike Nicholas is the founder of Davis Laine, LLC, an expert advisory firm specializing in solving talent acquisition headaches through TA setup advisory, specialized recruiter skills training, Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) and contracted recruiting services.

For more helpful information, visit

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