Employment offers: Why the delay?

by Eric Spell
Practice Leader at Charles Aris

For both active and passive talent, delayed employment offers can be the source of unnecessary stress and anxiety. While employers often have valid reasons for delaying these offers, waiting too long can result in losing their candidate of choice.

 While most organizations will say the interview-to-offer timeline is between 2-4 weeks, most candidates will tell you that it almost always takes longer. In today’s market, employers need to understand that this can be risky and may result in losing desired talent to competing organizations. 

Here are a few common reasons candidates walk away from delayed offers: 

  • Passive talent, when offered a new opportunity, can become active in the process. Many A players haven’t considered a new opportunity for several years but may begin speaking with multiple organizations once a recruiter piques their interest in something new. 
  • Talent can feel they are undervalued. Being approached by someone offering a new opportunity can be very gratifying and may point individuals to other opportunities where their expertise and experience appear to be valued higher. 

For candidates, here’s what you should understand about the client’s side of the recruiting process: 

  • While other candidates are being considered, making it to the top of the list is no small thing. Most organizations desire to have a pool of 6-10 finalists, and the original pool will often begin with around 50 candidates. If you learn that you’ve made it to the final three, patience will serve you well. 
  • Hiring authorities, especially at the executive level, have pressing schedules. While making decisions relative to top talent is always a high priority, basic scheduling could be a valid reason for slight delays in the final decision process. 

The main takeaway for employers and hiring authorities is to manage expectations among candidates from start to finish. Keeping talent informed on schedules and timelines will be crucial in maintaining their interest. For top candidates, it’s okay to periodically check in on your status, but know that delays are generally due to benign circumstances.