How Not To Lose That Top Tier Candidate


Construction industry employers are competing against each other to hire the most qualified people today. Very few top-tier candidates are actively searching for new positions on the market. A majority of the most valuable candidates are passive. Passive candidates only become open to the idea of changing jobs when an extraordinary career opportunity comes to them.

Too many employers are losing out on golden opportunities to hire top talent when they agree to an interview. Their mistake? Assuming that passive candidates will wait indefinitely to receive an offer.

Why You Must Strike While the Iron is Hot

As a recruiter, my job is to get to know top talent. I check in with a wide range of industry professionals, sometimes over the course of several years, so that I can understand each individual’s definition of “the right opportunity.” When one of my clients is hiring for a position that aligns perfectly with someone I know who is also a perfect culture match, I will bring it to that person, even if they are not actively looking.

Strike While Iron Is Hot

If that individual agrees to an interview, my advice to the employer is that if they want to hire that person, they must be prepared to extend an offer quickly. In our experience, once a candidate chooses to talk to one company about one position, they will immediately become much more open to considering offers from other employers too. The next employer that calls will take advantage of the opportunity to hire that person if you do not act fast.

Passive Candidates Become Active

During an initial interview, a candidate may tell you very honestly that they are not talking to other employers. That does not mean the passive candidate will remain dedicated to the idea of working only for your company while waiting three months for a job offer. If you prolong the time period between the initial interview and the day you are ready to make an offer, you can be sure that the candidate will start going on other interviews.

I realize that employers do not want to rush into hiring, but if you interview someone and are incredibly impressed, expedite the hiring process and make the offer as soon as possible.

Be Prepared Before the First Conversation

From what I have seen during my career as a recruiter, passive candidates are often more particular about what they consider. They do more research about the fit, the longevity, and the culture. They are more likely to look for positions they want to be in for a decade or longer. If they agree to an interview with your company, they are serious about the position. It will be worth your efforts to be prepared before the first conversation. Take steps to speed up your vetting process so that you can make that offer faster than they can start interviewing with other employers.

Hiring Sign

Hiring authorities need to take note: if a highly experienced and skilled candidate walks in the door, assume that they are going to be talking to other employers and will be off the market very soon. In this market, whether a recruiter brings them to you or whether they contact you directly, when you have the opportunity to interview a premier candidate and you find that they fit your culture, you’ve hit an ace. Do not expect to find three more to compare them against. Go the distance with that candidate as quickly as possible.


Further Reading

For more information on how to secure top talent by streamlining your hiring process, read Have a Hiring Plan Before You Start by Jerry Wilkins, Executive Vice President.


The Author

Straight from the desk of

Tim Labruyere

Tim Labruyere

Executive Vice President

Tim joined Kimmel in 1993 and has provided diligent service to leading companies in the commercial general construction market throughout his career.

Read full bio