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The 10 Commandments in Executive Search: 1. Be quick!

Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing the most important findings from six years of experience in the field of executive search and setting out 10 commandments for companies. I will do this in order of importance. The first commandment is: 'Be quick!'

This may sound surprising, as quality must come before speed, especially when it comes to management positions. That's right. What is meant here is communication with candidates who are in the selection process. The following applies to companies without exception: 'Be quick!'. I always point this out at the beginning of a collaboration and all companies (whether start-ups or DAX-listed corporations) assure me that they will communicate quickly. Nevertheless, the issue of (insufficient) communication speed becomes a problem in many processes: candidates are often frustrated, opt for other job options or withdraw from the process in anger.

Why is that? I have come to a simple realization: The clocks of company representatives on the one hand and candidates on the other tick at different speeds. The ideas of what constitutes an appropriately swift response are often far apart. They are asynchronous, so to speak.

Here's an example: I contact a candidate for a management position. During the interview, we both come to the conclusion that it could be a good fit. I get in touch with him immediately after the next JourFixe with the company, which takes place four days later. During these four days, the candidate is already thinking about the company and the position, doing some research. The topic of a possible change begins to work its way through his mind. Four days later I have good news: There is to be an initial interview. The video call will take place a week later. The candidate is now "on fire" and prepares intensively for the interview. Immediately after the appointment, he calls me enthusiastically: it was not only a great fit professionally, but also personally and he could very well imagine starting there. He is curious to hear what the company's feedback will be.

This is where the phenomenon of clocks ticking at different speeds begins: for the candidate, three more days until feedback is given is an eternity. Three long days in which the pros and cons have been thought through and discussed with friends and family. For the company, on the other hand, three days is nothing. You first have to coordinate internally, compare with other candidates in the process, etc.. That's why three days quickly turn into 10, even though I follow up several times. The candidate has already ticked off the topic internally.

But it's so simple: a short email or a phone call the next day: thanks for the interview, a brief description of what happens next and when exactly the candidate will receive the information as to whether the process will continue.

For companies, the following applies to executive searches: Be quick!

About the author

Dr. Sebastian Tschentscher finds the best digital minds for your company with his executive search boutique "Digital Minds".

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