BusinessWeek.com has a terrific article about executive recruiting that applies to more than just executive positions. Sales hiring mirrors the same issues from the article.
The pull quote:
Not surprisingly, corporate bosses usually want to play a role in interviewing and assessing top candidates’ experience, qualifications, and fit with senior leadership. The problem arises when those leaders just don’t commit to the executive recruiting process. Often they fail to appreciate its urgency, the fact that candidates may be weighing other offers, or that candidate interviewing can be a process that’s unpredictable, and one that isn’t completely in their control. Even the hiring of a top-notch executive recruiter can’t guarantee there won’t be bumps along the way. Yes, your company may be doing the buying, but you can’t assume it’s a buyer’s market.
Oh, we have seen that in spades recently. Here is exactly why this is an important point:
If candidates for top executive jobs come away from interviews feeling the company’s senior leaders aren’t really prioritizing their potential hiring, they’ll look elsewhere, especially since the most sought-after candidates usually have a handful of other career options to pursue.
We have seen this first-hand with sales candidates. It doesn’t take much effort to get a feel for what the company’s responsiveness to a candidate. Whether it is the correct read or not, the candidate still will draw his or her own conclusions.
This issue is critical in sales hiring. Strong salespeople are strong qualifiers. Once they lock in on an opportunity, they use their qualifying skills. Companies that delay, disappear or deflect for long stretches often lose the strongest salespeople.