You’ve probably heard the phrase before: A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. It means it is better to have a definite than hold out for the possibility of something better that may never come. It is time to start incorporating this methodology into your recruiting operations.

The more the merrier:

How many times have you been in this situation? Your hiring manager interviews a series of candidates for a specific opening and comes back to you satisfied with the candidates, however there is one issue. They want to see more candidates. This is understandable, not all candidates are going to be great for the specific role. So naturally you inquire why that is. The answer you receive? I just want to see who else is out there.

Who else is out there? The most current figure on the population of the earth is 7.125 billion people. You want to see who else is out there? We may be here a while.

Continuing your search:

The problem with this mindset? It goes back to the bird in the hand analogy. Let’s assume you decide to hold off on those good candidates you interviewed for this mysterious “better” candidate. You continue to interview and 2 months later you realize the initial candidate was better. So you go ahead and call to deliver an offer. Well it is now too late and that candidate is working at your competitor. Sure your job may have been #1 on their list, but they have to continue their career search as well, and waiting for you to make up your mind was not in their plans.

So here you are, back to square one having to re-evaluate candidates or even worse, begin the recruiting process over again.

There are many reasons to decline a candidate. The wrong skill set, not enough experience, poor references, the list goes on. The reason of “there could be someone better” is not a justifiable reason. If this is your reason this means you in fact do not know what you are looking for. Either that or you are an indecisive person. Either way, you should be stripped of your decision making responsibilities.


Being a decision maker means being a leader. A person is put into a leadership role because of their ability to handle situations that arise. You wouldn’t expect the CEO of your company to flip flop on every question that comes up would you? No. You would expect him or her to make the decisions that need to be made. Same goes for hiring.

This article is not to suggest you hire the first candidate who comes through your door. Each recruiter will tell you differently when you ask them how many candidates hiring managers should be interviewing. However if you are doing your due diligence on the back end (i.e. phone screens and other vetting) by the time you bring in those selected candidates for interviews you should have a feel for what the market bears. That is what is most important. You need to get a feel for the candidates in your specific market regarding that position and make a decision from there.

Are you going to end up hiring the best Java Developer in the area? Maybe not. That does not mean the one you did interview isn’t a good fit. Stop declining the quality candidates you have because of this mysterious candidate you made up in your mind.

[image credit: Shutterstock]

About Chadd Balbi

Chadd Balbi is a seasoned recruiting professional with extensive experience in full life cycle recruiting and business development in both Corporate and Staffing environments. His emphasis is on strong recruiting, business development and client relationship focus. Specializing in the IT staffing industry. Follow Chadd on Twitter @CFBRecruiter.

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