You've sourced a great candidate, they aced the interviews, the whole team loves them, and they're bullish on your company. As you know, however, alot can still go wrong. Whether the candidate is hesitant to leave their current company, compensation expectations are far apart, or they're too senior for the role they'd fill, there are many reasons why you might find the perfect candidate but it just isn't the right time. The good news is you don't have to send them out the door with a paltry "thanks for coming in!" Here's a few strategies you can use to make the most out of the right candidate even if it's the wrong time.
Pump the Network
The candidate loves your company's values, products, and mission, and got along swimmingly with the team. If they can picture themselves at the company if circumstances were only a tad different, why wouldn't they be able to picture their other contacts on your team? Now that they're a bit more privy to your needs and what you can offer, let them know about your other open reqs and ask if they know anyone who might be interested. Top talent roll in packs, so odds are their network is full of other great candidates.
A referral from a trusted contact goes a long way, and with your wrong-time candidate, you have access to a whole new network who will already be warm to your organization. Look at that, the beginnings of a candidate referral program!
Connect with your candidate on LinkedIn and Twitter, and make tactful, sporadic communication. Congratulate them on a new position, comment on a tweet related to their industry, just something short and sweet to let them know that you remember them, and that the door is open should their situation--or yours-- ever change. In truth, these are efforts you should be practicing with all your candidates, as you illustrate you're not merely trying to fill a req but find a great fit. Make recruiting about relationship building, not sales.
When the candidate's feeling good about your organization, but just can't sign up, it could be an optimal time to get some feedback on the hiring process. After all, it's not exactly appropriate to ask those you denied about your process. Ask your wrong-time candidate what you can do better in terms of the messaging, follow up, or interview process.
How have you gone about dealing with right candidates at the wrong time? Leave a comment or tweet @EnteloRob!