Five reasons that make the best candidates walk away from your opportunity.

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In this aggressive IT market, with demand higher than ever, you really can’t afford to wait to make your offer or get the interview process going. Standard hiring procedures often take time, but the more things you can take care of before you start interviewing, the better. It is imperative that you act quickly if you want to get the best candidate. These are five things that may make the best candidates walk away from your opportunity.

Coming up with the right list of questions is difficult. You don’t want to trick candidates, but you also don’t want to find out a few months down the road that a good interviewee doesn’t make a good employee. The key is to ask questions that require a candidate to demonstrate how they think and work.

You Move Slowly

One of the surest ways to lose a stellar candidate is by not moving quickly during the interviewing process.

Schedule an interview quickly, keep the process moving, and extend your offer ASAP.

The first resume that comes across your desk might look great. Don’t ask for more resumes and wait to interview. Get the person started on the process ASAP. See if he or she is as great in person as they look on paper. The same goes for the first person who interviews. If you’ve found the person you are looking for, why keep looking?

Use the phone interview to get things moving right away. Once you have the person on-site, capitalize on the time you have with them. Prevent future scheduling conflicts by getting what you need from the candidate the first time he or she is on site.

Have realistic expectations for how much time they can spend in your office interviewing. It is a lot easier for someone to get away for a couple of hours, than take a half or full day off for a first round interview.

Make the offer when you say you are going to and as near the interview as possible. Too often companies wait and lose out. That resume is going to get into someone else’s hands. The person will get an offer. Make sure they get yours first.

You’re Unavailable

Be available.

Before you see resumes, make sure your interview team is available to do the interviews within the next few days. Check there are no vacations planned, or other conflicts that might delay the process.

A delay in scheduling the first interview, or big gaps in between a first and second can cause you to lose a candidate. They might feel as though you aren’t interested in them, or someone else might reach out.

There are reasons for delays. But arranging things prior to your search ultimately will save you time and allow you to make the offer once you know you’ve found who you want. If a candidate is waiting for your offer but has another one in hand, do you think he or she is going to wait for yours? Would you?

You Don’t Know What You’re Looking For

Have a realistic, clearly defined role for which you’re interviewing.

Don’t use an old description for a new job. Take the time before you start your search to clearly define your core requirements and needs (soft skills and technical) for the position and your team. Then, when you’re interviewing, look at how the person fits your criteria, not just ways to weed them out.

Don’t expect to get everything. Even the best candidate won’t have everything you want. But the best will have the ability to adapt to your environment, learn the skills they don’t have, and contribute to your team’s success.

You Offer Unfair or Unrealistic Compensations

You’re looking for what drives and motivates the people you’re interviewing. You should also get a sense for their preferred work style, and what they value about their own work. The candidate will either be talking about a project they worked on as part of a team, or an individual accomplishment. Pay attention to how they speak about either situation. Regardless, they should be using “I language” when answering this question.

In the past few years it has been easy to get one, but the tables have turned for the IT market. Do your research and know what you should be paying.

Don’t interview someone outside of your price range unless you plan on offering beyond your price range. Either have approval to do this, or don’t waste your time and theirs going through the process without being able to make an appropriate offer.

Be prepared to make an offer that is commensurate with experience, current market standards, and competitive.

You Don’t Sell Your Company to the Candidate

Not only will this give you an idea of the candidate’s long term goals and professional development expectations, but also reveal personal motivators and drive. Not all jobs have the same career path. Assess the candidate’s ability to judge his or her own skills based on whether the skills align with the career goals of that individual. To get the best IT professionals on your team, timely hiring is essential. These questions should help you make the most of the valuable time you spend interviewing because they get at more than if the candidate can do the job, they reveal how they would do it.

Candidates are interviewing you too.

It’s your responsibility to sell the job and the company to the potential hire. You want the candidate to work for you, not just want a job.

The best candidates will have several exciting opportunities they are pursuing, so make sure you stand out by giving a positive experience. Make sure the people who are giving your interviews are committed to this and represent you well.

Every person who interviews, from the hiring managers to those who tech the candidate out, needs to know how to interview.

The IT market has changed. Qualified IT professionals in high demand technologies are in short supply and the best get several offers for exciting opportunities. You may still be operating under the conditions of the last few years—out of work IT pros happy to get what they can. Those days are gone. You have to be aggressive if you want the best to work for you