Don’t blink—MAKE THE JOB OFFER—The best candidates go fast.

Remember Kenny Chesney’s hit song, “Don’t Blink?

“So I’ve been tryin’ to slow it down

I’ve been tryin’ to take it in

In this here today, gone tomorrow world we’re livin’ in

Don’t blink”

While I’m not a huge country music fan, the lyrics most definitely remind me of the current employment market in Atlanta, especially for mid and senior-level corporate administrative talent and medical front and back office staff. With such low unemployment rates, trying to slow down the recruitment process is a risky proposition.

As an independent recruiter with more than 30 successful years in this industry, I’ve witnessed the full gamut of employment markets. There have been times when jobs were in short supply and employers could be very selective. And, like today, there have been periods when candidates are in short supply.

Certain job specialties and industries are struggling to find and retain qualified candidates more than others. The media reports on the physician shortage often. In fact, a 2016 report released by the Association of American Medical Colleges and prepared by IHS, Inc. shows the physician deficit is expected to be between 61,700 and 94,700 physicians.

The overall unemployment rate in Atlanta is hovering around 5 percent, and job growth is on the rise. While people are in short supply, the real problem is finding college-degreed candidates. The U.S. Bureau of Labor reports that as of February 2017, the differential between college educated and non-college educated candidates is 2.6 percent, with unemployment being lower for the first group. Essentially, numbers like these require a more strategic approach to recruiting and signing candidates.

The #1 mistake employers make when recruiting candidates for open administrative positions

When I send fully vetted candidates to employers who meet the specs of the open position, the biggest mistake I see is employers often wait too long to offer the position to the candidate. And, when they do, the candidate accepts another job and the recruitment process starts all over.

Like anything that is in high demand, you simply must close candidates quickly. But how do you avoid the trap of placing the wrong candidate in the role? This is where recruiters become even more of a benefit to the hiring process. Let’s break this down.

DIY (do it yourself) recruiting

When you place a job ad on or LinkedIn Jobs for instance, you likely receive hundreds of resumes over the course of a couple of weeks. You have to determine which ones to phone screen and then schedule those calls. Then, you decide whom to bring in for in-person interviews and possibly second interviews. This is followed up by reference and background checks, all before a final selection is made and a position is offered. This process often drags on for weeks, and by the time you’re ready to make an offer, top candidates are already sitting at their new desk at another employer. Frustrating, right?

Outsourced recruiting

Now, here’s the path many employers choose. They have a bank of independent recruiters who are highly specialized both in their industry and the specific job roles. When a position becomes available, they contact the preferred recruiter with a job order and position description. The recruiter has a network of pre-vetted candidates that are open to new roles, but aren’t actively searching. These passive candidates are whom employers need to hire, but have no real way of identifying. But recruiters do. And, because they’re pre-qualified, have been phone screened and are known to be a good match for the open job, the employer is able to fast-track straight to the in-person interview allowing for an immediate decision.

While the second path reduces the risk of losing a candidate to a lengthy recruiting process, both routes still require employers to make the offer quickly and close the candidate. And, just as importantly, keep actively recruiting until your preferred candidate formally accepts the position and all required background checks are clear.

How long is too long to wait to give a formal offer?

While you may not want to give a formal offer on the spot, I recommend you give a soft offer or a trial offer at the end of a positive interview. Ask the candidate if the job were to be offered at X salary, would you accept the role? And, when could you start? If the answer is positive, I highly recommend sending a formal offer by email within 24 hours, if not the same day.

While hiring under the gun may not appeal to the analytical type, know that a recruiter has done the vetting for you. The interview is meant to confirm culture fit. When you find a candidate that meets the job specs and is a good fit with your culture, what’s the benefit of waiting? Don’t blink. Make the job offer.


Need help finding qualified candidates?

Let’s talk. You can reach me at 404.822.9392 or email me at For 30 years, I’ve been dedicated to helping companies, medical practices, law firms and creative agencies in Atlanta thrive by staffing them with the very best talent. I fill a variety of positions including executive assistants, receptionists, medical front office billing staff, as well as legal staff just to name a few. I look forward to helping you reach your goals.