Expectations Versus Reality: Hiring Authorities

From where I’m sitting, the single biggest downfall most organizations fall victim to when it comes to hiring exceptional talent is having unrealistic expectations because of a disconnect with the realities of the marketplace. This disconnect can be as a result of misinformation or lack of information. In particular, the areas that usually show the most glaring miscalculations are when it comes to:

  1. Compensation
  2. Availability/Accessibility of Superior Candidates
  3. Time Management in the Hiring Process
  4. Communication

Let me succinctly break down each one of these areas where expectations seems to vary from reality for most hiring authorities.


What is a great candidate really worth? What kind of compensation are they deserving of? How does an organization arrive at this answer? For most, they have a preconceived notion of what a certain title should fetch because that’s the way it has always been, or at least in this company. Maybe on occasion HR or a hiring authority will reach out to some peers in the industry or do some research to reach their conclusion. More often than not, this number is OFF. It does not reflect the reality of the marketplace and often is the divisive factor that endangers the entire process of landing superior talent.

Secondly, employers can no longer directly ask candidates for compensation history, thus creating a wrinkle they may not have prepared for. How can you make an offer to someone if you do not know where they currently are in terms of compensation? The reality of the situation when it comes to compensation is that a marriage needs to happen between what your budget can handle and what the candidate deserves and the value they will bring to your organization.

Availability/Accessibility of Top Candidates

There are dozens, if not hundreds of qualified individuals that would be lucky to take this job we currently have open. This is a very dangerous way of thinking, which all too often leads to disaster because the expectation differs from the reality of the situation. Sure, hiring managers may hear of lots of candidates in the marketplace or recruiting firms that can deliver plenty of resumes, and this may be true, but these may not be the candidates you want to consider, let alone hire. The low hanging fruit consists of the unemployed and underemployed. There are often plenty of these people floating around in the marketplace, thus giving the illusion that there is a ton of qualified top echelon individuals for hire. The reality is that the top candidates are happily employed, probably at your competitor and it takes more than a job posting to be able to interest and more importantly land those individuals.

Time Management in the Hiring Process

Companies often believe in the notion that they hold the position of power when it comes to hiring. This may be true in some instances, but especially in today’s landscape which is actually a candidate driven market, much of the power actually lies with the candidates themselves. This paradigm shift becomes wildly important as it relates to the timing of the hiring process. When it comes to follow up after an interview or even extending an offer, I have seen hundreds (not an exaggeration) of deals die because of a lack of prompt follow up. Top candidates are often passive candidates who are happily employed and/or highly sought after by other firms. By not acting quickly and assuming candidates are willing to wait in the wings, companies are putting everything in jeopardy. Do not assume that talented individuals will always be around or so enthralled with your openings.  You should treat them like you yourself would like to be treated and you will get much greater results.


Communication ties in to the previous point in a lot of ways. Candidates are smarter and savvier than most companies realize. They know their worth and have their own set of expectations when it comes to communications. Transparency and timeliness are key to a successful courtship as it relates to hiring. At every stage of the process be sure to communicate with the candidates via their preferred method of contact (email, call or text). If you are interviewing other candidates, need more time to get an offer approved or even when you have decided to move on, be open and honest about it. That transparency keeps candidates engaged and they will appreciate your candor. When in doubt, don’t make assumptions, about anything. Communicate.

The realities of the market are always changing but being aware is the first step to successfully navigating the marketplace when it comes to executing on critical hiring needs. These are just four examples of expectations diverging from reality that I see every single day. If you have any thoughts, comments or questions I’d love to discuss further.