Once a senior level candidate’s search for a new position is underway, the recruitment process inevitably takes a long time, almost always with a series of in-depth interviews; meeting a plethora of partners or heads of business along the way. Its part of the course that the more senior a candidate is, this process is going to be longer than a junior hire as firms are understandably more cautious about getting the right person for the job.

This is to be expected, but if a firm is taking their time making a decision and dragging their heels and dawdling, the candidate, who will no doubt have put themselves out there – and especially if they are good – will more than likely be approached by other companies throughout this process. And the longer this goes on, obviously the more competition this creates for firms looking to recruit. If a candidate likes a firm, and the firm are quick to offer, they’ll most likely succeed in appointing good candidates. So sooner firms can wrap up the process, the better for everyone. If a firm is slow to appoint, the candidate will get fed up with waiting and start to talk to other firms who’ve shown interest.

In partnership environments, there is a tendency to try and mitigate risk by appointing senior people slowly and cautiously, but in fact, by not making a decision within a decent timeframe, there is far more risk created in the recruitment process.

So when interviewing senior candidates, be mindful of the following:

1. Your candidate isn’t monogamous!

When a quality candidate is looking for a new role, there will be several interested parties vying for attention. If you don’t move quickly, their head will be turned and they will go with another option – which will be more attractive, more accommodating and be less problematic.

2. Time is money.

The longer the process goes on, the higher the risk of it not bearing fruit at the end. Which means you’ve lost time, money and investment in that person – as probably they have too. Interviewing means that internally, this places pressure on resources, so the longer it takes, the longer your resources are stretched = not efficient and a giant waste all round. You don’t want to have to repeat this process anytime soon, so getting it right the first time makes a huge difference. Also firms should be mindful that a long recruitment process not only takes a lot of time out of the candidate’s working day, but potentially impacts on home life as well.

3. It’s not a popularity contest.

When others within your team, senior partners or other colleagues are part of the interview process, everyone will have an opinion, not all of them necessarily valid. Harsh, but true. A good leader doesn’t necessarily have to be liked. And sometimes, being liked takes precedence over the ability to do the job. We’re not suggesting that you ignore everyone if they’re united in the opinion that this person isn’t a fit, but remember the main thing is to lead effectively, be professional and be respected.

4. Think steady, but not slow.

Think about completing in weeks rather than months. We are not saying for a second to rush the process, but don’t let it crawl to a standstill or become stagnant. Make steady progress and be seen to be making progress by the candidate. Think about their perception of you as a firm. You want to be seen as a firm they want to work for – efficient, able and dynamic. Aim to make an offer and try to tie things up in under 2 months. Remember your competition will move fast if they like someone and you don’t get your skates on.


If the candidate is a good fit for the firm, take action and make them an offer. It’s good to have some caution, but remember, you’ll never know if you didn’t move quickly enough to secure them in the first place.

Author – Giles Taylor, Director @ Leighton Taylor.

Giles Taylor founded Leighton Taylor in 2009 and specialises in senior level appointments. With unrivalled experience working across the whole professional services sector, he was one of the first consultants to recognise the huge potential for marketing and business development within partnership environments. To date Giles has spent over 20 years recruiting exclusively in this area, building a strong track record of filling vacancies at a Senior Manager, Head of and Director Level. 

With a realistic and honest approach, he consistently produces very positive results for his clients and candidates recruiting nationally and internationally through both contingency and search & selection assignments.

Contact: +44 (0)20 3174 1875gtaylor@leightontaylor.co.uk – https://leightontaylor.co.uk/senior-hires/

Written by Leightontaylor
21th September, 2018