I would love to get various opinions and feedback about this topic: "Not Hiring the First Candidate you Interview"

I am currently recruiting a manager level role for company. We had 3 interviews last month, and through those interviews we realized we needed to re-evaluate who we were looking for. The 3 people were good, however they are the level of candidate who would report to the person we are looking for. So we decided to look for the next level of candidate.

So after an exhausting search I find an ideal candidate. The team interviews this person, and also agrees they are a good fit. However they will not hire the person because it is the first candidate they have seen at this level and they would like to interview more. Their feedback had nothing to do with the persons technical ability to do the job.

Thoughts?

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Decision makers like to have choices. One candidate isn't enough.   Had you brought the new one at the same time as the other ones, they might have hired him.  But now it's a new search.  

Your hiring manager has his head up his ass. Grab the good person while she is available. I wouldn't go back into the field looking for new people until the hiring manager stated very specifically what this candidate is missing. And if it wasn't significant tell him to do the search himself.

How frustrating! If you can't get them to come back to the fact that this is not really the 1st/only candidate, then you're stuck. Now you have to decide if you are going to find and send more people, and find out if the client is willing to roll the dice on losing the good candidate they have now.

We do run into this sometimes, but to be honest, the majority of our clients DO hire the 'first' candidate we present to them.  It has to do with the quality of the information from the client, as well as the quality of the understanding of the position, culture, career path, etc, and the quality of the search and screening process.  When this does happen I usually say "I could have presented other candidates, but I didn't like them as much and I don't want to waste your time.  If you can share with me where we missed on Susie, then we can go back and tweak our recruiting efforts.  If we can't identify where we missed with Susie, and you really like her, then we would in fact be wasting everyone's time.  We tweaked the search already and came up with Susie.  Let's make her an offer, she's the one."  

I have one client who always asks how we do it on the first candidate (we've placed four high level people in his company in the past three years, all due to growth).  I tell him it's because he's honest with me on the expectations, management style, growth potential, company path, culture, etc. Due to his honesty/transparency, we are able to execute a recruiting campaign that finds us the right candidates.  Keep in mind though, we still screen and interview MANY, MANY candidates before finding that right one!  

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