Fear of Missing Out: Analysis Paralysis in Hiring

Part 2 of overcoming fear to embrace great opportunities

Filling a key leadership role in your organization can unintentionally stir up fear in your hiring committee.  There are a lot of unknowns and you can easily take yourself down a never-ending road of ‘what-ifs’.  The hiring committee needs to consider numerous factors, but a prudent team won’t allow themselves to be derailed by FOMO – the Fear Of Missing Out.

Last week we took a look at avoiding this fear as a candidate and an executive search firm.  This week we’ll turn our attention to the damage that fear can wreak on the hiring process.  An organization can really hurt itself if it gives into the Fear Of Missing Out.

3 Damaging Results of FOMO

There are at least two significant ways organizations suffer if FOMO prevents them from making a hiring decision.

  1. You will lose the opportunity to hire some amazing talent.
  2. You will damage your organization’s employment brand.
  3. The position you are hiring for will remain vacant that much longer.

Top talent is not always willing to wait around for you to decide if he or she is the right one for the job.  If your organization cannot be decisive, the candidate may take their talents elsewhere. Secondly, the stalling that results from fear lets doubt creep into the mind of the candidate.  What was once an excited candidate may become a hesitant, uncertain candidate. And thirdly, the longer it takes to fill the role, the longer your organization is operating with significant gaps in the leadership team.  You don’t want to rush a decision, but equipped with the right knowledge, you should be able to make a hiring decision with confidence.

Fighting FOMO to Hire with Confidence

To fight off FOMO in a hiring committee, it’s essential to have everyone on the same page from the get-go.  Don’t assume anything.  Be sure you know who the final decision maker is and that he or she is in agreement on all the expectations.  During the discussion of exceptions be sure these two topics are covered:

  1. Timeline – How fast will the hiring process move? Does everyone have the bandwidth in their schedules to ensure this happens? Consider who will need to meet with candidates and for how long.
  2. Qualities – What qualities are “must-haves” in a candidate? Differentiate these from “nice-to-haves.”

Besides individual calendars, your timeline needs to take into consideration two other factors:  1.) The urgency to get the role filled and, 2.) the supply and demand of a qualified candidate.

If your organization will take a hit for every week the role remains vacant, then filling the role needs to be a top priority.  Calendars need to be cleared to make this happen.  Be sure everyone on the hiring committee is aware of this.

Also, consider the type of role you are filling.  Some jobs are harder to fill than others because of all the qualifications you are looking for.  Executive sales roles are a good example.  If you are looking for someone with experience in a specific industry, selling to a specific manufacturer, who possesses a certain style, then you better be decisive when you find someone who meets all your criteria.

Know Your Must-Haves vs. Nice-to-Haves

On the topic of criteria, be sure you know what qualities are absolutes and which are not.  If you’ve interviewed a candidate that is really sharp and has almost everything you want, you need to decide if the one or two missing pieces are a deal-breaker.

The conversation about must-have qualities is one to have before the hiring process starts.  And it needs to include all the people involved in the final decision.  If there is disagreement within the hiring committee, the disconnect needs to be resolved before you have a high-caliber candidate waiting for your feedback.

FOMO in the Final Steps of a Hiring Process

If you know your benchmark, evaluate your top candidates against that.  Where are the gaps?  If there are no real gaps, ask yourself, am I letting “Fear of Missing Out” stand between me and a great leader? Our best advice: “Unless you have a clear reason to say no, your answer should be yes.”

If a candidate we present has made it to the interview process, that means he or she has measured up extremely well in our 4C evaluation.  Now it’s time for the hiring team of the organization to evaluate how the candidate measures up to the criteria they’ve outlined.  We recommend that you narrow your candidates down to 2, measure them against your standards and then pick one.

You can make your decision, denouncing any fear of missing out, because you’ve done your homework.   We cannot know the future, but you can move forward confidently because of all the consideration you put into it ahead of time. You’ve wisely evaluated and can be secure in your chosen candidate.

FOMO and Your Organizational Employment Brand

Your ability to make a clear decision also makes a great impact on your organization’s employment brand. Even candidates who are not the final choice can leave the process with a positive experience if they’ve been dealt with in a swift, professional manor.  When helpful feedback can be given as to why they were not the best fit, the candidate benefits.

Conversely, if an organization drags their feet on a decision and can’t really provide concrete reasoning behind their stalling, this creates a negative experience.  If the candidate is ultimately offered the position, a seed of doubt has been planted as to their suitability.  If the candidate is not chosen after weeks of being strung along, you can be sure they will share their negative experience with others, thus tarnishing your brand in the community.

The fear of missing out will always lurk in the shadows.  The best way to combat it is to be prepared.  You don’t buy a house without knowing what the must-have features are. Likewise, don’t start looking for a top executive without having a predetermined list of qualifications.  You can avoid FOMO with some intentional forethought.

Don’t Hold Out for the Purple Unicorn – they simply don’t exist

Our clients are seeking top talent that is the right fit for their organization.  We want to deliver exactly what they’re looking for. However, if the final decision maker feels there is still an elusive, potentially imaginable, “purple unicorn” still out there, a hiring decision will never be made.  This is an understandable, but crippling fear.

The best way for an organization to be decisive when hiring a key executive is to know exactly what they are looking for before the hiring process begins. Then communicate that clearly to an executive search firm that takes the time to listen.  At Centennial, we want to have a thorough understanding of our client’s needs.  We are diligent to ask questions until we feel certain we know what you’re looking for.

Know what you’re looking for and snatch it up when you see it.  This forethought will allow you to bypass FOMO during your next major decision – personal or professional.

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