The Price Of Being Indecisive

Hiring managers and candidates can suffer from indecision. What is it costing everyone?

At one point I was going to write about the virus and how it is affecting the hiring markets, hiring managers, and candidates. Gears shifted, and I thought I should write about the markets in general and the effects on the hiring process. Then I considered just sitting back and not writing this week. Oh, the indecisions.  The result? What I truly want to talk about, which is the cost of not deciding quickly when you have all the facts.

A Story For The Ages:

The Ultimate Candidate and Hiring Managers Tale

An author I have followed for many years, and many of you are familiar with, is Napoleon Hill.  Napoleon was mentored by Andrew Carnegie, and later wrote the well-known book “Think & Grow Rich.” The story about how Napoleon came to work for Andrew Carnegie is a classic. Here are the brief highlights:  

Napoleon was sent to interview the Steel Magnate, expecting to stay an hour or so.  Unbeknownst to young Napoleon, he wound up staying the entire weekend. This was where Andrew Carnegie shared with him his views and philosophy of success.  At the conclusion of the weekend, Mr. Carnegie proposed a question to Napoleon that would change the course of history. Summarized as such: if I commissioned you, introduced you to the greatest businessmen of our time while not subsidizing you at all; will you take this philosophy to the world?  Napoleon agreed and added that it would be done. However, Napoleon was not aware that Andrew Carnegie had a stopwatch behind his back, giving young Napoleon sixty seconds to decide. Had Napoleon taken longer, we would not have that great treatise today.

Indecision Comes At A Cost

What is indecision costing in the hiring process today? Quite a lot.  Firms and/or hiring managers are undecided on professionals. When they come back to offer a position, the candidate (in this candidate-driven market) is no longer available.  Candidates are taking the time to decide, thinking that firms are going to wait around for them to accept an offer. This can result in firms withdrawing their interest. Indecision is costing firms and candidates opportunities.  

Now, I am not saying that every conversation you have with either a candidate or a hiring manager should warrant a decision; however, what I share with my candidates is to ask themselves one question after an initial interview.  The question being, “Do you want to learn more?” The question is not, “Do you want to move to this firm?” By asking this question, the candidate must find out if they are willing to take the next step in the process by learning more.  It’s a simple yes or no answer. There should be no indecision about it.

Next Steps For Candidates And Hiring Managers

Each step in the employment process should be made intelligently but shouldn’t be one that you take a great deal of time deciding.  If it feels right, go to the next level. If it doesn’t, then end the process. But the cost of indecision can result in missed opportunities for firms, hiring managers, and candidates alike. If you are feeling that this could be a good move for you, continue to learn more.  When it comes to an offer being accepted, do that quickly once you have all the facts. Imagine asking someone to marry you and you wait to answer their proposal. How would you feel? It’s the same way with a company presenting you an offer.


If you would like to discuss your options, please reach out to me for a confidential conversation at 760-477-1284 or email me at [email protected].

About Harlan Friedman, JD & Founding Member, H. Friedman Search LLC. Harlan is a thirty-year veteran Public Finance Banker turned recruiter who specializes in the placement of all level Public Finance Bankers, Health Care Bankers, Municipal Financial Advisors, Compliance Officers, Issuers, and Bond Counsels. He can be reached on LinkedIn, at [email protected] or 760-477-1284.