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© Sculpture: Jos Dirix
© Sculpture: Jos Dirix

When it’s not the treasury Spitzenkandidat

Kim Vercoulen 11-07-2019 12:00 AM
Categories: Labour Market

Last week the selection of candidates who are in the lead for taking the top positions within the European Commission were announced. Noticeable is that Ursula von der Leyen has been chosen to fulfil the position of European Commission President instead of one of the “spitzenkandidaten” or ”front runners”, like Frans Timmermans and Manfred Weber. 

As recruitment consultants we often see similar situations happening: the front runners don’t end up in the position we are recruiting for. This can happen for various reasons, from the candidate as well as the client side. One of those reasons is, for example, that the most obvious candidate decides to decline the job (for any reason possible). This can create a problem for both the company looking to fill in a vacancy, as well as the external recruiter. The company sees their ideal candidate passing up the opportunity and wants nothing more than finding a candidate with the same profile. For us recruiters this means the search gets more narrow. Which can be a good thing because you now know exactly what you need to be looking for, but it can also strain the search because the potential candidate group gets too small. Each candidate will be compared with “the one that got away” and suitable candidates with a slightly different profile can be rejected for the wrong reason: they do not look like “the one”. 

How do you go forward in such a situation? In our opinion, the most import thing to do is sticking to the fundamentals that the external recruiter and the client agreed upon in the first place. Don’t fixate on one specific profile, but distinguish requirements that are considered a “must” from requirements that are “nice to have”. When you keep this in mind, you won’t miss out on candidates that don’t quite fit the profile of “the one that got away”, but are still very qualified for the position. And always remember, there are plenty of more fish in the sea.  


Kim Vercoulen


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