The average delay from referral of a candidate to hire is 98 days. You probably think it’s 30 days. I did when I began my career as a recruiter. But as an experienced executive search consultant, I learned the truth.

You think it’s so short because you’re unaware of those back-door hires.

The typical recruiter loses track of a rejected candidate within 30 days after the referral. The recruiter gets caught in a “send-out-turndown cycle,” not realizing that a viable candidate’s contact information is sitting there on some hirer’s desk like an ad. It may even be circulating around from one potential hirer to another. But to the recruiter, 30 days means “cold and old.” He’s busy on some hot new search assignment somewhere else.

Recruiters move fast. Bureaucratic, committee-controlled, politically-dominated companies move slowly, but unsurely. The delay provides an irresistible temptation to call a candidate directly or accept his follow-up call. Then it’s a very short step to forgetting your fast five-figure fee.

So keep track of send-outs with candidates and clients for at least 90 days. Then call the clients and ask for the candidates you referred.