So, you’ve lost your first-choice candidate to another company. How? You may have innovative products, a slew of happy customers and a fun, casual work environment-but no capture strategy. You know how to attract the talent you need, but for whatever reason, you fail to close the deal.

Take a realistic look at how your company addresses the needs of today’s candidates. Do you offer the types of resources, training programs and mentoring needed to attract career-minded professionals? If not, you may be at a disadvantage in the current, competitive market.

Find out if you suffer from “comparison-shopping paralysis” by taking this quick test. Do more than half the people you interview:

Accept another job before you can make an offer?

Make salary demands that rise from one interview to the next?

Require more than a day or two to think about your offer?
Have a change of heart after accepting your offer?

If the answer to one or more of these questions is “Yes,” delays or indecision may be costing you good candidates. The solution: shorten your hiring cycle, either by scheduling multiple interviews on one day or by making your selection more quickly. The longer you take to make hiring decisions, the more time you give candidates to check out other jobs.
The five most common hiring mistakes
To help reduce the number of missed opportunities, it helps to review the five most common mistakes managers make in the hiring cycle-and learn how to avoid them:

1. Your offer comes too late. If you’ve got a hot candidate, move quickly. Nothing frustrates a job seeker more than a long interview process.

2. Your offer is too low. Research the market and make an offer that’s high enough to be accepted. A candidate may state a salary need that sounds too steep, but it could actually be the going rate.

3. You begin negotiating at the last minute. If a salary compromise is necessary, try to reach an agreement before you make a formal offer. Negotiating after the candidate turns your offer down might be seen as poor planning on your part-or worse, evidence of dishonesty. As soon as you know the offer will be accepted, go ahead and extend it.

4. Your story keeps changing. Always maintain a consistent job description from one interview (or interviewer) to the next. If you and another manager can’t agree on the nature of the job, or you surprise the candidate with new information, you stand a good chance of driving talent away.

5. Your body language turns off the candidate. Job seekers can sense your level of sincerity, urgency and interest. Mixed signals or indecision during the interview will almost certainly be mirrored by the candidate, who will find a way-consciously or not-to undermine your offer.

It’s never too late to make adjustments. If too many people turn you down or you can’t find anyone to interview, you may need to rethink your expectations, salary or job description.