What happened with the one that got away? It happens to all aggressive hiring managers— you get a very appealing candidate to the altar and you can’t close the deal. It’s bad enough hours are spent during the ‘courtship’, you also burn up personal capital getting a great offer through approvals. And a bruised ego.
Perhaps the biggest problem though, is that for the foreseeable future, no one will measure up to the ‘one who got away’.
Hiring managers are wise to take a 2 week pause, spend time figuring out what, if anything, you could have done to improve the odds of closing the candidate. Then, it’s important to get over yourself.
Try to get realistic about what the ‘median’ profile is for the role, reassess the runners up, and try to understand if you had a serious ‘stretch’ candidate on your hands.
To ease the pain, stay in touch with the candidate and be gracious. More than once has the one that got away come back a year later to be hired. Just maybe they will think of your opportunity down the road as ‘the one that got away’.