Yup, it's true. Sometimes giving up quickly is the key to recruiting success.
Full disclosure, I'm a Viking, and it's been (fairly) observed that "we have stubbornness issues." So quitting does not come naturally to me, but it can be useful.
This week we had a recruiting strategy that generated some truly terrific candidates in the first few days. The problem was that the first twelve people we spoke to were above the salary target our client wanted to pay. So we killed that outreach strategy, revamped the target candidate profile and outreach messaging, and now we are talking to some less experienced people who are happy to work for the target salary. The first batch of expensive candidates fit our mental picture of what the client wanted. But the second batch will actually have a shot at getting the job.
In another search we had a recruiting strategy we thought was perfect. Except in the first three days, none of our target candidates were interested. None. So we quit. We revamped the message on day three, since clearly we missed the target. Initially we were concerned that our outreach strategy would generate too many candidates. Boy we were wrong--we got less than a tenth of the response we expected.
Most recruiting strategies require patience and perseverance. You find good people one at a time. Some of the best candidates need to be "courted" over a long period of time and don't respond to your recruiting message at first. They might take several contacts to become interested. Slow and steady recruiting is fine, so if good people are gradually responding to your approach, stick with it.
But when nobody responds to your recruiting strategy, or when everyone who responds to your outreach is not the right profile...then you need to quit and try something else. When nobody appropriate is responding, then you are just being stubborn to continue on the same path. Quit. Admit your brilliant strategy had "some room for improvement" and pivot to a new one.
So here is the real question. How quickly do you admit it's time to try a different approach? I suggest you admit it in the very first week, sometimes you can tell in 3 days. For example, if you are running a job ad, look at your ad response in the first three days. If there are not good people to talk to in that pool, your ad did not work. Really.
Waiting and hoping it will get better is not a useful recruiting strategy.