I just completed a search, and was chronicling my feelings during the process, both for blog fodder and as a quality control piece.
The Best Part: Interviews in progress
Some people may prefer when the candidate accepts the offer, when they start, or for third parties, when the check comes, but I prefer the interview stage. After they're scheduled, and while they're going on, there is so much hope expressed on all sides. From the recruiters to the candidates to the managers to other people in your life, everyone is expressing well wishes. It's a very optimistic time.
The Worst Part: 2 minutes after the Interviews end
Once interviews have been conducted, your part as the recruiter is set. All the prep work and the pre-closing is done, and now it's just a matter of crossing your fingers and hoping everyone lives up to their side in the bargain. Will you get feeback? Will the candidates change their minds? Will they accept the offer? Ask for more money? Will the clients sit on the feedback for days, weeks, or a month?
There's no way to know, and doubt begins to gnaw on you. Did you do your best? Should you keep looking for more candidates? If so, what was it about your candidates that didn't work out?
Did anyone lie? Are educational or credit references or drug tests going to trip you up? Just as interviews are optimistic, the post-interview is full of doubts. And there's nothing you can do.
You just have to sit and wait, and trust your work. When it's done, even if you do get the placement, you've got to tell some people no, and then move on. The closeness you generate with candidates begins to fade, both in successful placements and in those who don't get the job. You promise to stay in touch, but you have another forty calls to make.