This is all very normal. The abnormal thing is that I then obsessed over this lost candidate for over a month. I spent hours lamenting this candidate I had never actually met.
Eventually I realized that I was doing this as an escape fantasy to avoid the harsh reality that I still had to hire someone and it was tough to find someone good.
Last week, I caught myself doing it again with another person. I conjured up an entire blissful working relationship in my head, only to find that it did not match the person's real-life interests at all.
I think companies do this too. They imagine a partnership with another company, and fuel it on dreams instead of day-to-day reality of how well the technology integrates. They pin their hopes on unlikely PR blitzes instead of repeatable user acquisition.
The only way I have found to cure this is to spend time getting to know the situation (or candidate) with all their foibles and flaws. Nothing kills daydreams like cold facts.
The sysadmin story ended happily. A month later, we hired someone amazing and my baseless obsession went away immediately.