Monthly Archives: June 2012

…James’ decision

Although James was surprised to receive an offer from the firm he got so pissed off about… who treated him rudely and left him hanging for at least a week… he turned it down.

Before he received the offer, he was interviewed by a very decisive client of ours. They spoke to him on the phone on a Thursday… the executive vice president flew to Dallas to see him the very next day… by Monday he had an interview with another executive vice president over the phone… Tuesday he had a demo of the product… Wednesday I checked his references and Friday they offer him a job.

The offers from both firms were not that different but the professional feeling James received from the second organization made all the difference in the world.

The truth is that a company that dragged the process on for so long is a very good one… the people are really quite good and the future with them would be bright. In spite of their quality, however, their interviewing process was just too long and convoluted. The company James went to work for was determined, decisive and expedient.

James did the right thing.

…remember James

From two weeks ago… he got so frustrated with the hiring folks at our client, who hadn’t been communicating with him… he got so pissed off, he really let them have it as to why they were inconsiderate and lousy managers…as well as a bad company.

Well, you won’t believe it… he actually got an offer from that same company today… the candidate they tried to hire ahead of James past the job up, so they called James… amazing!

It shows that truth is stranger than fiction and you can never out guess the nature of an  organization when they need an excellent employee … and James is one… in spite of the fact he unloaded on them and apparently, by all standards, burned his bridge, he still got the job offer….it simply proves that when you are good..you are good…

Wonder if he’ll take the job?

….some things you just can’t control

Two separate situations came up this week for two of our candidates… I don’t really know how to keep this kind of thing from happening. Just being aware of it, however, might help.

The first situation came about when one of our candidates had a third interview. The hiring authority stated that they really liked the candidate, but he really didn’t ask very many inquisitive questions to show that he had done a lot of research about the company and service they provide. Upon asking the candidate about this… and the candidate is a very senior person with more than 20 years of experience…he said, “You know, the VP had been traveling all week and he barely made it into his office in time for the interview. He was frazzled, distracted, and obviously beat…I don’t think he was paying a bit of attention to what I was saying.”

A second candidate had a phone interview with the president of one of our client companies. The president was in an airport waiting to board a plane. Oh brother! The president gave feedback that the candidate seemed to be distracted and unfocused. Our candidate is very accomplished, successful and tremendously focused. It was obvious that the president was “projecting.”

It’s really hard to deal with these kinds of situations. Fortunately, the VP in the first situation agreed to interview the candidate again in a more calm, less hectic environment. The candidate is now in the final stages of the process and expecting an offer.

In the second situation, we were experienced and wise enough to encourage the President and the candidate to speak again and they’re doing that next week.  Hopefully, it will go better.

Any good candidate has to get interviews when they can and none of us can dictate or predict the mood of the situation. The VP in the first situation admitted he was in no real mood to interview the candidate when he did and wasn’t surprised when he was reminded by our candidate what went on. No leader would admit to interview a finalist for a fairly important position on the phone while waiting to board a plane… but it happens.

The lesson is that if you wind up interviewing with an interviewing or hiring authority in rather difficult circumstances, be ready to be misunderstood or not heard at all. Be ready to suggest another meeting. Don’t hesitate to express the thought that the mood of the time  just wasn’t right, even if you have to say that it wasn’t right for you.

…..james’ frustration

The frustration in looking for a job is immense… you go through a bunch of interviews and many of the people you speak with don’t have the courtesy to let you know how you stand even when they say they’ll  get back to you. For the life of me, I don’t know how to help candidates become less frustrated… it’s kind of sad and it’s not a very nice way to treat someone…but hiring and interviewing authorities do it anyhow.

This week, our candidate James, who had been speaking with an organization for four weeks, made it to the finals of the interviewing process. One of the hiring authorities even told him he was their “number one” candidate and they told him they would be in touch with him in a few days. James waited and waited and waited. He emailed and called; then he emailed and called. He got absolutely no response. This went on for a whole week and James got more frustrated and madder.

In the middle of the second week, he had about all he could take and wrote a real ‘venting’ email to both the hiring authority and his boss. It was clear James was a very good candidate. He made it through four weeks of interviewing and outran nine or ten very qualified candidates. In the final analysis, James came in #2. While the hiring authority and his company were checking the references of their #1 candidate, they simply let James languish. Not very nice, but that’s what they did…( and this is one of those companies that is recognized nationally as one of the best companies in the country to work for…go figure).

They eventually told James he had come in #2 and they wanted to let him know that if anything came up in the near future they would call him. James lost his cool…I totally understand… and he told them to stuff it where the sun don’t shine  in very explicit terms.

The best way to handle this would’ve been for James to be graceful and smart in spite of his frustration and anger. He was actually told he was the #1 candidate, but until you receive a job offer, you can’t bank on anything. Objectively, James knew that, but it didn’t keep him from going emotional.

Unfortunately, James has likely burned his bridge with the hiring authorities of this organization. I understand and empathize with him, but it’s not worth it. Somewhere down the line he may very well run into these guys and there’s simply no reason to tarnish your relationship that way.

Again, as I’ve preached before, if the candidate focuses on the process and is not too distracted by the result, it isn’t as likely that James would be as upset as he was and lose his cool.

I know this is easy to say and a lot harder to practice. Always be graceful, even if it’s hard. Don’t let your emotions get the best of you.

…saying stupid things

It seems like I spend a lot of time writing about people not thinking through the interviewing process and saying stupid things that end up costing them a job…

This week we had one candidate who, in a final phone interview with an HR director… right before they were going to offer him a job… was asked why he left one of his previous jobs… he said he thought for a moment and then said, “well, they told me it was because of sexual harassment, but I didn’t do anything and I really don’t know what they were talking about.”

In speaking to the candidate, he told us his old company owed him $60,000 and according to his contract, if he was fired for cause they wouldn’t have to pay money. Okay… fair enough. He said he had absolutely no idea where the sexual harassment accusation came from, but that’s what their lawyer told him when he asked why he was let go. He never investigated or questioned the dismissal. He simply let it go.

There was absolutely no reason for him to tell the HR director he was dismissed because of a sexual harassment charge. It is nowhere in his record. He was never given any reprimand… nothing. Why would anyone tell an HR director they were dismissed for sexual harassment if no one has a record of it and, more importantly, it didn’t happen? This was not some low-level, rookie candidate. He was a guy with 20 years of experience who had earned well into six figures. So he can’t claim ignorance. Maybe stupidity… but not ignorance.

Another one of our candidates told  one our clients he was dismissed “with cause” but didn’t know what the cause was. He claimed he knew he was fired for a good reason but couldn’t remember what the reason was. Even after we asked the candidate to think really hard about what he said, he still claimed he couldn’t remember exactly why he was fired.

This week, another one of our candidates was asked by the hiring authority if he had any questions.  According to the hiring authority, the candidate said, “geez, I never thought of that question…I guess I’m not prepared.”

Another one of our candidates, upon arriving in the hiring authority’s office, announced that she only had 15 or 20 minutes to interview because she had to go pick up her kids at school.

 Our organization deals with highly educated, very professional people in just about every discipline. And I’ll admit these are only a few examples of the hundreds of candidates we talk to and work with.

People have to think!…THINK… they need to ask themselves, “how does this sound to a hiring authority?” What HR director in their right mind is going to recommend hiring somebody who tells them they were fired for sexual harassment.

I don’t know what else to say…