… so, humble me

I have known James for a number of years. I placed him a few years ago and unfortunately he has had a couple of bad breaks since then. He left the company I placed him with to go to work for an organization that made him a phenomenal offer. They were out of Detroit and they wanted him to build an office in Dallas…right  before the pandemic. Ow!  six months into it they had to close the office because of the economy and, of course, his phenomenal salary went away.

He then got hired by an organization that put  him in a selling/management position. All well and good, except one of his subordinates who had been with the company for 12 years, was terribly underperforming, but since she had been there for so long, she not only disregarded what James would do to try to help her get better, she downright defied him. When he took the situation to his upper management, they basically told him it was his problem and, since she had been with the company so long, they weren’t going to do anything about it, but they emphasized that he couldn’t fire her.

James was in a terrible position. This subordinate was totally defying him and everybody could see it and yet his management wasn’t going to do anything to help him. In his 20 years of experience, he had never been in this kind of position. He really cared about his job and the people he worked for and with and it was a terrible emotional strain. He explained to his management that he really couldn’t carry on this way and that something had to be done.  They made it clear that they were really not going to do much about it, so James decided he needed to call me and leave his job.

It took him a while to do it because he was so emotionally drained by the whole experience. He took his job and profession seriously as well as personally and the situation was causing him a lot of anguish. Once he did call us, we decided to take (as  I teach in www.thejobsearchsolution.com)  massive action and start getting him as many interviews as possible. We were able to get James four interviews. He got an offer from an excellent organization and a $20,000 increase in salary.

I wish this kind of thing happen all the time, but it doesn’t. James was really good at what he did and we knew exactly where to go with his experience.

After he accepted the job, James explained to me that he felt like the whole experience was a “God thing.” He explained that while he was agonizing over the job he had and going through the emotional strain and turmoil,  he prayed that God would bringing peace and show him a way out of his predicament. He stated that once he started working with us, a calmness and confidence came over him that everything was going to work out even if he had to resign and find a new job. He said he felt like that God had actually placed us in his life and when He did, James became more peaceful and confident that everything would work out.

We are humbled by James’  gratitude. Every one of us in our company feels like that God has given us gifts and we try to use them every day to help people and companies come together. Obviously, it doesn’t always work out this way. We wish we were blessed to be able to help who comes to us in this manner. It’s especially humbling when someone thinks that God actually put us in their life and they are grateful for it.

It made me think that maybe, if we were more cognizant of the fact that, per chance,  God puts everyone …candidates and employers in our lives And that our work is as much spiritual as it is strictly business or secular. Maybe if we thought this way we might be able to help just a few more.

Most people don’t really understand our profession. The vast majority of candidates who come to us or who we recruit, we don’t place. I had to explain this to a candidate yesterday who wrote me and said that he had contacted me six months ago and that I had not gotten him even one interview. I tried to explain to him that we just hadn’t been able to find an organization where his experience would fit. Our clients pretty much dictate what kind of background and what kind of experience they would like to hire and we are simply information brokers. This guy’s background was very hodgepodge, he had way too many jobs for what our clients would pay a fee to hire. That’s very hard to explain to somebody when they really need a job, but we don’t write the rules, we just play by them. I tried to explain this to this candidate. He was kind and said he understood, but he was still frustrated and needed to find a job. It made me think that God put him in my life also. I may not be able to find him a job (I wish I could and maybe I will) but it struck me that I wondered if I had been as empathetic and grateful for him as I had been with James.

I start my 48th year in this business this month. The whole thing is still a mystery… we are blessed and I am humbled and by the whole thing.

…cognitive reappraisal and your interviewing

I am a great follower of Dan Ariely (or of anyone, for that matter, who studies the quirkiness of humanity, especially when it comes to making decisions). He has a column in at least every other Saturday’s Wall Street Journal where he talks about many aspects of human decisions and human psychology. Yesterday he addressed a letter writer who talked about how she gets incredibly “stressed out” when she has to give a talk or presentation. She claims that “my heart starts pounding, I sweat and I breathe much faster.” In short, she was scared and she was asking Dan what she could do.

Dan advised her that how we think about stress can make us less stressed and healthier. He advised that instead of interpreting these physical changes as signs that you’re not coping well with pressure, try to see them as signs that your body is energized for the task. He recommended interpreting one’s pounding heart, for instance, as preparing for action and the fast breathing as ensuring that more oxygen will be getting to your brain.

This strategy, he identified, is known as cognitive reappraisal. Studies, he claims, have shown that feeling stress in this way makes people less anxious and more confident. Well, I think that this is really only one half of the remedy. Just because you recognize that you can practice cognitive reappraisal doesn’t mean that you may experience any less stress unless YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO in the activity itself!

Many candidates experience this kind of stress in the interviewing process. (Employers do too, but admit it less.) I think it’s important to have this kind of nervousness or stress before any “performance” oriented event. Without a little bit of stress or fear, we probably would not perform as well.

The important thing, especially in interviewing, is to know what to do. Most people do not practice interviewing anywhere near the extent that they should before they get into the interviewing process. Most candidates think that they can just wing it and do well on just about every interview. After all, most of them have gotten a job before and interviewing again, they think, won’t be hard.

We teach this extensively in www.thejobsearchsolution.com. It is our online program that can teach just about anybody how to find a job. A person is much more likely to overcome their fear if they know exactly what they need to do and have practiced it over and over and over and over.

Interviewing does not come naturally or easily. Reframing stress is certainly valuable, but practicing exactly what to do and how to do it when you get in the stressful situation will make the cognitive reappraisal successful.

 

www.thejobsearchsolution.com

 

…one candidate…four employers..who did what right?

This scenario comes from one of our placement managers here, Pamela Miller. Her candidate was a 20 something person with five years of overall experience. He was bright, energetic, well- spoken and presented himself extremely well. His resume, however, did not do the candidate any close to justice. He started out in one career path (accounting) for three years and then moved to a second career (sales) where his drive and relationship skills were a better match.

Pamela presented him to four companies. Two of the companies agreed to see him face-to-face without looking at the resume. One of the firms decided, without consulting with us or the candidate, that he would not be willing to accept their base salary. He made a higher base salary in another industry which pays bigger bases of lower commissions. One of the firms looked at the resume and passed on him.

The two companies that interviewed the candidates face-to-face made him job offers immediately. Interestingly enough, he accepted the lower base salary offer which was the same base of the company who passed on him because they didn’t think he would take their base salary.

So, who handled the interviewing process correctly? Were the companies who saw the candidate in person right?  Was the company who, based on his resume, passed on him right? Obviously, they missed out. And was the company who decided unilaterally that the candidate wouldn’t be happy accepting their base before they even tried to hire him right?

Our profession is a totally inaccurate science. As I often say, we deal with “spiritual beings acting human.” Probably none of these people were really outright “wrong.” But as you can see, those that made assumptions might have missed an exceptionally good candidate.

 

 

…..how a “client” can totally turn off a recruiter

Here are some of the ways that a “client” can really turn a recruiter off:

  • Tell me you know exactly the kind of experience you’re looking for, when you haven’t hired anyone in a year, instead of asking me: “This is what I’d like to find, will the market bear it?”
  •  “We absolutely need to find “x”  amount of experience, but we know our pay is really low.”
  •  “We have been interviewing  on and off for three months, we don’t know what were looking for but we thought we’d give you a call and see what you can do.”
  •  “We can only pay a 10% (or 15%)  fee but expect you to come up with excellent candidates.” (So then we ask, “why would we send you an excellent candidate, when the market will bear 25%?” And you answer, “well, we’re such a good company to do business with and certainly we’re going to be able to hire quite a few more people and we’re such a good company.”)
  •  “We have had four people in this position in the last 18 months…and  they were all slugs.”
  • “We really don’t like using recruiters…  but our internal recruiters aren’t any good, so we wanted to see what you could do.”
  •  “I will tell you what were looking for, but you need to work through our  internal recruiters in the home office. They have to screen all the resumes and candidates. (And they are all 22 or 23 years old, so they really know what they are doing.”)
  •  “We have six people (or more) involved in the interviewing process and it’s going to take at least three or four weeks to get someone hired.”
  •  “We know we don’t pay very well, but surely you can come up with good candidates.”
  •  You tell me you need candidates very badly and  then, after we organize a group of candidates, you don’t return our calls.
  •  Our calls are not returned.
  •  The hiring authority turns the interviewing over to someone  who, when the candidates show up, tells the candidate that they don’t really have any idea of what the company is looking for…and don’t know why they are even in the interview.
  •  Every one of our candidates is told they are absolutely wonderful and perfect for the job and then they (or we) never hear from anybody.
  • “We know exactly what we are doing…we have done this three or four times before.”
  • “We can tell a great candidate by looking at a resume. We know what’s out there. We just can’t find what we need…send us some resumes.”
  • “We’ll get back to you in a week or so.”
  • “We’ll tell you how to manage the intervewing process. (Insead of asking us, “how should we approach this?”)
  • “We know exactly what we are doing when it comes to hiring.”
  • Tell our candidates that you really don’t like paying a fee.
  • Tell our candidates that since you have to pay a fee, you can’t pay them as much of a salary.
  • Not forewarning us about the horrible Glass Door  reviews about your company.
  • Telling us, “I’ve never made a mistake in hiring!” (either you have never hired anyone or you are a liar)
  • Not relying on  our experience…been here since 1952…our recruiters average 16 years of experiece. We each (more than 20 of us) interview more people in two weks than most hiring managers interview in a year.
  • You get mad at me and our candidate when you took 3 to 4 weeks for your “interviewing process” to find out that someone else interviewed and hired the candidate in four days.

The best way to keep all of this from happening is to simply call us, tell us what you need and then will help you design an approach that’s going to make you (and are candidates) successful. It is an easy, but it’s really simple and we keep it that way

 

…..how a candidate can totally turn off a recruiter

Here are some of the things that would totally turn us off:

  • Tell me what you’re qualified to do when you haven’t looked for a job in five years and you have no idea what the market is like
  • Want a $10,000 increase when you change jobs because your spouse says you deserve it
  • Send me a three-page resume with the first page devoted to your “objective” and your “summary.”
  • Refuse to come interview with me when you live within 50 miles of my office.
  • Tell me what you’re worth because you read it on the Internet.
  • Tell me you want a management job because the people you work for are idiots and you know you can do better than them.
  • Keep your voicemail full
  • You tell me that you don’t want to go on the interview  because you can make more money than  what the employer told us they would pay by staying on unemployment
  • Tell me you only want to communicate by text
  • Tell me you already know how to interview when I go to coach you.
  • Tell me you want to review every company I might try to get you an interview with before I do it.
  • Tell me you know exactly how recruiters work because you were one for six months
  • Refuse to go on an interview because: it just doesn’t sound good… you looked them up on Glass Door and didn’t like what you saw… you had friends that worked there and they didn’t like it… It’s not the size of company you want… you never heard of them, so they can’t be good….that’s the wrong title… I need more money than that
  • Tell me you really know what the market is for your skills because you’ve been reading about people on the Internet, your father-in-law and three friends told you what the market is like and, “Oh, yeah, my old college roommate got a job with the kind of company I want to go to work for in Florida. He’s nowhere near as smart as I am, so get me one like that!”
  • You give me a time when you can interview and I get my client to commit to that time and you call me up an hour before the interview and tell me “something has come up” and you won’t tell me what it is. You just leave me a voicemail.
  • Give me a vague resume with company names, but no clear explanation of what the company does, vague titles that don’t tell me what you do or did, no measurable accomplishments associated with each recent job (not what you did 20 years ago).
  • You tell me that since your unemployment has run out, you are ready to go back to work
  • You don’t call me back after an interview
  • You don’t write a hiring authority a thank you note after you interview
  • You lie on your resume or your LinkedIn profile …or the experience on your resume and your LinkedIn profile don’t match
  • You tell me you need a job and then I get you an interview and can’t find you.
  • I get you an interview, you don’t show up, you don’t inform me and then five years later call me and ask for my help acting like nothing ever happened (thinking that I don’t remember… I do!)
  • You expect me to work a “miracle” and get you a job that you are not qualified for and what’s worse, be angry at me when I can’t do it.
  • Be mad at me when I can’t get you an interview, not realizing that I don’t “write the rules” of what my clients are looking for. They tell me what they want and need and I do my best to find what they asked for.
  • Telling me exactly how you should sell yourself to a prospective employer
  • Not realizing that if “we” don’t win together, nobody does
  • Not realizing that you may need me again somewhere down the line and it’s not a good idea to alienate me. (I do realize that if you need a job and get one, you no longer really need me… at least for the moment. But somewhere down the line, you may need me.)
  • You act as though you’re doing me a “favor” by gracing my doorstep and getting the unbelievable, phenomenal, exquisite opportunity to represent you.
  • When you don’t realize that this is an equitable business deal for both of us. If I get you a good interview and a good job, I’m a hero. If I don’t, I’m a bum.
  • It doesn’t matter how long I’ve been here. If I’d been here 47 minutes or 47 years, if I get you a good interview that results in a job opportunity, we are all heroes.
  •  When you don’t realize that we do our dead level best to help everybody. We wish we could place everyone, but again, we don’t write the rules.
  •  When people don’t appreciate that an organization pays us around $20,000 or more to get better candidates they can’t find on their own. We have to come up with as close to perfect as can be.
  • You don’t tell me everything going on in your job search…you were fired three months ago and tell me you are still employed… you’ve already accepted a new job but want to see if you can find something “better”…your present job is being eliminated, but you don’t tell me… you were fired for cause and don’t tell me…you’ve got a felony in your background and don’t tell me.
  •  When people aren’t aware that we have empathy for everyone. We would love to help everybody find a job.
  • Since you heard the market is “hot,” you are “casually” looking for a new opportunity if it comes your way and then proceed to give me all of the parameters you’d “have to have” before you even consider a move

A few years ago, a fellow came by our office and asked to speak with me. I went to the front office and he introduced himself. He said that I had found him a job in 1983. I placed him at a chemical company as a chemical mixer. He was hired to mix some rather toxic chemicals (the EPA was only a few years old and probably didn’t pay much attention to this company. It only had 12 people in it). He was driving by our office and he wanted to stop and thank me for finding him the job. He was the ninth candidate that the company offered the job to then…everyone previous to him turned the job down. They paid him $750 a month when I placed him.  He wanted to thank me because now he not only owned the company, but he had close to 100 people working there. He said he was making a boatload of money… a whole lot more than $750 month.  I have to admit that it brought tears of joy to my eyes.

That’s the reason we do this kind of stuff.

 

….don’t let my red state become blue!

I have a candidate who is moving here from Seattle, Washington. He’s moving himself, his wife and two children. He has no family here, doesn’t really know anybody, but when you ask him why he’s moving here he says it’s because Texas is a red state. He goes on about how goofy where he was born and raised is (Seattle) and that he just can’t imagine raising his family there and, even if he has to start all over, he’s got to get out of there.

I had another conversation with a candidate who just moved here from Illinois. She has some cousins here and wanted to start a better life. I called her about an appointment that I had for her and she told me that, “I can make more money than that on unemployment… maybe I’ll just move back to Illinois.” In the 47 years that I’ve been doing this I hear this reason of why a person doesn’t want to go on an interview from time to time. I’ve heard it more lately and it’s all I can do to keep from getting sick. It isn’t so much that a person can make more on unemployment. It’s that that kind of attitude is pathetic. It’s obvious that when people can make more money not working then they can working, we got our values messed up.

When I first moved to Texas from Oklahoma via St. Louis for a few years, there were 600,000 people in all of North Texas. I’d love to tell you that it was dazzling brilliance that brought us here, but it was more luck than anything else. I’ve seen eight recessions, but this is still an absolutely wonderful place. We simply can’t afford to have Texas become blue.

I really appreciate that companies from California like Oracle and Tesla are moving to Texas. But the whole reason they’re moving to Texas is because we are a red state. It is because 99% of the people in this state do not have the attitude that the lady from Illinois does. The government thinks it’s helping people out by giving them hefty unemployment checks. And maybe those people will vote to keep the people that gave them that money  in office. But it’s a lousy idea.

I hope that all the people that moved here from the “left” coast bring the work ethic with them that made Texas what it is. It’d be better if they leave their blue state attitude behind. The attitude that “I can make more money off of unemployment than I can working,” is not what got us where we are.

I remember my immigrant grandfather telling me what it was like to trade dry goods with the Indians in Oklahoma. He immigrated to Oklahoma before it was a state. He learned to speak Cherokee before he learned to speak English. He was dirt poor when he came to this country, became rich before the depression and then became poor again after it. He said that’s what he loved about America so much was that you could be rich or poor by your own willingness to work. And yeah, he was discriminated against. He was a foreigner and a Catholic. The clan burned a cross on a (Christian) church across from his house one time. But he never complained or acted like a victim, at least according to my father. He just worked harder.

The government didn’t take care of my grandfather and I don’t want the government to take care of me. I have an idea that my candidate moving here from Seattle will find a good job. Let the lady from Illinois move back.  Just don’t let Texas become blue.

 

….take any interview you can

I referred one of my candidates to a company…he knew the V.P. of sales, the guy he was supposed to interview with…they had worked together before..

My candidate didn’t like the guy and told me he really didn’t want to go on the interview. After downright cajoling him, I got him to go. ”You never know what might happen,” I said.

Well, he got to the interview and the V.P. marched him into the CEO’s office and the CEO started interviewing my candidate for a position they had just thought about creating.

It was on the same level as the V.P.’s job.

You never know about what kind of position you might be interviewing for…go on every interview you can..

…okay, so sometimes people do stupid stuff, but…

This week I had a potential VP candidate interview with a new CEO of a small IT consulting firm. The candidate had built two companies just like this from zero to many millions of dollars. Now I admit that it was a bit of a personality mismatch. The CEO is as much of an analytical person as you could ever imagine. Obviously, being new on-the-job, he was going to be extremely careful about who he hired to help build the firm for the owners.

The candidate was about as much of a driver, “I can do anything… Just let me at them” kind of guy – very gregarious and outgoing. Not picking up very well that the CEO he was interviewing with was extremely analytical, our candidate made some rather broad statements without specific, analytical answers. For instance, when the CEO asked him, “How would you train a young and relatively new salesperson?” The candidate answered, “Well, I tell them to just get in my car and I’ll go show them how we do it!” Not very specific and probably the last thing an analytical hiring person wants to hear.

They spent three hours together and there was no doubt the candidate has the ability to do the job. To make matters even more challenging, when the candidate sent a thank you note, he misspelled the name of the company, had two other misspellings in the email and a couple of awkward grammatical errors. Ow!!!!

Well, of course in getting feedback from the CEO those were the things that he mentioned. He even said, “I would expect a VP to have a specific, systematic formula and instructions for new salespeople.” And, along with that, “Am I going to have to check the emails that this guy sends?” “If I need to do that, I can do the job myself and I don’t need to hire him.”

The sadness to this whole thing is that the candidate had prepared a “stack” of slides and presentations about how he had built the two firms that he had built before along with workbooks and notebooks of exactly how to train salespeople. He had all of these in absolute detail. He says that he asked the CEO if the CEO would like to look at them and he understood the CEO to say, “Not at this time.”

Now, it’s easy to say that the candidate should or could get written off for, first, not reading the CEO properly, not leaving the documents with the CEO proving exactly how he would go about building the company and, of course, a poorly written email.

The CEO told me that he really hasn’t said, “no” just yet. But, it bothers him that the candidate gave a “shotgun” answer to what the CEO considered to be a very specific question and, of course, the lousy email. One certainly can’t blame the CEO for having trepidations. The candidate should have read the guy better, gone into specific details about how he hires, trains and manages salespeople and then insisted upon leaving the in-depth information about how he built the last company he grew.

The lesson here is simple but extremely important. Hiring authorities make decisions about hiring people often times on very little information. But, what else do they have to go by? They make decisions about candidates by how they interview, what they say in an interview and what they might write to the hiring authority after the interview. You can’t blame a hiring authority for judging everything about a candidate on the few things they might experience. Yeah, it’s unfair. But, life is unfair.

The candidate did send to the CEO the whole “stack” of information about his success and how he has been successful before. The CEO has agreed to review it.. I reviewed the information and it is stellar. This candidate really knows what he’s doing and he’s got the documentation to prove it.

Okay, so, some people just do stupid stuff. That doesn’t mean that they aren’t good at what they do. Hopefully, the CEO will reconsider the candidate based on the candidate’s past performance. But, the candidate as an uphill battle. He’s going to have to overcome some real concerns.

…..when you are interviewing for a position when the last one, two or three people (or more) have failed

…or they are no longer there for one reason or another. This is a relatively extreme example but it demonstrates problems that hiring authorities and companies create for themselves… and therefore create for a candidate.

Almost two years ago one of our clients hired a first line manager whose job was to help the second line manager mentor a number of salespeople. Part of the position’s responsibility was to sell but also help 15 to 16 sales reps (mostly junior) through their sales process. Unfortunately, the first guy they hired left after about seven months ostensibly because he couldn’t get along with the guy he reported to, who was not the second line manager, but the second line manager’s boss.

Three or four months later after interviewing eight or nine candidates, they hired a second guy. His background and experience was pretty perfect and he was a good hire. Unfortunately, he shared some information about his company…physical documents…with a friend of his at another company. Somehow, it got out that he shared this information and his company considered it proprietary information, claimed that he violated company policy and let him go. He is actually a really good guy and what he did really, by most standards, wasn’t any big deal. The information you shared was not top-secret, -“how we built the atom bomb and plan to use it” type of stuff. It was really pretty benign. But enough people found out about the incident so the company felt like they needed to fire the guy to make an example.

So, they start looking for another person. But keep in mind over the past almost a year that all of this had been going on. They probably interviewed 15 to 20 qualified candidates. What they look for is pretty hard to find although it’s a really good job with a really good company. So, once they started over there were already a number of people they had eliminated and there was a slim number of qualified candidates to continue pursuing.

Now, nobody ever admit to this, but having done this for so long, I  am absolutely certain that the vice president in charge of this whole thing feels like he is under a microscope. This is an unfortunate situation that happens more often than people even imagine. When anybody, VP, CEO, warehouse manager, maintenance manager… any manager of a group of people hires two people that don’t work out back to back they rapidly think, and often correctly, that he or she is being watched very carefully. Someone they report to who reports to someone else who reports to someone else are all wondering, “what’s wrong with this manager…  she or he hires doofuses; therefore, they must be a doofus.”

The truth is that this kind of thing happens all the time. It’s mostly just plain bad luck. But it is just plain too easy to “blame,” in this case, the vice president. So, he or she thinks to themselves, “I really don’t want to make a mistake. I really want to be careful about the next person that I hire. I can’t afford to hire the wrong person and… (look like a doofus).

So, what happens? The interviewing process gets longer and gets harder. The company interviews candidates ad infinitum. In this case it’s taken almost 18 months and at least 30 candidates. Twice in that period of time the company found two really good candidates, but they were so careful to not make a mistake they put them through six or seven interviews over a period of four or five weeks, but lost both candidates to other companies who moved faster. One candidate they offered the job to after six weeks of interviewing got hired by one of their competitors the day they made him the offer. The competitor the candidate went to work for initially interviewed the candidate on a Monday and hired him that Friday. They did it in four days!

The longer this kind of thing goes on, the more difficult it is for the vice president. He is really not to “blame.” He is simply acting the way any normal human being would. The longer this whole thing goes on, the more he has to worry about how he appears to the rest of the company. He is probably way too self-conscious about the whole mess, but it’s simply human nature.

We are still interviewing. Some recruiters would just drop this whole thing and figure it’s just not worth it and they should simply cut their losses of investment of time and effort and move on to someone who is in a rational position to make a decent decision. The client is really not hard to work for, they’ve just gotten themselves in such a psychological ditch and created their own problem. Forty seven years ago I worked in higher education and it was there, I heard this statement that, “not to decide is to decide.” One of the reasons that I left higher education is it’s run by committees. Committees can’t much decide anything. (You know what a camel is, don’t you? It’s a horse gone to committee).

Eventually the pain of needing someone in this position will overcome the emotional and psychological strain of the risk in hiring someone for it.

If you are a candidate interviewing in a situation even similar to this and you find out that the last two (or three or four) hires have not worked out very well, be ready for the gauntlet… be ready to try to be Mr. or Ms. Perfect. I know it’s not fair, but life isn’t fair. Just be ready for it.

 

….”daddy, why do you keep repeating the same thing?”

I was probably about 10 years old. Looking back I was probably pretty hardheaded and, also looking back, my dad was probably a lot more patient than I thought at the time.

He said, “Well, when you get the message and start doing things right, I’ll quit repeating!” And then we went back to what we were doing. I don’t really remember what it was, but looking back, I remember him saying that a number of times.

I was reminded of it this week when we had yet another search that took almost 8 weeks to complete, began all over again because our client simply just took too long to make a decision.

What happened was real simple; it was just real painful. Two months ago our client interviewed three really spectacular senior consulting salespeople to lead a national practice. After initially interviewing the three, he decided to pursue one. They told us that it would take at least two weeks for them to let him interview with the five people they needed to speak with. We explained to the client that two weeks was a very long time in this market and they would run a real big risk of losing the candidate. In a rather superior, egotistical tone the vice president told us, “Well, that’s what we have to do. If it takes two weeks, it takes two weeks!” Well, it took 2 1/2 weeks for five people to interview this guy. (It was so very important that five people talk to this guy because it was such an important position… Yes, I’m being sarcastic.)

The five people interviewed the guy and he got a thumbs-up from everybody, which we knew he would because he was absolutely stellar. They went to make him an offer and all of a sudden, out of the blue a group of people that he had spoken to two years ago had called him up, “interviewed him,” and hired him.

Our client just couldn’t believe that the guy took another job. They were downright mad. So, we started again. The first candidate was kind enough to refer another candidate to us. We immediately referred her to the client. The VP liked her and wanted to put her through “the paces.” This time we asked if there was any way that we could shorten the time that it would take to do the interviewing and cut the number of people down because “time kills deals.” He stated in a very egotistical way that that wasn’t possible, that they’ll see what they can do about shortening it. They got through the process with the candidate and just as they were ready to do something with our candidate another candidate that they found on their own magically appeared. On paper the candidate looked better and the company decided to tell our candidate that they were pursuing another candidate and that if they had a chance to hire this come lately candidate, they would. Our candidate was disappointed, but there wasn’t much that she could do about it

Of course their process took another two weeks. We had pretty much written the thing off, but then got a call from the VP to say that their  stellar candidate had decided to stay where he was and wanted to  call our last candidate and offer her the job. Our candidate, whose feelings were hurt, had meanwhile been interviewing at other places. Our sense is that she told our client that she would be interested in an offer as payback for not hiring her to begin with. The reason I say that is because it took our client two or three days to put the offer in writing and when she got it she turned it down. She even wrote them that, “I was very interested in going to work for you, but when you told me that I was in second place to another candidate after I had spent a lot of time and effort interviewing with you and pretty much felt like you had told me I would be hired, I kept interviewing and I decided to take another position. Good luck! I suggest in the future that you don’t lead people on.”

That was probably a bit of a rude thing to write, because she may run into these people again somewhere down the line, but she has a point. Eight weeks later, our client is back to square one. They took too long. They had too many people involved in the process and their egos got in the way.

Like daddy said, “I’ll keep repeating the lesson until you learn it.”