….”God is great…beer is good…and people are crazy!” …Billy Currinngton

I love this song. I sometimes listen to it over and over for about a week…even watch the video. I can’t really say it’s inspiring, but it’s certainly amusing. I’m reminded of it often when we experience people, both candidates and hiring authorities, doing things that no one wants to really admit. From time to time, I like to report on them so that those of you out there who experience them can take heart to know that you’re not the only one who runs into crazy things.

It was Pierre Teilhard de Chardin SJ, a French idealist philosopher and Jesuit Catholic priest who wrote that “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” And my interpretation of this is that, “We are spiritual beings acting human.” The hiring process has a tendency to bring out some of the most “human” foibles, because it’s such an emotionally strained process. And the reason that I report on them every once in a while is to have our readers not feel so lonely when it happens to them. So, when you think “Why does this just happen to me”, you can be comforted that this stuff happens to lots of folks. Well, maybe not everybody, but lots of people. For solace, here are some things that have happened in the last month. (For some reason, we all have a tendency to think that businesses in the United States are pristine bastions of business acumen. They aren’t.)

  • Over the last month we had a CEO of a $1 billion company tell a vice president candidate that he would have an offer to him in the mail. He told them this twice. It never came.
  • Candidate tries to engage in a discussion of Black Lives Matter
  • A regional sales manager candidate (not ours… thank goodness) just plain doesn’t show up for the job he’s supposed to start on a Monday, three weeks after he accepted the position. The client called and has to start interviewing again. This has been going on for six weeks. They were in a hurry!
  • Candidate accepts two offers on a Friday and tells us that he’ll show up at whichever job he decides about over the weekend. (One was our client and one was not.)
  • A $4 million company comes up with an interviewing and hiring process: an initial interview with a recruiter….. a half-hour zoom interview with the hiring authority…. a two-hour “committee” interview with five managers (two of whom have absolutely nothing to do with the job)…. a scheduled corporate visit to Houston a week or two after the committee interview…. and they expect to have at least three finalists before they make a decision.
  • Client company interviews one of our candidates last February and loves the candidate. But tells us that they have “adopted” a new method of hiring and they have to compare that candidate with at least seven others. It is now almost July and they haven’t interviewed anyone else because of restructuring, Covid, etc. (and still have the guts to ask if the candidate is still excited.)
  • Hiring authority hires the candidate but sets a starting date either the middle of September or 1 October and implies that he expects the candidate to stop looking for a job.
  • At least two candidates in the last week have outright told hiring authorities that they can make more money on unemployment than they can on what the company was going to pay, so they’re going to pass the opportunities up. (These are, supposedly, professional candidates in a gruesome job market.)
  • Since our client couldn’t really decide if our vice president candidate could do the job or not, they offered him a temp to perm position for 90 days…and expected him to take it. This was after he told them that he had two other offers with base salaries between $250,000 and $300,000. (Why would anyone pass up a permanent job opportunity on that level for a temp to perm job?)
  • After a three-week interviewing process that was going quite smoothly, the V.P. candidate was offered the job by the human resources manager. At the time of the offer, they informed him that he would have to spend three months in the corporate office once he began the job. (In a distant city) This had never been discussed during the whole interviewing process…at all. Obviously, the candidate was shocked, and it really spooked him. Fortunately, the CEO spoke to the candidate and informed him that three months in the corporate office was not something they had in mind. He wasn’t quite sure where the person who offered the job came up with that idea. We sure had to do a lot of damage control.
  • Regional manager candidate goes through four weeks of pretty brutal interviewing with a very first-class caliber software vendor. He outruns and out interviews nine other candidates through a series of grueling one-on-one and group interviews. The VP, after discussing the offer for almost a week, finally offers the candidate the job on a Friday and tells the candidate he absolutely needs to know by the following Monday. The candidate tells him that everything looks good, and he’ll call the VP on Monday. The VP begins to get a little nervous and texts the candidate on Saturday that he would like to get an answer from the candidate by Sunday evening. The candidate doesn’t see the text until Sunday morning. Unfortunately, he’s going through a very difficult divorce and is in the middle of an all day argument with his soon-to-be ex-wife (they are still living under the same roof). Instead of calling the VP, he texts, “I will have to call you tomorrow.” The VP gets nervous, texts the candidate that he wanted to hear from him Sunday evening about accepting the job. The candidate, still involved in an all-day hassle with his soon-to-be ex-wife, doesn’t respond. Sunday evening, the VP rescinds the offer and tells the candidate, in a text, that they’re going to hire the number two candidate. The candidate is devastated. The candidate becomes absolutely furious with the situation. He’s already under emotional stress with his soon-to-be ex-wife and now loses a really good job because of a terse text, on his part, and not responding to the VP Sunday evening. His claim was that, “He told me to talk to him Monday morning…” Well, the VP changed his mind and the candidate should have called him, NOT communicated by text Sunday evening. The candidate claimed that since he was so emotionally distraught by the argument with his soon-to-be ex-wife, he wouldn’t have been in a position to speak coherently. The VP hired the second candidate.
  • But, then again, there was the client I reported about two weeks ago who interviewed eight people, had three back, checked references, had one back and hired that person and did it all within 10 days. Salvation!

As you can see most of these crazy things were actions by companies, hiring authorities, people who are supposed to have their act together. Most people imagine that the majority of a recruiter’s problems are with candidates. It’s simply not so. The people running companies do just as many crazy things as individuals who are applying for jobs.

Billy Currington was right!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *