If you follow this blog, you know that we spend a lot of time talking about how candidates mess up interviewing and how employers really mess up the interviewing process. It’s easy to point out the negative, because it’s something that people want to avoid. We write about things that go wrong in the hopes that people will learn from them. Unfortunately, getting hired and hiring people is such an emotionally difficult thing most people, no matter how practiced, don’t do a very good job of. So, we write about the unfortunate situations. I often make the analogy, though, that hiring is like bench pressing 500 pounds. It’s really simple but it’s really hard to do.
But every once in a while, a group of people come along and make the whole process look so simple and easy. A week ago last Wednesday, we got a call from the vice president of a $200 million software firm. He’d been a candidate of ours a number of years ago. His company had been trying to find a salesperson through their own recruiting department for about a month and they’d only been able to come up with three or four candidates through their own efforts. He gave us great information about what he was looking for (really, really, really important), then turned us over to their internal recruiter, who seemed to be a really nice person and not threatened by us or our expertise. (Many internal recruiters often begin by telling us that, “I used to be in your business…” We don’t say much, because it’s not worth doing, but why would someone go into a corporate recruiting job making even $100,000, when, if you’re really good, you can make three times that on the agency side? That’s another discussion, but most of the people in our profession don’t really belong in it. That’s why the average recruiter only stays in this business 15 months.)
The VP had explained what he was looking for and she suggested that she be the first person our candidates speak to. We’re not normally very wild about this idea, because while an internal recruiter might really be nice and really know what she’s talking about, most candidates want to talk to the guy or gal that is really doing the hiring. However, this lady was a little different. She went over the very specific process that they had in hiring. She would speak to the candidate for 30 minutes. If she thought they were a decent candidate, she would pass them along to the VP. He would spend 45 minutes to an hour with the candidate via zoom. If he thought the candidate was good he would then organize a team meeting with his boss and two of his peers. He said he could do it in a short period of time. (Normally we only believe people when we see what they do rather than listen to them tell us what they do.)
We came up with six (excellent) candidates within two days. The internal recruiter spoke to four of them and passed four of them on to the VP. The VP liked two of them and told them he would schedule a team meeting with them with his boss and two of his peers. They did all of this within three days. Now this is a smart group of people!
Right after the team interview, one of the candidates got another offer, which he took. Our client then checked the references of our second candidate and hired him. They very well could have gotten the two other candidates in the queue, but frankly, there was not a lot of difference between the three of them. They had the whole thing done in one week.
Obviously, our client had a sense of urgency. They had been looking on their own for a very long period of time. We did our job and came up with excellent candidates. But, no matter how many good candidates we might be able to come up with, we are still at the mercy of the hiring authority’s process.
It’s really simple and easy to do. Don’t ask me why more companies don’t hire this way. It’s been a mystery to me since 1973. Yea for folks like this!