It happens every year. It’s a rather unbelievable phenomenon and you’d think after more than 47 years of doing this, I’d be used to, as Teilhard de Chardin writes, people are “spiritual beings acting human.”
The “acting human” aspect of this is that more times than I’d like to think about it, candidates missed the opportunity to interview and employers missed the opportunity to interview good candidates because of….spring break! It absolutely drives me nuts. It happened three times last week. The first time, was with a CEO candidate…yes, a CEO who has been out of work for six months had the opportunity to interview for a job as a CEO, in his profession, the only interview he’s been able to secure in three months…and he tells me that he can’t go on the interview because he’s going skiing in Colorado for spring break. “What?…You are going on spring break… spring break. I’ve gotten you the only interview you’ve had in three months and you can’t go because you’re going on spring break????” “Well, I guess I could come back I have to,” he says with a terribly unconvincing, low tone.
The private equity group who was doing the hiring interviewed two other of our candidates and is going to pursue both of them. If one of them does not pan out, they may very well consider the CEO who went skiing.
One of our hiring authorities, (I hate to call them “clients,” because it connotes a much higher business acumen than most deserve) interviews four excellent candidates last week and tells us she loves all of the candidates and is going to have them back and will decide to hire one… after she gets back from spring break next week. “Geez… we aren’t sure that they’re going to be around when you get back,” we tell her. “Well, you came up with those four. You guys are good. I’m sure you can find three or four more,” she says. It is possible that these candidates will still be around when she gets back. But two candidates she is now focused on are excellent and, fortunately, we’ve been able to get them a number of interviews.
We make it look easy to come up with really good candidates. Well, that is what we are supposed to do. But, it isn’t that easy. This market has bounced ridiculously high in the last two months and all of a sudden, candidates are harder and harder to find. Based on what this lady is looking for, it won’t be easy to find others. “Can’t you do a Skype or a zoom meeting with them, while you were on vacation?” we ask. “No, where we’re going hardly has any Internet capability. It’s just gonna have to wait till I get back.” Well, okay, not much we can do.
The third situation involved a hiring authority, whose corporate policy was to have one of their corporate leaders interview his final candidate for a director’s position. The candidate has made it very clear, in a well-balanced tone, that he is receiving two other offers. We asked the hiring authority if his corporate superior could interview the candidate via Skype or zoom while on vacation next week. The answer came back, “no.” The corporate manager was not interested in interviewing anyone while he was on spring break. The candidate says that he is willing to wait. What choice does he have? But, human nature, being what it is, we won’t be surprised if next week, our candidate gets another offer from one or two of these other organizations (neither one of which we are representing). It wouldn’t surprise us at all if he took one of them because he’s tired of looking for a job and he’s really good. “A bird in the hand.”
This kind of thing happens every year and it’s very frustrating. When I was growing up the idea of “spring break,” was simply one day, Good Friday, and my brother and I would go to our father’s laundry and work. I don’t think I ever heard of spring break until our kids were in high school.
I don’t have a problem with anybody wanting to take a vacation. But when you’ve been looking for a job for three or four months and you get the chance to interview and you decide to go on spring break instead, I wonder about your values. When anyone’s spring break is more important than hiring the right kind of candidate, we’ve got our values out of sync.
I hate spring break!