Last Summer, I worked on a job order for an outside sales rep in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. It was a home office situation as the head office is in the US. I recruited a candidate with the experience, education and personality that they were looking for. After several rounds of interview, the company made a verbal offer to the candidate and everything was smooth sailing. At the 11th hour, the hiring manager left the company and left the situation in chaos.

It took us a while to figure out who the new contact person was and the process was slow. The Candidate was promised to start in two weeks, but there was no instruction was passed to any of us regarding the job offer.

Few more weeks went by, we still heard nothing. The candidate got upset as his prospective employer because of the long process. He start to change his mind regarding his decision on joining this company. For the next two days, I listened to his rant and his anger. I tried to defend the client's action, but he just got angrier as he didn't think I was on his side. In the end, he told me that he does not want anything to do with this company any more.

That was also the end of the working relationship with this company.

Needless to say that I was upset as I lost the commission, but I tried to convince myself that I did the right thing by not talking him into taking this offer. My rational is that he wasn't happy with how he was treated by the company and the new hiring manager. In the process, I also lost respect from some of my colleagues as they think I should have tried harder to sell the company and the job to the candidate.

What do you guys think?

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Hard choices always come down to a basic truth:  Do you do what's best (for the company...for the candidate...for your agency...for you) or do you do what's right?  Doing what's best (for any of the above) doesn't always work out to being what's right.  End the end it is yours to live with...not theirs.

There's an old saying "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink".  I believe you did the right thing.  Perhaps it shook up the client to know that they lost a potentially valuable employee due to their lacking a sense of urgency. Also, I think the situation could have been handled better had the hiring manager's manager  taken the reins. Everyone would have had a chance to win.

Well Raphael, s--- happens in this business.  Candidates get frustrated because clients don't fit into their picture of how it should be.  Clients come and go, often because of a change in people.  It is just part of the business.  I am sure you did the right thing.  In truth, it sounds like with the change in hiring manager, your client was up in the air about the job.  Unless it had progressed to the point where there was a firm offer and offer letter, there was probably no real offer for you to have negotiated and no one at the company for you to negotiate with.  Your candidate may have been frustrated and angry with them and with you, but you have to act professionally, which is always the right thing to do.  Once the dust settles, even if the candidate never says anything to you, he will know that you did right by him.

Had this candidate taken this job and the client remained disorganized you would have lost credibility with the candidate and respect for the client. In the end you would have had to replace the candidate. It would not have been worth it to talk them into it.

In my opinion, your actions were right on. Hopefully, you and the candidate remained on good terms. A sales prospect, who is of interest to one company, will be of interest to others. Too, if you had persisted, the placement may have resulted in a candidate who resigned within days or weeks of accepting the position. That would have been a worse scenario. It's about the people in these situations. I think, those of us with experience, have been in similar situations. Not easy, but it happens and you deal with it.

To be honest, I think the right thing to do is to talk someone out of a role.  This way you get the right person for the job


I understand your situation and candidate situation too .  

if I take it corporate side, their chalanage  was to get max fit candidate. If they got some from internal reference and negotiations are still going on, then silence is best approach.  

But if company and candidate both has a job fit, I am sure if you talk with company and hten with candidate you will surely get some insight. 

Its a sales challenge man ,  we face daily. 

Why did you lose the client? I think you could of explained to the new contact your history with this placement and they would of understood. Could you have done a better job with the candidate? Maybe but it sounds like the candidate had offers on the table with other companies and this is why they backed out or did not wait. I would not blame yourself. As for your colleagues unless they know how hard you tried to sell and keep the candidate on "Ice" while the client dragged there feet they should not have an opinion or lose respect. This is the staffing business, a complex business that can be rewarding and very frustrating as our product is people! If it were me I would of gone back to your saleman or sales department and asked them to step back in and salvage the account. Danilo Reyes - Business Development.

Well said Conor!
Conor Lydon said:

To be honest, I think the right thing to do is to talk someone out of a role.  This way you get the right person for the job

As much as we try to get our client companies to sell their company and why someone would want to work there most of them believe candidates are dying to work there and they don't have to. Unfortunately they miss out on some great candidates who look past just a paycheck and look more into the culture and integrity of the company. The interview process is just the beginning of what is to come down the road and an experienced and successful candidate wants to jump on board an enthusiastic, quick and nimble company. A recruiter can only do so much to keep the candidate hot the rest is up to the company.

Thank you for everyone's input on this topic.  I really appreciated the time that my fellow recruiters gave to this topic.  I have been a recruiter for almost 10 years and this is not the first time.  I am sure it won't be the last time either.  

I didn't feel that I did anything wrong either. Manipulating others to accept a job order for my personal gains isn't my style.   Being a recruiter is just my chosen profession, but I am a person first.  

I don't think we can ignore changes in company structure, it happens. The only thing I might have tried to do differently to keep everybody from getting mad on both sides would have been to explain to the candidate that unfortunately there was a new hiring manager which has changed the landscape significantly. Let's see if we can arrange for you to go back and meet the new manager. Even though there is a verbal offer on the table, I want you to be sure that this is someone you would enjoy working with moving forward and vice versa. Apparently this was somewhat unexpected.

I would have then contacted my client and suggested the same thing. Everybody should have the opportunity to meet the people they work with. If that was not possible then you absolutely did the right thing. Would he have accepted the job in the first place if he had never met the hiring manager or would the verbal offer have ever been made if the hiring manager had not met him? Of course not, so regroup, if you can't make that happen it's a bad deal all the way around.

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