Last night my normal one-hour commute home turned into a brutal two and a half hours. I crawled along in traffic that moved at a snail's pace: about three miles an hour. This went on for about 55 minutes before I was able to get up to about fifteen, then eventually forty-five mph. Normally, I enjoy my drive home as I can catch up with necessary conversations, listen to voicemails I've missed, and think through a solution or hatch a keen idea. This was not so last night.  

The last half of my work day saw ominous clouds roll in from the ocean and the skies broke loose. The rain continued on, becoming increasingly heavier while the air became close and visibility poor. I knew my commute would be longer as a result but I had no idea it would be two and a half times as long. The freeway gave way to numerous accidents and congestion. I pushed forward and, just in time, saw a disfigured wheel and tire in my lane, and was able to avoid an accident myself. As I looked to my left, the twisted metal and destruction was amazing. It appeared to be a single-car accident.

A beautiful pick-truck was practically bent into a taco with the front wheel/tire missing, presumably the one in my lane. The rain pelted my windshield as I cautiously passed by, hoping to see a survivor, though I couldn't imagine the possibility for the truck had hit the dividing wall with such force, it was barely recognizable. A man calmly appeared from the side of the truck with cell phone in hand. I was able to take a breath. The rest of my drive was consumed with thoughts of how easy an accident can occur.

When you become distracted, when you lose sight of the destination - the big picture, the world can fall apart. I have seen it happen in business deals, in real estate, in great war films, and in recruiting. The prize is success, not an increased ego. The goal is a fee paid and position filled, not your great idea being recognized or your name on the leader board. I have been following #recruiter on Twitter for several weeks now and the revelations have been sad. There are recruiters that still don't call back candidates. There are those that fail to properly prepare the interviewee. There are those that pull the rugs out from under potentials with no feedback.  There are liars and thieves among us. 

While I find this disgusting, I continue to watch and hope for a good tweet, occasionally it occurs and I will often retweet both the worst of the bad and the best of the good. It is a reminder for me of the work we still need to do and the reparations we still need to make. Totaling your career takes a little longer than a truck and a simple cell phone call will not bring rescue to your path. Make it a safe drive for those around you and yourself. The end is much prettier.

© by rayannethorn

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Well said, and based on my 40+ years in the HR/Staffing space (22 of which has been with ExecuNet) it will come as no surprise to you or others that there are a lot of executives walking around with very short lists in their pockets when it comes to what recruiting resources they will look to in the future.
Sadly there are liars and thieves in my business disciplines. Usually they fail and the overall population of our business partners are hard working and honest. My work with retained recruiters has been awesome to pitiful. Just like my work with lawyers, financial people, consultants and others.

I have been so lucky to grow two companies - from startup - to over $500M in revenue and in the process, drive the hiring of 2000+ people. The dynamics of this involved the entire United States and Canada. You cannot do that without the help of retained recruiters for the more experienced and key leaders.

Here's my key checklist for a retained search executive - for them to earn my trust.
1) How do you present yourself to me
2) Are you prompt in follow-up - do what you tell me you will do?
3) When it's confidential - on both sides - do you honor those commitments?
4) When you have a conflict - do you tell me right upfront?

There are additonal factors but these are the "up-front" observable traits that are quickly apparent. I have some very long standing relationships with individual recruiters and I've followed them when they have moved on to other companies. There are only a couple but I value them as I know they value me.

So use your own checklist to weed out the few bad and be loyal to those who perform well for you.

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