A certain company located in a rural part of Georgia was looking for a senior manager for their call center. The job had been open for nearly a year and the interview process proved to be a revolving door -it seemed no one was 'just right.' This is a cautionary tale of what happens when you fail to qualify a company and their requirement. . You're only as good as the companies you represent, someone once said to me. How true.

Anyway, our account manager jumped in this job with great ardor. That our competition was not working it should have sounded alarms. It didn't. That the client resisted signing a fee agreement was another bell-clanger. But within a week we found someone from a much bigger company, far exceeding the client’s requirements and not only willing to take a 15K cut but also, relocate himself in order to be closer to his family.

Phone interview # 1 -- client never calls, so we reschedule.

Phone interview #2 -- client calls 2 hours late

Face-face interview #1 -- client cancels interview because manager won't be in town

two weeks later, client reschedules

Face-face interview #1 take two -- client cancels interview again because of internal issues

two weeks later, client reschedules again

Face-face interview #1 take three -- Applicant shows up at client site, on time after taking a vacation day but there's nobody to interview him...managers, knowing about the interview attend an out-of-town meeting without telling anyone. Receptionist sends applicant home.

Face--face interview #1 take four -- Applicant finally gets his interview, but senior manager, the decision maker is not there requiring another interview

By now, applicant is mildly hostile. The client agrees to make a special trip to Atlanta to see him, offers nice expensive dinner at a posh restaurant.

Applicant shows up at restaurant. Client no-shows.

Applicant no longer interested in job but client begs him directly to reconsider. Applicant says Okay.

Week later, client calls to say job has changed direction and applicant is no longer a fit.

Same day, we tell client our company will no longer recruit for them.

Week later, client give us another job order. This one's been open for 18 months.

We respectfully tell the client we decline the position.

Four days later, the HR manager is sending the marketing rep nasty-grams becasue we haven't submitted anyone.

Views: 102

Comment by Rob Segall on July 17, 2010 at 1:49am
Now, that's a dark comedy! That kind of stuff only happens to Ricky Gervais. I feel pretty bad for your candidate- no one should be put through that torture...

What a great story you have for your new clients though. I'd have your sales team learn to tell that tale to every single one of your customers. It will remind them to be more mindful of their brand. Go recruit from that place, the employees probably hate it if it's managed like that.
Comment by Sandra McCartt on July 17, 2010 at 5:00pm
This may sound like hitting yourself on the head with a hammer because it feels so good when you quit, but...you may the opportunity to develop a very good client. Quit gagging!

Gather up your outrage, call the highest authority you can talk to with this company and the HR manager set up a time to go talk to them and make it clear that you know they have a history of canceling meetings so if they will schedule with you ask them to make a commitment to be there.

Take a laundry list of the mess they have made of the situation you just went through with dates and times. Don't minch words. If nothing else it will make you feel better to face to face tell them that they operate like a bunch of senile old women. I would tell them they need help worse than any company you have ever worked with and you are willing to get them out of the ditch and fill their needs but...
Here is the engagement letter if you want to sign it now we can continue, if not i can't help you and i won't waste any more of your time or mine. If so we can move on to point 2.

Take it down the line firm, fair, friendly and face to face. The worst thing that can happen is that they tell you to hit the door. They obviously need more help than they are willing to admit but somebody knows it.

A messy, screwed up situation can sometimes be turned into one of the best clients you will ever have. God knows if you can line them out and save their ass you will be the go to person. If the HR manager is calling you at all he/she knows help is needed.
Comment by Barbara Goldman on July 18, 2010 at 12:05pm
This is a nightmare. Is the same person screwing up the hire all over the world? I think that the problem you are having is because nobody in the process respects the recruiter.

You'll find that the higher up you go, the more respect our profession has. The people who are recruited, and rely on recruiters, are at the top. Sandra is right. I would handle it the same way. By following Sandras lead, you may find that the person who is in your way mysteriously disappears.

I always know that next year, I'll be here. (God willing) An incompetent HR manager, or hiring manager will not. NEXT!
Comment by Dan Hunter on July 19, 2010 at 8:26am
I think Sandra makes an excellent point, i appreciate its easier said than done but the CEO / MD of the comapny would probably have kittens if they knew staff were messing around like this. Imagine their surprise when the top person goes mental and you're there standing next to them, remember to wave at the hiring manager that messed everyone around and mouth 'remember me' from a safe distance. :-)

But yeah good story and we all have a few of these i think!
Comment by Ross Clennett on July 19, 2010 at 6:32pm
Mark, with respect, why did you even spend one minute on this client's business once they declined to sign the fee agreement? That action is always the #1 sign that the client is about to waste your time. If the client has no commitment to a fair and transparent agreement with respect to fees then there is a very high probablility that they have little respect for your skills or time.
Comment by Brian Keith on July 21, 2010 at 11:55am
Doesn't sound like they had/have a true sense of urgency. Tire-kicking I'd guess. I don't know how small the company is but that may be another factor. They may not have the money or they're not willing to part with it.

I had a VP of Sales ask me to work on a position. He said, "It MUST be filled by April!" It was March.

I asked him, "What happens if you don't get it filled by April?" "Nothing.", he replied.

I continued, "If you add this person to your team, what happens to your quota?" "It goes up.", he said.

"Based on the average length of your sales cycle, do you expect this individual to meet their revenue objective before the end of the year?" "No.", came the response.

My final question, "So, if I've got this right, you have absolutely NO incentive to fill this position?" ....long pause.... He said, "Wow! You're right! I really don't have a reason right now."

We continued to chat and he went on to mention offhandedly that he wished his sales people would qualify/ask questions like that. We didn't end up working on that search or any others for that matter. The upside to it is that we our time.

Typically prospects don't waste your time on purpose. They may THINK they have a need but when it comes right down to it they don't. However, they will take all the free help you're willing to provide them. It's not their fault per se. It's just the path of least resistance for them.

In the case you mentioned I'd say they were knowingly manipulating your recruiter. The biggest indicator is that they did not sign the terms of service. Some organizations will take advantage of our good will if we let them.

Additionally, it doesn't sound as though anyone set expectations with the prospect either. They said, "Hey, we've got a job." and the recruiter said, "Great, I'll get straight to work."

Sorry to hear they gave y'all the run-around. We've all been there at one point or another I assure you. Oh, and anyone who says they haven't is lying.

Here's to better hunting next time! Cheers, BK


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