Jesus Christ, I’m on the clock here again.  It’s a good thing my wife made me quit smoking.  I’d need a carton to keep these nerves at bay. Now, instead I compulsively refresh my stock portfolio. It’s down 40%.  In four seconds it’ll be back up.


Just checked. It’s down 45%. Shit, that doesn’t help.


Well, at least I’ve still got Bourbon. As long as I’m in this business I’ll never give that up. It’s noon somewhere for chrissake.


It’s D-day on a Moby-Dick-like deal I’ve been working on since August. If they don’t sign off on this guy, I’m throwing in the towel. Thrill of the chase my ass.  As I type this, I’m waiting to hear from the COO on whether or not they’ll make an offer. 


Since August I’ve been working with this tech company who asked us to find them a CMO. They brought us in after several failed efforts with other search firms and from what I can tell, after determining that their internal recruiters were inept. It’s been an interesting ride, mostly because I like the company’s founders, enjoy working with their executive team, and believe in their model. In most respects, I think they are well positioned for rapid growth. And growth is what they need at this point.  They’ve shed their start-up skin and now focus on scalability.  So, the vacancy in marketing is a huge problem. That huge problem has existed for nearly two years.  It’s symptomatic of a problem in process. A lot of cigarettes can be smoked in two years.


I’m not a “throw-everything-against-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks” type of dude.  I don’t farm many résumés from external job boards.  I'm pretty old school in that regard. We fight tooth and nail for every candidate that I end up on the phone with. And a small percentage of those people ever find themselves in front of my clients.  So, I’ve only presented a dozen candidates in the last 6 months.  Maybe that seems like a small number to you, but every one of those candidates could rock at this job in their sleep.  And every one of those candidates was a cultural fit.  And every one of those candidates was ready to jump ship from their current vessel—vessels I’ll remind you were cruising toward tech greatness.  These were home runs. To hell with that, these were grand slams smashed from Texas to Oaxaca.  Yet only one of these people made it here, to D-day.


Of course, they love this chosen one. Purportedly they were ready to hire him before he walked through the door.  And I don’t blame them. This guy is a dream. I’m straight and I’m married and even I start feeling like a teenage boy in reproductive health class when I talk to this guy about his marketing prowess.  He is, by every count, the perfect fit.  And he’s sitting on two very strong offers from other companies that are presumably equally in love with this guy.  So why has my client asked the Tyson Beckford of technology marketing in for 10 separate meetings, including a marathon day of 5 meetings in 5 hours with 5 different Directors/Sr. Directors (in other words, people who would eventually report to him)?


The fact is they’ve had a helluva time filling this role.  The candidate pool prior to our involvement lacked luster, they made a couple bad hires and compromises, and now they’re gun shy. But what that really means is that they’ve put actors who should be in supporting roles into the spotlight, granted senators and congressmen veto power, given Scotty the keys to the USS Enterprise. Great Scott!

And now, after yesterday’s “final” meeting, a 3 hour presentation by Mr. Right in front of the company’s entire Executive team, they’re deliberating further.


I think they’re calling all their timeouts to ice the kicker.  Well it’s working, dammit. On the bright side, every single one of my stocks has reached their 5 year low.  It’s a good time to buy more.  I’m also considering investing in Marlboro.


Jeremy Spring is a Managing Partner at Élever Professional

He contributes regularly to the blog at

Views: 669

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on January 6, 2012 at 2:59pm

Jeremy I laughed so hard (with you, I promise) reading this... You've proven me right on the following points - 1. Blogging is a form of therapy 2. Recruiting causes Tourrettes, and 3. The best recruiters I know quit their job several times a week.


If you don't update us on this I may take up smoking myself. The suspense is killing me and it's not even my deal! :)

Comment by Darryl Dioso on January 6, 2012 at 5:18pm

Don't be like the Cowboys though and "ice" your own kicker.

Great post. 

Comment by Jeremy Spring on January 6, 2012 at 5:39pm

@Amy- I'll be certain to let you know, though I don't expect to know anything until next week. By then I'll be in rehab, so hopefully it's good news. That shit aint cheap.

@Darryl- duly noted.

Thanks for reading guys.  Have a great weekend.

Comment by Sandra McCartt on January 6, 2012 at 5:49pm

You have been reading my mail.  Don't you love it when they bring an executive level candidate in and have the people who are going to report to them interview them.  The biggest mistake any employer can make my thinks..  Meet the team yes but don't try and get a buy in from people who get to interview their potential boss.  If i had to guess that is part of the current deliberating.  The only thing they haven't done is have their customers interview the guy and give them feedback.


Love the post remember more people die and end up in rehab from booze than they do from blowing a little smoke in some hand waving non smokers face. 

Comment by Jeremy Spring on January 6, 2012 at 5:54pm

@Sandra, Haha! I'd make your "customer" suggestion if I could be certain that they'd receive it with adequate irony.  As it stands, they might actually implement it into policy.

Have a great weekend!

Comment by Sandra McCartt on January 7, 2012 at 12:23am
Ironically I had one that did it. They needed a marketing exec. Who could get their franchisees on the same track so they had the top candidate interviewed by franchise owners. Of course half of them thought he was weak, the others thought he was either too strong or might be sort of ok. The problem to be solved blew up the solution. Couldn't help it, when they told me what they had done and asked what they should do now, I told them they had lost their goddamned minds. I sent them a bill for consulting and we started over. The problem does not get to pick the solution.
Comment by Susan Canarick on January 9, 2012 at 11:24am

I thoroughly agree with Amy.  I'm anxious to hear the outcome as well.  The wait is agonizing, not to mention unprofessional at some point.  Only the strong survive!!  I'll keep good thoughts for you Jeremy!

Comment by Jeremy Spring on January 9, 2012 at 11:40am

Nothing from client yet. 

@sandra- I'll give you my client's phone number.  Maby you can talk some sense into them because I sure as hell haven't been able to. 

@susan- thanks for the kind words. All part of the game, I suppose.

Comment by Sandra McCartt on January 9, 2012 at 12:05pm
Do you have a contact inside who is strongly supporting your candidate? If so maybe you can find out quietly what the internal concerns are and launch your contact to help close from within. We get to a point where we have done everything we can do without just being a pain in the tail. Like waiting for the jury to return a verdict. Sounds like they want a 100% buyin due to past failures. These are a beast, nobody wants to step up and pull the trigger. Look for someone internally who is as frustrated as you are and put the gun in their hand. It might work or you have two positions to fill. Arrrrggghhh.
Comment by Jeremy Spring on January 9, 2012 at 2:05pm

@sandra- sound advice.  thanks


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