I presented a great candidate to my client a month ago, and they extended an offer to him this week. He accepted, and then two things happened: a counter offer came from his current employer, and an unexpected third company asked him to interview next week. He really likes the sound of this third job, so has decided to play the first two employers by accepting both of their offers while he explores the new job, and then make a final decision. I can’t get him to understand that this is a really bad idea. What should I do next?
Stuck and Uncomfortable
Dear Stuck and Uncomfortable,
Ok, let's help you get unstuck...but I'm not sure you'll be any more comfortable. When exactly did you lose control? Was it when you didn’t prep the candidate to expect and turn down a counter offer
? Or when you found yourself participating in the rationalization that it’s ok to lie as long as the deal comes together in the end? If you’re worried about coaching this “great candidate” through a messy decision making process, you’re deeper in denial than he is. But if you want to keep your integrity and a solid client relationship, read on.
This situation has all the earmarks of a deliciously bad soap opera: a headstrong candidate about to receive the Darwin Award
for career suicide; a potential employer about to fire you (and who could blame them if they did?); a jilted former employer already planning for this guy’s replacement; and an innocent bystander thinking that he’s got a prize catch on the line (surprise, surprise when he wakes up to the real story).
What goes around comes around, and this candidate’s Karma is packing a whopper. My grandmother used to say, “Don't roll around with a pig in the mud, honey. You’ll just get dirty, and the pig will enjoy it.” This guy is a pig in every negative sense of the word -- and you're going to need some commercial grade laundry detergent soon.
Here’s my advice: Fire the candidate. Tell your client the truth. And present the backup candidate pronto. What’s that you say? There is no backup candidate? Then your job isn’t done yet, is it? Get back to work, my friend.
In my day job, I’m the head of Products for Improved Experience, where we help employers use feedback to measure and manage engagement for competitive advantage in hiring and retention. Learn more about us here
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