Also from an old blog -
TKD. The letters of this TLA (Three Letter Acronym) are emblazoned in red on the whiteboard at our firm. They're there because I put them there; and they remain there because all of us in the recruiting business recognize the importance of their meaning. Spelled out, the words are Time Kills Deals. Spelled out further, they mean that once interest has been generated, actions must shortly follow as from then on temporal entropy sets in and attraction on one side or both begins to decay.
No surprise then, timing is everything in head hunting. But so is opportunity, meaning that which a position entails and what it can lead to. So too is location. So is compensation. So is the company as well as a candidate's potential boss, and even a possible mentor. And so, of course, is the talent and intelligence to win it all in an interview, and then take advantage of the gain within the scope of the candidate's career.
Yet rarely, like a conjunction of the planets, do all of these factors converge at the same instant to shine down as the perfect biographical event. Usually something's missing, and as often as not it's the timing. Right job; right company; right opportunity; right compensation; right candidate; wrong time. Which is when I have to take the airplane off of autopilot and go to work.
"The sale begins when the customer says 'No'," is a remark my coworkers hear me make at least once a month and more like once a week. What that translates to is a simple declaration of the difference between a true salesman and an order taker. Good salesmen, like good hunting dogs, recognize the scent of the ideal opportunity long before either their client or their quarry are aware of each other's presence. And they recognize it because their intuition has informed them that pursuing the possible transaction to a favorable conclusion would be in everyone's best interest, not merely their own. In short, they've encountered a small piece of potential local reality that is a microcosmic instance of the greater universal truth, and they won't be satisfied until that piece of the future has been put into place. To not make the effort, perhaps even an heroic effort, would to them be a desecration of not only their profession and their self-identity, but of the four dimensional Cosmos, itself. "This," their instinct tells them, "should happen." "And this, if it's up to me," their will declares, "shall."
Having made a rather provocative - and perhaps egoistic assertion - it's fair to ask is the picture I've framed true to life or is it a distortion? And how can someone tell? Since the answer depends upon the evidence, allow me to present a few examples.
Earlier this year I had a candidate tell me twice in writing and once directly in my ear that he was good where he was and he was absolutely not going to fly into the city where my client was and interview. He had his reasons, which he explained and which I understood, and he was emphatic. In my opinion, however, they were less than compelling and to make a long story short, he did fly there; he did interview; and he works there now. And he, his wife, and my client are all quite happy that he does.
Conversely, I recently I had the opposite occur. Though the location was less than ideal, the candidate willingly came into town. The candidate willingly interviewed. The candidate received an offer even better than I'd expected and had prepared him for… and he turned it down in favor of something closer to where he thought he wanted to be. Naturally we talked about it. Unnaturally the next day he changed his mind. The company, however, having not been counter-offered but outright rebuffed, was not so quick to re-extend the invitation. Having already done what I could, I made the deliberate decision to stay out of the way. More words from me could only screw it up and I had to trust that the right reality would click into place. In the end it did. In the end the company reconsidered, re-extended the offer, and now, three weeks later, all the signatures are in place. And because it's the right person in the right place as I always felt it was, I believe the deal will hold.
A third example transpired late last year. The candidate was on the opposite coast and had already inked an agreement to take over a truly major, career-making operation somewhere else. The compensation was double the best that my client would be able to offer him, yet everything else was right. What do you think happened? After some debate he flew into town, he interviewed, and he cancelled out of the first deal in order to accept the second. Why? Because he consciously recognized what I had already subconsciously realized: that with or without the extra money, for him and his wife the new opportunity simply made more sense.
Perhaps a greater challenge than any of the above is the present search I'm working on, one in which the timing for the candidate that I've identified could not be worse. It is such a long shot that even I have my doubts and have told my client so. Yet because he's the absolute right individual for the position, and the opportunity so perfectly aligns with the candidate's own ultimate goals, he simply Must be pursued. And in my favor, which I try to never forget and have learned to rely upon, is not the realization that candidates will always act in their own self-interest, but something more basic yet: The Universe is filled with a large and compelling force, one commonly known as Grace. The omnipresence of Grace is an undeniable feature of Creation and while not irresistible, and while even ignorable, nevertheless is always ready to work on our behalf. I believe that I am detecting the working out of Grace in the present instance, and my intuition tells me that given the chance to operate [within the natural limits of TKD], something good for all will once again this way come.