I'm a no excuses kind of guy, I really am. I love sports (die-hard Celtics fan, born and raised in So Cal), and I'm just not the kind of fan to blame losses on officiating or injuries as some fans do. Bad call at the end of the game cost you the W? Maybe you should've built up a bigger lead before the end of the 4th quarter. Your starting center goes down with a knee injury in Game 6 of the Finals (a la Kendrick Perkins vs. LA in 2010)? We should've won Game 7 anyway, even with Rasheed Wallace's messed up back trying to carry the 5 spot.

But before I lose any of you non-basketball loving recruiters out there, let me bring this back to relevance for what we do. I've had possibly my crummiest month of recruiting in my short 2 year career in it thus far. And while I hate to give excuses, it reminded me of how much we place our reputations as recruiters in other people's hands, to an extent at least.

I'll spare you the details of the beginning of this month, when I submitted a candidate who was interviewed and extended an offer by my client all on the same day, only to not return my calls for two days and then tell me he's turning it down. Or the woman in Seattle who I've been working relentlessly for in the past few months as she's all but begged me to help her out, only to turn down the interview I was finally able to land for her. Nope, the real meat of my awful month was letting down the same manager, twice.

First, I submitted a Business Analyst to a manager up in Seattle. As usual, my client needed a U.S. person for the position, so I politely asked all my candidates for that job what kind of document they have to prove that they are authorized to work here. He told me he has his permanent resident card, no problem. So after 2 weeks of fumbling through my candidate's and hiring manager's busy schedules to finally get them together, my candidate scores a home run on both a phone and in-person interview. It's a Boston Celtics slam dunk, good money for me, and through all the scheduling and communication over the interview issues, I've built a great rapport with the hiring manager, who's happened to put out a req for a Project Manager for the same team he's putting together. Double play on this one? I think so! I've got just the right candidate for him, an in-demand IT/PM I've been in communication with for awhile, who I know would nail the interview and happens to live right across the street from my client. Win-win-win!

And then it all fell out from under me. My Business Analyst, who’s been a nightmare calling me every hour since after the final interview, finally gets the offer, gladly accepts, and proceeds to tell me he's on a H1-Visa. Awesome. The manager is upset about the lack of communication on that, and understandably. But what am I to do? The guy lied to me! Am I supposed to grill him over the phone repeatedly about his citizenship because his accent is different than mine? Sorry, can't do that.

At this point, I'm pretty sure the manager hates me. But then, the olive branch. He wants to interview my all star PM. Perfect! I know this guy will nail the interview, and I know he's one of the best at what he does. After one quick interview, he lands the job. Gets the offer. Calls me up and rejects it, claiming the contract is too short, after I had been reminding him of the contract length from day one. No double play, more like a Double Whammy. I let the manager know, as apologetically as I can, and I whimper off into the sunset. I feel like we broke up this beautiful thing we had going. My visions of me placing his entire team for this project were crushed. "I'm sorry Hiring Manager! It's not you, it's... well actually, it's not me either! It's my deceptively lying/flakey candidates!"

I'm sure we've all been there, but man oh man is it frustrating. To think that I have this great relationship with a manager, only to have it damaged not once, but twice. To be convinced now that he's thinking, "Does this guy even screen his candidates or just forward me resumes?" I take pride in talking to and building some kind of relationship with each of my candidates, spelling out all that I can for them, learning about what they really do and what they really want to/are able to do. Sticking my neck out for them, selling them to my client because I know they're worth it. But in the end, I can't control what my candidates are gonna do, any more than my Celtics can control the ref's whistle or the structure of a star player's knee. My only solution to keep my reputation as the good recruiter that I am is to keep on grinding. To keep on finding the best talent out there, convincing them that they should work with me and convincing my clients that I've got the talent they need. At a certain point, there's no amount of practice or adjusting your method that is going to make things right. There's just "get back up, dust off and get moving again”, hopefully fast enough to make up for lost time.

Needless to say, this job has given me trust issues.

Views: 367

Comment by Sandra McCartt on May 23, 2012 at 8:37pm

Oh honey, you think you got trust issue now, just wait about 30 more years.  There is a reason that recruiters who have been around a while are more cynical about things than your old aunt Mable who had 5 husbands killed by lightening strikes and can't win the lotto.  If you tell a 30+ year recruiter that the sun will come up tomorrow we will smile and run right out and buy flashlight batteries.  And i will tell you if it makes you feel a bit better.  It is worse right now that any time i have ever seen things in terms of lying, misrepresenting, devious candidates.  Everytime i hear all the whiney crap about the "candidate experience" i want to slap somebody's head around backwards and tell them to  go back to wonderland.

 Bad things normally happen in threes, sounds like you have had four so you are overdo for a bingo.

Comment by Bill Schultz on May 23, 2012 at 10:32pm

No way would I trust a Celtic fan in Laker country.

Comment by Christopher Perez on May 24, 2012 at 8:31am

Bad break, Joel. FWIW, here's my takeaway:

Case 1: Fairly easily handled in the future. "My client has been burned in the past. They require complete work authorization documents as part of the submittal package. Please provide this asap and we'll get rolling on this presentation!" I can understand why a guy with a last name of Garcia (or Perez, for that matter) might be sensitive about the appearance of profiling, but this is an objective request. No grilling or profiling is required, just a very clear and unambiguous request for documents per the client's perfectly legal requirement. If they don't produce, they aren't submitted.

Case 2: Admittedly, there are limited lessons from this one. People will lie and they will flake out on you, or they will have reasons for slowly revealing important facts to you. Long story short, I am in the throes of comp negotiations with a great candidate and a great client right now. The candidate recently revealed her motivations for needing more near-term cashflow for this BD position that is incredibly generous on the upside. Her reasons are personal and she understands (although I went ahead and reminded her) that these reasons are not the fault nor the concern of the client. I have known this candidate for about 3 years and we have good trust, but people are people. I will help her see the big picture eventually but there you have it. Back to your situation, aside from realizing that people will flake on you, be wary of slam-dunk, one-day-from-interview-to-offer scenarios. How could the client possibly have seen enough angles on this person to make an important hiring decision in that time? That would set my red flashers off big time. My fastest executive placement took one month from intro to offer and I'm still counting the days till June 5 when the guarantee period is satisfied. The guy's a winner and it's a great fit but still...

Keep working on that client. Give them some time and then find a way to get back in touch with them with a creative risk-sharing offer of some type. If your reputation is important to you, you have to at least try. Good luck.

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on May 24, 2012 at 12:39pm

This is exactly why I've never hired a recruiter who said they were (or wanted to be) in the biz because they just LOVE people. Bullsnort. People pull THIS kind of crap all the time. Tell me, how much do you love people now? :)


Hang in there Joel.... this too shall pass and someday you'll look back on it and laugh. I used to keep a mason jar with the screw on lid on my desk. A good friend gave it to me for my birthday calling it my "bad candidate jar". Something very therapeutic about writing someone's name on a piece of paper, dropping them in the jar and giving it a good shake whenever you were having a rough day. :) And Sandra's absolutely right about the flashlight batteries. Trust - but verify.

Comment by Christopher Perez on May 24, 2012 at 12:51pm

"Trust - but verify" <-- great quote and excellent advice.

So is the idea of the "voodoo jar"!

Comment by Bill Schultz on May 24, 2012 at 1:12pm

The H1B thing is tough.  By law, we're only  allowed to ask if they are "authorized to work in the US for any employer."  I usually add "without sponsorship"  though I'm not sure that's even legal.  Pretty sure that unless you are the employer of record, you cannot legally do what Chris is suggesting.

Comment by Christopher Perez on May 24, 2012 at 1:38pm

My apologies if I got that wrong. I need to go back and check my CPC training materials, etc. Fortunately, my practice never takes me into these areas. Further proof that common sense isn't always permitted in the business world.

Comment by Joel Garcia on May 24, 2012 at 2:11pm

@Sandra - Thank you for the encouragement! I think? Haha! It's goo to know that even though people are crummy and getting worse, a good recruiter can stick with it and last 30+ successful years in this as you seem to have done. I appreciate the honesty and advice.

@Chris and Bill - Thanks for the advice! Our standard question for this is "For badging purposes, what document can you provide to our client as proof of authorization work in the U.S.?" Usually works well, as most candidates are smart enough to know that if they don't have this, they can all the way to their first day of work if they wanted and wouldn't be allowed past the front desk if they're not a citizen.

@Amy - So true. People can tend to kind of... suck. I didn't get into this because I love people, the job kind of found me and I was looking for a career change (seems like that's how most people get into recruiting?). Love the jar idea! My coworker keeps a mini punching bag at her desk, now if only I could get my hands on headshots of my bad candidates...

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on May 24, 2012 at 2:57pm

It's true Joel recruiting is one of those "accidental" careers people seem to fall into... I don't know anyone who did it intentionally :)

Comment by Sandra McCartt on May 24, 2012 at 8:52pm

@Joel, yes, it is encouragement.  All of us who have been around for any length of time have had to fall on our sword more than once because a candidate led us down the primrose path and truned into an artichoke at the 11th hour and 59th. minute.  Amy is right one of these days you will laugh about it when you are writing the book about all the crazy things that happen when you deal with people.  the fun thing about recruiters is that we have such great stories.  You have to vent and laugh about it or you will look like a unicorm from banging your head on your desk when this stuff happens.

As to the H-1 business.  Because it seems fashionable to lie about visa status to try and get in the door with the thinking being that "if they meet me and want me they will sponsor me" or "but i am on OPT and maybe in 18 months they will sponsor so i will just get in the door", it is a war for the truth. 

 I send an email to any candidate who has an undergraduate degree from a foreign university or who is most probably foreign born that simply says, "Please let me know if you are a citizen, have a green card or what your legal visa status is at this time?"  "Our client is not able to sponsor now or at any time in the future so legal status will be verified to avoid disappointment of either the employer or the candidate should we reach the point of offer being contingent upon legal authorization to work in the United States without sponsorship now or at any time in the future."  Employers are required to obtain form I-9 to verify legal status for employment.  Please review Section 212(a)(6)(C). of the U. S. Immigration and Naturalization Act for clarification of any misrepresentation of legal status to work in the U.S."

I have found that even those who lie on the phone will many times fess up when they have to put it in writing in an email.  If they lie in an email and things blow up later i at least have an email from the lying sack of shit that they were lying and i did all the due diligence reasonably expected as well as making them aware of no sponsorship option.

We used to be required to have candidates sign an I-9 and provide that with the resume but since we could not verify the I-9 that was dropped but the email seems to raise the flag of there being no question as to who misrepresented.

It is my understanding that only an employer approved with everify can verify the I-9






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