I had an interesting conversation with a former candidate this week. This is someone who got the position I recruited him for and by all accounts is doing a fabulous job. Nothing unusual about that, until you understand that recruiting this candidate just about drove me nuts.
When I first sourced him, he was terrific. Had the skills and education (very specific, prestigious university grad) my client wanted. Excellent culture fit – really brought the right “start-up mentality” energy this position needed. We talked money / relo early and often. This should have been a relatively painless placement. And it was… until we got closer to the offer. At some point the candidate flat out lost his mind. All of a sudden he wants to negotiate everything from salary & PTO to his parking space. He felt the need to tell me at every turn how many other offers he was sitting on. He even wanted to have his brother in law the lawyer review his offer letter before he committed to anything, even verbally (it was a mid-level manager role).
I did everything I could to keep my client happy and not get the offer rescinded. It almost didn’t happen. At one particularly low point I told the manager that I wanted to pull the offer. This guy was certifiable and I didn’t want my fingerprints on that train wreck.
Luckily, we were able to get through it. I held my breath the first few months, but almost as suddenly as the “crazy” appeared, it went away. My guy went to work, did a fabulous job, surpassing his boss’ expectations. His direct reports love him. He even got a decent parking spot. The candidate lunacy has given way to solid performer/company guy. And to think it almost didn’t happen.
We can laugh about it now, but it got me thinking about some of my recent hires. Sure, some have gone smoothly, but plenty more have gone off the rails as we get closer to the end. Then once they’re on board they turn back into, well, the terrific employee I recruited in the first place.
Please tell me I’m not alone in this. Does anyone else see temporary insanity kick in with their candidates?