THE Most Important Question – A Cautionary Tale

Last week, to put it mildly, was a difficult week.  Several weeks of sourcing, countless phone screens, a job description that changed more times than Lady Gaga changes hairstyles and a group of hiring managers that think they’re the Second Coming culminated in a hiring event on Thursday.  Six open positions and eight prescreened/qualified applicants.  The odds were in my favor, or so I thought.


By the end of the day I was feeling pretty good about what we had accomplished.  All the candidates had a great time.  We brought in box lunches and gave away some fun swag.  Headquarters tour?  Check.  Q & A with a top performer? Check.  Candidates closed?  Double check.  I sat back and waited for the offers to roll in from my managers.


Everyone was on board with who was a “fit”.  I did a great job of matching up the candidates with the manager I thought they’d bond with.  I even guessed right on the couple that didn’t make the final cut.


So how did I only end up with three offers being extended??  I have SIX open requisitions!  EIGHT great candidates!  Even with the two I knew were a long shot the math was STILL on my side.  So what the heck went wrong?


I neglected to ask THE most important question.  What happens if this position doesn’t get filled?  It’s not enough to say “but it MUST be filled”.  Of course it must.  They all must be filled.  That’s why recruiters are compensated so well, we get it done.  Humor me though, Mr. Hiring Manager.  What if aliens abducted every qualified candidate within 100 miles?  What would happen to your department if you don’t hire someone?


The answer to this question will tell you a lot about where and how to apply your recruiting genius.  If the answer is that the building will cave in, the CEO will have an aneurysm and the hiring manager will get fired, then you’ve probably got a pretty good shot at getting someone an offer.  If the answer is “we’ll move the reqs to another field office where we secretly want these people to sit anyway” or some variation of, then you’ll probably waste several weeks of time and effort only to find out you’re not hiring any of the people you worked so hard to recruit …


Not that anything like that would ever happen around here.      

Views: 349

Comment by Bill Schultz on September 26, 2011 at 9:39pm

Hi Amy- 

Good to see you.  It's always nice to hear from the folks that actually are putting people to work as opposed to the folks who claim to have "found the better way" or the ones who are "predicting the future when androids will fill positions from facebook"  

Anyway, to your point.  I so agree.  I love when hiring managers call me and say they haven't seen their kids in 5 days because we haven't filled the position.  That's freakin urgency, dude.


Comment by Samantha Lacey on September 27, 2011 at 11:25am

Sounds like a nightmare. Poor resource planning and internal politics have kicked you in the teeth there (not your poor planning, theirs!) 

A similar thing happened to me, with a client demanding 7 administrators for a new location they were opening. 16 candidate interviews later, he offers 3 and says they have worked out they don't need the rest. Very annoying, although at least I did get a few placements.  

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on September 27, 2011 at 12:04pm

Thanks Bill.  :) Now if those Facebook sourcing androids can keep an eye on my teenagers' FB posts & pictures you got yourself a deal.


@Samantha - absolutely got my teeth kicked in... almost like a Mayweather sucker punch. 

Comment by Joey Torres on October 2, 2011 at 12:19am
What happens if the position doesn't get filled?  Brilliant.  This question should come up more.
Comment by Recruiting Animal on October 11, 2011 at 10:15pm
@Bill - recruiters dont put people to work. (That sounds so noble). They usually just move them from one job to another.
Comment by Bill Schultz on October 12, 2011 at 1:32am

@ animal (?) there is a residual effect somewhere down the line when a job is filled, no?

anyway, that was hardly the main point.  


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