Lindsay Olson

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The Saga of Candidate Joe

Photo by: flattop341

Recruiting is sometimes like dating. If the recruiter moves too quickly, she's pegged as desperate and if she moves too slowly, she's not interested or risking giving her place to the next in line.

A new client's last question is always "How long will it take to show me candidates?" Usually a company expects to see a candidate immediately. It's like kissing on the first date. Then it back fires. It's all seems too easy and the recruiter has to hold her tongue each time the client slips in a comment or two about those hefty recruiting fees.

But when the recruiter doesn't kiss on the first date... or the second, it's another issue. The client loses faith and thinks it's an even better idea to throw out the search to ten more search firms. A no-win situation for everyone and a recipe for frustration and disaster.

I want to debunk this "it's too easy" theory with a real story about a candidate I placed after nine years. Nine! Seriously, it was like the couple who dates for a decade and they want to marry and live happily ever after, but Dad doesn't approve, so it just doesn't happen until Dad is just too old to care... or something like that.

We'll call my candidate Joe. This is how it all played out.

1999: Cold call Joe. He's working hard, not thinking about a new job, but I recruit him anyways. He's not the right fit for my search, but we'll keep in contact.

1999: Three months later, I send Joe on an interview. He almost gets the job, but the company decides to fill the position with an internal candidate. Oh well. You win some, you lose some!

2000: Joe calls. He's getting antsy and wants out of the city. He tells me he's moving to this small town with extremely limited PR agency job options. I call around and find a local boutique agency that needs an Account Manager just like Joe. Ohh, but they don't have the budget to work with me. I told Joe about the job anyway, he applied and got it. Great opportunity for Joe, but a lost opportunity for my business. Oh well. Helping people is a good thing.

2002: Joe's agency loses their biggest client and goes out of business. He knows he'll be going back to the big city, so he calls. Joe has become even more impressive over the years. I know I can place him, so I market him and one agency nibbles. He nails the interview and then the agency low-balls him on the offer, so he takes another job found through a friend. The client decided to not fill the position in the end after repeating what happened with Joe with another candidate. Ughhh.

2007: We get a great new search for a healthcare company. "8-12 years experience and MUST have healthcare industry experience." We search and search until we present four candidates. We get an offer, but the candidate went with another company. So, back to square one. A week later, the client extended on offer to someone who magically appeared. He doesn't have any healthcare experience, but "wow, is he good!" Guess who? It's Joe!!! No, it's no joke. Why me?

Today 2008: Joe's healthcare company has run into some troubles lately. Most are preoccupied with thoughts of the doors being locked in the morning when they show up for work. To say the least, Joe's future is questionable and it seems like a good time to see what's out there. "Lindsay, it's Joe. Help!"

Coincidentally, I began working with a company and I knew there was an opening perfect for his background. I wasn't working on that search because the company didn't want to use an agency for it, but when I called them about Joe's background, it was an obvious fit. Placement!

Nine years and many lost opportunities later, I finally placed Joe. I wouldn't exactly define this experience as easy, but I understand how it might look easy to a client when the recruiter already has a few candidates in mind.

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