In the mid 1990′s a prolonged discussion between myself and a hiring manager was going on about why he should select his top candidate. He had interviewed five candidates and told me he had a top choice so I felt that there was not a need to see additional candidates. I quickly thought of a comeback after he stated that his reason for wanting additional candidates was just to be sure he was making the right choice. Seeing his wedding ring I commented “…so, when you proposed to your wife did you tell her that she is the one but that to be sure you need some time to search the market?” His response was a friendly explicative then the ok to extend an offer to our top candidate.
From that point I had compared recruiting and dating off and on with hiring managers over the years. When blogging became popular within the recruitment space I read several articles/posts also making this comparison and wish I had started blogging sooner to trump those that had written and broadcasted my shared comparison.
I now disagree with this comparison. I think a better analogy to the job search for candidates and recruiters trying to find candidates is the house hunting (or apartment shopping) experience. Consider these:
- People start their house hunting search by going to the internet and either doing a general Google search or going to a site like realtor.com
- People have specific wants when trying to find a home – location, size, local amenities, school district, culture of the neighborhood
- People conduct research on the home and neighborhood by viewing the potential residence on-line, reading reviews of the neighborhood (or builder), asking their friends or family members if they know anything about the neighborhood
- New listings receive a good bit of activity when first posted then the activity slows considerably with only serious shoppers taking a look
Recruiters and candidates are using similar tools to find, research and gauge if they want to learn more about each other in ways that house hunters and realtors operate.
There is also one other factor that many people forget during both types of searches. The little annoying detail that gets glossed over by company reputation, salary, benefits or that the little annoyance can be fixed once they start (think move in).
What most people do not realize is that the little annoyance becomes a major frustration because just like in an interview or house hunt it only showed up for a brief moment. It could be a light switch in an odd place, or a squeaky stair only stepped on once or twice – it could be a clunky application process or a quick comment that changes were made recently. In these cases the savvy seeker will question what they noticed and typically the recruiter will have their response prepared to put any concerns at bay. However, just like in a home, once within the company that little annoyance is now with you all the time, it grows into a major frustration.
As recruiters we try to brush over the annoyances that might turn a candidate off or away from our opportunity. Sometimes we are confused on why a top talent candidate did not stay with the organization for very long and when asked they state what appeared to be small concerns during the interview ended up becoming major distractions. When boiled down it is that classic “fit” argument. The recruiter should recognize if the fit is not there and the job seeker should as well and be willing to pass on the opportunity.
Candidates are becoming more and more savvy around the job search process and can find out information about organizations through many channels. As recruiters we are typically prepared to answer questions around the small annoyances and are just as savvy in convincing the top talent to join our organizations. My advice is that when a seeker does bring up minor points to treat them as major because those are the ones that will make or break their decision and if you are honest with the candidate it will help move your organization forward.
I welcome your thoughts.
A whirlwind of activity the last two to three weeks for me. I have been working on a short term assignment for a cable company helping them find candidates for some of their key business class roles and at about the same time I started the interview process with a potential employer. My assignment officially ends tomorrow and I received the “official” offer today.
I am proud to announce that my personal job search has ended. I have accepted an offer from Comcast to be their Director of Talent Acquisition for their Freedom Region. This role is based just outside of Philadelphia and will be very similar to my previous position at Time Warner Cable in Texas. I am very excited because the interview process was quick, everyone I met or spoke with were impressive and overall the job and culture feel like a great fit.
This of course means that we will be relocating from Austin to the Philadelphia area. We will miss Austin. What a great town that we called home for three years. The people, unique restaurants, activities, culture, lakes, and the general Texas environment were spectacular. We never had a dull moment and felt like we only scratched the surface of what can be done in and around this city.
Thank you to everyone for your thoughts, prayers, leads, networking calls, emails, Twitter posts, Facebook posts, words of encouragement, resume tips and reviews. I would especially like to thank Kim Hollenshead, Bryan Chaney, Right Management’s Jo Lineberry, Recruiting Animal, Porter Shifflett, Susan Strayer, Michael Goldberg, William Uranga, Glenn Warner, Martha Bartlett (she referred me to a Comcast recruiter who sent my name on – extra thanks Martha!), Melissa White, Juan Munoz and Seth Feit. Without your actions the past five months might have been brutal but instead it was a very positive experience.
We are looking forward to a new beginning in my career, a new place to live and the experiences yet to come. The kids are looking forward to snow days again. My wife is looking forward to her job search in a new city. I am also looking forward to meeting the team, the challenges and rewards and having an impact on the TA function to help Comcast move forward.
Now it’s time to update my LI profile!
During my career I have “walked out” several people when terminated whether for cause or a lay-off. For one employer the CEO wanted me to be the bouncer and assist those that were terminated for cause in cleaning out their offices and then walking them out. It was an interesting situation for a recruiter – one minute I would be talking to a candidate on why they should join the company the next I could be in someone’s office helping them prepare to depart.
I would sometimes spend about one to two hours assisting an employee in cleaning out their office. These were usually decorated like a dorm room from college or an extension of their home. After the fifth or sixth time I realized I did not want to be like them. I wasn’t planning on being terminated for cause during my career (and never have been) but if I was terminated due to a reorganization or other lay-off reason I would pick up my stress ball and leave – no boxes, no need to come back on a weekend to clean out the office and no need to waste the time of a co-worker who would have to wait for me when they have plenty of work to do. For this reason my offices have always been bland, no pictures, no personal items and over the years people have asked why.
While sharing my story on why I would also state that if anything should happen “The Gap is always hiring.” Usually the listener would give me a perplexed look. The simple point is that no matter how hard we work sometimes things will happen beyond our control and we find ourselves without a job. There are many other employers and if necessary we have to be flexible in order to support ourselves or families. I believe that this mindset helped me perform at a high level because I did not work in fear. I would come in and do the job to the best of my ability.
Don’t get me wrong. Would it suck to lose a job? Sure. Would I want to be in a job search? Not really. Would my career take a hit and I might not find a similar role? I do not know the answer. Would I be able to find another employer with a great culture, interesting work and people? Yes, because there are thousands of employers that have these traits.
Recently this scenario came true when I lost my job due to a reorganization. I had a sense it was coming because of all the changes currently going on with my former employer. When I received the phone call to attend a meeting the next day I was fully prepared for what was about to happen. When it was over and I was escorted to my office I picked up two personal items – an award I received from a hiring client for my hard work and a mug my team had given me – and walked out.
I know most people would be upset or angry in this situation but I was not and will not be. I look back on my six years and have no regrets, complaints or ill feelings. I was given a great opportunity, experienced several promotions and felt that I made a positive impact. I was treated fairly, well compensated, and worked with some very talented people who taught me a tremendous amount from recruiting skills to leading teams. I gave my all and look back with pride on my work. It is over and I had a blast.
The job search has been going well so far thanks to my network and all the leads, advice and assistance that has been offered. I do not think I will be applying to the Gap but I do know that whomever is my next employer I will continue to give it my all and do my best to move the company forward.
I welcome your thoughts.