Seal the Deal

Its not over till its over.

In the last several months I’ve turned down three job offers. What? Turned down?

Yes, in the employee’s economy – and make no mistake the pendulum has finally swung back as it inevitably does and we are now in an employee’s market – we have more choice, option and the ability to say no when there isn’t a good fit. In each of the cases I refer to – two private sector and one public – a good recruiter could have averted the train wreck that is “final offer, no acceptance.”

No recruiter wants that on their performance metrics.

Case one was a medium size tech firm with employees on three continents. What the [internal] recruiter failed to disclose (and what I found with minimal due diligence) was that the distribution of talent was based on two simple factors: the key talent was located where the CEO lived so he could keep an eye on them. The “worker bees” were located in cheap cost centers to be closed and moved whenever a cheaper one showed up. In other words, had the recruiter been more forthright I would have never wasted their time with interviews. This wasn’t a global strategy, it was a fractured mess. The unbounded ego permeating the C-suite didn’t help either. The poor recruiter could only acknowledge she was in a tough spot.

In case number two the ego was slightly better but the delusion was off the charts. In this case the [external] recruiter made some vague references to the demanding environment and need for toughness, but the truth is there was really no business model other than push, push, push. As the recruiter followed up with me following my meeting with the C-suite I said, “adrenalin will not make this business work long-term: you’re going to burn out your best talent.” There was no real response to that. Later there was halfhearted attempt to guilt me into thinking about the offer because they like me so much. Sorry, I was raised Catholic: you cannot out-guilt me. Clearly the client had muffled the recruiter’s ability to be transparent.

Finally in case three the ugliness of public sector process reeled its head. A role which I really thought I would enjoy became open in an organization that I had [formerly] admired. The bottom line is that between screening, first interview, second interview and third interview the time frame was more than three months.  No one ever specified the expected length or process such that, several weeks after I completed the final round I had actually forgotten about the role. So dismayed was I by lack of process or control I had written them off to the point that when I ultimately got the phone call to discuss an offer I said I wasn’t interested.  Out of sight, out of mind.

The point here is simple: recruiters have to drive this process and the game isn’t over until the butt is in the seat.

Too many times I have seen recruiters held to task based on metrics they could not control. Dear employer, here’s a tip: if you are not going to give the recruiter the keys, don’t expect them to drive the car.

Unshackle your recruiters, give them the specs and hold them accountable.

Oh, and one more thing: get out of your recruiter’s way so they can truly seal the deal.


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