Maybe it’s the Law of Attraction that draws them to me. It could be my unwillingness to turn them away, or maybe it’s that I sometimes feel so much empathy for them that I just can’t muster up the guts to use blunt force and shout the message they don’t want to hear.
Let’s face it – we all talk to candidates that fall into multiple “buckets” depending on search assignments we have (or know we will have soon). They include candidate skill set, qualifications, presentation and a whole host of other criteria that we have to evaluate in a particular search engagement. While some candidates may not be a fit for the assignments we have today, many could be under consideration for other opportunities if and when they become available.
Let’s get back to the “bucket” can we? Thank you. Then …there is what I refer to as the “needy candidate” (NC) who calls you from time to time just to hear your voice and to “stay in touch” as if you have somehow misplaced their resume and phone number. All of our resumes are logged and stored on our servers for future reference. We have multiple ways to search for candidates once they are in our database. However, more often than not – no search is required to “jog my memory” when they call.
A recent conversation with a well known (at least to my office) NC went something like this:
“Hi Tim this is Jason _________ (he did not need to re-introduce himself as the mere sound of his voice gave me all of the ID I needed) and I just wanted to give you a quick call to let you know that I will be off during the holidays between December 23rd and January 5th just in case you have a job that you think would be a good fit for me. Tim, you are familiar with my resume – right? Companies that you represent would be interested in me – right? I do have a good background – right? I know you will find me something – right?”
Stop it! Now! Somebody please just make it go away!!!
I have a tendency to encourage and give candidates hope that while they may not be a fit for a particular search assignment I might be working on – that they do have good credentials. I let them know that they will probably be a good fit for another organization. I leave no ambiguity once they have been eliminated from consideration. Yes…I do try to give them hope, so they will keep looking, expand their search horizons and cast out a wider net to attract more job opportunities. The classic diagnosis of a Chronic NC is they only want to work with me. Sometimes there is a certain connection (only) they feel and all of a sudden (in their mind) we’re off to the races together. Oh boy… My bad. They don’t get it, because in some cases I have been candid but nice – but apparently not blunt enough. Got it!
Well, we are all facing a New Year with goals and resolutions for 2009.
Here’s one of mine;-)
I plan to stop spending my time on the Chronic NC. Instead, I plan to find better ways to identify the classic NC early in the process and give them my competitors phone number so they can start calling them.
Yeah… that should work…
Tim Tolan is a partner at Sanford Rose Associates and specializes in Executive Search in Healthcare IT. He’s a closer, and you really don’t want to call him unless you’re ready to bring out the bazooka to bag some big game. When I started Fistful, I checked four references on Tim – his wife, his kids, his pastor and a client. The references were great, even if it sounded like they were reading from a sheet of paper. I just chalked that up to them being “detail oriented” in their feedback….