Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Adventures In Recruiting: The Client Who Didn’t Want To Hire Me

New business calls are always difficult.  The seller has to put his or her best foot forward and, at least initially, may not know the issues faced by the buyer.  I once made a new business call on one of the top ten agencies.  They had a new director of human resources and I wanted to meet her.  It took weeks of non-stop calling to get through to her and make an appointment.

I only realized shortly after we started the meeting that she had no intention of working with me.  To this day, I don’t know what the issue was.  But here is what happened.  Not long after we started, she asked me, “So, tell me what you look for when screening candidates for us.”  I thought it was an odd question, but I gave good reply to this kind of question.  “I look for anything and anyone you tell me to look for.  I work for you.”
Her reply threw me.  She said very emphatically, “No.  What do you look for?”  And again, I told her the same thing.  She shook her head adamantly and repeated the question. And, again, for the third time, I explained that I worked for her and would find her candidates who matched their culture as well as her criteria and job specs.  She became angry with me.  Clearly, we were miscommunicating.   

I thought for a second and asked her, “Do you want me to name the top three attributes I look for in all people?”  She nodded yes.  So I said to her, “In rank order, besides looking for the job specifications, I look for someone you can like, someone you can like and someone you can like.”  From her reaction, I knew that I had not given her the answer she was looking for. (To this day, I don’t know what she wanted me to say.)  She asked me if that was my final response.

Well, I said, “Have you ever hired someone you didn’t like?”  She actually said she had and I said, “And what happened to that person?”  It was the end of the meeting. I knew I had struck out.

The good news is that she lasted as head of HR for only about five or six months.

The agency then became one of my best clients.

1 comment:

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