Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Adventures In Recruiting: The Candidate Who Could Not Make Up Her Mind

Not long ago, a recruiter friend of mine told me this story.
It seems that there was an account supervisor working on a cosmetics account.  She was underpaid and her responsibilities were actually below her experience level.  As a result, she was vulnerable to being recruited to another job.  Through the recruiter who told me the story, this account supervisor received an offer on a competitive cosmetics account, still as an account supervisor, but for about 50% more than she was making.

She accepted immediately.  It was a great offer at a good agency on one of the most visible accounts in the category. When she went to resign, her agency came right back at her telling her how much they valued her and asked her to wait a couple of days.  In a day or two they came back at her with a counter offer.  They promised that they would give her a title of senior account supervisor (the agency had no such title) and give her a raise to meet the other agency’s offer. Both the salary increase and the title would occur in six months.  The recruiter told the AS that she was playing with fire and that six months was ample time for her to be replaced. And because nothing would happen for half a year, the agency would have no additional expenses.

I have written many times about not accepting counter offers.  This story illustrates what can happen. A counter offer that meets the new salary is not a counter offer; a counter offer, if it is a real counter, should actually be higher and better than the new offer. It should be immediate and not in the future, especially not in six months. Offers for more money from a current employer may be flattering, but do not resolve the underlying issues for wanting to leave in the first place.

Well, nevertheless, this account supervisor accepted this non-counter offer to stay with her current agency.

The recruiter told the new agency and they were very disappointed.  The new agency really liked her and added another $5,000 to their offer and a promise, which they would put in writing, of a promotion within six months.

So the account supervisor again accepted this new offer, agreed to a new start date and then again told her existing agency she was leaving.  They came back to her and agreed to meet the new agency’s promise of title and salary in three months. It was clear that the existing agency was just buying time.
The recruiter warned her not to take the counter offer and to move on.  Of course, the candidate figured that the recruiter was only trying to make a placement and was exaggerating the negative aspects of staying where she was.

In effect, the account person played it badly with both agencies. Why she would stay at her existing agency was incomprehensible.  Not surprising, both agencies were furious.  Her existing agency saw her as disloyal; the new agency realized that she was wishy-washy. 

The recruiter was so angry that she actually called many other recruiters as well as other people she knew who worked on cosmetics and tried to blacklist this person.

Well, guess what? The candidate was replaced and terminated about six weeks later.  She actually called the second agency and asked if the job was still available.  Very correctly they would have nothing to do with her.  The recruiter who was involved told this supervisor that she would never again work with her. Surprise.

As told to me by the recruiter, this account supervisor was out of work so long that she had to take a job that was paying less than she was making when this whole business started.

When I heard the story about a year later, she had lost her new job when the agency lost the account she was working on.  She ended up leaving the business.

The whole point of this post is that once you make up your mind to leave your job and you get a good offer, you must leave.


  1. Too bad the AS didn't see the situation from the other side of the desk. Learning the hard way, unfortunately.


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