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A Predictable Train Wreck

February 24, 2012
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When the hiring manager takes over the search, problems arise

If you're like me, you never want to think that bad things are going to happen, especially if - like me - you have an incurably optimistic streak. I like that glass-half-full approach to the game of life (and always have).

Of course, that's all subject to change when a (she thought) super-knowledgeable hiring manager decides that executive search should be an easy to pick up hobby and talks HCIT circles around me on subjects like what technology will someday soon replace cloud computing, etc. In this case, things started to look even less promising when that hiring manager went one step further and took over the search she was paying me to do.

Now you might think if someone's going to do my job for me and pay me at the same time, it must be a "good thing", right? Nope. Not at all. Why, you might ask? Well, let's just say I've seen this movie before and can whiteboard the ending (and I mean every single time).

The Readers Digest Version:
1. Hiring manager introduced to a candidate from my firm and falls in love
2. Hiring manager begins social relationship with said candidate
3. Hiring manager stops returning my phone calls and e-mails
      a. Attempts to continue vetting candidate fall on deaf ears
      b. Hiring manager elects to extend offer and leave my firm out of the loop
4. Candidate who was engaged by my firm stops responding to us and instead only communicates with their soon-to-be new boss
5. Candidate starts to get cold feet and begins to disengage while (clueless) Hiring Manger (now an expert in search) never detects an issue
6. Offer made and (tentatively/reluctantly) accepted by candidate
7. Candidate decides to opt out at the last minute
8. The search (painfully) starts over

Get the picture? I know I certainly do. Please make it just go away.


Pretty Please???



I continue to love your posts. Your passion is palpable and the your stories always work at multiple levels.

One level that you didn't specifically reference is the role of a search professional as a coach (roles of coaching elaborated here: ). In my experience, what the great exec search professional does is exactly that kind of listening (and providing a mirror to the candidate along the way.) When the exec search professional finds a good fit, it's not unusual that they will have provided at least light coaching to several dozen candidates. I've been on both sides of this many times. Apparently your hiring manager either hasn't, or didn't appreciate what is required to find and build a good fit.

This post was a pleasant surprise from what you led me to expect!