Hi Claudia,

Here is a situation. I presented a local contractor resume to my client, who requested a face 2 face interview. The candidate said he could interview with 24 hours notice, but now he tells me that his current manager will not permit him to interview during work hours. I suggested that go on his lunch hour, but he says that isn't enough time to travel to the client location, interview, and return to his job. The hiring manager is available to interview this week only, and unfortunately never interviews after 5:00pm. Please suggest how I should handle this situation, though I am already prepared with back up resumes.

Thanks in Advance.

Mohammed


Hi Mohammed,

Glad to hear you've got those backup resumes ready. In situations like this, one of two things is almost always true: either the candidate wasn't as closed as you thought he was on the deal, or you're working with a Diva. Either way you've broken the First Rule of Recruiting, and it's time to move on.

The First Rule of Recruiting: That which I anticipate, I can control.

Recruiting is the art and science of herding cats. And since you can't control anyone other than yourself, your role is to anticipate every step of the process, all of the time. Do this well, you make placements. Do it poorly, you don't. It's not more complicated than that.

Anticipation comes with responsibility though -- ultimately it means that if the deal falls apart it is because you made it so. There's no one else to blame, unfortunately. You have to foresee the possibilities and stay well ahead of managers and candidates; and when someone backtracks you have to have the guts to call them on the behavior and follow through with the consequences.

If it were me, I would thank the candidate for his time and tell him that the opportunity is no longer available. I would then clearly restate the ground rules for working together: Don't waste my time. Don't break your commitments. You're either ready to interview or not, but don't say one thing and do something else. Then, and only if I was feeling kind that day, I would give the candidate one more chance to show me what he's made of, and I would remove him from my contact list for even the smallest hint of similar behavior in the future.

Integrity is a good thing to expect from others, and it always starts with your own clarity about the connection between what people say, and what they do. When we tolerate bad behavior, we reinforce it. Best of luck in herding this particular cat, my friend!

**

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The first thing that struck me here is "his current manager will not permit him to interview during work hours"

This is an immediate "Hold Everything!" signal to me. Red flag. Sirens. Bells. NOTHING should be done until you've uncovered the real story.

I would not hesitate to ask "Why does your manager know you are interviewing?" The answer here will tell you everything. I'll give some example answers:

"My manager wanted me to tell him what's going on in case I find a better contract so he can have first chance at making a better offer....." Yes. I've heard that. More than once. Thank them for their time and move on.

"He and I are very close. I tell him everything. We've got a great relationship and I want to be honest with him." Yeah, right. You've got a manager who has you right where he wants you! You think you're part of the inner circle - but really you're playing HIS game - not your own. He will cut you off at the knees if needed for his own gain. You're a CONTRACTOR! Act like one.

Why do recruiters hear words without hearing the true meaning? It is our greatest fault. We hear what makes us feel good - when we should REALLY feel good when we hear the truth behind the words.

Good luck Mohammed!
Great answer, Jerry. I love the way you think about these things!
Thanks Claudia. Over the years I have made notes of all activity with every candidate ever introduced to clients......and guess what? Of all the times an interview had to be rescheduled I have RARELY placed that person. I'm talking like 2 times out of 50 or so reschedules.

I finally (after weighing the evidence) adopted the policy of NO RESCHEDULES. Period. Drastic? Not really. Just efficient. I don't have the time to do all the work to keep a dead interviewing process on the table while pretending it's alive. I make no money there.

Here is how I see it - If you are interested in the job you WILL make it to the interview that has been scheduled. If you are not interested then you will call me and give me some lame excuse and half-heartedly suggest "some other time - later next week maybe?". To that I will say - "Sorry. In all the years I've been recruiting I can count on one hand the number of times a rescheduled interview has resulted in success. I can't tell you why exactly - though I've got my theories. So if you are really interested you need to find a way to make this work."

Now before anyone reads this spits out their coffee - please know - this is only true for my desk and in my field (I.T) Oh sure I'll listen to a legitimate reason and bend the rules once a year or so - but it still turns out to be a waste of time.

If you do not track this kind of data you will never know if it is true for your desk or not.

Sorry to ramble...............
I don't have much to add other than that I agree totally with both of you! Claudia, excellent post, and Jerry, it is so true about rescheduling. My former boss, the one that really taught me almost everything I know about recruiting, was very firm about this, no rescheduling period. It was a black and white issue to him. I'm a little more flexible, take it on a case by case basis, and will make an exception if the candidate has a reason that makes sense...I go with my gut on that, you can usually sense the ones that are just wasting your time.

~Pam

Jerry Albright said:
Thanks Claudia. Over the years I have made notes of all activity with every candidate ever introduced to clients......and guess what? Of all the times an interview had to be rescheduled I have RARELY placed that person. I'm talking like 2 times out of 50 or so reschedules.

I finally (after weighing the evidence) adopted the policy of NO RESCHEDULES. Period. Drastic? Not really. Just efficient. I don't have the time to do all the work to keep a dead interviewing process on the table while pretending it's alive. I make no money there.

Here is how I see it - If you are interested in the job you WILL make it to the interview that has been scheduled. If you are not interested then you will call me and give me some lame excuse and half-heartedly suggest "some other time - later next week maybe?". To that I will say - "Sorry. In all the years I've been recruiting I can count on one hand the number of times a rescheduled interview has resulted in success. I can't tell you why exactly - though I've got my theories. So if you are really interested you need to find a way to make this work."

Now before anyone reads this spits out their coffee - please know - this is only true for my desk and in my field (I.T) Oh sure I'll listen to a legitimate reason and bend the rules once a year or so - but it still turns out to be a waste of time.

If you do not track this kind of data you will never know if it is true for your desk or not.

Sorry to ramble...............
Pam - I know exactly what you mean with taking things case x case......but you might be absolutely amazed if you were to track the success of those "flagged" interviews moving forward. My records show that once an interview is rescheduled it goes from a 4.3:1 ratio to nearly 25:1.

If I can keep them on schedule then I'm assuming they rejoin the 4.3:1 numbers....hmmmmmm....but maybe they don't? So now I've got to track the very specific results of "nearly cancelled/rescheduled but not" send-outs to see what their numbers turn out to be.

Oh my. I'm overwhelmed just thinking about it!
Pam, I tend to side with you that in life we need a balance between justice and compassion, which means examining each case on its own merits. My challenge in the learning curve has been to listen to my internal bullsh*t meter, which is why I evolved to a one-strike-you're-out stance AFTER I have clearly articulated the rules to a candidate. I agree with Jerry that it's an efficiency thing.

And btw Jerry, the fact that you track your numbers is FABULOUS. Talk about clarity for why and how to manage your desk. Impressive!
Just to regroup on your topic here Claudia. What got me on the "no rescheduling" topic was the original question about what to do in Mohammed's situation.

Candidate sounds like he is open to some sort of different interview time - but then again - maybe he's not. That, combined with "my manager says no" is all I need to hear.

This candidate would no longer be considered on my desk and no matter what I would not schedule anything for him. I'm suspecting the candidate would finally agree to something on a Saturday afternoon......and then no-show......after you've asked your client to jump through hoops to meet them.

And that brings me to another topic uncovered here. The client will not interview after 5? Ever? Are you kidding me?

Oh my. I've got to leave this one alone!
Glad that Jerry brought that last comment up. Clients need to be flexible too and if they have some hard fast rule that they never interview after five, what about 7 am? I would use the logic that a good candidate isn't going to blow off his present employer and I wouldn't want him to do it to the client either. It shows a better work ethic. Interviewing should be done after hours or take a personal day and keep your mouth shut. No "sharing" with the manager.
Love this forum, I'm new, but I'll be back!

Jerry Albright said:
Just to regroup on your topic here Claudia. What got me on the "no rescheduling" topic was the original question about what to do in Mohammed's situation.

Candidate sounds like he is open to some sort of different interview time - but then again - maybe he's not. That, combined with "my manager says no" is all I need to hear.

This candidate would no longer be considered on my desk and no matter what I would not schedule anything for him. I'm suspecting the candidate would finally agree to something on a Saturday afternoon......and then no-show......after you've asked your client to jump through hoops to meet them.

And that brings me to another topic uncovered here. The client will not interview after 5? Ever? Are you kidding me?

Oh my. I've got to leave this one alone!
Welcome to our madness, Elizabeth! Great points by both you and Jerry here.

Thanks for sharing your insights...come back often, we're looking forward to hearing from you!
Red Flags:

1. "The candidate said he could interview with 24 hours notice, but now he tells me that his current manager will not permit him to interview during work hours." Why would anyone be asking their current manager if they can interview for a new gig? Am I missing something here? Not to get into Quantum Mechanics, but why would a candidate engage in actions/behaviors that are going to result in problems down the line?

2. "The hiring manager is available to interview this week only, and unfortunately never interviews after 5:00pm." Sounds to me like this hiring manager is not an idiot - it's actually worse than that. It sounds like he's lazy. I'd rather work with a dumb hiring manager than a lazy one. Perhaps that's just me.

Such is the reason I feel for people working in the pure contracting space. Candidates have mastered the art of playing games . . . and recruiters wind up playing as well. It winds up a vicious cycle where integrity is a rarity instead of the norm. Perhaps it's an ability I have to sniff out non-genuine people really fast . . . but I can tell within 60 seconds what's really going on. Listen for the pauses, the inflection . . . the key here is 'Listen' to what isn't being said. Anyway, this whole situation reminds me of another post today by Steve Levy that discusses how recruiters wind up doing most of the talking . . . so they don't have the first clue as to what is going on in the candidate's mind.

Note to Recruiter here: Have one more conversation with the candidate and listen, listen, listen. Yeah, you can lay down ground rules at this point . . . but you're probably past that. They know you're trying to place them, so if they're getting cold feet, it's because either they don't trust you, they're chasing a few other higher paying gigs (or closer to home, more inline with their passions, etc.), or something else that may be very simple or extremely complicated. I'd suggest asking them to put everything aside and just talk to you like a friend - ask them to open up. Most people find this refreshing because they feel as if recruiters call them and never listen to what they have to say. If the candidate hesitates or continues to give you canned responses, the probability of you placing them into this deal is slim to none.

P.S. I just had this happen today with a direct-hire candidate. I knew about 30 seconds in that I was wasting my time, and she was likely wasting hers. It really sucks when you've worked hard to finally get them live on the line (and they're only 1 of 20 people out of direct competition in North America that can do the job) . . . but one thing I've learned over time is that, when it comes to the best situations, the candidate will chase you and be as passionate about the opportunity as you are. Some might say that "no" is really "yes", but intuitively, you know when you have a real "no" on your hands. There are just candidates out there that Budha (or Jesus, Confucious, Allah) himself could come out of the clouds and offer them the perfect opportunity, but they aren't going anywhere.
Joshua: Thanks for the advice and agree with you on “Listen for the pauses, the inflection . . . the key here is 'Listen' to what isn't being said”. I will soon start implementing this.

Joshua Letourneau said:
Red Flags:

1. "The candidate said he could interview with 24 hours notice, but now he tells me that his current manager will not permit him to interview during work hours." Why would anyone be asking their current manager if they can interview for a new gig? Am I missing something here? Not to get into Quantum Mechanics, but why would a candidate engage in actions/behaviors that are going to result in problems down the line?

2. "The hiring manager is available to interview this week only, and unfortunately never interviews after 5:00pm." Sounds to me like this hiring manager is not an idiot - it's actually worse than that. It sounds like he's lazy. I'd rather work with a dumb hiring manager than a lazy one. Perhaps that's just me.

Such is the reason I feel for people working in the pure contracting space. Candidates have mastered the art of playing games . . . and recruiters wind up playing as well. It winds up a vicious cycle where integrity is a rarity instead of the norm. Perhaps it's an ability I have to sniff out non-genuine people really fast . . . but I can tell within 60 seconds what's really going on. Listen for the pauses, the inflection . . . the key here is 'Listen' to what isn't being said. Anyway, this whole situation reminds me of another post today by Steve Levy that discusses how recruiters wind up doing most of the talking . . . so they don't have the first clue as to what is going on in the candidate's mind.

Note to Recruiter here: Have one more conversation with the candidate and listen, listen, listen. Yeah, you can lay down ground rules at this point . . . but you're probably past that. They know you're trying to place them, so if they're getting cold feet, it's because either they don't trust you, they're chasing a few other higher paying gigs (or closer to home, more inline with their passions, etc.), or something else that may be very simple or extremely complicated. I'd suggest asking them to put everything aside and just talk to you like a friend - ask them to open up. Most people find this refreshing because they feel as if recruiters call them and never listen to what they have to say. If the candidate hesitates or continues to give you canned responses, the probability of you placing them into this deal is slim to none.

P.S. I just had this happen today with a direct-hire candidate. I knew about 30 seconds in that I was wasting my time, and she was likely wasting hers. It really sucks when you've worked hard to finally get them live on the line (and they're only 1 of 20 people out of direct competition in North America that can do the job) . . . but one thing I've learned over time is that, when it comes to the best situations, the candidate will chase you and be as passionate about the opportunity as you are. Some might say that "no" is really "yes", but intuitively, you know when you have a real "no" on your hands. There are just candidates out there that Budha (or Jesus, Confucious, Allah) himself could come out of the clouds and offer them the perfect opportunity, but they aren't going anywhere.
Thanks Claudia, Thanks a ton….for the gr8 suggestion and advices, I love RB for this, I totally agree on the first rule of recruiting “The First Rule of Recruiting: That which I anticipate, I can control”. I have decided to drop the candidate and already presented the other backup resume. Thanks again and will be back if I need your help.

Thanks and Best Regards
Mohammed

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