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Curious how anyone out there might handle the "nail in the coffin" backdoor reference? 

 

In other words you're working for a Client and submit a Candidate that is downright "perfect" (I use this term extremely loosely...as there's never such a thing) for the job however the Hiring Manager receives word from someone he knows that this Candidate shouldn't be interviewed due to him not being "hands-on" enough...?  (The excuse)

 

Granted I don't know the Candidate on a personal level but he's most certainly stellar on the professional level and by looking at his resume (and the 6+ years I have been doing this IT Recruiting thing) know he's definitely hands-on.

 

The first time I got word on it (rejected) I battled it by having the Candidate draft up a detailed cover letter addressing his hands-on capabilities and duties in his current role as well prior position and I still got the "NO"...all because of the random person who doesn't even work there told the VP of IT to pass on him...

 

Has anyone EVER been able to get past this barrier or tried anything that perhaps Im not thinking of?  And what should I tell the candidate...???

 

Thank you guys for any of your ideas/suggestions...Its going to be another beautiful Southern California weekend!

 

-Chase

 

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I had a similar experience years ago where my superbly qualified, passive candidate had gone through 3 interviews with HR, the IT "team", CFO, CIO and the like--- amounting to hours of off time and travel--- and everything seemed to be directed towards a bonified hire.  She was two hours in her fourth interview with the CEO-- chemistry was through the roof, expectations of project responsibilities and deliverables, talks of salary, start dates, etc. were already finalized.  At what clearly looked like a done deal, slam dunk, "a given"--- on a last second whim as my candidate is literally walking out the door, the CEO says "Hey--  while you're here, I'd like you to meet my secretary."  As it turned out, the secretary was cold, curt, vindictive for whatever reason--- and put the backdoor khabosh on the whole deal.  My candidate was livid to say the least--- and convinced it was purely out of jealousy of her looks, and couldn't believe a company would allow a lower level secretary's opinion (no disrespect to secretaries now) effect executive's opinion's of extremely high level position's and candidate hires.  In the long run, it was concluded that my candidate probably dodged a major bullet with this particular company anyway.

Without naming names, within two months, the company was spiraling into bankrupcy, and up for indictment for some of the worst subprime loans manipulation in the country.  I'd have to say, in some instances, if the hiring manager or executive in charge of a final decision is that easily swayed?  Consider it a welcome red flag.

Mat that's horrible however it was certainly a blessing in disguise!

 

-C


Mat von Kroeker said:

I had a similar experience years ago where my superbly qualified, passive candidate had gone through 3 interviews with HR, the IT "team", CFO, CIO and the like--- amounting to hours of off time and travel--- and everything seemed to be directed towards a bonified hire.  She was two hours in her fourth interview with the CEO-- chemistry was through the roof, expectations of project responsibilities and deliverables, talks of salary, start dates, etc. were already finalized.  At what clearly looked like a done deal, slam dunk, "a given"--- on a last second whim as my candidate is literally walking out the door, the CEO says "Hey--  while you're here, I'd like you to meet my secretary."  As it turned out, the secretary was cold, curt, vindictive for whatever reason--- and put the backdoor khabosh on the whole deal.  My candidate was livid to say the least--- and convinced it was purely out of jealousy of her looks, and couldn't believe a company would allow a lower level secretary's opinion (no disrespect to secretaries now) effect executive's opinion's of extremely high level position's and candidate hires.  In the long run, it was concluded that my candidate probably dodged a major bullet with this particular company anyway.

Without naming names, within two months, the company was spiraling into bankrupcy, and up for indictment for some of the worst subprime loans manipulation in the country.  I'd have to say, in some instances, if the hiring manager or executive in charge of a final decision is that easily swayed?  Consider it a welcome red flag.

When things like this happen it's so disheartning, but I do believe everything happens for a reason. I've seen it time and time again...just like Mat's experience. 

I am a believer of "things happen for reasons"...So as I walk away from this I'm left chuckling inside...

 

Thank you guys for all your input and we'll talk soon!  

 

Enjoy your week Recruiters!

 

-C

Love the string of comments about this insightful topic.  My immediate reaction was 'get references' too, but I recall that we ALSO had experienced the 'roll up the sleeves' type of role 'barrier.'  So, apart from our 'regular' set of reference questions, we have an augmented set for "Senior Manager" types, which includes other questions...but one in particular asks references to describe our candidate being:

Self Reliant:  Able to “roll up their sleeves” and put in a concerted effort and obtain results, even if it means spearheading and working on a major project(s); with absolutely little or no support.

This has helped out on more than one occassion.  Then it becomes:  "Hey, don't take my word for it, look what his/her references had to say about that..."

 

Good luck.

Tim Moore

I would explain to my client that he should us the feedback from his reference as part of his decision making criteria but that he needs to do his own due diligence and make an informed decision.  Explain that we have this same conversation on the candidate side, there may be a candidate who would be "perfect" for his role but the candidate heard some negative feedback on the client.  We encourage the candidate to gather his own data points and then add that to the feedback they received and make an informed decision.

I like it Terry!

 

...One of those "Why didnt I think of that?" moments for me.

 

I will be sure to use this tactic next time this hurdle gets in my way.  Because going back at em' a third time with this analogy is a little late obviously.  Really apprecaite your advice though, thank you sir!

 

-Chase

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