Dear Claudia,

I’m a sales recruiter who takes on splits to supplement my work load. Recently I started working on a project to build out a full team of account executives for another recruiter’s client; we’re making good headway and two of my candidates are interviewing this week. So what’s the problem? Last week I get this introduction to a senior sales manager in a “quiet search mode.” You guessed it – it’s the hiring manager for the account manager search. The manager doesn’t know I’m involved in the search to build out his team, and the other recruiter doesn’t know the manager is looking to leave. What’s the best thing to do here?

Undecided



Dear Undecided,

Sometimes we’re faced with a really complex set of options, aren’t we? Trust me, this is not one of those times. A wise person once told me, “There are no problems, only decisions.” When the dust settles all you’ve got is your reputation – which in this case is about to be decided by your integrity. Choose wisely.

My take is that there are two urgent conversations waiting to happen: first, get with the hiring manager and put your cards on the table. Clearly you know more about him than he thinks you know, and it’s time to calibrate those perspectives. What is driving his “quiet search”? You don’t have nearly enough information yet, and – unfortunately – he may not be very comfortable when you tell him what you do know. Regardless, the truth is critical here my friend.

When he explains to you the (no doubt) quite reasonable circumstances that would cause him to mislead all of the people who are making business and life decisions in the hiring process, you can move on to the second conversation with the other recruiter. There are a million and six reasons why that person needs to be in this loop, not the least of which are the expectations currently being set with candidates about a working relationship with a boss who intends to jump ship. The relationship with the boss is consistently the number one reason why people choose to leave a job (note to self when speaking to the hiring manager); do the right thing for your client and don’t put a team in place that has high potential for short-term turnover.

You may lose a little cash in the deal, but you’ll keep your reputation for excellence and probably make a raving fan or two in the transaction. Not a bad trade off, in my opinion.

**

In my day job, I’m the Head of Products for Improved Experience, where we help employers use feedback to measure and manage competitive advantage in hiring and retention. Learn more about us here.

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