My favourite experience in recruitment.

Inspired by Greg Savages post on his biggest stuff up in recruitment, I thought I would share my biggest mistake/favorite experience to date.

As most of you know recruitment takes some time, patience, learning and sometimes a thick skin to get to the end result. There is a lot more work involved than is sometimes perceived. My favorite moment encompasses all of these elements – last year 2010 I reconnected with an old client, after our catch up he then asked if I could help him out. He had two senior positions he wanted to fill in his company and seeing as we had a good relationship he wanted to give me “first crack at the whip”! Of course this is music to most recruiters ears; exclusive positions.

So I spent some time with him going through his plans for the company, changes he was making and what he expected from his new hires and why. These were not going to be easy positions to fill, but I was confident I could find the right people. I started the process by talking to my networks, gaining recommendations and utilised all the channels I had at my disposal.

After many interviews, meetings and consultations, I finally submitted my candidates and arranged interviews for the following week. At the end of the interview process I had two offers in hand and a very happy client. With candidates due to start I was a happy man and chalked them up and continued with the next task. This is where my mistake came in and it’s a rookie error that I shouldnever ever have made with my experience, but I did and I paid the price for it.

With both positions tied up I made sure both candidates were happy with their offers, told them I was here if they needed anything or had any questions and then left it at that. I spoke to one of them on a regular basis in the month during his notice, but the second candidate only phoned me once and that was it – can you see where this is going yet?

Candidate one started on the set date and is still there and loving it. Candidate two phones me the night before he was meant to start; yes you guessed it he was pulling out, he had been made a better offer. At first I was mad, how could a senior candidate such as this pull out at the very last minute leaving me with the task of calling my client with the news! But after putting the phone down and taking a few minutes to calm myself I realised that it was my fault; I had not done my job properly. I had made the mistake and failed to do the most basic of tasks that any recruiter worth their salt would consider a necessity in any placement (see point 8).

So anyway I phoned my client that night and explained the situation, thankfully I had and still do have a good relationship with him.  He wasn’t too happy with the result but he accepted it and allowed me the opportunity to find his replacement – this is where my favorite moment comes in.

I hit the phone with a vengeance and called everyone I knew, I was a man on a mission. And then it happened. I was recommended to a friend of a friend of a friend with the referral that this guy was brilliant and exactly what I was looking for, but he was laid up at the moment after an operation and could not meet with me. I thought to myself, “not a problem!” I called him, had a long talk and arranged a Skype chat as well. The recommendation was right on the money, this candidate was exactly what my client was looking for, and he had the attitude, drive and desire. This was demonstrated when offered his first interview, I explained to my client that he was incapcitated and could he do the first interview by Skype or phone, my client agreed and I went back to my candidate and explained the situation. It was at this point he demonstrated exactly why he was a match for my client when he said, “no it’s fine, I will go to them.”

So long story short, he turns up the next day hobbling along on crutches, interviews twice in two days, gets the job and started two weeks later. So why is this the happiest memory I have of recruitment? Two reasons: Firstly, this all happened in three days from call to client to second interview and offer, it was the hardest I had ever worked as a recruiter and secondly it re-taught me a valuable lesson; no matter how confident you are don’t forget the basics.

So what’s your favorite moment in recruitment? Share your happiest or most exhilarating moment in the comments section below.

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