This is one of those times. Literally everything that could happen... did. After 5 years in recruiting, I want to make sure I'm constantly learning and growing.
As I think about the whole process and what I can learn from this experience, I thought I'd share and see what insight others may have on this one.
The (Long) Story
I've been working with a candidate on a permanent Director of Treasury position with my client for 3 months. She lives about 4 hours away so would have to relocate herself and her family for the position. She interviewed in person in February and was in love with the company and the opportunity. This would be a huge step up in her career and she got along very well with the CFO. Unfortunately, the client dragged their feet after the initial interview. And in the meantime, my candidate was interviewing for other positions local to her.
About a month ago, she got an offer for a bank she'd interviewed with through another firm. We talked about it and she really wanted to work for my client but was also so unhappy at her current job and this was a good offer. She didn't know what to do. The other firm gave her 2 hours (really?) to give them an answer. The recruiter and sales person got her on the phone and yelled and cursed at her. They threatened that she'd be an idiot to turn down this offer and told her that if she didn't accept and tell my client that she's off the market, they'd never work with her again and she'd possibly not get anything else. This recruiter had placed her at her current company years ago and hadn't taken a fee so she felt some sort of obligation to them. We told our client that she had another offer but they needed to have a 2nd round interview before extending an offer, so they wished her luck. Well, in the end, she accepted their offer and put in her notice but told me that she still wanted to be considered for our clients' position.
We pushed our client and were able to set up the necessary 2nd round interview and the candidate drove back down, meeting with a couple more senior executives. She did really well and her excitement for the position increased.
Meanwhile, she left her company and started her new job. We were in touch almost daily during these last 2-3 weeks, texting, emailing and calling. She didn't like the new company. They work 12+ hour days almost every day (sounds familiar) and it seems as though no one there is happy. She also found out that 3 people have held her role and failed over the last couple years. She was still very interested in my clients' position.
Last week, she received another offer from a position she'd interviewed for. It was a great offer but she really didn't want the job. She didn't get a great feeling from them at the interview so declined the offer. Still, we used this as leverage with our client. Two days later, we finally got the offer! It was 5K less than she wanted (and had been pre-closed at) but came with a 10K sign on bonus to make up for it. After trying to pre-close her again at the new salary unsuccessfully, I went ahead and extended the offer. She was suddenly wishy-washy. It turned out that she'd also told her new company about the last offer she'd gotten. They responded by making a lot of promises for more money and giving her the opportunity for autonomy, saying that she can set up the department any way she'd like. Now, she thinks she may just stick it out.
It was clear during this conversation that she was somewhat insecure. She was worried about upsetting her current company (who are "so excited about her") and that she'd upset me and my client, making it a very tough decision. She now knows what her current company expects from her and isn't sure if she'd be successful in the position with my client. I told her to remove everyone but herself and her family from the equation. I also used that opportunity to remind her of all the things she'd told me she didn't like about where she is now and all the reasons she'd told me that she really wanted the position I was now offering her. Then, I left it in her hands and gave her 24 hours to decide.
At this point, I'd typically bring in the sales rep for the position to help me close the candidate but didn't want to do that with this one. Mostly because we'd developed such a great relationship but also because of the horrible experience she'd had with the other recruiter. It was clear that putting pressure on her would ensure that she wouldn't accept. As hard as it was, I had to leave her alone to make this huge decision with her husband.
The following day, I received an email (Seriously? After everything? An EMAIL?!) letting me know that she was declining the offer. I called her but she didn't answer or call back. Ouch.
The next day, the candidate sent me an Edible Arrangement thanking me for everything I'd done. I've never gotten anything like this from a candidate I didn't actually put to work. It was a nice gesture and a real reminder of why I do this.
What can we learn from this?
What, if anything, would you have done differently? Any other lessons I could or should learn from this experience?