Outcome of a Job Search:From the Scene of the Crash

The really bad interviews I hear about or experience with one of my clients are sometimes hard to understand. I only wish I could make this stuff up. It’s impossible. When dealing with human capital you have to know that things will happen during the course of a search assignment that you will never understand and can’t explain. You just shake your head in complete disbelief, try to regroup and move on…

I was talking to a good friend of mine yesterday who has been in the search business for more than two decades. He is a very smart guy and has seen more than his share of dumb moves made by some of the candidates he’s worked with. As a behavioral psychologist he is always mesmerized by human behavior when it comes to why candidates do stupid things during an interview. One of the reasons candidates work with a search consultant is to have a trusted third party fully engaged on their behalf to coach and mentor them through the interview maze.

The GoalTo land a new job.

My question is why any candidate (in the middle of a job interview  – OK… in this case the middle of an offer) would decide to fly solo? I don’t get it. Apparently this happened to him last month on a search he was working on and he called me yesterday to share his story. His star candidate received an offer and felt the base salary was a bit low. OK. I get that. He called my friend (his search consultant) to discuss the situation. After going over the various options he agreed the best approach would be to have the search consultant contact the client (HIS client) to discuss an adjustment to the base salary in the offer. Good plan – right? Apparently within minutes the candidate had a change of heart. He wrote a (Ted Kaczynski style) manifesto e-mail to the client asking for a 30% increase in the base salary and a guaranteed bonus for the first year (also off the charts). OUCH!

Candidates should never try to take control of a search regardless of how well they think things are going. In most cases candidates get to the big dance because the search consultant called them! Going solo is both dangerous and never a very good plan. The consequences are usually predictable and the outcome is never positive.  Bad plan. A really bad plan! This candidate’s direct approach did not work. Offer rescinded, game over. Back to square one. Not good.

In the meantime, my friend is planning to recover the voice recorder from the scene of the crash to try to make some sense out of what actually happened. I can’t wait to hear what’s on that tape!

About the author


Tim Tolan

Tim Tolan is the Senior Partner of the Healthcare IT and Services Practice of Sanford Rose Associates. He has conducted searches for CEOs, presidents, senior vice presidents, vice presidents of business development, product development and sales. Tim is also the co-author of "The CEO’s Guide to Talent Acquisition – Finding Talent Your Competitors Overlook," available on Amazon.