Candidate’s Need to be “ALL IN” in a Job Search

OK – no need to mince words here. I have developed a list of pet peeves over the years in dealing with candidate behavior (more on that later). One of my least favorite things to deal with is a candidate that decides they want to aggressively pursue (much) greener pastures and then become …passive aggressive. And they do it over and over. We do target passive candidates. That’s what our clients prefer and demand. The superstar candidate, gainfully employed and not looking for as new gig until we call. They think about it for a few days (or hours in some cases) and then our phone rings and the call goes something like this:

“Hi Tim, I wanted to get back to you regarding that new opportunity you mentioned the other day and I’ve had a chance to think about it. I am definitely interested. What do you need from me?

We go over our process explain we need to review their resume, discuss their background, career progression and accomplishments to get a better sense of what they bring to the table. We tell them we first screen each candidate , conduct a phone interview – if all goes well we move to a video interview and things are still on track – a face-  to – face interview is the next step. Then we conduct a candidate assessment test, send out the candidate questionnaire and a few other (secret) steps in our process before we are ready to present them to our client. Depending on the search assignment, it usually takes us 8-12 weeks (and many many hours) to complete a search. That assumes all parties are actively engaged.

That’s the problem…

Remember this: “Hi Tim,…..I am definitely interested. What do you need from me?”

Yea – I remember. That’s where the wheels come off for me. This super excited (ready to go) passive candidate is nowhere to be found. Vanished. Gone. We call, send e-mails, text their cell phone and nothing. ZERO. That is just unacceptable.

I’m passionate about what we do – but refuse to spend cycles on “time-wasters” “Nope. Not going to happen. I’m in the search business. Search, the final frontier. Endless. Our mission is to patrol the galaxy and seek out and contact all passive candidate life. To explore their backgrounds and get to know them. Then we dig – then dig some more. We find that special candidate in places where no search consultant has gone before. And search we will.

But… we will not waste time on candidates that are not engaged.

Go ALL IN – or step aside. Others are waiting.

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.