Playing Hard To Get: A Risky Endeavor

Hey you prima donna passive candidates.  Listen up. So… you think playing hard to get is a smart move? I don’t. Search firms and their consultants can be a valuable ally when things go south in your career. They can be a trusted adviser and help you sort out your next move or just listen to you when you call. It could be that you are having a bad day and perhaps things are not going well with your boss and you just need to vent. Remember. It’s a trusted relationship. The really good search consultants will always do a lot more than simply try to place you with one of their client companies. They will get to know you, your career track and the things that might interest you later in your career.

If you are that good you will never need to look for a new gig. Why? because you will always create your value internally (where you currently work) or externally (with employers who would like to have you on their team). You reputation will always precede you. You will become that ROCKSTAR that all recruiters want to connect with. That’s a good position to be in. Why you choose to play the field make no sense to me. You don’t have to display that you can’t have me behavior – it’s SO unbecoming of a true professional. But IF YOU DO, please be aware that we will remember. We want to help you and stay in touch with you. But it works both ways. And guess what? If we engage in a new assignment we call candidates that have shown an interest in exploring a new opportunity. We all use a CRM tool to keep track of clients and candidates and we summarize our notes from each conversation. We also document our notes each time we try to call you or send you an e-mail and you don’t respond. So… what does that mean? If you consistently choose not to return phone calls and e-mails you may not get a call – even if it’s the ideal dream job for you!

Every time your phone rings and you decide not to return a recruiter’s call, they will remember. Maybe you want to play games and decide,  ”I will just wait until they call me again or worseThey need me more than I need them. Let them wait.” I guess in some ways (in your own mind) perhaps you have become “forbidden fruit.” Wow. Is that smart? Playing hard to get? Not a very good move. Nope.

The relationship between a search consultant and a candidate can be a valuable one to have when the other shoe drops for you. Careers can change in a heartbeat. We see it every day. Make  sure you maintain a good working relationship with search professionals. Return their phone calls and e-mails. It takes minutes to reply and much (way longer) to repair the damage of playing hard to get.

I’m just sayin’…

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.