Dance With the One Who Invites You

I’m sure you’ve heard the story before. You invite someone to go to the dance and the next thing you know you are out like yesterday’s garbage. Two-timing is high school (sophomoric) behavior and I am sad to report that it has made its way to the executive search business. I plan to rant for a moment and I admit this sort of two-timing conduct sends me into orbit (big-time). Let’s roll.

Let me set this story up for you in hopes that if you are a job seeker you will avoid making a bonehead move like this one. A candidate we sourced was presented to a client company as a viable candidate for a senior level search. Education, experience, heavy HCIT domain knowledge and plenty of recommendations on prior performance – she had it all. After my initial screening and follow-up video interview I was convinced she would make the short list. Not so fast. What she lacked was judgment. She decided to do her own homework on LinkedIn on the hiring manager. She found “shared connections” and decided she would be better off breaking away from our engagement and reached out to the hiring manager directly – behind  the scene (my back). Forget who brought her to the dance – she was going to “go for the gusto” on this search without our help. Bad move. Really bad move. Many candidates can make a mistake during an interview but in this case the hiring manager, while really impressed with her credentials, was completely unimpressed with her lack of judgment.

If you decide to go around the search consultant who invited you to engage in a search you are not showing professionalism and good judgment. It is a preview of upcoming attractions regarding the way you decide to handle yourself. It can send (and usually does) the wrong message and by the time everybody finds out what you are doing – there is no time to recover from your actions. If you decide to work the job market or your next career-move on a solo basis – that is clearly your decision. However if you are recruited externally by a search professional you owe it to them to work their search process. It just the way it should be. Period.

If on the other hand you make the decision to two-time on a search – don’t be surprised if you are the only one left standing in the parking lot after the dance is over.  And don’t count on getting invited to another dance. It probably will not happen. Not a chance.

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.