The People Business

I’ve talked about this before, I feel like I was born to be a recruiter.   Love the profession, craft, impact we have on our clients, competitiveness and all it has to offer.  But no job is perfect and something that helps me navigate the ups and downs of the technical recruiting world is the “we can’t make this up” funny (sometimes disturbing) stories we get by dealing with people as our commodity.  Several were so ‘good’ that they didn’t make the ‘Professionalism’ cut for the blog.   Maybe we can Tweet those…

Some of my favorite recruiting stories are those starring candidates who lack self awareness.   Sometimes it’s the overtalker or ‘overconfident guy’ and we’ve all had our run-in with a candidate from ‘negative town’.   Here is one of our favorites in this category:

We had a Director level role with a loyal client and were lucky enough to find the perfect candidate – right industry, money, location were all good.  He nails the phone interview and they bring him in the following week.  First half of the day goes fairly well, but a few hiring managers comment that he’s ‘a little quirky’.  Good lunch meeting and off to HR for the final stop of the day, but before they get started:  “Can I use your restroom real quick to brush my teeth?”   BYOT!!  He did bring it + toothpaste!  Also, after debrief it was discovered he asked all but one manager to wash his hands after meeting with them.

There isn’t really a category for this next story.  Sometimes you are on an interview for a job you really want and the nerves start on you.  I get it, we have all been there and stretched the truth or embellished a little.  Maybe you weren’t Business Club Treasurer or ranked #2 in your territory in 2001.  Or…maybe you get really caught up in the moment:

One of our skilled machinists had an interview for a lead role at our biggest client here in Indianapolis.  He had a friend just get the job and his skills were a mirror image.  He really wanted the job and the interviewees could tell he was a little nervous.    For their process, everyone sits around a table and they review in detail the applicant’s job history/resume.  Everyone gets a copy, including the applicant.  After an hour of getting a feel for his skills and why he left his last three or four jobs, they get to the commute.  Why would you want to drive 50 miles to work each day?   “I am only 20 miles away, this is not my resume.”  HR noted that it was the first time in her 30 years that anything like that had happened.   You would say something, right?

One of the toughest things to go through as a recruiter is when your tough-to-please client wants to make an offer and your candidate bails.   In our version of ‘Seriously??’, our 90K Project Manager candidate was about to get an offer and asked if he could be withdrawn from consideration.  We immediately assumed it was a chemistry issue, location or maybe salary was going to be too low for him to consider.  Nope – not enough family photos on the desks of the people he interviewed with!   Surely there was something else and this was just the icing on the cake, right?  Wrong.  Dealbreaker!

Last but not least, two “HOF” Hall-of-Fame stories in my opinion:

  • Female Aegis employee invites male prospect to a lunch appointment.  Prospects arrives at Aegis office, insists on driving, paying for lunch and walks our co-worker to the office door post-lunch.  Oh yeah, and he snapped a picture of her with his phone during the meal as a keepsake.  He was never placed.  Or contacted.   In fact, he may still be out of work and this was 3 years ago.
  • Hourly Machinist injuries himself on the job.  A mandatory drug test is issued and our candidate awaits the results.  He steps out of the screening office and places a cell phone call to Aegis representative asking if he can ‘take the drug test tomorrow?   I just don’t have to go right now’.   Two hours had elapsed since the accident and he was finally able to provide a sample.  It did not meet temperature requirements; automatic failure.   He calls Aegis representative to tell them ‘my urine must just be colder than everybody else’s.’

Remember keep things light because recruiting can be a grind if you live and die with every outcome.   If you are doing it right, these are the outlier stories and make up only 1-2% of the candidates you deal with.  We’ve been very lucky to work with and represent very high character and talent professionals, but we thought these would be more entertaining.    Have a great weekend!

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