It’s not dead… until it stops breathing…

You thought that the Essendon Saga took forever… seven months of back and forth, thrust and parry, denial and acceptance. Most of the AFL loving public was over it by Easter… I know I was… Finally, though… after what seemed like an eternity, we have a resolution… some people think it’s the right outcome… others not so much. Me? I’m just looking forward to the final series where my beloved Tigers make their first appearance for 12 years.

dead3But… What does the greatest sport in the world have to do with recruitment I hear you ask? And why am I taking almost as long as the Essendon Saga to get to any point in this post?

Well… Strap yourself in and get ready for this ride…

Back in October 2011… That’s right October 2011… Before the London Olympics… Before the Lance Armstrong hullabaloo… Back when Miley Cyrus was Hanna Montana, and Snoop Lion was Snoop Dogg… In the good ol’ days when the mining boom was at its peak and William & Kate got hitched… Are you picturing it yet? Back when The Godfather was number one at the box office, and a pound of butter cost thruppence ha’penny … Well maybe not that far back… but it was a helluva long time ago…

So… back in October 2011 I presented a candidate to a client of mine. The candidate was a 90% fit for the job brief and the client was IMO (ok… to save all of our more mature readers the time and embarrassment of Googling ™ the slang abbreviation for IMO it means ‘in my opinion’… I know… I had to look it up too… and to be honest the time I tried to save us all by using a hip and funky abbreviation has just been wasted by having to explain… anyway, onwards and upwards) IMO the client needed a candidate exactly like the one I was presented – to introduce some new ideas to a pretty stale brand…

Originally, my client refused to interview my candidate. (I’m sick of using the terms client and candidate already, so for the purpose of moving the narrative along from this point on I decree that the client is Passive Recruitment… not bad eh? And the candidate… let’s call…Shorty Round… Google ™ that one!). So, Passive Recruitment told me that although Shorty had loads of experience and looked good on paper he wasn’t an exact match to what they were looking for. I encouraged them to invest an hour of their time in meeting with Shorty and that I would guarantee that time would not be wasted… they eventually acquiesced.

dead1As with all recruiters I immediately followed up to get feedback after the interview…

‘I thought it was very positive.’ Shorty informed me. ‘I liked the manager, and they really seemed to understand their space. With my network I think I can add immediate value…’ Pretty standard feedback… right?

‘Did they give an indication of next steps?’ I asked. Pretty standard question… right?

‘He said he was seeing a couple of other candidates and would come back to you with feedback…’ Uh Oh… We’ve all heard that one before…

Anyway, I followed up directly with Passive Recruitment. The feedback was along the lines of… ‘Great candidate, deep network, strong culture fit, but not right for us right at the moment…’

‘Why?’ I asked.

Why?’ he replied.

‘Yes… Why?’ I asked again.

‘Why… What?’ he was clearly perplexed.

‘Why… if Shorty is a great candidate, has deep networks and is a strong culture fit is he not right for you at the moment?’ Great question Craig!

‘Great question Craig…’ he mused. ‘Facts are… Shorty has a very different way of doing things than we do currently… I’m just not sure we are ready for such radical change…’

To cut an already long story short Passive Recruitment ended up pulling the role. Someone internally took on the desk… Fast forward to April this year. Obviously as all serious recruiters are want… I kept in close contact both with Shorty (who stayed with his employer) and Passive Recruitment (who via, an acquisition and change in strategy became Active Recruitment)… I was at a client meeting with Active Recruitment and I was briefed on almost the exact role as back in October 2011 (remember October 2011? Back when planking was more popular than the Iphone ™ Sorry… I’ll stop now). I suggested they revisit Shorty – and amazingly… they did..

There were many, many meetings and finally…after… 1 year…10 months… 2 weeks… 3 days and a couple of hours… the deal was done… And so am I… almost.

Two quick observations… Firstly, don’t give up on a deal when you know it is right. You are the expert and 93.67% of the time you think the match between client and candidate is right… it is. And secondly, if you tickle me… I am not responsible for your injuries.

Craig Watson


4 thoughts on “It’s not dead… until it stops breathing…

  1. Sylvain Dorget on Reply

    Good story (sorry for the delay, vacations in France, you know…).
    The important part to me is “why… what ?…”. Clients (sorry Passive, and even Active) are unable to express the core information: why on earth don’t you want this person? We are not talking about choosing the main course in a menu (sorry French people, food reference): “mmh… well… no, I don’t feel in a fish mood today…”. We are talking about recruiting a game changer!!!
    This is why I want to speak with the CEO of the Company (and not the HR) and share their vision. If they know where they are going, then you can have THE discussion.

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