Friday, January 16, 2009

Candidate Case Study

I need to take today's posting to describe a recent situation and get your candid feedback. I am quite puzzled by a candidate's actions recently and am at a loss for words.

I have been executing a search for a client in Lower NY & Long Island and have had a difficult time recruiting qualified candidates. The difficulty comes from the company's mere location, as no one is interested in moving to Long Island. By some luck, I identified a passive candidate through a referral, who was in fact interested in the opportunity.

By "interested," I mean that this person would potentially move into a more senior role with his current company's largest competitor, have a shorter commute, and make $20K on his base salary. It was a great opportunity!

The candidate was local so they went straight to an in-person interview and supposedly hit it off. The candidate debriefed with me and indicated the interview went well and he was looking forward to taking the next steps. Shortly thereafter, the client debriefed with me and provided similar sentiments.

Four days later, Sunday, the candidate constructed a well thought out letter, removing himself from the process. No rationale was given, only thanks for our time and consideration.

And then he was gone......

I tried email and phone, no response. I left voicemails asking for a rationale and reason - NOTHING. He just up and fell off the face of the earth. The company HR Manager even tried tracking him down but to no avail.

Now I understand that people change their minds, it's human nature. But if candidates want AND expect open communication with recruiters and hiring managers, then candidates need to show a similar respect. I am obviously never working with this individual again as they have permanently burned a bridge with me - BUT someone please tell what this individual is thinking??

I mean, with a downturn economy, you would think someone would be happier going to a larger, more stable company that would provide a shorter commute and an extra $20K on the base compensation. It's a no-brainer for me, but I am obviously missing something.

Someone please tell me what I should think of this situation....

Friday, January 9, 2009

New Year

I was fascinated the other week how a single change in day could spark such a spike in stock market activity - namely going from December 2008 to January 2009. When the markets re-opened from the New Year hiatus, a flurry of trading ensued as if the New Year meant the economic woes of 2008 had been magically erased. Aahhhhhh, not so quick my profit seeking capitalist!

The difference in December 2008 and then moments later, January 2009, is merely a lapsing of minutes. No drastic changes occurred other than the ability to change calendars and date your emails/checks differently. And while I overly simplify this event for discussion purposes, I want investors and job seekers alike to realize that the economic and employment pitfalls of yester-year will follow us, at least initially, into the New Year.

One of the most telling reports will be the unemployment statistics, due out later this morning. I am little unsure of what the report will entail, but if it reflects anything close to the Charlotte market (where BofA, Wachovia, and Freightliner have all announced significant layoffs), then we are destined for additional unemployment woes.

So my advice to you, Jane and John Doe job seeker - take this opportunity to make a positive change. If you unexpectedly fall victim to the HR axe man, don't feel sorry for yourself - because most likely it wasn't your fault. Companies are putting some great individuals in the unemployment lines. Use this career transition as a time to re-focus your efforts on an area you will really enjoy. This may mean going back to school to get the advanced degree you have been talking about for the last few years. Or maybe joining the ranks of our local, state, or federal government. (The FBI announced they will be hiring 3,000+ people nationally)

At the end of the day, you have a skill set that is valuable and of great benefit to an employer. Maybe your current employer didn't recognize your value and skill, but there are companies out there hiring and staffing up. So look at this momentary lapse in employment as a brief vacation. A time to recharge your battery and get ready for the next round in your career. We can make 2009 a good year!