My name is Mark Wayman, and for the last 14 years I have owned an Executive Recruiting firm focused on gaming and high tech. Compensation starts at $100,000, average base salary is $250,000, and last year I placed several executives north of a million dollars.
Disclaimer: Only represent executives I know personally or by referral. No online job postings, no candidate databases, no unsolicited resumes.
Probably best known for my monthly casino newsletter that goes out to 5,000 executives. Who got hired, who got fired and all the latest gaming/casino news. If you want to keep up in real time, follow me @GodfatherWaym on Twitter. End of promo!
This week I had to deal with a candidate we will call Shallow Hal. He managed to break most of the interview rules, so I thought it would be a good test case for reviewing the interviewing/hiring process and how to follow protocol. Here we go!
Take Personal Responsibility for Your Choices – Over the last 15 years I have review 100,000+ resumes. Do you know how many of those candidates told me they were fired? ZERO. Not one. It’s the company’s fault, the boss’s fault, the spouse’s fault, the parents fault…their dog’s veterinarian’s fault. No one ever tells the truth. Shallow Hal got himself fired. Why? Because he could not get along with people. The #1 job killer in the nation. Shallow Hal gave me the patented, “I resigned” pitch. And he probably did, but it was in lieu of termination. Not judging, but be honest with yourself and why you were terminated. You are the product of your choices, good and bad. If you made a bad choice, learn from it and move forward. “A” executives take personal responsibility for your actions.
A Career Crisis on Your Part is Not an Emergency for the Recruiter or Hiring Company – Hiring the right people is essential to success, however it is NOT the only priority of the hiring company, the hiring Manager or Human Resources. It is one of MANY priorities. At the $250,000 level the hiring process can be four to eight weeks. And unfortunately for many of the “B” companies its more like 12 to 16 weeks. Shallow Hal expected everyone to drop what they were doing because he was terminated and needed a job. NOT going to happen. The hiring company has their timing, and I have 20+ executive searches going. If you want to interview, you work with the hiring company’s timing.
This is NOT the TV Show “24”: Things Don’t Happen in Real Time – Shallow Hal was on me from day one. Emails. Phone calls. Pressing on me to make things go faster. Asking if he should circumvent HR and call the hiring manager directly. Let me tell you how that comes off – smells like desperation. Feels very needy. That is not the behavior of an “A” executive, and probably one of the reasons Hal was terminated – too much ego. Again, emailing and calling every day does not help your case, it only paints you as someone that is desperate and won’t color within the lines. Executive Recruiters and companies will drop you like a hot rock. I’ll never forget having a General Counsel interview, and he circumvented HR to tell the CEO of the hiring company to move faster. The CEO sent me this message, “Withdraw him. We don’t hire people that can’t follow directions.” Ouch!
If I Would Have Interviewed They Would have Hired Me – So I submitted Hal for a senior level executive role, followed up and followed up, and eventually the response was that the company knew Hal and did not have interest. Relationships trump talent. It does not matter how brilliant and talented you are if you can’t get along with people. And in this case the hiring company had previously interfaced with Hal and did not like what they saw. When I told Hal they did not have interest, he started with the next behavior of a “B” players, “If you would have secured me the interview, they would have hired me.” Let me be crystal clear: I don’t get paid unless I get Hal the job. Do you know what I get for all the time and effort I invested on Hal? Nothing. Zero. Nada. Not a penny. I did my job, yet I’m not going to get paid because Hal managed to alienate the hiring company at some point in the past. Pretty much the same thing he was terminated for at his last job. Is it me, or am I sensing a pattern.
Sour Grapes: It’s Their Loss – Another one of my hot buttons, candidates that are not gracious in defeat. Anyone can win. The true character of a person is how they handle defeat. There are a hundred reasons you did NOT get the job. And mostly none of them are about YOU. The company may have gone with an internal candidate. Or maybe there were five candidates and someone else was a better fit. Or maybe the company decided to reorganize and not hire for the role. Remember, everything happens for a reason. At the Director level and up, 50% of the “right candidate” is chemistry and culture. DO THEY LIKE YOU. It’s not about technical fit. It’s whether you are a strong fit for the company culture, and whether the hiring manager liked you during the interview. The correct response if you DON’T get the job is, “I truly appreciated the opportunity to interview. Best wishes.” Being bitter and acting like a horse’s ass has no upside.