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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A Teachable Moment

Photo courtesy of here

I've been fortunate in my "new" role to have the opportunity to build a marketing team and most recently interview candidates for a junior role of Marketing Assistant.  Surprisingly, for a role with 1-3 years of experience, we had an abundant amount of master's and MBA holders apply to the position. 

Fast forward to 2nd round interviews, candidate 1 I LOVED after my first interview with her and went to my boss and said I wanted to hire her pronto, candidate 2 I wanted to move to round two since he had interned with my group back in my corporate america days, and candidate 3 I thought had potential to become something great.

Let's zoom in on 4 weeks ago, an offer was made to candidate 3 who started last week.  We really liked candidate 1, but after more consideration I was concerned that her personality wouldn't fit the job; I needed high energy and low maintenance and while she definitely was high energy, she was also high maintenance.  While that was a concern, since candidate 3 was in the bag, I really wanted to bring on candidate 1 for a more senior role and pretty much tailor made a position for her, going to bat to increase her salary, being flexible about bringing her on as a contractor and hiring for a more senior title role after 6 months, and so on and so forth.... really going above and beyond trying to bring her on.

It was an uphill battle with my boss and then her boss and eventually received the ok to offer her a role while I was in London two weeks ago.  Emailed her on Friday mid-day and didn't hear back.  Emailed her again at the end of the day and didn't hear back.  Heard from her last Monday saying my email went to her spam (totally likely b/c it happens all the time) and was finally able to offer her the role.  She said she wanted to think about it because she had another unofficial offer on the table from a large financial services firm she wanted to consider.  I said that was fine and inquired as to what time frame the other company had given her and she indicated Friday.  I let her know we would be fine with the same and expected an acceptance or decline on Friday.

While I had the day off, I checked my blackberry for voicemails and emails from her all day and when I didn't hear anything, spent the rest of the weekend really annoyed that I had stuck my neck out for her and didn't even warrant a courtesy check in.

By Monday I was fuming.  Spoke to my boss first thing and asked her if candidate 1 did reach out, if we could rescind the offer and she was fine with that.  No word Monday or Tuesday and then finally, mid-afternoon I receive an email from her outlining all of the things she wants detailed, PTO, work from home, phone expenses, travel expenses, etc.  My brain turned to mush after that.  I was floored.  For someone who has only 1.5 yrs of experience, most of it contractual or short term work experience, she had some nerve.  Ultimately HR reached out saying the business has gone in a different direction and that the offer was no longer on the table.  Unwilling to let the matter drop, she says she turned down a role for this position, unbeknownst to me, and doesn't understand how we could make a position for her and then unmake it.

Teaching Moment for those of you interviewing out there:
1) be humble and yet confident in your interview; if the hiring manager feels like they'll need to stroke your ego, chances are you won't get the position
2) have a good weakness lined up; not being able to take constructive criticism objectively is not a good weakness
3) when you're made an offer, accept or decline within the appropriate amount of time
4) negotiate and ask for what you want, but stop pushing or you will lose the offer
5) act professionally during ALL aspects of the process.  you never know when you'll cross paths with the same folks again


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