It’s truly one of the most dreaded realities in the search business.
Although this phenomenon happens rarely – it does happen.
Search consultants engage in a retained search assignment and perform the search execution flawlessly. The profiling, sourcing and identification of the perfect candidate for a critical senior level technology opening is performed …by the book. The initial screening goes well, the candidate interviews also go well and the candidate is more than just mildly interested. Then it’s on to the position questionnaire to further test their commitment and once again – they deliver. They take part in the requisite client driven psychometric testing with no hesitation whatsoever. Let’s not forget the battery of interviews with multiple executives, lunches and dinners and more testing and reference checks to further qualify this seemingly stellar candidate. It’s a love affair on both sides of the table. Perfect!
The “trial close” of the candidate goes as planned. You further qualify them and their family on the relocation – everything appears to be “all systems go”. The verbal offer is made and presented to the candidate. Once again – everyone is “all good” and this search appears to be on “final approach” and coming to closure. Finally, the written offer is delivered to the candidate and he/she nods their head north and south and they happily execute the offer letter with enthusiastic anticipation of starting their new career and joining the new organization. The prospective new employer makes preparations for their new arrival. Internal (sometimes external) communications are drafted, offices are cleaned while business cards, laptops, PDA’s and cell phones are all ordered so the new executive can “hit the ground running” on their arrival.
Then all of the sudden something strange happens – and you feel it in your gut. You follow-up (as you always to prior to the start date) multiple times with the candidate just to touch base and something just feels different. It’s in their tone of voice, their energy level, interest level or enthusiasm. Or… worse…you leave multiple voice mail messages for this individual to follow-up with no return correspondence. OUCH!!! Something is wrong here…
Finally you get an e-mail or voice mail (they are scared to death to talk to you by phone or in person) from your star candidate letting you know they have decided to stay with their current employer and withdraw their name from this search. UNREAL!!! Often, it’s the classic self-serving method some candidates use by negotiating with the written offer (they have in hand) with their current employer to increase their compensation or position in the organization. Sometimes it’s simply a matter of fear or it could be family reasons or personal reasons that they decide to opt out. In any event – it is a painful outcome. Just painful.
If you EVER get to the point where you are not 100% committed to accept an offer, change your career and SHOW UP on your first day to commence work – let someone know as early as possible. You really owe it to the company and the search firm that invested so much time and money pursuing you as their candidate of choice! So…. PLEASE PLEASE inform them EARLY in the process if you decide not to continue as a candidate. Never at the last minute! It is bad form – and just the wrong thing to do.
Healthcare IT has two…maybe three degrees of separation – at best. Someone knows someone else that knows you. Remember that the next time you attempt to “float a trial balloon” with a search firm or a prospective new employer unless you are serious about your intentions and you plan to “SHOW UP!!!
Now…that’s not too much to ask is it?