Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Recruiting Tales

Today I was inspired to write about work. This is not something I typically blog about, but I certainly could. The life of a recruiter is far more interesting than you might have guessed.

We all have the stories. The one about our worst hire. Mine was at the beginning of my career. I hired a candidate who recently suffered a debilitating brain injury out of pity. He ended up involved in a love triangle, stalking a fellow employee and being arrested on the premises. Yeah. Good one. The one about the bigoted client who refused a candidate because although totally qualified and charming over the phone, when he interviewed in person he was too fat. The one about the amazing CFO candidate hired, but then fired one week later after the results of his credit check came through, yes it was that bad.

We also hear a lot. Anyone in HR does. We are the human side of employment. We have to ask the tough questions about salary, about terminations, about gaps in work history. We often learn more than we have a right to know, because people talk. And talk. Candidates offer up unsolicited information about their sexual orientation (Do gay people fit in here?), tragedy (How good is your insurance? My wife has terminal cancer), and their criminal history (Are you going to run a background check? I was arrested for shoplifting lip gloss at Kmart 15 years ago).

So we have the gossip. But that is not why I am writing.

Today I was baffled by an email that came through on a recruiting networking list I belong to. A fellow recruiter wrote to the group asking for advice on an upcoming interview. Apparently the individual was told that they were to conduct a mock interview with a "Diva" candidate as part of the selection process. The employer wanted to determine how this recruiter would win over a less-than-willing candidate. If I understand the word Diva correctly we are talking about a Mariah Carey, a demanding starlet who insists on green m&m's in her dressing room and screams at her stylist for a misplaced hair. Awesome can't wait to work with that everyday.

Honestly, it doesn't seem to make sense. Yes, we recruiters sometimes need to "sell" a job to a highly desirable candidate, but yet do we really want a "Diva" on board, no matter how "talented"? Unlike a used car salesmen, you are stuck with that employee after you have "sold" him or her on your company. More than likely a candidate who is demanding and egotistical during the interview process is going to result in an employee who is equally as entitled. They will want a bigger cube, they will need top billing on every project, they will need everyone to know that they are hot-sh*t. My assumption is that an employer that wants to attract Diva candidates is a company full of not-so-nice-people.

Would you really want to work there? Just wondering...


  1. I have such wonderful stories. They get even better in Israel, where the laws aren't as strict and I can ask anything "How old are you?" "Do you plan on having children immediately?" I actually had a Diva type who my boss swore would be the best hire we'd ever come accross, who I INSISTED we not hire, come back and tell me (after we did not offer her the job) "You are missing out on the TOP ESCHELON OF ISRAELI SOCIETY!" Oh yeah, we want THAT on our team....

  2. What I find strange here in the US actually is just how little you are allowed to ask people - like age for example! In Europe everything is so much more open and any question goes pretty much.

    One of the really big differences here is how easy it is to fire someone - In England and Ireland it takes time, there are proper processes and warnings you must adhere to and written evidence supporting the reasons for a firing are required or you get yourself sued. In some countries, like Germany and most of Scandinavia, firing someone is very hard to do and extremely costly.

    I think maternity leave here in the US is atrocious, a complete joke.

    Also vacation time - in a new job in Europe you typically get 4 weeks paid vacation, some countries you get six weeks and in Italy they have about 18 saints days off a year also!

    Here in the US everything is skewed towards the employer. I think Europe is too much the other way but some middle ground would be preferable here I think. People worry too much here about getting fired.

  3. Hey there : )
    It's my first time her and I'm really loving your blog, your stories and your honesty.
    Thanks for stopping by Hey Lady Grey today!