In the August 5 edition of the Ask The Headhunter newsletter, “How can I push the hiring decision?” (sorry, it’s not online; you’ve gotta subscribe), I advised a reader that you can’t push companies to wrap up the hiring process (translation: make you an offer) because sometimes they just don’t want to.
Andy Lester, who writes The Working Geek, followed up with this story about complacent employers.
You forgot one other reason that people get led around by the nose in the hiring decision: The company is too incompetent to close the deal.
I recently had a friend, “Bob,” find a job that sounded like a great fit. The hiring manager said he’d be working with HR to get the offer worked out. A week later, no offer. Bob had wisely continued hunting and had some interest from a second company. When the second company called back for the second interview, Bob called the first company to light a fire. The first company was where he really wanted to work. “Yes, yes, we’re working on it,” the first manager said. Second company gives Bob an offer, who of course says he needs a day to think about it. He calls the first company with an ultimatum: “I need an offer by Wednesday at 5pm or I’m going with this other company.”
I don’t think you’ll be surprised to know that 5pm on Wednesday came and went. Bob called the first company on Thursday to let them know he had taken another offer. The hiring manager apologized and said “We still really want to hire you!” [This clown doesn't know The manager's #1 job or how to Hand-walk the offer.]
The first company wasn’t stalling or playing dirty with Bob. It’s just that the organization was too caught up in whatever it was that was drawing their attention away and couldn’t work on the important task of getting talent on board. They were so caught up in putting out fires that they couldn’t be bothered to hire a qualified fireman.
Losing an offer can be like breaking up with a crazy girlfriend. It hurts at the time, but boy, you’re glad you didn’t marry her.
Sorry for mixing metaphors, but there’s a company that shot itself in the foot. Andy may be right — the company was just too busy with other projects to complete the hire. But my guess is the company was over-analyzing its options. It got the “aim” part right, but it was never “ready” to pull the trigger and “fire” at the target.
When employers fail to hire the person they say they want, they oughta keep in mind that the one that got away will likely turn up again very soon — working for a competitor. (Thanks, Andy! I wonder how many other sweet-revenge stories like this are out there…)