May 23, 2018

The ABCs of Interviews

by Chris Winterboer

I may be dating myself here, but how many of you remember the infamous scene in Glengarry Glen Ross when Alec Baldwin talks about ABC standing for Always. Be. Closing. My spin on that for today’s blog is a different idea:

  • A – Always
  • B – Be
  • C – Considering

Recently I have heard the “thanks, but no thanks” line more than normal. I present an incredible candidate profile, only to hear that the client has no interest in learning more. Or even worse, they want to learn more, love what profile(s) I present, but still take no action. Here are some possible outcomes of considering a candidate that might not be one you were anticipating making a hire for in the first place:

  1. You may learn something from speaking with a candidate that you don’t currently have a position open for at the time. Considering their background and having a conversation might spark a new idea you had not even ever thought. Once I had a client follow up after an interview to say they were not interested in having another meeting with the candidate I had presented, but instead they wanted to go in an entirely different direction, we found them a perfect candidate, and a new role was created that has paid huge dividends.
  2. You may learn what your competitors are up to in your market. If a candidate is speaking with multiple firms, you now have an inside track into what they are doing. Maybe the intel you gather during an unexpected interview process leads you to make some additional strategic decisions down the road.
  3. Maybe, just maybe, you will fall in love with a candidate’s experience and skill set. The art of making an opportunity hire is a lost one and can be resurrected at any time with a little bit of will power. I have even had clients in the past meet with a candidate, hire them, claim to have a full bench, and then hire the very next person I present, simply because it was such a good match.
  4. You meet somewhere that you can’t hire now, but keep in touch with and hire down the road. As long as you are transparent in your communication, there is nothing wrong with having an exploratory conversation. The only downside to this approach is that you still have some work to do if you really are going to keep in touch. Because if you don’t, and instead simply call the candidate six months later hoping they waited for you, that likely isn’t going to work.

I can promise I will never be as intense as Alec Baldwin if someday I call you up to consider a new candidate that has a fabulous background. Knowing that it is unlikely you have the “perfect” opening just waiting for them. But to steal a line from the movie I may tell you that coffee is only for closers and find another client to listen to my story about the candidate if you are not interested.


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