Weâ€™ve all heard about â€œAâ€ players as the desired target in recruiting. Theyâ€™re those elusive â€œpassive candidatesâ€ who are currently employed and happily climbing their employerâ€™s corporate ladder with little or no thought to making a change.
Those â€œBâ€ and â€œCâ€ players can find their own jobs (probably never to be a true career) through Monster, CareerBuilder, HotJobs and the like. The fact that theyâ€™ve chosen to put their resumes out there for all to see is perceived by many that they are second class citizens . . . over-the-hillers, wishful thinkers, window shoppers, tire kickers, wannabes and God knows what else. No â€œAâ€ players there â€“ right?
But â€œAâ€ companies will supposedly only hire â€œAâ€ players and theyâ€™re unwilling to pay our fees for any Bâ€™s and Câ€™s as though they are only worth immediate relegation to the candidate toxic dump site as though this was a black hole from which they can never recover.
Thatâ€™s the current â€˜conventional wisdomâ€™ for many in our business. But if that were true, why do most of the â€œAâ€ companies prohibit referrals of anyone whose resume resides in cyberspace? Could it be that public domain candidates arenâ€™t all â€œBâ€ and â€œCâ€ caliber? Does having a resume on the Internet inevitably mean a lower offer from an â€œAâ€ employer? Are they permanently tainted and tarnished?
Iâ€™ve been in this business for well over four decades and always thought I was able to spot a â€œwalking fee checkâ€ or a â€œwater walker.â€ But for whom? What is an â€œAâ€ player? For some, it may be a verifiable progressively successful record of increasing profits. Or decreasing costs. A true â€˜impactâ€™ candidate! But weâ€™ve all seen people who have failed in one company only to become a superstar for another one.
Truth is, for most pragmatic recruiting practitioners, any company anxious for a quick hire, willing to pay you a full fee for an exclusive and competitively salaried position is an â€œAâ€ company. And guess what . . . they are almost always more interested in skills than window dressing. They are more likely to be evaluated by a real hirer rather than being screened out by some HR flunky. They donâ€™t have to be a Fortune or Forbes-listed firm because, frankly, those will nitpick you to death with one-sided contracts and bureaucratic claptrap and, in my opinion, are anything but â€œAâ€ firms.
I can fondly remember my first placement when I placed a â€œDâ€ player with a â€œDâ€ company. I was given a desk, a phone, some Yellow Pages and the application form of a janitor who, because he had completed a correspondence drawing course found on the back of a matchbook cover, wanted a job as a draftsman. My training consisted of convincing walkin traffic to sign a contract obligating them to a hefty self-paid fee before I would work with them.
Because I didnâ€™t know any better, I placed the â€˜custodian/draftsmanâ€™ within a week with a company needing a janitor. They promised to give him some part-time drafting if the need arose. He paid his fee (in long, drawn out installments) and retired from that same company as the V.P. of Engineering with a string of patents as long as your arm.
When you try to categorize candidates and companies with the ABCâ€™s, you are making a fundamental mistake. Iâ€™ve seen true â€œAâ€ players rejected for the flimsiest of reasons . . too little hair, the wrong color eyes, too tall, too skinny, too qualified and you name it. Personal biases (yours and your clientâ€™s) will always influence your decision about the ABCâ€™s.
I canâ€™t tell you how many placements I made without ever having met the candidate. When I was subsequently introduced to them (and the people who hired them), I hate to admit that had I personally interviewed them, I would not have referred them in the first place. As Dr. Phil says, â€œIt was a changing day in my life.â€
Itâ€™s hard to admit your best chance for a placement may be to send a â€œBâ€ candidate to a client requesting an â€œAâ€ player. Remember, employers always request an â€œAâ€ player. Itâ€™s your job, as a professional, to re-alphabetize the process.