When Enough is Enough, Danny Says Use “Disruptive Honesty”

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Apr 3, 2014
This article is part of a series called Tips & Tricks.

Dear Danny,

A client is not keeping its commitment to the process (not getting back quickly after the final on site round of interviews, committing to provide an offer within two days of these interviews, foot dragging, making repeated commitments and then breaking them).

I push, and explain it sends a bad signal to the candidate and is not what they agreed to. As part of this, I’m also concerned that the client makes me look bad to our candidate and, that if they’re marketable elsewhere, they will be hesitant to work with us as a result of being jerked around by the first client we put them in to.

It’s fine to tell the client that part of the process is not “jerking” a highly marketable candidate around, right?

Also, what are your thoughts on checking the reviews of a client on Glassdoor, which many candidates do before interviewing with them? In this case the reviews are consistently pretty poor and signal that the company is tough to work for, management isn’t very “nice” etc.; do I run these reviews before considering signing a search assignment, and do I discuss them with the client if they’re negative, and how?

According to Danny replies:

I have tried solving this problem in three ways:

  1. The passive approach. Do nothing, wag my finger and point out they “promised.” Wait. Repeat.
  2. The aggressive approach. Hold my hand across my brow like the archetypal artist, bellow, “I can’t work like this,” and fire the company, followed by making it my life’s work to recruit their employees, their employee’s families, and most of their pets.
  3. The passive aggressive approach. The approach you are considering: Tell them it’s not about jerking ME around, it’s the candidates I’m worried about, how this will all be perceived by them! Don’t worry about me, I’ll be fine. I’m just the long suffering martyred recruiter.

The first one is pathetic, the second one feels good for a few days but as a whole is ineffective and taken to the logical extreme marginalizes your niche, which is code for “You’re running out of companies to work with dude,” and the third one is a banal blend of pathetic and ineffective.

So when all else fails, try disruptive honesty.

Tell your company your relationship has to be based on mutual respect. They have to value talent, they have to value the agent of that talent, and the process. If they don’t, you can’t work with them; NOT because it reflects poorly in the marketplace and their “rep”; NOT because your precious rapport with the candidates will be damaged, (they do not care); but because it is just not right. It is disrespectful of who you are and what you do. If they can’t rectify, you regret to inform them, get another whipping boy. (Okay, say it nicer. Sigh)

When I was in my salad days, when I was green with judgment, I lived for people’s approval. Now I live for and demand respect, and if you like me, bonus! And I have been more successful, and have experienced more genuine approval, as a result.

As for Glassdoor, yes you should check it. Because it is easy to do and you should gather as much information as you can. But you shouldn’t base your decision to work a job on the “collective disgruntled” — people are given to being meaner on the internet. That’s why there is this Bullying Pandemic. Because 1) we don’t see the hurt in the other person’s eyes when we write something nasty and, more telling, 2) they can’t punch us through our mobile phone or flat screen.

The internet is great at delivering info, not all of it accurate, and in developing cowards. You should remind your candidates to take Glassdoor with a grain of salt so big it would amp their blood pressure to instant aneurysm.

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This article is part of a series called Tips & Tricks.
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