This Job Seeker Failed – BIG Time.

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A Golfer Who Didn’t Get A Grip

Another Recruiter’s Story…

Sometimes, the failure of a job seeker to become the placement after the final interview is a combination of several things, not just one. Sometimes, the candidate dresses inappropriately, or uses foul language, or has a bad attitude, or just isn’t the right fit. This story includes all of these things.

The Job.

The open position was a Sales Representative that included a decent decent salary with potential to earn significant commission once actual sales were achieved. The product? A “magic” grip, if you will, for a golf club. The grip had air chambers throughout which absorbed shock. A s a golfer followed through on his swing and hit the ball, the grip either helped prevent future injury or aided players with joint problems. Quite ingenious really. The idea came from a shock-absorbing grip used on hammers – very high tech stuff developed in a university technology department.  Seriously high tech – thought it’s simplicity in design may deny that thought.

Job postings were placed. Calls and resumes were fielded. A few cold calls made with referrals as a result. Several candidates identified by my two junior recruiters. Phone interviews conducted with the end result final three to come onsite for face-to-face interviews. None of the three resumes were over-the-top outstanding, but potential existed.  The first two candidate interviews? Just so-so – and the third and final interview for which I was ill-prepared – and not in a good way.

The Job Seeker.

He sat slouched and as laid back in a comfy conference room chair as possible. He barely lifted his face when I entered the room. He was obviously too cool for words.  His black turtleneck along with his black wool sport coat were covered with white cat hairs – everywhere. His attitude was completely lackadaisical and self-assured. He knew he was going to get this job, because why? He was a great golfer. Oh, and his family was very wealthy, they owned numerous restaurants – perhaps I had heard of them? He was eager to get this job as he was ready for a change. He was ready for a change.

Not today, Dude, not today.

Hoping that a detailed answer about his skill set would set him apart as the candidate, I asked again why we should hire him. He said, “Sh*#! I’m the best.” With a shoulder shrug and a toss of his hand, he resumed slouch status. I excused myself for a moment and called the recruiter aside, asking, “Why did we bring this guy in?” He understood golfers and why they might want to buy this grip. Not a good enough answer or good enough reason to continue an interview. I returned, thanked the cat-hair laden, french fry slinging smart aleck for his time and said, “Thank you for coming in.” He asked when he would be meeting the Vice President of Sales – I simply said, “Not today, dude, not today.”

A Wasted Interview.

Wasted time in a face-to-face interview means the right questions were not asked on the phone. Filtering candidates is a basic part of a recruiter’s job. It’s not always as easy as straining spaghetti, but it isn’t rocket science either.

I simply had to look past the resume in my hand to clearly see the slouching slob before me. What did I want?  I wanted a qualified candidate that would fulfill the job description I held.  Instead, I got a subject for a blog post about a bad interview.  Don’t be someone’s next blog post.  Fulfill your end of the bargain as a candidate worth hiring.

It’s your job, as a candidate, to prove that worth.   Not the hiring manager’s to see it behind the slouch and smug attitude.


 photo source

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  1. I’ve had bad interviews before, and have had to learn the hard way sometimes! Once you get a “panel” interview with a bunch of women who clearly are judging your every syllable – best to check yourself and know if you really want to work in that kind of environment! Sometimes its also the other way around, as it was for me. I made some mis-steps in the interview, and was “judged” harshly – but I learned some very valuable lessons!

    Great post! Love the response, ‘not today dude”!!!

    Kelly Orchard |
  2. Morning Rayanne!

    You probably can guess what I’m going to write after this colon: Really bad sourcing. While there will always be surprises, if the work has been done to parse the flow into a final slate, all should rotate more or less around the “ideal” candidate.

    You can only imagine what I would have done with turtleneck-catboy if he was sitting at my desk.

    But since you didn’t ask, here’s how I would have sourced for this one…

    Every golfer has a favorite course, a favorite pro-shop, and favorite brands. Every course and every pro-shop or Golfsmith store is targeted by sales reps. Visit them and speak with the person who runs the pro-shops or manages the Golfsmith receives visits from reps. Ask this simple question as part of a very short conversation:

    “Do you have your favorite sales reps – you know – the ones you just like talking golf with?”

    “Sure do…why?”

    “Well…I’m looking to hire a new account executive who can sell DESCRIBE.”

    “Hmmm…great idea.”

    “I’m sure you’re swamped with visits and calls from people who want to sell you the next big thing but I’m really looking for the person who you REALLY like for their personality and love of the game but who with a better product you might be more inclined to do business with.”

    “I see.”

    “Who immediately comes to mind?”

    There you go…

    “Post and pray” is called that for a reason. It’s the Forrest Gump, “life is like a box of chocolate” applied to recruiting.


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