August 14, 2018 |

Too Good to Hire

Occasionally, I run into the scenario where a company does not hire my candidate because they are “too good.”  It just happened to me last week.  A client I have done business with in the past referred me to one of their sister companies.  The sister company needed a Controller.  I was flattered by the referral and, of course, wanted to do a good job for this potential new client.

After the search intake call, my Team and I went to work. We identified and presented three candidates in less than a week.  Two of the three were interviewed by my client.  Then the feedback came.

CLIENT: “We loved ________.”  As a matter of fact, she is the best candidate we’ve seen for this position.  But we can’t hire her.  She’s too good.”

ME: “Excuse me?”

CLIENT: “We couldn’t hire her.  She’s very talented.  If we hired her, it would completely demoralize the other staff, because they’d see that there was nowhere to go from their current job.  We’d lose people.”

This is 2018, folks.  It’s quite a statement from company leadership, isn’t it?  Are they admitting that they are intimidated by the notion of hiring an A-Player?  Is this really about the accounting staff, or leadership’s inability to step up and lead someone of this caliber?  And if it’s really about the accounting staff, would it really be all that bad if an A-Player created some turnover?

One of Indianapolis’ best CFOs, John Oblazney, views it like this: “I’ve heard finance leaders say – ‘We don’t need someone that good in this role’ – and I say, ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Any finance leader that says something like that needs to find something else to do.  A leader owes it to their company, their customers and their stakeholders to make room for these types of people.”

I couldn’t agree more.  Too good to hire?  Nonsense.