November 5, 2019 |

“We Can’t Tell You Our Process”

I’ve been in the recruiting industry since 1999.  About ten years in, I would occasionally think that I’d seen and heard it all.  For example, I once had a candidate who, feeling ill during an interview, pulled a thermometer from his bag…and took his temperature while answering questions.  I had a candidate show up to an interview in a denim leisure suit…in 2004.  You get the idea.  Lots of strange, unexpected, unusual stuff.

I eventually stopped thinking I’d seen and heard it all.  Why?  My clients and candidates continue to raise the stakes.  The latest head scratcher is a client who asked us to perform a search, but then revealed they would not tell us how they would evaluate candidates and make their decision.

How did this happen?  It’s a long story, but here’s the short version.  A new company asked us to conduct a search.  Of course, my recruiter was routed to the head of talent acquisition for the details and execution.  The intake meeting went reasonably well and off we went.  Soon after, things got weird.

Our slate of candidates went through a panel interview process, which included all the key company stakeholders.  Candidate feedback was positive.  Client feedback was non-existent. My recruiter’s request was simple: “What is the interview feedback and what are the next steps?”  After more than a week of radio silence, the head of talent acquisition said:

“We can’t share our process with you.  It’s proprietary”

I can’t make this stuff up, folks.

After quite a bit of spirited discussion, we disengaged from the search (and that company).  Our candidates?  Well, they were suddenly “not the right fit.”  But no one could/would tell us why.

I didn’t lose any sleep over this one.  I haven’t seen it all or heard it all, and I’m sure I never will.