Your hiring practices speak volumes about your culture. That’s especially true for the great talent you ultimately don’t hire. And memories are long.
My friend Ronni Gaun recently posted on LinkedIn.com about an experience one of her mentees had with a job opportunity.
It reminded me of my last hiring process disaster. Luckily, I’ve only experienced this with two companies in my career. (The other one is a story for another time.)
A few years ago I was one of two finalists for a VP of HR role, which reported to the CEO and was part of the executive leadership team.
I went through about 7 interviews. I even met with an external consultant who was a mentor to the CEO.
They told me it was down to me and one other individual, and asked for my references. I provided them: a COO, CHRO, and CFO, i.e. all people with big and time-consuming jobs who were gracious enough to be references for me.
Then I was ghosted. For two weeks. No responses to my (respectful and minimal) check-in emails.
They scheduled time with my CHRO reference. They ghosted her. Never called, never followed up.
They emailed the COO reference. He emailed back with times but never heard back.
And the CFO? HE ended up sending the invite to meet. The morning of, the recruiter declined the meeting with the note “There’s no need for us to meet or reschedule.”
The CFO sent a screenshot of the decline. Obviously, they were going to go with the other candidate. That’s how I found out. My reference said, “I think you dodged a bullet.” Indeed.
Yeah, my ego was bruised. No one likes rejection. But even more, I was disgusted with how this went down. They were hedging in case the other candidate declined, and that happens. But how they handled it showed an incredible lack of respect for the time and expertise of my references and a complete lack of respect for me.
I thought, “If this is how they treat a leadership role, how do they treat everyone else?”
I emailed the CEO saying I was withdrawing from consideration and outlined the sequence of events. While I recognized I was not going to get the offer, I was withdrawing as it was clear that the culture was not a fit for me.
I got a kind email back thanking me for being part of the process and apologizing for how it ended, of which he was unaware.
An hour later I got a “flush” letter telling me I was no longer being considered for the role.
My reference was right–I DID dodge a bullet. That experience spoke volumes to me about their culture and the behaviors that were acceptable there. That was not a place I wanted to be a part of.
And memories are long. I won’t name the company here as I don’t believe in public shaming, but if someone were to share that they were considering a role at this company, I’d encourage them to tread carefully and ask good questions.
Your hiring practices speak volumes about your culture. What are yours saying? Let’s talk.