I had a recent experience that is a reminder of how important NOT burning a bridge can be. My candidate was interested in a new job opening with a company that she interviewed with a year ago. This job was more of what her experience was in line with and frankly timing was everything. She wanted the job, or at least the interview. The client contacted me (don’t you love when that happens?) to say “tell me she is available, they board asked for her when they created the position!” So, I called her, she was interested, and they talked to her on the phone.
That all went really well, “set up the face to face ASAP please!” was the client response. Now, the hitch, my perfect candidate was leaving for a vacation and would not be able to interview until she was back in 1 week. The client was ok with all of this and set up a meeting for when she returned. The vacation week goes by with no new changes reported and a confirmation call is made by the candidate to the client for the interview. A second call is made, no reply. Then messages are left with no reply. Wednesday comes and a voice mail is left for her at home: “Thank you for your time and interest in this position, but we have another candidate that has completed the interviewing process and has verbally accepted the position.” By Friday it was confirmed the job was gone.
So, I let her down softly. But she was not happy at all. “Why didn’t they wait for me?” “They knew I was going away?” “I am really disappointed in them!” and then the crusher…”couldn’t you have done something to stop this?” Well, I decided to do my best and protect her interests going forward reminding her that good opportunities come up for good people. She decided to be cordial, sent them a thank you note and moved on. One week later, Friday, that same client called me: “you are not going to believe this but our candidate walked for a counter offer! Tell me you can get her back for us!” So I told them that I did my best to protect their interests with her but I also explained how they mishandled the situation. After hearing the story from my side, they agreed. This story ended well for everyone, but it reminds me that when you say good bye to someone in a job hunt, or in life, be aware of everyone involved, you may just see them again…and in recruiting this is almost always the norm. When recruiting, tell a story that I am sure you have about not burning bridges, and giving a soft good-bye.