I received a call recently from a former colleague who was excited about an interview with a large company for a big-sounding job. The role was to build out a new facility and bring it online, and the job requirements suggested an experienced senior leader and facilities manager.

This individual happens to have almost 30 years of experience building and operating facilities in this and related industries. The fit sounded perfect. FYI, the individual has a job with a good company, but like so many others, is interested in exploring new challenges. Additionally, my former colleague was excited about the reputation of the company.

What Happened is Amazing in a Horrifying Way

When we caught up a week later, here’s what I learned:

The initial call was with one of the firm’s recruiters, who indicated it was his role to decide if there was a fit and pass the candidate along to interview with the hiring team. After brief introductions, the recruiter/screener volunteered that the salary indicated in the job specification was THE salary and that the firm’s vacation policy was non-negotiable.

Shocked by the lead-in narrative and absolutes on salary and vacation, my colleague suggested that it was clear the culture wasn’t for him, and he ended his side of the call.

There was no exploration of the firm’s needs for talent and expertise.

There was no mutual discovery.

A potentially outstanding candidate was so off-put by the recruiter/screener handling the call that they opted out instantly.

Congratulations to the [email protected]@ executive who set this process up and allows it to perpetuate. Your metrics on compensation and vacation are safe.


Let Me Count the Ways This Situation Highlights Incompetence

There are so many things wrong with the firm’s handling of this situation; it’s hard to narrow them down, but I’ll try. Here are five big ones:

  1. What is a junior, inept recruiter doing screening for a big job? Or any job for that matter?
  2. Why are the hiring managers and executives delegating the work of finding the right people to help their organization survive and thrive? They are abrogating a sacred responsibility.
  3. Who scripts junior, inept individuals to engage with senior candidates and anchor on salary and vacation?
  4. What narrow-minded thinker would attempt to weed the field of experienced candidates by even considering non-negotiable positions on salary and vacation?
  5. What does this approach to talent identification and engagement say about a firm’s commitment to uncovering great people who can make a difference immediately? It’s ridiculously dumb management.

A review of this firm’s website suggests they are proud of their culture and the talent they engage. They must have some creative content developers.

The Bottom-Line for Now:

It’s possible my colleague could have been the game-changer for this firm with the identified challenge. Or not. We’ll never know because an inept approach to every organization’s single most crucial task eliminated the opportunity for mutual discovery. Deming is spinning in his grave with this systemic incompetence on display. And, in today’s world, this is a potentially fatal mistake.

Are your firm’s screening practices getting in the way of survival and success?

Art's Signature