Answer: We have followed the story of Matthew as he defined the job he hoped to find and as he clarified the non-negotiables. It took a special effort to be interviewed for the job he ultimately accepted, and it was worth it. He was also looking for the right cultural fit and a good offer. He was excited about the company. Here is why.
It took a personal recommendation, from a contact who knew his work, for Matthew to be interviewed by the company that ultimately hired him. He was originally turned down when his resume was one of many submitted for the post. That is not a surprise to me since I have written extensively about how poorly, talented senior executives describe their experience and expertise. His interview was with the EVP and he “sold” Matthew on the company and I assume he sold him on how his experience would be a fit. His history in Cloud Computing was relevant to his new employer.
The Human Resources manager took a proactive role and explained what the hiring process would be and that the team was very clear that they wanted to hire him. There was no issue about his sabbatical away from work from the company’s standpoint. The company itself fit his size and growth profile requirements. It was an organization on a fast track that needed a global Public Relations Director. He would be managing a small international team of PR professionals.
His conversations with HR were open and clear. The plan was for Matthew to explain all the elements in his current compensation program. The company would then put a package together that would be the best they could offer. They indicated there would be no pay cut and no negotiation. The program might include a package that would be a higher base salary and a slightly lower bonus opportunity. This company saw him as a person (not a solution to a problem) and showed they cared.
Both Matthew and I were delighted with the way the offer was explained and the information he could share. It was clear this was a conversation where his opinion was solicited. I was hopeful as was Matthew that this approach was an insight into their culture. That is why I have been so interested in seeing if that is the case.
Matthew compared this approach to the offer with discussions he had with other recruiters. They rushed through the compensation discussion and never allowed Matthew to ask questions and wanted him to call back (with a decision) which he never did. Of course, he declined their offer. On the whole, Matthew said the job hunting process was not positive. He noted that about 80% of recruiters are early in their career and do not add value to the process. Perhaps the other 20% are true advisors and consultants.
If there is such a scarcity of good candidates, a job seeker may be able to talk about his/her talents without attempting to focus on the challenges of the potential new job and still be a contender. What makes for an interactive and engaging exchange is knowing about the organization and demonstrating an interest in the challenges it faces. The confusion for Matthew about what jobs to consider was resolved when we established his priorities and he was able to focus his efforts.
He wanted the scope of his role to not pigeon-hole him in a specialty. For example, executive communications was too narrow. He wanted to make a difference. He wanted to solve problems and be recognized for his contributions. The company should be public and have a revenue stream of several billion dollars annually. He also wanted to supervise a team. He felt with those credentials he would be well qualified and on the right track to be considered for a broad communications role in a larger company. I agreed.