Dealing with an Unresponsive Employer


Dealing with an Unresponsive Employer
By Bill Radin

Joan was concerned, and more than a little frustrated. A week had gone by since the hiring manager interviewed her top candidate; but since then, she couldn’t get him to return her calls or respond to her emails.

In the meantime, her candidate’s attitude was starting to sour, as post-interview euphoria turned to disillusion. Given the employer’s silent treatment, there was little Joan could do to keep her candidate warm.

“Well, this stinks,” thought Joan, as she considered her options. Here are the strategies she looked at:

Option 1 – Stay the course. Wait another week or two for the employer to respond and assure the candidate that all is well.

Joan rejected this approach right away. Until she got an update, Joan couldn’t credibly counter the candidate’s disappointment or prevent the candidate from looking elsewhere.

Option 2 – Force the issue. Joan could double the number of phone calls and emails, break down the hiring manager’s door, or get somebody – anybody – at the company to intercede and get an answer.

“I’ll take charge,” thought Joan. But would pitching a hissy fit really speed up the process? No, she decided. And besides, a frontal assault might annoy the employer and possibly make matters worse.

Option 3 – Throw more resumes at the company. Perhaps the hiring manager simply needs to see more candidates in order to make a decision.

“Very tempting,” thought Joan. But without knowing what’s causing the delay, the solution of more candidates may not address the underlying problem. Maybe the employer already has too many people under consideration, in which case more choices would create even more uncertainty and more bottlenecks. Or maybe the position’s been placed on hold. Or the employer’s been busy putting out a fire somewhere else. Plus, Joan didn’t want to create the impression that candidates are a dime a dozen.

Option 4 – Shop the candidate. This deal’s already on “hold” status until further notice. Why not present the candidate to other employers?

“I like it,” thought Joan. Since she couldn’t change the employer’s timeline, Joan figured she might as well target new companies who might take an interest in her candidate. In fact, the more she thought about it, the more she saw the upside potential.

Not only would Joan expand her horizons, she’d increase her odds of making a placement. Plus, she’d stay on top of the candidate’s job search activity, helping to ensure that would have her hand in any and all offers that might come down the pike. And if one of the bidders happened to be Joan’s sleepwalking client, then so much the better. It might just reinforce the notion that in today’s war for talent, those who snooze often have the most to lose.


Job Interviews: Tips for Turning an Interview into an Offer

The way we hunt for jobs has changed drastically in the past decade — thanks in part to the continuing growth of the Internet, the social-media revolution, and the new ubiquity of mobile computing. Of course, some job interviewing tips remain the same: You still need a greatresume — even though it might not be on paper (and may be augmented by video and other multimedia files).

Networking is still very important — even though it happens online more and more frequently. And a job interview is still a deciding factor in the hiring process — however, some of the rules and requirements of interviews have changed.  Here are some tricks for turning interviews into offers:

5 Thoroughly Modern Job-Interviewing Tips for Success

1. Doing Your Research Is More Important than Ever
You find the perfect job posted on So you apply, and — hooray! — you’re called for an interview. Now it’s time to do some research. The Internet and social-networking sites make that a lot easier than it used to be, so you’re expected to make the effort.

Be prepared to talk about the company’s recent achievements, the challenges it’s facing, and industry news. Also look up the people you’ll be interviewing with, and find interview-appropriate conversational topics or common ground you might discuss. (For more tips on how to demonstrate your research, read “How to Ask Good Questions at an Interview.”)

2. Make a Good Impression on the Phone
With more candidates to sort through, recruiters and hiring managers often rely on phone interviews as the first step in the interview process. It’s important to prepare for a phone interview as you would for a real interview — and that includes dressing for the occasion and finding a quiet place to talk, away from barking dogs or blaring daytime TV.

Sit up straight and smile — your professionalism will come through on the phone.  (Check out the “Phone Interviews: 5 Tricks for Standing Out” slideshare for more tricks on standing out during a phone interview, as well as more presentations from

3. Prepare Sound Bites
Think of a job interview as something like an infomercial — and you’re the spokesperson as well as the product. So you’ll need some catchy slogans (or “sound bites”) that will lodge in your viewers’ minds and make them really want that product.

A sound bite is succinct, specific, and catchy: “I was the division’s top salesperson for three years straight,” for example, or “I wrote the highest-clicking article in the site’s history.” (For more tips, read “Selling Yourself in a Job Interview.”)

4. Get Ready for Tough Interview Questions
Interviewers will surely ask difficult questions, so it pays to have answers prepared. Think of past on-the-job situations when you’ve been challenged, when you’ve learned from failure, when you’ve disagreed with a boss, and so on.

Also be ready for questions you can’t prepare for in advance: an interviewer may want to determine how well you think on your feet, and will ask a puzzle question such as “How many golf balls would it take to fill this room?” When you’re asked a question like this, don’t just take a guess — think aloud, and let the interviewer hear your thought process (“First I’d have to determine the room’s volume …” and so on).

5. The More Some Things Change, the More Others Stay the Same
While there are new guidelines, the old commonsense ones still apply: You have to be on time, you have to be dressed professionally and appropriately, and you have to have a solid post-interview plan.  (Get tips on what to do after the interview, in “Follow Up After the Interview for the Win.“)

The Need to Retain Talented Employees Increases Every Day

In a workplace where the war for talent is making it tough to find good workers and where key skills getting more scarce, the need to retain your most talented individuals by treating people well, increases every day.

It is far shrewder and more economical to work at keeping your top employees than to let them go and spend money on recruiting and training new people who are going to take a while to get up to speed. Losing esteemed colleagues can also have an impact on the rest of the team, department and business. Other workers may well feel demoralised if they see the best talent being let go too easily.

Look at the wider, demographic picture and you’ll see it presents another reason to hold on to your best. With baby boomers nearing the end of their careers, they’re leaving a big skills gap that’s hard to fill. Skills such as science, mathematics and engineering are predicted to be particularly sparse in the coming years. If you already have individuals who are in the prime of their working lives and who have these skills covered, do not underestimate how important it is to retain these employees.

Retention of crucial talent is so key to the continued growth and success of your business that it is well worth investing the time and effort into ensuring these individuals are happy to stay put and develop within the company instead of looking elsewhere for professional opportunities. Your best employees enhance the company in several different ways-by ensuring customer satisfaction, maintaining balance and productivity within the workplace, and driving product development and innovation onwards and upwards.

Retaining employees-even ones that seem engaged and dedicated to the organisation–requires a sensible and sensitive approach to the way that people work. Giving colleagues a sense of the direction of travel that they and the team overall are taking, plus consistent and regular communications about what needs doing as well as how they are doing in terms of their feedback are fundamentals to keeping your best and most involved workers. A lack of feedback in particular can lead to an employee feeling lost and directionless. It’s vital that workers are given an idea of what they’re doing right and wrong, so they can feel in control of their own improvement, development and destiny.

Tune in to every individual on a regular basis. This does not have to be formalised and structured as part of the standard appraisal process. This is much more about day to day management and supervision. People leave supervisors and managers rather than leaving organisations. The management and supervision of your top achievers must be as high quality as the achievers themselves if it is to meet their needs. As a line manager, do not underestimate your role in holding onto your best workers. Employees will stay or go because of you, not in spite of you. Avoid over-measuring –whilst it is important to measure outputs and performance, over-measurement can be a real irritant to high-performing individuals and may reduce their level of desire to keep doing what they do.

It is far better to have regular input sessions on being clear about the future and the team’s performance, followed up by frequent shorter feedback conversations both one on one and in small groups to check that the individual and the team are going in the right direction. If it sounds simple that’s because it is. One of the biggest mistakes that we can make is to lose valuable people by over complicating what is really a simple humanistic process based on personal relationships.

Clear communication not only gives workers clarity about the future but also around what is expected of them every day. Once a person is clear on what they have to do at work, they will be more focused and productive and will therefore be happier at work. If a worker feels uncertain or vague about what they’re meant to be doing, their commitment to the company will also be uncertain and vague, if existent at all.

Your organisation conducts exit interviews for a reason-so learn from them. What have past valued employees who resigned said in their exit interviews? Look over this data and integrate your findings into new strategies to ensure less untimely resignations. Exit interviews are sometimes mocked as pointless, but they could be the most important body of data your organisation has amassed at this present time.

Recruiters: You’re Worth the Money You Charge

Recruiters: You’re Worth the Money You Charge
By Bill Radin

As a recruiter, I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard the expression, “fifty percent of something is better than one hundred percent of nothing.” To which I reply: Hogwash! Fifty percent is better only in a collection or bad debt crisis, when someone is cheating you out of what he owes you, and you feel lucky to recoup any part of your loss.

But caving in on a regular basis and accepting less than what your service is worth is not only costly in financial terms; it subconsciously telegraphs to your customer that you’re not a “believer” in what you do for a living. Eventually, this kind of noncommittal attitude will harm your credibility, and weaken your earning potential.

Some years ago, I had a “fifty percent of something” experience which proved to be very painful in the short term, but beneficial in the long. I cold-called the vice president of a company and proceeded to market an extremely talented MPA (most placeable applicant).

“Bill, your candidate sounds like the sort of person we need,” explained the vice president. “In fact, we’re currently conducting a search. But we’re using a retained search firm on this assignment.”

“So you’re pleased with the results you’re getting,” I replied.

“Well, not exactly. You’re probably aware of how difficult it is to find someone like this.”

“Indeed I am, Mr. Employer, and that’s why I called you. What should we do?”

“Tell you what,” said the vice president. “Why don’t you talk to Leo, the other recruiter? Tell him the situation; that you have an ideal candidate I want to interview. Maybe the two of you can split the fee. See what he says, and call me back.”

What could be the harm? I figured. Sure enough, Leo was receptive to the idea. It turns out he wasn’t getting anywhere on this assignment.

“How about it, Bill? You and I will split the fee fifty-fifty,” suggested Leo. “That way, we’ll both look good. And besides, fifty percent of something is better than one hundred percent of nothing, right?”

“I’m not sure,” I hesitated. “Let me think about it and I’ll call you back.”

Now I was really confused! I went to my manager for advice.

“I’m sorry, Bill,” he said, shaking his head, “but I can’t approve a split deal like this.”

“But it would mean walking away from a lot of money,” I groaned. “And besides, there’s no guarantee I can place my candidate anywhere else.”

“That’s just the risk you’ll have to take,” my manager replied. “You see, the issue here isn’t the money. The issue is the value of your service.”

“How do you mean?”

“Well, you took the initiative to call the employer and present your candidate, right?”


“And he’d like to interview your candidate because he’s perfect for the job.”

“True,” I said.

“Now, let’s suppose you were to arrange the interview, and as a result, the company decided to hire your candidate. Haven’t you done everything we teach you to do, and done it well?”

“Sure,” I answered proudly.

“So aren’t you entitled to 100 percent of the fee, and not a penny less?”

“I guess so.”

“Now ask yourself this: What did Leo, the other recruiter, do to earn half your money?”

As I walked back to my desk, I thought about what my manager just told me. He’s right! Why should I give Leo half my fee, just because he happened to write a job order? A few minutes later, I called the vice president.

“Mr. Employer,” I said. “I spoke with Leo, as you suggested, and he offered to split the fee with me. But I’ve got some disappointing news for you. I thought it over, and I can’t in good conscience give Leo half my fee. I just don’t feel it’s fair.”

“I don’t blame you,” said the vice president. “Leo shouldn’t be rewarded for his failure to find me the right person. Unfortunately, I have to stick with Leo, because we signed an exclusive agreement, but I appreciate your calling me. Let’s keep in touch.”

“Fine. I’ll call you in a few months”

Would you like to know how this story ended? Leo finally placed a marginal candidate with the vice president’s company. I stayed in touch with the company, and even made a courtesy call to meet the vice president.

Two years later, the candidate Leo placed was fired, and I was asked by the company to fill the vacant position, which I did, for a full fee. The lesson I learned? You never need to settle for less than you’re worth.