Well Prepared and Ready for Success
I arrived at my client meeting well prepared and excited about the opportunity to present my company’s services to this hard-won prospect. After many calls and emails, the CEO finally agreed to see me. Having researched the company, they seemed to be right in the vertical I was most familiar and of a size that would undoubtedly require our services. I was wearing a crisp, clean suit; I could see my reflection in my carefully shined shoe leather. I had my freshly assembled portfolio in hand ready to show the CEO. It outlined all our great success stories and would help me demonstrate how we could help him grow his business.
Broken Air Conditioner?
As I entered, I noticed the office was unusually warm; perhaps the air conditioning had broken down? It was mid-August, not a good time to be without air conditioning. I shrugged it off, loosened my collar slightly and thought through my presentation. I had done my research on the company and wanted to show him I had prepared. Here was a client I could help build up his dream team. I envisioned many years of working together as the company grew and flourished and I relished that I could be a part of that.
There was no one at reception, so I poked my head around into an adjoining office. I let the person know I had a meeting with the CEO. She frowned at me and did not seem happy to be disturbed. She was clearly stressed doing whatever she was doing, and I was not a welcomed interruption. I smiled, thinking that somehow my cheerfulness would make her feel better. It didn’t.
He was yelling at someone on the other end of the line
She led me to another room, which was an adjoining office to the CEO. It was empty and void of any human touch. As I walked in I heard him on the phone in the next room; he was speaking very loudly. In fact, he was yelling at someone on the other end of the line. As I sat and waited, the racket continued. I began to feel extremely awkward and uncomfortable as profanities began to float into the room through the slightly ajar door. I imagined the person on the other end of the line being belittled and berated. I started to scope out the nearest exit.
The lady who brought me into the room came back and cocked her head, also listening to his continued derision of the unknown recipient. She motioned for me to come back out and meet her first, she said that he wouldn’t be much longer with an expression of slight disgust on her face.
“Can I send you my resume?”
When I sat down with her, she asked who I was and what I did. When she found out I was a recruiter, she lowered her voice and asked, “can I send you my resume?” I looked at her; she was 100% serious. I once again instinctively glanced towards the nearest exit. She began to complain about the conditions at the company and alluded to the problems being entirely the CEO’s doing. I listened, unable to stop my eyes from widening as she spoke. She began to criticize him in a low tone as we both listened to the continued din from the other room. Finally, things fell silent. We both sat quietly and waited.
Wanted: Super-hero able to work 24/7 ok with bullying
Within moments, he bounded into the room angry and red faced shaking his head. Without delay, he began to complain loudly about his employees and how incompetent they were. I shook his hand, leaned back in my chair and further loosened my collar. The lack of air conditioning had become almost unbearable. I was able to interject in between a short pause and asked him what his requirement was. He didn’t know, he wanted my advice, but he went on to describe an impossible job that sounded like it would require a super-hero to achieve the objectives and run his operation 24-7. He also mentioned that this was his 3rd time at trying to fill the role, and the selected candidates were just not able to hack it. One of them apparently quit after three days the other two were summarily fired.
Eager to sign on the dotted line
He asked no questions about my contract or the cost and was ready to sign. When can you start looking for someone he asked? I paused and looked at him for what felt like an eternity. There is no way I can send my candidates here I thought. The fact is, I take a lot of pride in the candidates I represent and take an equal amount of pride in the clients I represent. Each search starts with believing in who we represent. I can hardly go to my best candidates and tell them I’ve got an attractive opportunity at an exceptional company when I’m sending them into a pit.
I told him that I didn’t think I could take on the recruiting assignment; it wasn’t right for me, and I wished him luck on the search. For the first time since I arrived, he seemed at a loss for words. The meeting ended abruptly but without incident and I exited the building unscathed.
As I left the office, where it suddenly felt cooler outside than inside, although it was the mid-August and the sun was beating down. I felt relief. As I walked to my car, I glanced through an open door in the plant beside the parking lot. An ancient looking fan was propping it open and sputtered away apparently on its last leg. I looked inside, and I saw the silhouette in the darkness of an employee working on a machine, he cursed loudly as his tools clanked away.
I drove away as quickly as I could and never looked back.