Thursday, April 30, 2015

Hinterview: What's your RFL? (Reason for Leaving)

Candidate/Rob:  "Hey Karen, I think the interview went well, but I think I could have done a better job explaining why I'm leaving XXXXXX (company name).  Can you give me a call when you have a minute?  I want to know if I need to call him back and offer a better explanation."

Rob's RFL (Reason for Leaving) is because the company is changing their focus.  The reason he joined was to help expand a specific market segment.  This is a perfectly acceptable reason to leave a job.  While not exactly a bait and switch, Rob is disappointed.  That came across in the interview, and now the client is wondering whether he really wants the job he interviewed for.

What Rob didn't say, and what my client wanted to hear, is why he is interested in this job, this company.  He had an opportunity to align his interests and experience with what my client is looking for, but instead he talked about his disappointment in his company's decision to pivot.  This is not an unusual strategy for a company with multiple business units or products, stars and dogs.  Pointing fingers or blaming the management team for their decision to drop a division or product that is limping along might put Rob in a position to leverage other skills in a more intriguing group, but Rob is focused on Rob's happiness and his inability to see the future is fueling his desire to look elsewhere. 

The Answer:  Rob needs to talk to his current management team and ask directly where he can offer the most value to the company.  He should continue keeping an eye on the job market if the new direction does not leverage his skills/experience in a way that provides him an opportunity to grow and be successful.  He should not call my client back, but can improve his chances for a second round by conveying his strong interest in the role and company in a Thank You note.  It won't guarantee he'll be asked back, but it's better than an obvious attempt at a do-over.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Employee Separation: Is a Two Week Notice Enough?

When an employee decides to leave a company, especially one who is practically indispensable, a two week notice seems barely enough time to adjust to the news, never mind finish up projects, delegate work, advise clients, or plan a "Bon Voyage" party in their honor.  So who decides what a fair and equitable time frame is between giving notice and the last day?

The answer is not simple.  There are more than just two and your consideration.  There is also a third outside influence...that (expletive) exciting new employer.  It's already a bitter pill to swallow, losing someone you value who is well liked and has made your professional life a lot easier, and more enjoyable.  But the reality is people leave, and there is little you can do to stop them.  Nor should you try to.

Grousing over an employee's decision to seek greener (or, in the harried commuter's case, closer) pastures will only make their haste to depart greater.  If you review their behavior in the weeks/months leading up to resignation, you may recognize signs of disconnection or "checking out" on their part.  This is a leading indication they stopped investing in the company's goals and long term commitments, focusing their energies instead on the great leap they were preparing to take in the coming weeks.  Don't feel badly that you didn't see it coming.  Most managers don't.

But taking your frustrations out by making their transition miserable does not serve anyone.  In fact, it can send a message to the rest of your staff that you don't know how to lose someone graciously, and may put someone else through the same misery when it comes their time to leave.  Obviously, no one wants to see their boss behave like a jilted lover over one employee's departure.  Who wants to work for a poor sport?  This can make others feel less valuable to you, and perhaps have colleagues questioning your emotional intelligence. 

However, you do have a right to ask for good sportsmanship from your employee relative to giving notice, and they should be willing to comply with reasonable requests.  While a one week notice may be standard operating procedure in some sales organizations, most companies have a right to ask for a minimum of two weeks notice (and longer with a signed employee contract*).  The determination of how much time your employee is required to give will depend primarily upon how much responsibility they have, and at what level they serve in your company.  Technical employees with unique skill sets that are a challenge to replace should be required to give three weeks, minimum.  C-Suite executives will often give four weeks or more.  Staff-level employees are generally safe at two weeks as you can often delegate their work to others on the team.  This may create a temporary strain, but it can also give someone else an opportunity to demonstrate their own potential for promotion.

At the time of notice, you can expect the separating employee to make every effort to avoid burning a bridge.  They won't want to overburden you or anyone else on the team by shortening their notice.  But there is only so much they can do before the inevitable last day.

So, what can you ask for and what is considered off the table?  First of all, consult their contract*, if they have one.  Often the notice period is written in black and white, and the employee would have signed off on it.  It is their responsibility to fulfill the terms or negotiate a compromise with you.

Second, if the employee has committed to start the new job in two weeks time, and you have legitimate concerns about the transition (ie., an engineering project where any disruption in progress could result in losing a client, or an upcoming event where his/her technical expertise is central to winning new business, etc.), you can negotiate for another week and/or add a paid part-time nights/weekends commitment for an extended period.  This arrangement may be difficult for the employee in the short term, but their long term goal should be to ensure a strong relationship with you, and secure great references for their future.

Third, if the employee offers to stay on for three weeks or longer, this may give you an opportunity to show them that you not only support their decision to move on, but perhaps gives you a chance to change their mind.  Take them out to lunch and get to the bottom of their RFL (reason for leaving).  If it's something completely out of your hands (spouse relocating to another city for work, a total change in  career direction, health or wellness challenges), there is little you can or should do to reverse the tide.  If it is something within your power to adjust (compensation, hours, travel requirements, commute, chemistry with a co-worker) and is not a temporary band-aid**, get a commitment from your employee to stay if you can make them happy.  However, you will have to settle for a *verbal commitment.*     

But what about that third outside influence?  Do they have a voice in this process?  Well, yes and no.  It depends primarily upon the expectations they were given by their new hire, your now departing employee.  And they can be a very powerful influence.  Any attempt to throw the new employer under the bus will be transparent, and can backfire on you if your goal is to hang onto this person.  Try to focus instead on the reasons they should stay, and how you'll make it worth their reinvestment.

Given the complexity of the emotions involved in leaving a company, it does not pay to "guilt" your employee into staying on, or staying longer than their agreed upon notice period.  Eventually their true RFL will catch back up with them and the temporary band-aid (**more money, flexible hours, company car, new office**) will feel more like handcuffs than a happy compromise.  If you are unable to address the real reason they were unhappy in the first place, they will leave anyway.  Not to mention the trust that has been violated by this person's initial attempt to leave.  Every sneeze, dental appointment, or morning they show up late wearing an extra nice shirt will make you leery.  And, of course, they will pick up on it.  Best to let them go and focus on hunting for their replacement.

An employee's leaving does not always put you or your company in jeopardy.  It can sometimes be an unwelcome change to your environment at first, but can just as easily lead to a smarter hire and a more engaged employee who breathes fresh energy into your team.  A mixed blessing at times, a change in the ranks may be the best thing for everyone...especially for you.

(*If you employ someone in an "employee-at-will" state, employment contracts/agreements tying an employee to your company for a specific period will be considered null and void if you attempt to enforce it.*)   

Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Fair Way to Resolve Duplicate Referrals

In the midst of a hiring frenzy, companies often enjoy and appreciate the variety of candidates they receive through multiple resources.  These resources include recruiters, employees, professional network and through personal connections.  When a candidate has been referred twice in six months by different people, you might believe this person is a great potential fit because two resources you trust vouched for them.  But, if the two resources are competing recruiting firms, you could find yourself in a very uncomfortable situation.

Companies with good Human Resources management will outline a duplicate referral clause providing recruiting partners insights on how the Company treats duplicate referrals.  This typically serves to take the pressure off the company, and the hiring manager, without forcing them to decide who receives commission for the referral.

But what does a duplication in efforts, including referral, say about the relationship between the candidate and their representing firms?  Is this an indication of a lack of communication?  Is it simply a case of don't ask, don't tell?  This can happen when the candidate does not connect the dots on the similarity of company and job description, or wasn't given a full description or company name.  In some cases a protective recruiter who has been asked the identity of the hiring company will give the response "Confidential client until interview request".  Or, did the candidate choose not to disclose knowledge of the prior referral in hopes of increasing his/her odds of getting an interview?  Some Companies have a zero tolerance policy and end up "throwing the baby out with the bathwater".  In other words, they dump the candidate completely and tell the recruiting partners to improve their screening process or else.

Whatever the case may be, it seems like there are no easy answers.  But, there actually is a few simple solutions that may resolve the conflict without a falling out or loss of face for all parties.  It's easy to track correspondence and put a date/time stamp on who got the resume to you first.  However, delivery of the resume is execution of an email and tells you nothing about which recruiting firm generated interest and/or approval to submit the CV.  This is a factor that should be considered carefully before making a judgement call.  On the outside chance the candidate did not communicate with their recruiters, but instead had the competing firms submit simultaneously, you could have the wrong type of person interviewing for your coveted role.

Get the facts!  Find out which firm has known the candidate longer, the date the firm sent the candidate the position summary, when they received approval to submit, and when they followed up with you, the candidate or your HR partner on the referral. 

A candidate whose resume has been submitted without his/her knowledge and consent is an innocent bystander and should not be penalized.  If they admit to working with both firms but was unaware their resume was submitted twice, that could indicate foul play on behalf of a recruiting partner.  In a desperate moment to gain traction or increase their activity, a recruiter may submit a resume before receiving approval from the candidate and only alert them once an interview has been requested.  This is considered a normal practice in many contingency firms, but it is unprofessional and should not be tolerated.

A candidate who has knowingly pitted two recruiting firms against each other cannot be trusted to behave in an ethical manner relative to a competitive situation.  If this is the case, you may want to rethink both the candidate and the type of people your partner firms are representing.  True, we cannot always know what a candidate will do in a high pressure situation.  But, if we have built a proper relationship with them, the odds of them doing anything to embarrass themselves or the firm are pretty low. 

In the end, a duplicate referral does not need to slow or disrupt your hiring process.  You may need to come to a new understanding with your partner recruiting firms if it happens more than once though.  The greatest consideration may be given to which of the recruiting firms you work with demonstrate a consistent high quality screening and submission process.  If they practice simple methods for avoiding duplication, such as discussing the company in detail, and asking outright who the candidate has sent their resume to, it is unlikely they will disappoint you with multiple duplicate referrals.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


Case Study 4

Help Wanted:  “I’m looking for a Vice President of Sales with the potential to succeed me.”

Company:       Green Home Design/Build
Position:         Vice President of Sales & Marketing/CEO Successor
Search Start:  October 2011
Search End:   January 2012

The Challenge:  The Company had been hiring steadily for about a year and had done a great job building a team through networking and internal referrals.  Discussions around what leadership position to hire for next boiled down to a basic issue of need and resources.  Clearly, a senior Marketing executive would be instrumental in developing a campaign to grab more mind and market share.  But you can’t run a company forever on investment dollars.  They needed to start selling more aggressively and building homes. 

After outlining the basics of the search, the Founder/CEO called me one afternoon several weeks into the search and added one more piece to the challenging profile of this new hire.  He was looking for a succession plan; someone who was capable of running the company in the next two years.  As an entrepreneur and visionary, he knew it wouldn’t be long before the next venture came calling, and being able to hand the reins over was a critical aspect to his short-term plans.  Finding a Senior Sales Executive with the operational chops to take over a start up was certainly going to be an unusual combination, but not impossible. 

The Search:  The Company was successful at hiring really smart, capable people who were able to strategize and execute on a wide variety of technical and operational challenges.  It was going to be about 2-3 years until the new VP of Sales and Marketing transitioned into the CEO role, but the primary objectives the first year included developing a sales plan, hiring a sales team, and driving revenues up as quickly as possible.  They needed a sharp shooter with laser focus, an extensive network to hire sales reps nationally, and the experience selling a technically complex, expensive, and emotionally compelling product.  This person was going to carry their own personal sales goals as well as managing a team of quota-carrying reps.   And, they needed a strong and influential presence that could quickly gain credibility with the sales, operations, technical and management team, as well as the board. 

This was a really critical hire and time was not on my side.  Targeting the right background meant identifying sales leaders from the top local Fortune 500 companies.  Someone who was used to earning into the mid-six figures and could see the great potential of this opportunity would be a challenge in any economic environment.  Asking someone to roll the dice on a green home-building start up during the height of the recession, and the worst real estate market of our times, might seem like a fool’s errand.  But the Company had encountered few problems raising capital, and had few competitors.  The opportunity for an ambitious executive to get on a very fast track to CEO for a Company dominating a growing market, with a large equity stake as part of the compensation package created a dynamic argument for a top executive to consider.   

I began by targeting top sales talent from Enterprise Software companies in the area.  This strategy would ensure identification of candidates with a more sophisticated approach marketing high dollar products/services, and accustomed to a longer sales cycle.   But they couldn’t just be a good sales person, they had to be highly visible within the organization and great at team building.

The Solution:  I have cultivated a deep network of enterprise sales leaders over the years.  Quite a few were selectively looking at the time, but were reasonably concerned about leaving a sure thing for a high-risk venture.  When you properly position an opportunity, you’ll find there is no shortage of interest from people motivated by high risk/reward positions.  We were committed, however, to attracting that one great talent who had the attitude, energy and verve to become CEO.  A commanding presence and an accessibility that showed genuine leadership, influence, determination and raw talent.

Five candidates stood out from the pack of nine competitors, and I knew two of the five would make it to final rounds.  During the first week or two of the search, a timely call to the VP of Business Development of a nearby multi-billion dollar enterprise software company produced a remarkable result.  Not only had this person been the Company’s sales lead, he was also their CEO’s top gun and likely successor.  The problem was he didn’t want to wait another 10 years to grab the ring and had been entertaining the possibility of starting his own venture, or finding a startup positioned for success and driving it into a leading market position.

It was during the first meeting between the Candidate and Co-Founders that a strong match was determined and a mutual interest compelling enough to pursue to the next level.  Weeks between meetings were spent on due diligence, research, and revealing conversations of personal and professional details shared from both sides with the potential to either fortify or derail the process.  Fortunately, this soul searching and sharing only served to increase interest, from which a true sense of partnership began to form between the Co-Founders and their new potential hire.

The offer was exceptional.  After only a day or so of review, the Candidate happily executed on the offer and the search process closed out.  The new VP of Sales & Marketing on-boarded within four weeks.

Today:  The Company has since raised more capital and continues to grow both mind and market share in the green building space.  Recent explosion of growth on the west coast has called for an increase in the Company’s presence there, but the Corporate headquarters remains in Massachusetts with the VP of Sales & Marketing steadily gaining more rein as he transitions into the CEO position.   With over $60M in capital raises and a growing revenue base, the Company is positioned for explosive growth as the new home-building market recovers from its backward slide and inventory of existing homes remains low.  Homebuyers whose value systems have shifted toward zero carbon foot print living are passionate about these state-of-the-art homes and the recent increase in the Company’s sales are testimony to their interest and enthusiasm.


Tuesday, July 16, 2013


Help Wanted:  “How will you find us a brilliant Chemical Process Engineer to commission and run our anaerobic digestion power plant…in California?”

Company:                  Anaerobic Digestion/Alternative Energy Start Up
Position:                    Chemical Process Engineer with MBA
Search Start:             December 2011
Search End:               March 2012

The Challenge:  A four person start up based in Boston had just landed the next-to-impossible; a multi-billion dollar, multi-year contract with one of the nations largest grocery chains.  With the first pilot plant build out in progress and an enthusiastic client, the team had one critical problem they needed to solve immediately…find a multi-talented engineer to commission and run the plant in Southern California.  The problem wasn’t finding a chemical engineer, it was finding a licensed chemical engineer who also had an MBA, experience running or managing a plant, and an entrepreneurial mindset.  More important, this rare person had to quickly earn the trust of a team sitting 3,000 miles away.  This person would need to work independently on a new technology, trouble shoot any issues that arose during the commissioning process, act as the main point of contact for the client, and perform all this under a tight deadline.  In short, hold all the keys to the success of the entire project.  Everything this team had worked on for the past four years would be won or lost by this essential hire.  GAME ON!!

The Search:  Once we carved out a profile, discussions around geography began out of the gate.  While ideally this person would have a West Coast presence, the team preferred to hire an East Coast person thereby ensuring regular face-to-face meetings, and more opportunity to get to know them.  However, this would require more coast to coast flights, driving up the company’s operating costs, leaning on an already tight budget.  It didn’t make sense.  We would have to find a way to vet this person beyond shadows of doubt, and right size the ideals to the realities of the search.  Further, we would have less of a hill to climb if we hired a local presence who was already accustomed to living in Southern California and has an established network of professionals to call in when the time comes to grow the team.  Hiring a relo often means a flight risk if the individual becomes unhappy with the quality of their life.  If they have a family, you've just increased those odds by 50%. 

The complexities of a search like this are doubled when additional requirements such as a PE license and MBA are put on the list of “must have’s”.  And while experience with alternative energy technologies wasn’t a requirement, I felt this would be the game changer if I found a candidate with some exposure or interest in the green space.  I knew this was literally a needle in a haystack search.  So I focused on top-flight schools in California and targeted engineering associations, networks and other alumni programs. 

The first few candidates we talked to held 75% of the qualifications, but the chemistry (between the founders and the candidates) was lacking.  Some came across as purely academic, while others lacked the seriousness of personality we needed…especially as a client-facing representative.

The Solution:  A boat-load of focused research, multiple calls and many turned-over stones later, the answer came with an unexpected twist.  A potential candidate I had identified, and who took personal interest in the technology, mentioned a fellow classmate in his MBA program.  While he had already accepted a position for himself, he couldn’t help but think his colleague would be a very interesting match.  They were into the last few weeks of the program and the soon-to-be graduates were all seeking their next career move.  Needless to say we were on the phone the next day.

The referral turned out to be an exact match of my and the client’s ideals.   He is a Chemical Engineer, PE with an MBA and 10 years of professional experience, with almost four years of recent experience building out, commissioning and running a power plant…an alternative energy plant in Las Vegas. 

A few days after receipt of his CV we booked phone interviews.  About a week later we booked his flight to Boston and took the next steps to solidifying his candidacy.  Less than six weeks after we launched the search, we had all we needed to move forward on this stellar candidate.  The offer process was a bit rigorous…this was a candidate who was accustomed to earning almost $50K more than what my client budgeted for the position.  What we couldn’t pay him in salary, we had to make up for in equity.  And that, as it turns out, was the magic word for our new Director of Engineering.  The offer was tendered and accepted.

Today:  Upon hire, my candidate exceeded the Founder’s expectations and expertly executed the commissioning process, passing with flying colors.  The plant has been running under his capable hands for the past 13 months.  He still loves his job and is enjoying the day-to-day challenges that come with working on a new green technology.  After flying under the radar for the past six years, my client was finally “forced” into the spotlight by their client in California.  News of the Company, and the anaerobic digester plant, has recently reached the eyes and ears of green technology enthusiasts and professionals from the left coast to the right coast.  To read more about their success, refer to my prior blog below; “Waste Not, Want Not”


Help Wanted:           A VC-Backed Start-Up in Water Technology Needs a CEO

Company:                  Start-Up Water Technology out of MIT
Position:                    CEO with capital raise and technology experience
Search Start:             August 2009
Search End:               October 2009

The Challenge:  A new membrane technology developed in an MIT lab by two distinguished PhD’s had surfaced as a potential solution for commercial, municipal and industrial applications.  The unique properties of this membrane offered an easy-to-clean, reusable filter capable of capturing microscopic particles needed to clean industrial waste water, and did not require frequent and costly replacement   With only IP and a small amount of starting capital in hand, the founders had no network to support the build out of an Executive Team, and they had few resources in order to attract the right people.  But the formation of a company was there, and the first order of business; hire a CEO.

The Search:  Meeting with the Co-founder in August of 2009, it was clear the team needed someone who could meet three basic needs; 1) A background in water technology and preferably a focus on membranes development.  2) Leadership of a small, growing company with few resources and limited budget.  3) Experience in raising capital and influencing the investment community. 

Targeting the local water industry experts would not be too difficult.  There are a limited number of companies focused on membrane development, however, simply because membrane’s are considered a commodity and are more popular overseas than in the US for industrial application.  Finding an expert CEO-level person may mean a national or international search.

Using my own network as a strategic first strike and seeking referrals would only get me so far.  I knew I needed to approach this search with more than a few phone calls.  I had to get out into the expat community and find a water expert who could introduce me to more water experts.  Coupled with a target list of local water technology companies with advanced product lines for commercial and industrial applications, I was fairly confident I would find this person here in the Northeast.  The uphill battle would be identifying a credible and effective CEO who would also be willing and able to take on the high risk of a start up.

The Solution:  Several candidates were surfaced within the first few weeks of the search.  Two were Senior Level group leaders from companies such as GE Water and Koch Membrane.  I knew I was on the right track, and both were capable of leading a technical team as well as running the operations.   Both had experience working on start up technologies.  But neither had capital raise experience.  Regardless, my client was thrilled with the progress and met these two experts while I continued my pursuit for the “grail” of a water industry CEO.

A call came from a friend suggesting I attend a networking event for expats in the Boston area.  This was a tight knit group of C-Level foreign nationals working and living the Boston area and they met once a month to network and collaborate on a variety of professional and personal projects.  I was seated next to a French CEO who was not only affable but very forthcoming about his job search.  He had recently left Millipore and had two spinouts of the parent company under his belt where he served as COO and CEO.  He was looking for a start up. 

The conversation lasted through dinner and dessert.  In the process of getting to know him, I had interviewed and vetted him for the role.  In the morning I drafted my presentation to the client.  They met later that week.  As I closed the double doors to the conference room that morning, watching them lean forward simultaneously over coffee cups, their body language said all I needed to know about the search process.  It was over. 

Interestingly, one of the other two candidates was so technically advanced and enthusiastic about the technology, the Founder decided to retain her as well to round out the team and apply her advanced knowledge to develop the product.

Today:  Within months of the CEO taking over the reins of the organization, he had achieved a $3M round of capital with the option of another $5M upon meeting milestones.  It was a joyful yet very challenging period in the development of the company as it was during the height of the recession and green technology in every corner of the industry was struggling to survive.  The CEO is still advancing the technology and company’s position.  With two successful projects (one completed with the US Navy, and one near completion), they are seeking additional capital and potential acquisition.  The Senior technologist also remains on the company’s payroll and is enjoying her role as both technical strategist and entrepreneur.



Help Wanted:  “Our Principle Engineer is very sick, we have no internal replacement and we can not be successful without him.”

Company:                  Engineering Firm/Industrial
Position:                    Senior Mechanical Engineer
Search Start:             December 2010
Search End:               March 2011

The Challenge:  The company had a sudden and significant problem requiring a delicate but fast solution.  Their Principle Mechanical Engineer, a person who had been with them from the day they launched, had fallen gravely ill.  There was no time frame for how long he would be out of commission, and no guarantee that he would come back in a full-time capacity. 

The company had also recently won a bid for a large and very complicated project that meant months of complex engineering work and a significant amount of revenue for the firm.  A much needed infusion of cash during the height of the economic crisis.

The type of engineer my client needed does not grow on trees.  They needed a Senior Mechanical Engineer, with a Professional Engineering (PE) license, and significant industrial engineering experience.  Further complicating the situation is the type of engineering the company specializes in; process engineering, design/build of power plants, facilities and complex chemical processes.  They needed someone who could spec out, draft, design, and project manage.  Sounds like a typical engineering role, but in actuality, most of the engineers with the experience they needed (15+ years under their belt) haven’t touched AutoCAD in years.  They usually have an internal resource drafting/editing designs as needed. 

I’ll add one small wrinkle to this situation. They had tried working with recruiters in the past but with no success.  They stated there was no one out there who truly understood what they did or was willing to invest a great deal of time in figuring it out.   Hiring into their unique culture and high standards would be a considerable challenge. This would be my first time working with the firm.  I knew when I left the meeting this was a perfect fit for me.

The Search:  Networking into the chemical process design engineering world is extremely difficult.  Most of the really talented people know each other, or know of each other, and they are typically gainfully employed or gleefully self employed.  They have little to no interest in entertaining a move unless they have to.  They are also not overtly public about their profiles.  You won’t find them on LinkedIn or any of the resume sourcing boards.  Getting an introduction is only successful if the engineer candidate knows the person and is a trusted resource. 

The first two weeks of the search brought a few decent but less experienced candidates.  People definitely worth talking to, but no one who really matched my expectations relative to the complexity of the projects they worked on, nor the hands-on design experience my client desired.  As we continued to work together, educating each other on both their perception of the candidate market, and my knowledge of what the market would bear, further culling out the must haves from the plusses, I realized that the search parameters and the geography would have to expand in order for us to find this rare talent.

Through multiple connections and conversations with other principal level engineers and hiring managers who also sought these skill sets, I learned that there were only about five truly dynamic, incredibly talented and potentially available candidates who would be an ideal match.  The tentative position my client was in, coupled with the possibility the tenured Mechanical Engineer may recover and return made the position less attractive.  What if they hired someone but didn’t have enough work to keep both busy?  Or worse, would there be a power struggle between the two putting them at odds with each other and the other partners? 

The feedback I received once candidates reviewed the position summary (‘You’re never going to find someone like this, they just don’t exist.’) or as I discussed the specifics of the situation was somewhat negative.  Why would anyone leave a full-time position where they are well paid and work is plentiful for a situation where they may end up back on the street within the year?  Oh, and by the way, have you heard the latest unemployment numbers?

As the odds got lower, my persistence increased.  I continued to drill, discover and identify candidates through extensive networking, and this included leveraging my many wonderful contacts turning their network upside down to identify one or two potentials.  A timely conversation with a local Senior Engineer who had someone in mind recommended I call him immediately.  The candidate lived in Connecticut and would require relocation, but he was the single most talented Senior Mechanical Engineer he’d ever worked with, and I would be impressed with the depth and breadth of his experience. 

The Solution:  He had 25+ years of industrial and commercial mechanical engineering experience, on both domestic and international projects, developing and designing custom solutions for extremely complex, next-to-impossible, chemical process challenges for demanding multi-national clients.  But this was not the only area he had expertise in…he was also extremely diverse.  In addition to many other areas of industrial design experience, he had deep experience in consulting on industrial HVAC solutions, a much-needed skill set for the firm.   

Within the first hour of the interview, the match seemed ideal.  My client was also incredibly impressed with the energy and enthusiasm the candidate demonstrated, and the willingness he expressed to take on the opportunity.  The candidate would not only need to relocate, but he would also need to shut down his consulting firm which included breaking a lease and a physical move of both office and residence.  It was a very unusual situation but both client and candidate seemed satisfied that this was necessary and each required a time-sensitive response.  Within three weeks of the first meeting, an offer was drafted and accepted.  The candidate began his assignment in the spring of 2010. 

Today:  The candidate remained with the firm through late Spring of 2013.  An unfortunate family circumstance forced his resignation to care for his family.  As an expat, he was happy to return home but sad to leave behind a tremendous career opportunity.

Having a window of three months to prepare for this transition, I went back out to the market with a new vigor to identify and hire his replacement.  I knew exactly what we needed and though it would still be a tall order, it was a familiar one.  Within a few weeks of launching the search, a strong local candidate was identified with extensive lead-time.   In June 2013, the baton was passed from the retiring ME to the newly hired ME who was again a unique find in a very limited field of experts.  The feedback so far has been exceedingly positive and both candidate and client are extremely happy with the match.