Supply and demand

We've been enjoying another round of frustrated HRD job seekers lately, many of whom are unfortunately not conducting themselves with dignity, or professionalism.

Like the chap who heard we were hiring for a global HRD for a western Europe based role with an engineering sector employer.

He made contact with our firm, on an unsolicited basis, and true to our values, we heard him out, but had to advise that his background wasn't at all what our employer was seeking.  We did make a genuine offer however to keep him informed of future career roles that might be of interest and were prepared to talk with him about what kinds of roles he might be seeking.

He wanted to argue the point.  According to him, he's one of only a handful of HR executives with bilingual skills, who has lived and worked abroad extensively, with engineering sector experience.

(We chose not to tell him that within our network alone, we know of over 1600 such HR leaders around the world who are at least bilingual, have lived and worked abroad, and have extensive experience in that sector)

We did advise that the employer was (for good reason) really angling for someone with an engineering or maths background who had transferred into HR.  Unfortunately this job seeker was dismissive that such a person could exist.

(We chose not to tell him that we'd actually found over 90 such people around the world of exceptionally high calibre, and the employer was getting absolute luxury of choice as a result)

He went so far as to suggest that we'd made up the role,  that we didn't know what we were doing, and that the employer would be furious at us for not having effected the introduction.  He demanded to know who the other candidates were, and who the employer was so he could check into the validity of (a) the job existing and (b) introduce himself to the company directly since we didn't know what we were doing and the CEO was certainly going to want to hire him.

Now, this isn't endearing behaviour, and whereas we commenced the contact being prepared to help for other roles, this display of petulance and aggression doesn't bode well for a future partnership.  This kind of behaviour, rightly or wrongly, makes us wonder how he acts and reacts in the workplace.  That's not the kind of hiring risk we're prepared to subject our long term employer clients to. 

The lessons perhaps of this story? 

Firstly.   You may have unique skills or experience in your little patch of earth, but the world is a big place, and its worth looking around to check how unique your skills really are in the international market.  Globalisation of business, mobility becoming a career norm, and the acceleration of skills and knowledge and ability in what were "emerging" markets have all contributed to a helluva lot of competition in the international HR job market.

Secondly.  Assume some professional courtesy.  Yes, we know that recruiters are often viewed somewhere just above pond scum and sometimes for good reason.  But the highly experienced recruiting professionals know their clients well, they know the background and pressure points for any given hire, and they know how far to push a hiring brief on transferable skills and experience.  They undertake a duty of care to protect their employer clients against potentially risky hires, which includes avoidance of job seekers who exhibit undesirable attitudes.  So there's just no up-side in alienating anyone who could well be a valuable source of job options, and a useful network contact for the future.

Thirdly.  Protect your reputation at all costs.  You can spend years building up an impressive career, and an impressive CV.  It can be damaged in minutes as a result of unprofessional behaviour.  The HR community is small, and tightly interconnected.  You'd be amazed at who knows who and how quickly poor perceptions can attach to reputations.