One thing I’ve noticed about most (not all) Headhunters, Recruiters and Sales People is that when the going gets tough, they run and hide. I’ve always been a communicator with clients – good news, bad news, whatever, I always stay in touch and am transparent since it builds trust and also shows I am not going away :). I think that is why ultimately I get so many reference clients and grow small clients to large ones, because I noticed that when I managed Sales People that they tended to ignore clients when the news was bad – I always had to watch for that. Now that I am working with headhunters and recruiters, when they don’t want to tell me that I am not a final candidate, they simply stop responding; the truly great headhunters and recruiters are transparent (“the manager wants someone who is already selling into Boeing” or something like that). A pet peeve of mine is when someone takes your time with a meeting or conversation, then doesn’t respond in the follow up. It is really frustrating when a recruiter isn’t professional enough to deliver unpleasant news and instead hides since it means I have to take more of my time tracking them down on top of the time they took to talk in the first place.
I’ve always thought that once you showed you can do something, that it is obvious that you can do something. For example, if I am a basketball player who leads the league in scoring, I can obviously score. But for whatever reason, this is not true when interviewing for sales positions.
What I mean is this… 12 years ago I was looking for software sales jobs, but two strikes against me were in my previous role I had not had a quota* and I had not needed to cold call since my company worked with most customers. By some miracle, I talked a company into taking a chance on me, and I not only became the #1 sales person for exceeding my quota but cold called successfully. In other words, I showed I can do it! Never again would I have a problem getting a software sales job!
(An aside… A year later, I was interviewing for a job where the primary customer was Microsoft. I’d never worked with Microsoft before, so although I had a good track record the hiring manager went with another candidate. Again, by some miracle, the next company I worked for gave me Microsoft as an account and I exceeded everyone’s wildest expectations and made quota at Microsoft every year for over 5 years. Once again, I proved I can do it.)
The past few years, I’ve sold services instead of software. But not now that I am trying to get into software again, companies are afraid to hire me – my background recently has shown me to be a services person. Does it matter that 10 years ago I passed everyone’s wildest expectations selling software? No. Once again I have to re-prove myself and try to find someone who will “take a chance” on me.
It’s never easy. 🙂