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Self-inflicted Damage

“Time Kills All Deals” – as the saying goes among sales professionals. I often write about obstacles that lay in the path of an individual’s efforts, when trying to advance their own job search and interview progress. But on the opposite side of the subject, there are those who handicap themselves, messing up otherwise promising situations.

For example: I recently introduced a very talented and successful person to a company and there was seemingly instant rapport, both sides liked one another and shared mutual interest in the potential opportunity. As perfect a potential fit as could be hoped for. However, something happened after that. The candidate became aloof and was hard to communicate with. Afterward, she acknowledged a high level of interest. The client was likewise very expressive about their interest and stated they would do what they could to accommodate the candidate. But time passed, she needed a few weeks, then another extension … what happened?

What became clear to me and turned out to be true, is that she was and still is shopping around to other potential employers. To be clear, there is nothing wrong with this and in fact I support and recommend that people should do this for themselves, however, one must do so recognizing there is a freshness, best by or best before date as it relates to the interview process. Opportunities are perishable commodities with time-sensitive limitations. She took their level of interest in her too far (two-and-a-half months), assuming that nice, complimentary words would prolong an open door for her. Sadly, she miscalculated.

What I know from hundreds of placements and placement processes of the last few decades – there is ebb and a flow to any interview process that transcends specs and qualifications; there is an emotional component as it relates to interest level between parties. The key is to pay attention, anticipate and strike while the interest levels are at their height. This is more important and far more beneficial to you than delaying and obfuscating in order to have more choices, even if they are not very good ones or merely for the sake of it. Sadly, there are some otherwise very smart people who are completely ignorant to this reality.

As a result my client, who was so interested in the beginning and willing to almost bend over backwards to accommodate the candidate, predictably and inevitably, told me a few days ago they are no longer interested and that, rather, their sentiments have gone in the opposite direction. The prior level of interest has vanished – she blew it and missed a very good window of opportunity.

Indeed, always strive to get the best deal you can for yourself and if you want to play poker go ahead and do so at your own risk. You’re free to bluff but only for so long before you need to play the hand you’re dealt to the best effect.