Many moons ago I got my start in recruiting at a headhunting agency. Working in a 100% commission environment with a bunch of other salespeople – and that’s what we were, salespeople – was a ton of fun. It was also a fantastic learning experience. The psychology of people working on 100% commission was fascinating.
One important lesson during those three years was that people with any kind of empathy towards the candidates they recruited was considered a troublemaker. That, and money trumps everything. Since I’m not a whore and actually enjoy mixing it up with people, I was involved in a lot of placements that at one time or another involved another recruiter and a manager or two at loggerheads.
To wit, a few times times I recruited some dude and presented him to another recruiter for one of his job orders. I always did my homework with candidates – profiling them carefully to find out why they were looking, what they were looking for, salary expectations, etc. A good number of the people I worked with were spaghetti on the wall types, but I just couldn’t work that way. So we get my candidates out on interviews and there’s mutual interest between them and the hiring manager. From the get go I’ve made it clear what the company needs to offer for my candidate to change jobs, but the other recruiter was too afraid of losing a deal to make that information clear to the manager.
Then, when the offer came out a few thousand dollars less than what my guy expected it was my job to coerce him into accepting. Which, because I’d been perfectly clear from the outset what his expectations were, I wasn’t always ready to do. One of the managers’ favorite tricks was for each recruiter to give up a couple of thousand dollars of their fee and our company would give the guy a sign-on bonus if he accepted a lower salary than he’d told me he wanted.
That’s when the fireworks started. I would refuse. I did my job exactly as I was trained and because the other recruiter wasn’t capable or willing to get his hiring manager under control I should take less money? No thanks. Besides, if he’s good enough to get an offer there I can shop him to one of there competitors and get him a deal that will make him happy.
Of course, that made me incredibly selfish. I was refusing a deal when that poor other recruiter hadn’t made a placement yet this month and really needs this deal. That’s when I’d tell them I was doing him a favor. His company needs to learn to make competitive offers and pulling the candidate may cause them to come to the table with a better offer. I pull offers from candidates all the time when they go squishy to see if they’re really interested, so why can’t he do the same to his company? If he needs the deal so bad let him cough up all the sign-on money.
Or it made me stupid. Giving up two grand out of a ten thousand dollar fee was better than getting nothing. You’re cutting off your nose to spite your face, they’d tell me.
Maybe, but I felt like I was dong what was right for my candidate. Better to be a principled pauper than a prosperous whore.
Which brings us to Delaware, where an insufficiently conservative Republican who’s a shoo-in to win Joe Biden’s old Senate seat is being thrown aside so a Tea Party endorsed candidate can go on to electoral slaughter in the general. Better to risk a sure win and possible Republican take back of the Senate than endure a someone who isn’t 100% conservative all the time. If they’re not conservative enough for the reddest among us, they’re not good enough.
Well call me a hypocrite, but if it means Senate Majority Leader McConnell I can live with a Snowe or Castle in the Republican caucus. Democrats won their majority in 2006 and 2008 by finding candidates who were acceptable to enough traditionally red state voters to actually get elected. Now certain Republicans are actively embracing a small tent strategy and one-size-fits-all conservatism, quite possibly at the expense of regaining control of Congress.
I hope they know what they’re doing.