With a lot of hard work (read: begging), I was blessed – yes, blessed – to be given the opportunity to work on a Financial Analyst search. Nothing out of the ordinary that every other client wouldn’t want, just someone who has at least a bachelor’s (MBA or CPA highly preferred), is outgoing and well spoken, has strong leadership abilities, and thinks outside the box. I was told – or, rather, forewarned – that they already had a top candidate and are looking for very specific qualifications: cost accounting experience, SAP software experience, and has shown tenure-like job stability (in that order). Sounds like a challenge. And I’m up for it.
After numerous follow-up emails and messages, the HR Director finally returned my call (perhaps tired of hearing my upbeat and overly eager voice every day) and asked who my top three candidates were. With a contained calmness, but in my head I was doing a cartwheel at this point, I walked her through my best three candidates out of the five that I carefully selected based on the job description and what I thought would be the salary range.
Ninety percent of clients like a selection, so three out of five is fair. (It’s almost “ain’t bad,” according to Meat Loaf’s standards of two out of three.) But in the back of my mind I still know one of my top three have to face THEIR best candidate. And my gut is telling my brain that I have “The One.” I have Keanu Reeves from The Matrix. So I maintain confidence.
I’ll spare you all the hiccups that came with scheduling and executing the interviews, suffice it to say, they did so with all the candidates I recommended. And then the client called me up. I could feel my heart slowly rising up to my throat, then I blacked out for a second, and regained consciousness just in time to hear, “She’s The One!” Obviously the client didn’t say exactly that – they probably said something like, “She was everything you said she would be” – but I like thinking I gave them the Keanu Reeves of financial analysts.
OK, so she didn’t have the accounting or SAP experience, but she reminded the VP of Finance of a younger version of herself (that helps!) and we segued right into the offer stage. That should go smoothly and dutifully, right? I pre-closed her on salary, counter offer, and potential concerns. She accepted their verbal offer. The background check was zooming along. Everything’s looking good … it couldn’t possibly go wrong … Wait. What? A counter offer from her current company?
A $12k increase in salary?! Double bonuses?! And a PROMOTION?! How am I supposed to beat that? How could anyone beat that?!
Surprisingly, she was torn. She’s one of those rare few who’s not just after the money, and she had motivations to leave unrelated to financial compensation. As she was weighing the pros and cons, I made sure to help her out by sending her articles like, “Reasons why you should or shouldn’t take a counter offer.” At that point, I’d done all I could. The ball’s in her court. She has to decide. It’s her future.
I made a vow when I entered this oh-so-interesting industry of ours: to always have the best interest of my clients and candidates at heart. I’m happy to say I’ve lived by this rule for over a decade. So I was fully prepared to accept her declining my client’s offer, knowing she’d be happy.
Upon sharing this dilemma with my client, discussing how the new company is a better fit for her (bigger, more growth, industry closer to her passion, etc.) but the counter offer being tough to decline, the client requested to speak with the candidate. After setting that up, I knew that this whole thing was out of my control and this likely would be another check in the “almost” column.
The next day, I had several missed calls and a trail of emails to get to. Little did I expect good news. What was surely a flat-liner was suddenly resuscitated! My client offered the candidate a $10k sign-on bonus. Sadly, they couldn’t offer her a higher base salary, but they did offer a promotion (they added “Senior” to the front of Financial Analyst).
As you can tell, I’m still excited about this placement. My candidate happily started working for the client on Oct. 29, and I’m confident she’ll have a successful vertical career together. (Pun intended!)