Artboard 1

Candidates Do the Darndest Things… 2019 Edition

We’ve always said that though executive search provides an unparalleled opportunity to meet and work with fascinating, high-achieving, brilliant individuals, the “exceptions to the rule” stand out vividly … and that every time we think we’ve seen it all, we realize we haven’t come close. Here, we continue our "Candidates Do the Darndest Things" series, started with this article in 2010, with a new collection of bizarre candidate behavior.

A few months ago we published an article on best practices and tips for video conferencing. Following a few recent VC experiences, we realized we had neglected to mention the following:

  • Standing desk/monitors are becoming more and more common. But explaining your career motivations while pacing back and forth—like Hamlet delivering a soliloquy—has a dramatically *negative* effect.
  • While we all understand travel delays, think about rescheduling, rather than trying to videoconference from an active, overcrowded, airline gate.
  • We conduct searches with the utmost degree of confidentiality, however, home office lighting that makes you look like you are in the witness protection program, takes it a bit too far. Likewise, the interior lights of your car—which periodically time out, causing you to open and shut your door to trigger them (while chugging a bottle of Yoo-hoo, oddly enough)—are not ideal interview lighting.
  • Another home office VC tip: Beforehand, check that the mirror behind you isn’t reflecting the fact that you are wearing shorts with your dress shirt and suit jacket.
  • And finally, and perhaps most importantly, please don’t try to VC and maintain eye contact while driving down the highway (amazingly, this has happened more than a few times).

We also recently published an article on LinkedIn best practices, and as a follow up want to underscore:

  • College fraternity and sorority affiliations can bolster professional networks and connections, but the profile pic from the Alpha Beta ’87 Kegger won’t help.
  • Passion and enthusiasm for one’s work is an absolute requirement for senior leadership searches, but there are other ways to convey that message than a row of !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! in your career bio.
  • And please be aware that the prominent Activity panel near the top of your profile reflects *all* the recent articles you are share, including “Debunking 10 Monster Truck Fan Myths.”

Finally, while most senior executives have well-honed interview and meeting skills, never forget—in the words of a longtime client—to “stick the landing.” Unlike one CFO candidate, whose meeting with the CEO/Board could not have gone better … up until the final moments, when he was asked “So what questions do you have for us?” and he responded “Absolutely none—I already know that I’m exactly what you need.”

Needless to say, he wasn’t.

All articles