Several months ago we were managing a CHRO search for one of our client’s portfolio companies. The candidate was scheduled for a full day of interviews with the CEO, CFO & COO of the hiring company and the CHRO of the Private Equity group (my client contact) that owned them. The candidate understood that the position would report to the CEO but would also have a dotted line to the CHRO of the P.E. firm. The candidate called me after the full day of interviews indicating that she was interested in taking it to the next level.
The next day the CHRO and I had our “follow up” discussion. She mentioned that during the debrief earlier in the morning with the interview team it was learned that everyone received a “thank you” email except the CHRO. My client and I agreed that this character flaw spoke volumes and that we would not move forward with her candidacy if in fact she didn’t hear from her by the end of the day. Unfortunately for the candidate, she never did send that “thank you” email. I planned to contact her the next morning with both the feedback and status update.
One may call this a blunder…I call it a “failure” of an important character test. Had each person received a “thank you” at different times throughout the day then it would not have raised a red flag; however, each received it the previous evening, all within the same hour. When I informed the candidate as to why she wouldn’t be going forward, she was neither contrite nor apologetic. She became combative. Red flag #2.
The moral of this story: the assessment of a candidate’s character should be scrutinized throughout every step of the process… including the offer.