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Impressions---lasting impressions

7.07.2009

 

We have met with tens of thousands of people over the past 25 years--clients, prospective clients, candidates, network sources. Some of the meetings were bad--really bad, most were good and some were so good that we remember them years later. Here are some of our memories.

Someone who is flexible always makes a good impression. We have had candidates who took time away from attending professional conferences to meet with us and our clients. We once had a candidate who was moving, and actually left the moving van to meet us. Another candidate, who was vacationing in Hawaii, drove across Maui to meet our client. In these and many other cases when a candidate has been flexible with his or her plans, the candidate had not been considering a new executive position, but realized it just made sense to make the connection.

Clients and candidates who are interested in long term relationships, make an effort to establish and maintain those relationships. I once interviewed a well known CEO. We discovered that he had been an investment banker for a financial institution where I had worked some time earlier. Several months later, he sent me a book that had just been published about that institution. A classy thing to do.

I interviewed a candidate at a San Diego airport hotel. As is typical when I start an interview, I take my glasses off and put them on the table. After the interview ended, I ran to catch my plane. I soon realized that I had picked up my candidate's glasses and he had picked up mine. I could not see a thing and needed help finding my gate. How he drove back to Los Angeles, I do not know. What did impress me though was the next day a Fed Ex package arrived at the office with my glasses and one of those eyeglasses necklaces clearly designed for an old person, and a funny, hand-written note. The candidate got the job. While he didn't have the short term vision, he clearly had an eye for not taking himself too seriously.

Speaking of a sense of humor, one new client meeting stands out. The client came to Houston one day in February to give us details of a potential search over dinner. While he was drawing org charts on yellow tablets, we were approached by a photographer asking if the "sweethearts" wanted our picture taken together. Shortly thereafter someone came by and asked the client if he wanted to buy me a rose. When the violinist started serenading us, we realized it was Valentine's Day. The client handled it with such élan, I knew he would be a long time client, if not a Valentine.

Do any of you have an interview or meeting that stands out?
 

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