“You know when you have a great applicant that’s perfect for one of your clients but not for their job opening?”

Two recruiters are sitting at a small table on an outside patio. It’s a rare winter day that’s just warm enough, along with a gas heater, to enjoy meeting outside. Although from different staffing firms, they had frequently collaborated when they had openings outside their areas of specialty. Trading stories, each was careful never to name the companies or applicants involved.

“Yes, you’d like to say, ‘just hire her and you’ll find a place for her to fit in and never regret it,’” her colleague responds.

The Staffing Story
Leaning forward as if to be sure she’d not be overheard, the first recruiter begins to tell of a recent situation she has in mind. “My applicant, let’s call him Justin, was just such a candidate. He had the skills, smarts, and would be a fit at this Harrisburg-based IT company that emphasized working from the workplace. No problems with that. Only, the open computer operator position was paying below his expectations and required fewer skills and experience than he offered. Clearly overqualified, he was about to pass on interviewing for the position until he heard which company had the opening. Then his mindset was, ‘let’s go for it!’”

“Often, I tell applicants to take a chance on positions like that. Sometimes a company will upgrade the position when they see what you could contribute; And if they don’t upgrade and still offer you the position, you can always turn it down. There’s no obligation to accept,” her coffee break companion adds.

“And that’s more-or-less what happened.”

The interview went very well. Before Justin had reached home, the recruiter had already received the job offer for him. However, it was the same position as advertised, and the same salary level. The hiring manager was hopeful that Justin would accept and quickly grow from that position, but realized this opportunity might not be that compelling. Indeed, Justin did turn down the offer, with respectful apologies.

The Second Chance
After the server had refreshed her coffee, the recruiter continues, “Several weeks later I heard from Justin again. He now regretted declining the computer operator position and was wondering if it was still open. I had been able to fill that position, I told him, but now had a system admin position I needed to fill for that company, that was more aligned with his skills and career advancement, and of course paid better. Only, would the company agree to interview Justin again after he had rejected their first offer?”

The other recruiter chimes in, “I know with some companies, that once you either reject an offer or quit, they will never consider you again.”

“I know those companies, too,” the recruiter agrees. “Anyway, I went to bat for Justin. I had other good applicants for that position, but none of them were as great a fit. I was also impressed that Justin had circled back to me, admitting that he might have been too quick to decline the first offer. I used that point to convince the hiring manager to give Justin a second chance.”

“And of course, he was hired, right?” the second recruiter inquires.

“Happy to report that 6 months later both the company and my candidate are very happy.” She then opens her purse and removes a laminated card with these words on it:

    “Even though I let you down the first time, still you gave me a second chance. I have no words to show you how grateful I am. Thank you for taking a chance on me!”

“I preserved this note and keep it with me to remind me about why I do this work. By the way, the note came with a gift certificate to this coffee shop, so today’s refreshments are courtesy of Justin.”

At this the recruiters clink their coffee cups in appreciation of Justin and the importance of second chances.

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