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April 17, 2017

Liar’s Poker

I had just started a new search and was interviewing the first potential candidates. One of them called me a few days after our meeting.

“I have another offer on the table, and I’d like to get in to meet your client right away,” he said.

“The search just started, and the client hasn’t met anyone yet,” I replied. “They want to meet a range of candidates, and there’s no way you’d have an answer from them before you have to give a yes or no on the offer. I don’t want to waste your time or theirs. Given that you’ve been out of work for a while, I assume you’re going to take the offer, right?”

That wasn’t what he expected to hear, and he sounded flustered. “I’d still like to have a look at it,” he almost whimpered. That’s when I knew the offer was a fabrication. I’d called his bluff.

I understand the anxieties and pressures that are involved in looking for a job. It’s tough, and everyone wishes things would move faster.

Playing games with a recruiter or hiring manager, however, is not going to help. Usually the ruse is transparent, as it was in this case. It made the candidate seem desperate, naïve, and dishonest. Those traits don’t sell well.

You can’t force the hiring manager’s hand, so don’t try. If you do, it will probably backfire, and you’ll lose whatever chance you had. Accept the hiring manager’s timeline, and above all be honest.

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