January 16, 2019

Case Study: It’s Them, Not You

I’ve written a ton about the clunky interview process. Here’s a Case Study of one recent client who went through quite a ride!

I have a love/hate relationship with January.

On the love side, it’s an amazing month to partner with individuals and companies to build a more engaging professional experience. Budgets are fresh, new roles are being posted, and people are generally in a “let’s get this done” mindset (thank you Resolutions).

On the hate side, we have another season of “The Bachelor” upon us (Ugh!) and I’ve done little to tackle my Resolution of “more yoga” (double Ugh!).

Earlier in the month, I highlighted my 2018 Insights and 2019 Predictions.  In that newsletter, I wrote about the “clunky” interview process many clients continue to experience on their Engaged Pursuit.  Recruiters ghosting, horrible job descriptions, and interviewers who don’t know what they’re doing.

This week, I want to share a Case Study of a client who went through a pretty interesting experience recently. My intent is to highlight the entire experience, the outcome, and the learnings so you’ll have a better answer to your internal question “Is this normal??”


Matt’s a Sr Project Manager in Seattle with tons of tech experience. Big software companies, consulting gigs, start-ups … you name it, he’s been a part of it.

Last November, he came across what seemed like a perfect new role on a team building new customer-impacting programs.  We’ve been working together for a while, so he knew his Professional Dashboard & Professional Story by heart and we were instantly able to say, “This looks right!!”  In this case, the job description was actually decent, with lots of specifics around the role, how they were measuring success and the organizational structure.

The Process:

Matt activated his network and contacted a second-level connection via Linked-In to submit his resume via an Employee Referral. Matt did all the work here – customized his resume, put talking points together for the referral, and knew the process for follow-up.  He got a call from a Recruiter in a couple weeks.

Where things got clunky:

  1. Initial Interview Process:  Matt’s recruiter didn’t seem to know much about the role, what the Hiring Manager was looking for, or specifics around compensation.  Matt wanted more out of this early partnership and was left with more questions around the role than answers. He wasn’t sure if this truly was a good fit for him and wasn’t sure if compensation was on-par with his expectations and previous experiences – one of the main elements to his Professional Dashboard.
  2. Realities of the Job Description:  While we thought the role was a perfect fit, it turned-out the needs/desires of the company changed throughout the process.  More of this, less of that.  Matt had to (real-time) adjust to these new requirements and continuously ask himself, “Is this still a good fit for me?” He was concerned there were other elements that might be added and/or changed if/when he received an offer for the role.
  3. Hiring Team was all over the place: A couple really good interviews and a couple really bad interviewers.  Thought-provoking/strategic questions to start and random/tactical questions to end. Again, he left feeling confused about the role and the team – it appeared to be a super strategic role, but many questions were around non-relevant topics.  He knew he had to get clear here before saying “yes” to this new opportunity.
  4. Decision timing:  You know the phrase “patience is a virtue”?  Well, that was definitely the case with Matt.  He had to wait over a month for a final decision (which was an offer, by the way).  Yes, this is longer than normal, and Matt knew it.


  1. Matt accepted the role after further clarification from the Hiring Manager. We had a running list of questions we needed answers and we were able to use the Professional Dashboard to confirm this (revised/updated) role was, in fact, right for him.  The good news – even though things changed along the way, it was an awesome opportunity for Matt.
  2. Staying on-top of the process is key. Like with Matt, you might find that weeks go by without hearing anything.  Make sure you are keeping track of all contacts (and interactions) with internal stakeholders.  In most cases, the process moves quickly … but you might experience something really slow, like Matt, so be prepared to follow-up.
  3. Expect the unexpected. Especially in regard to the role itself, questioning the specifics of the opportunity is super important.  Company needs change and you might find that the original job description is outdated.  Make sure to know the specifics of what’s expected (as much as you can) prior to accepting a new role.
  4. Continue to follow your gut.  In addition to “more yoga” in 2019, I’m also focused on going more with my “gut” this year – something I’m urging my clients to do as well.  I think this philosophy is applicable here – Matt’s “gut” told him to ask more questions once receiving an offer, and he did!  He knew he needed further clarification prior to signing on the dotted line … you may need to do this as well!

Your homework this week:Think about how ready you are for your Engaged Pursuit. Do you have a good sense of what you’re looking for next and are you ready to “manage” this potentially intense process once you start? Could you handle a similar situation as Matt? Want some help? Send me an email to talk strategy!

Coming-up next time:  Interviews are becoming more-and-more interesting as companies are looking for perfect candidates.  I’ll highlight what clients are experiencing during all types of interviews and how to prepare yourself!

Here’s to your Engaged Pursuit!

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