Discussion: February 23, 2010 Ask The Headhunter Newsletter
In today’s newsletter a reader takes an interview with a company that wants to “meet and talk in general,” with no indication there’s a specific opportunity on deck. No problem, I say to the reader. It’s good to meet new people. But when the company brings you back for a second interview — to meet the president — and there’s still no objective, then it’s time to reconsider what you’re doing. I offered the reader a suggestion about How to Say It in the newsletter — “No job in mind? No meeting.” (Well, a bit more politely than that, but that’s the gist.)
But there’s more the reader could do to ferret out an opportunity — and to make some money in the meantime. Here’s what else to say to the employer:
If there isn’t a specific job you’d like to discuss, it might be because you’re trying to figure out what kind of position you want to define. I believe I could help you with that by applying my expertise in XYZ… Until you define and fill a position, I’d be glad to offer you my consulting services at $X per day. I look forward to hearing back from you… and I’d like to help you any way I can. Thanks again for your interest… I really enjoyed our wide-ranging discussion. Kind regards…
See how that works? You play every angle but put the onus on them to either define a job or pay you for your time to help them do it.
Otherwise, it’s a bunch of guys blowing smoke with nothing better to do than waste your time and their own. Believe me — many managers are clueless and should be fired for wasting company time and resources on meetings like these. Sometimes, you just have to realize there is no job there. That’s no reason to decline a first meeting — you might meet some cool people and explore possibilities. But beyond that, we’re business people and we work for a living. Either the employer has a clear agenda that presents a clear opportunity to you or he’s wasting your time.
(The tipoff in this reader’s story was that after the second interview with the president, the company did not follow up further, did not respond to queries or bring closure to the discussions. Bear in mind, it was the company that reached out and initiated the meetings.)