We have all seen them, the person who passes through your professional life. They are there, but then a short time later they are gone. At times they come with great fanfare, yet at others it is like they never really join the team. It is the job hopper, the ubiquitous person who seems to thrive by simply coming and going. The person who has quite literally turned interviewing into a profession. A profession that pays and remarkably leads to careers complete with benefits, advancement, increased compensation and a staggering collection of business cards.
Granted we see the traditional job hopper more than most; it is just part of being a recruiter and coach. But the rise of the Professional Interviewer has been something we have come to notice over the last decade. It really is a unique phenomena. It is the ultimate irony in hiring – everyone wants to hire the “right person”, but all too often “right” becomes synonymous with “experienced”, and thus a journey down the well-worn path in recycling talent. It is in that all too familiar and comfortable world of “experienced candidates” that one finds the Professional Interviewer.
Think about it next time you are going with the “experienced” candidate. If they have been around the industry, changing firms every few years, might there be a reason? Granted, things happen, but patterns should not be ignored. The Professional Interviewer is actually quite good at interviewing (they have an enormous amount of practice). Every job change has a story, a well rehearsed and perfectly logical line of reasoning. They have been very successful at each step, have a vast array of contacts, amazing 30-60-90 plans, are masters of follow-up, and will have an immediate impact on your firm. Oh, they will tell you all of that and much more.
Peel the onion, get below the surface and dig. Ask the hard questions early and challenge them. The right hire is rarely the easy hire. Sustained success takes time – years. If someone is changing jobs on a regular basis, there is no physical way they have the time to really have a lasting impact. It takes months to onboard, to learn the company, the clients, the process and the culture. It also takes months to search for and land a new job. Do the math, if they are changing jobs every two years, take away the onboarding and next job search/interview time, the vacation and holiday time, what are you really left with?
There are exceptions to everything, but beware of the Professional Interviewer. They are easy to fall in love with when you are hiring. They are the answer to all your needs, or so it appears. They are good at telling you what you want to hear – they are professionals after all.