I’ve just returned back to the states after an 8 day ‘adventure’ trip in Costa Rica.  Instead of going on break with his school, my son elected to go on an extreme vacation with me and a retired Army Special Forces Captain as our guide and trainer in survival.   We had a hectic week of mountain biking, hiring, rappelling down waterfalls, ziplining across the jungle, white water rafting, scuba diving and survival training.

As a result of these scheduled activities, we had to travel many hours across the country to our destination and awaiting adventures.  At each location we were greeted by a pleasant driver that was contracted by or part of the Desofio travel agencies.  On every occasion but one, the driver arrived as scheduled and had us at our next destination with time to spare.  Even on the one occasion that we had to contact the agency due to our driver being late, they knew where the driver was, when he would arrive, and apologized for the slight delay.

A few days into the trip, my son left his ball cap and sunglasses in one of the vans and the same organization had the items delivered back to us the next morning at no additional charge – talk about honesty, integrity and great communication!

So what does this have to do with recruiting?  Bear with me and read the rest of the story…

After vacation was over, it was time to return to the U.S. on Saturday via United Airlines.  I rarely fly United due to their cost and my personal record of them not being on time.  Due to flying out of Liberia, Costa Rica, we were limited in what airlines we could take.

Our flight to Houston was relatively uneventful and on time – I believe even a few minutes early.  The second leg to Detroit was not the same story! Our flight was scheduled to board in Houston at 6:45 p.m. and leave at 7:21 p.m.  At 7:10 the individual working the gate informed us that we would board a bit late because they needed to ‘pressurize’ the plane – isn’t that what they do in the air?  At 7:25 boarding finally opened and we assumed our positions in the cramped seats for the short two hour flight to Detroit.

Boarding was completed at approximately 7:50 and the doors to the plane were closed, however, we did not move.  After approximately 20 minutes of sitting at the gate, the pilot announced to all of the passengers that they were still waiting for all of the luggage to be loaded on the plane and that it would be a few minutes longer.  As the passengers became irritated, we all looked outside and found no one loading any additional luggage – in fact one passenger announced that they had completed loading the aircraft and had left more than 20 minutes prior to the announcement!

Again we waited with no word from the flight crew or service crew.  At approximately 8:25 p.m. the captain announced that “the merger with Continental was not going well and that we are still waiting for paperwork verifying how much fuel was put in the plane.”  So the questions arose by the passengers – was it really a mechanical problem?  Where we really waiting for luggage?  Did the pilots really not know the amount of fuel they received?

By the time we left Houston, the name United Airlines was being used with multiple expletives by passengers due to their unclear communication and what seemed to be excuse after excuse. The honesty and integrity of the airline was questioned by me and many others since it seemed they were covering for something – even if they were not.

What does all of this have to do with recruiting? Plenty.  The Desofio travel agency in Costa Rica communicated clearly, followed up, and was honest about why their driver was late. United Airlines left us on the dark and seemed to make up excuses on why the take of process was not moving along.

This is exactly how many recruiters treat their candidates and potentially third party recruiters supporting them in the recruiting process.  I have personally heard story after story from executive level candidates that were put into the recruiting and interview process only to have everything placed on hold and no communication as to why from the recruiter.  After days of no follow up, some of these recruiters give lame excuses as to the reason for the delay – ticking off the candidate, or the supporting agency and by extension the candidate.

Being open and honest about the process, the candidacy of a particular candidate, and communicating that information clearly creates credibility for the organization in question – such as it did for Desofio in Costa Rica.  Dodging the questions, not communicating, and making up excuses will result in the same negative feelings more than 300 passengers may now feel towards United Airlines.

Learn from United’s poorly run flight and communicate, communicate, communicate!!!


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