It happened again.
This morning a new Business Analyst should have arrived for his first day at work. Although he accepted the position two weeks ago, he chose this past weekend to accept another position. His email stated that he had long been coveting this other position and their offer came as a surprise.
I wrote about this issue last fall in a Blog about Trust and Referrals. It continues to amaze me about how short sighted some people are when it comes to their careers. When the email was forwarded to me, my first reaction was disappointment and some anger. After these feelings passed, my second reaction was that it is probably a good thing he quit before he started so we didn't waste our time training him, just to have him quit the next time a shiny object crosses his path. I wonder how his new employer would feel if they knew that he reneged on an accepted job offer to take theirs. Would they be comfortable with the training investment that they are about to spend on him? That said, my third reaction is the one that will probably do him the most harm in his career. Senior people, like me, have high standards of integrity and long memories.
In 1997, I hired a senior person to run part of my organization. Shortly before her start date, she sent a fax to HR in head office withdrawing her acceptance because she had been offered the country manager role for another software company. She didn't have the professional courtesy to phone me and more importantly, she didn't even inform the executive recruiter who had placed her. When I called my recruiter to demand to know what had happened, my recruiter was completely blindsided.
My anger at the candidate was a mere ripple compared to the executive recruiter's. Not only had the recruiter lost their placement fee, they were very concerned about the damage this event would have on their relationship with my company and their future business. The recruiter eventually found out who the other company was. That company was struggling in their industry so they had offered her guarantees on her incentive compensation for two years and a large amount of stock options. Since they were publicly traded, I could watch her new company's stock performance and track how wise her decision was.
Over the next two years, I watched with pleasure as their stock options sunk well below her strike price. After two years in the position, she left the role. I assumed she received her incentive comp guarantees but her options were worth zero. At the same time, the value of the options that we had offered her had increased many-fold. From there, she moved to another new company as their country manager, her third job in four years.
Two years following her departure, our company acquired this new company. As we were going through the integration process, my opinion was asked about the senior team. I related my experience and my concern about this person's reliability and trustworthiness. Needless to say, she was not kept on following the transition.
So now let's get back to today's event. I wish our young business analyst the best in his new role. I hope it works out well for him and leads to a long and prosperous career at this new company. That said, I doubt he realizes the bridges that he has burnt and I hope for his sake, he never needs to go looking for a job within my sphere of influence.