Jan 092005

Rejected by the Body

Rejected by the Body

My most recent posting ("Sometimes, There Is No Lesson To Be Learned") about a strange hiring incident at Return Path has so far generated 5 comments — a whopper for my blog.  You can read them here if you want.  They’re a little bit all over the map, but they did remind me of something I frequently tell senior people who I am interviewing to join the company:

Hiring a new senior person into an organization is like doing an organ transplant.  Sometimes, the body just rejects the organ, but at least you find out pretty quickly.

At least we found out relative quickly with this one, although it was more like the organ rejecting the body!

Filed under: Entrepreneurship

  • http://oestreichassociates.blogspot.com Dan

    I think you might be taking this one a little too personally. I mean a manager at this level quitting by cell phone?? Come on. Something is going on here that no interview process could have divulged, and I would encourage you not to make an assumption that there was a “rejection” of the company, its culture, or the people — unless there was tangible evidence of that. Without understanding fully the motives of the person who left (who may not even really understand them herself), I believe such assumptions, particularly those about the process, are misplaced. Was it a lack of integrity that caused her to do what she did? A certain unconsciousness? A true change of heart about her future? Other factors suddenly coming into play, things unforeseen? Who knows. But there IS a lesson. You cannot control everything! Best not let that get too far under the skin.

  • Chad

    This has happened to me twice both as a hiring manager and as a peer. In both cases, it was not obvious throughout the interview process that we were the person's second choice – they were smart, passionate people. In both cases, they later admitted they felt pressured by having a job offer from their second choice and not from their first – and didn't want to risk losing a great opportunity (albeit not their first choice). As a candidate, this is a hard position to be in if you're interested in both jobs but forced to make the call. And as a hiring manager, you never want to hear "you're my second choice so I need a few weeks to decide". I think it's bad form to do what this person did – I think that if you have doubts about a job or a career change like this person, then you pass on the #2 choice and either get the #1 or keep looking.

    With that said, there was no comment on whether or not this person had a job already or was laid off from another startup. Being unemployed changes this dynamic a lot.

    • Matt Blumberg

      This post was based on a compilation of experiences, not a single instance.