So the MD of an Activation Agency had called me to join him and his HR team at an interview session. They were recruiting a team lead for a 'big' project they were to execute for a client.
This MD was impressed with what we did with the Guinness "Colourful World of More" Concert (I was the team lead for that humongous project), he also had a knowledge of me being the Project head for Maltina Dance All 6. For him, my input and recommendation at the interview session will be of great value.
As I strolled into the boardroom, I noticed two young women seated in a waiting room, both looking ready for the session. So I looked in their direction and said, may the better candidate get the job. And they both replied...AMEN!!!!
So I sat down as the first candidate was ushered in, pretty lady and obviously had a good dress sense. She wowed all of us with her presentation. Highly intelligent woman! Her answers were spot on. We were all impressed and nodded in affirmation as we stole glances.
'Thank you very much for such a brilliant presentation, we will surely get back to you"... was all the obviously happy MD muttered.
Seems they only invited good looking female for this interview, as the other candidate was also pretty in her own right but slightly less "prim & proper" with her dressing.
She was detailed with her presentation but didn't really excite us like the other lady. But something struck me about her, she had very good knowledge of everybody's role in a project. As in, she was lecturing us and that for me was a PLUS. She had been the team lead of three big projects that I know of but I didn't know her. So I asked her if she was really the project head for those executions and she replied 'YES'. I excused myself from the session and called some of my contacts who collaborated her claims. Good!
But I noticed the others guys on the panel weren't impressed. They find her too "EFIKOISH". They all rooted for the first lady. Then the MD turned to me and asked Yomi..what do you think? Who will you recommend out of the two candidates?
This is me replying the MD: 'Well, I think the first lady was brilliant with her presentation, I was actually thinking of talking to her about SO&U, I need someone who is that innovative in my team. Pretty, intelligent and bold! Smart girl!
But if I was looking for a Project Head, I will pick the second woman. The second candidate. All I would advise you to do, is to get someone who is creative and good with presentation to work with her on this project'.
'NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! they all roared. It was as if I just committed an abomination. 'Lai-lai..it is the first girl o! You can't event compare both of them at all. Aaahhh..It is the first girl o!
Obviously, the first girl impressed them. But I understand project management, I looked out for things they were not even paying attention to. I'm gifted in the line of recruiting. Hiring the right person is deep, you should look beyond the surface. If someone had been a project head for three different projects (reputed to be successful)... then you should take a second look at her. Numbers don't lie!
Well..wetin concern me, I've done my bit. I jejely picked a can of coke and waved to the MD...Oga mi, I go call you tomorrow.
'Thank you very much Yomi for your presence, I will be expecting your call' as he stood up to walk me to the reception.
So I called as promised me and he told me they had unanimously agreed to pick the first candidate. He went further to tell me of how impressed their chairman was with their excellent choice. 'It's ok sir..All the best with the project' was my simple reply. I don do my job..it's their job to go or not to go with my recommendation.
Two months later, while hanging out with some friends at Four Point by Sheraton, I ran into the senior brand manager for brand X, it was his project that we were trying to recruit a team lead for. So I asked him how the project was going, instantly the guy's facial expression just changed. It was as if I just reminded him of a horror movie. 'Yomi abeg make we talk about something else. Those agency guys just wasted our money. I seriously can't wait for everything to be over by tomorrow. Abeg make we talk later. I dey go Oriental to go check out the preparations for tomorrow'.
Instantly I called the agency's MD,..Oga mi, good afternoon sir. How is the project going?
'Ummn..Yomi, the project has been a mess o! The lady messed us up. She was arguing and fighting with everybody. All the suppliers didn't want to work with her and we had to be searching for new ones..imagine us replacing suppliers almost every week. In fact I had to sack her few days ago.Client has called for a review of the project on Monday. I pray it goes well'.
When a client calls for a review session immediately after a project...it's a sign of DANGER.
To cut the long story short, the agency was blamed for the poor outing and client refused to pay for so many line items.
And you know what?
They lost the ACCOUNT!
Well they learned their lesson in a bad way. If only they had looked beyond the surface and asked deeper questions concerning her experience on previous projects. Most importantly, if they had listened to someone who had handled big projects in the past, they probably wouldn't have found themselves in this situation.
So that's the gist for today, I will share with you some business building nuggets as I remember.
Do have a great week ahead!
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(Photo Credit: Nine Zero Degrees, Sanusi Fafunwa)
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