Resurrecting Dead Deals

The only certainty in recruiting is uncertainty. The least likely placement happens while the dead lock does not. That can be frustrating at times and a pleasant surprise at others. One thing it should teach us is to be prepared for the unexpected.In the office, I am known as the one recruiter specializing in “Lazarus Deals.” Those are the deals dead and buried but they can be brought back to life with the proper timing and a reminder from the recruiter. The keys to this are being prepared for the possibility and a willingness to work through all the issues. The first thing to consider is why deals fail because that is where you start to resurrect them. Deals fail for the following reasons:

  • Poor offer
  • Counteroffer
  • Unrealistic candidate
  • Unrealistic client
  • Poorly closed deal (client extending the offer could be the culprit)
  • Process took too long
  • Candidate finishes second
  • Candidate is too expensive

The deals that fail the first time can come back like Lazarus in certain cases. The most common source of these deals are second place finishers, hiring freezes, minor stumbling blocks in negotiating and clients and candidates who like each other but the skill match was not perfect. The key issue here is to catch the client as he has to reopen a search and be prepared to ask if he would reconsider a candidate. If the client is open to the candidate, the second test is your relationship with the candidate and whether he will trust you to try again. With this in mind here are the some of the ingredients needed to remake the deal:

  • The first time must have been a close call
  • The candidate was qualified but finished second
  • One side must have had continuing interest
  • Timing must be right and the process must be very quick
  • A second similar opening exists
  • The candidate was the first choice and too expensive but the second choice was not qualified so price can be negotiated

Once the process starts again the dealings with both client and candidate need to be carefully thought out and handled in a very measured way. Remember these two have been jilted or at least stood up at some point so there are more emotional issues than usual to be considered. Because of this the following must be done:

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  • Qualify the candidate again
  • Qualify the client again
  • Assume it will not happen and perform extra due diligence
  • Treat it as new deal, perform every step of the process as if both sides are hesitant

Obviously theses deals are fragile and there are many things to worry about to include:

  • What you do not know, have not been told or lied to about
  • What was the “real” reason it failed the first time
  • This is an emotional deal with the previous jilting looming in the background
  • This is a low percentage deal compared to a normal one
  • You must close more often and harder than you usually would

Just remember these deals come by on a very sporadic basis but should not be dismissed until all issues have been addressed and the final bullet has truly killed the deal.

Alan Oaks is a recruiter with over 10 years in the insane world of IT. He can be reached at (800) 227-1167 x204 or


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