Teresa Mazzitelli, founder of The Mazzitelli Group, has been an executive recruiter for thirty-three years and has placed nearly 800 people at almost all levels in every job sector.  Over twenty-five years of working with MackayMitchell Envelope Company alone, she has helped us locate and hire thirty-seven team members, including my right-hand man, Greg Bailey.

Petite and scarcely over five feet tall, Teresa has earned the moniker “Bulldog” at MackayMitchell for her spunk and dogged persistence.  Some years back, she helped us land one of our top sales people even though it took eighteen months to reel him in.  Our revenues have sparkled ever since, due to her command of bringing us talent and his unrivaled marketing expertise.

Recently, I had a chance to chat with Teresa about what was afoot in the dark jungle of headhunting during the downturn of all downturns.  She offered some tips, not only on how to survive a trip to the headhunter, but how to come back with the old bean screwed on even better than before.

You’re a recruiter who has worked with us for a long time.  It;s clear you know a lot about the culture and values of MackayMitchell Envelope.  Do candidates tap into your reservoir of knowledge?  Do they usually ask you penetrating questions about a company’s culture and how they will fit in?

Harvey, ninety-nine percent of the searches I do are for passive candidates, i.e., people who aren’t looking for a job and who are happy to stay right where they are.  These are, to be sure, very desirable candidates , and it takes a lot of persuasion to entice them to move.

Passive search candidates usually ask discerning questions about the culture and values of the company they might consider leaving their present job to join.  Remember, they don’t have a compelling reason to leave and usually have convincing reasons to stay where they are.  It’s important that an individual really appreciate the implications of a career shift in a thoughtful way.  Culture, values, how they fit in.  These are very, very important questions.

Let’s play out this same scenario another way.  Assume you’ve been axed, there’s a job vacancy, and you’re lucky enough to pry open the door for a job interview with a recruiter.  Let’s say you don’t ask any tough questions about the company, the culture, the values, and how you would fit in.  Aren’t you broadcasting an impression that you are desperate for a job, no matter how badly you may need it?

You’re right.  You may be out of work and worrying where next month’s rent is going to come from.  nonetheless, the last thing you want to radiate is that you’re a desperation case.  You should always be asking substantial questions when your future is at stake, no matter how economically pressured you might feel.

Determination, resilience, character.  That’s the stuff we want to lasso for our clients.  In adverse times, these traits attain towering importance.  Not having them telegraphs you have little confidence in your long-term future

Stay tuned for more Q&A that will give you a heads up on your next recruiting experience.

For more tips on how to find a job and how to get a job check out my book “Use Your Head To Get Your Foot In The Door“.

About the author Harvey Mackay

Seven-time, New York Times best-selling author of "Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive," with two books among the top 15 inspirational business books of all time, according to the New York Times. He is one of America’s most popular and entertaining business speakers, and currently serves as Chairman at the MackayMitchell Envelope Company, one of the nation’s major envelope manufacturers, producing 25 million envelopes a day.

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