It comes in waves. I work with all kinds of people. For some reason, I tend to attract people that have some similarity in their background. I have never conducted a careful study of this kind of client clustering but it happens almost every month.
Military guys and gals seem to like working with me. Maybe it's because they like to be pushed or maybe it's because I remind them of some hard-ass commander that got the most out of them. This month's cluster is full of Special Ops. guys. Currently, 5 of my clients are former Special Operations vets. I offer strategy..."Sir, yes, sir". I push them to execute..."Sir, yes, sir". I challenge them with counter-intuitive techniques..."Sir, yes, sir". There is little debate, just action. It's pretty nice.
One of the guys I recently worked with is totally nuts, really crazy (he references himself this way). He always asks me for "the good stuff". Translation, my really edgy and challenging strategies. Every time we talked I gave him something crazier. It was like a game. I wanted to know when it would get too crazy. Fortunately, I will never know. He just left my program as the last crazy play yielded the job this special operator really wanted.
Here's what he did...
Momentum had been building, informational interviews turned into a couple of offers but not the right one. We were winning some battles but not the war.
He targeted 4 companies, big ones. After seeing a job he wanted on Linkedin I called to see if it was actually open. This IT Leadership job was at a target company. We believed that this role reported into the COO. I threw out yet another edgy play. I told my client to call the COO. We knew the name of the CEO. My client got the virtual PBX and then got the assistant of the COO on the phone. Bingo.
"I believe I got a call from this number...it may have been related to the VP of IT role. I was just calling to follow up", he said. The assistant said, "please hold". The COO, wondering why he hadn't seen candidates for the job (later we found this out), got on the phone with my client. The COO was impressed with my client's knowledge of the company and their shift into a new channel. My client detailed his unique expertise penetrating new channels with sales and marketing through the IT department. Kaboom!
That 20 minute conversation turned into a flight, a headquarters tour, a couple of rubber stamp meet and greets and an offer within a week.
He wanted the job. He wanted it bad. It was open. He targeted the decision maker, engaged the assistant and was ready to show that he was THE tactical asset the company needed.
Executives sometimes have a challenging relationship with their staffing org. Some leaders believe they don't get the talent they need from their staffing pros. In my career, this was true most often. This COO relished in the fact that he ended up finding the guy, his guy. The war was over? Sir, yes, sir.