The Catch and Release…of my Dream Candidate by Heather Parrot

The day started just like most days, I was off to go fishing (more like deep sea diving) for the needle in the haystack for one of my most challenging product groups. I found an almost ideal candidate after a fairly exhaustive search on the Internet. My eyes were blurry, but I was so excited to find this person I contacted her immediately! She was quick to respond, however hesitant to make a change due to her loyalty and commitment to her current employer (although she was fairly sure that layoffs were coming). Oracle had caught her interest and she was intrigued by the role and group I presented! After brushing up her resume, it finally landed in my inbox! Her resume was concise and to the point – it wasn’t overly inflated and it demonstrated where she used the skills and technologies she had listed in her skills section.

Our next step was the phone interview (my favorite – well, except for presenting offers) - the opportunity to truly connect and get to know the candidate’s background and skills. As the candidate shared her most recent position she spoke in terms of what she was responsible for and what she had accomplished vs what her company or “we” did. (great interview tip for job hunters)

She was very open and honest about her strengths and challenges in the role, what she was passionate about and what she wasn’t. Throughout the conversation her responses were well thought out, detailed yet not verbose. When talking about specific skills desired by my team she didn’t try to impress me with industry terms in hopes that she was talking over my head so I would believe she knew what she was talking about – she knew her audience.

She brought a sense of humor to the conversation, yet was still professional and personable. This interview turned more conversation vs me asking questions and receiving quick responses. She also did her research on our company, products my group developed, read the job description and was overall well prepared. She was open and honest about her skills (and lack of in some areas), expectations regarding current and past compensations, etc. I just knew she would be a great candidate to share with my team, as we wouldn’t have any unexpected surprises during the process.

This phone screen was great…however, at the end of the conversation we came to the mutual conclusion she wasn’t best fit for this position, so I had to release her and focus on other fish in the deep sea. Although she likely could have impressed her way thru the interviews – the role wasn’t the best long term fit for her. Even in this tough economy, when it feels like your swimming upstream, she wanted to do what was right for the company and herself long-term. She wasn’t just looking for a job at Oracle; rather she was looking for a long-term career and didn’t want to jeopardize that with a short-term gain. After we got off the phone, although disappointed, I was elated that I had such a positive candidate experience and had a great connection for future opportunities.

I think in any candidate search it is important to find the right role that suits a candidate and not just put them into a job because it is open - the role needs to match the candidate and equally the candidate needs to match the role.

The author of this article is part of Oracle's North America Recruitment Team and can be contacted at


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