Skip to main content
Frank Godbersen: Headhunter Secrets:

It is behavior that result in refusal

Dear Ambitious Procurement Pro ́s

When we as an executive search firm present top candidates for our clients, it is not professionalism, objectivity and personality that give refusal.

Often, final conversations fail at the last minute, even though everything seemed to be settled.

Here is why.

The candidate failed to get the hiring manager to see a safe choice, to highlight candidates’ views, to clarify what they have understood about the task.

Or to mention the topics that they are grateful can contribute to.

It happens that a contract at the last minute is not offered by the company anyway.

For the candidate, such a conclusion is always completely incomprehensible.

However, it is not a matter of doubt of competence, but often minimal irritation due to the behavior that leads to these decisions.

Here are some examples from the real world that represent typical behavioral mistakes when talents applying for a CPO or other senior position:

Victory in advance – behavior.

The candidate behaves as she already got the job.

Her focus is on the bonus, the size of the team and the chart of authority.

– but not on the people who are important to her here and now, and with whom she is still in dialogue.

Those whom she should thank for the possibility of another meeting, for the trust, the good dialogue and the important information about the department, the leadership team, and the challenges in the coming years.

There are the small nuances in behavior that CEO register and therefore ask themselves:

What happens when she is hired? Will it always be this way?

Petty – behavior.

While the company hopes for a good fit for transformation of the department, the candidate is busy discussing the smallest perks in the contract- Like the color of the company car. (not a joke)

There is constantly something to discuss over and something more to demand.

Suddenly, she discovers a passage in the bonus regulation that may be disadvantageous to her and which, moreover, she would like to have clarified more precisely.

In this way, she reveals herself as someone who probably cannot provide leadership in an international business and with a helicopter overview creates value for the company.

(Un-)Security – behavior.

The talent wants to have included meaningless guarantees in her contract.

First, they are meaningless because she could later make many of the decision by herself.

Major career leaps have failed because the contract should stipulate that the home office is in Randers and not in Aarhus where the company is. Who cares?

Or an applicant reveals a desire to formulate decision-making paths in writing?!

This signals a sense of powerlessness instead of trust and influence.

The otherwise so negotiable, successful personalities suddenly mutate into hopeless cases who wish everything should be formulated in writing and that they need very narrow frameworks and rules.


Many top talents are not aware of the rules of the game that apply in top jobs or the Champions League companies.

Few candidates can interpret what a rejection means when “the chemistry isn’t right.”

The last step into the top role can be very strenuous if sense of behavior is lacking.

When you however use the right behavior with your future management colleagues, the most important customers, and suppliers, it can be a ride in the elevator to the top.

See you at the top 🙂


#leadership #procurement #talent #executiveseach #CEO #hiring