The phones goes and it's a 'headhunter' on the other end. Your immediate reaction is one of cynicism. This is the fourth such call today and the first three so-called 'search consultants' were all calling up about the same job! But, a few seconds in, and you realise that this 'headhunter' is probably on the level. He's actually landed a senior job that you might really be interested in!
A couple of minutes more and you are positively salivating. This could be your dream job. Have Goldman or Morgan Stanley finally realised your potential ? Which one of Wall Street's finest is going to throw loads of money at you to tempt you aboard ?
Then your world suddenly comes crashing down. It's not Goldman, Morgan Stanley or any of the other firms which could be described as 'Wall Street's finest'. It's a second-tier bit player which struggles to attract top talent and is rumoured to be close to restructuring its businesses - again. Now you're upset. Either the 'headhunter' is a fool and has got his research wrong or he's telling you that you are only likely to look good to a second-tier also-ran. But the headhunter really sounds like he knows what he's on about - suddenly, the truth dawns. You quickly agree to meet with him after work.
But what about if you ARE a player and get a call from a headhunter representing a firm, once great, which is struggling to regain past glories. How about if Enron came calling ? Investment bankers were once dying to go work at the failed energy giant. Now the firm is in recovery, but the company is said to be finding it difficult to attract in quality employees because of the whiff of scandal which still permeates the business. A recent US survey, undertaken by executive jobs service TheLadders, revealed that 72% of those asked about the possibility of going to work at Enron said 'no'. Folks at WorldCom and Martha Stewart Living are also said to be finding it difficult to attract in top talent. No doubt the 'headhunters' are now scratching around for that list of second tier candidates.