Some 20 years ago

25 years running an IT Search & Selection Consultancy has of course come with its own range of tales.  Suffice to say that a side-line as an after dinner speaker is a plausible future career path!  So I thought I’d put together a handful of suitably anonymous stories; here’s the first of them.

Some 20 years ago Richard Wheeler Associates received a call from a prospective client - a technology start-up - wishing to meet up to discuss a recruitment advertising campaign.  This to build a team of software professionals with assorted skills across graphics, comms, system programming, Unix etc. So far so ordinary.  I drove to the company’s offices (let’s say located somewhere along the M3 corridor) introduced myself at reception and then waited to be ushered in to meet their CEO.  I waited some 25 minutes, and then some more.  Finally, in a manner perhaps more in keeping with a public library (let’s call it a sort of clipped corporate whisper) I was cleared for landing and led through to meet the pope.

Upon my guide opening the door I was announced to an almost empty room, empty that is save for a small figure sitting with her back to me at the far end of the office.  At which point the door was closed behind me and I was left to find a free chair.  And duly waited for a modicum of respect to show itself.  It was a long wait, too a forlorn hope.  The CEO kept working, her back planted unmoved and unmoving.  After about 3-4 minutes of this infantile behaviour I announced myself with a cough or two, and proceeded to repeat this form of communication at regular intervals for the next 15 minutes or so.  Finally she asked me who I was (this without looking up, still looking in the opposite direction) and so this neo-exchange continued - too, to shape this extra-ordinary surreal drama.  But by this time I was fully in the game and returned her questions with clipped single word/sentence answers; hence to the question ‘What do you do?’ I replied ‘I run an IT Search and Selection consultancy’ and duly waited for the next question! Who would blink first?  Well, eventually she did finally acknowledge me - and we subsequently had a relatively civil and purposeful dialogue! Another challenge met, another campaign won!