One of the country's largest PR/marketing agencies contacted me a few weeks ago regarding a SVP-level position they had open.
Not having agency experience generally seems to be the kiss of death at most agencies, so I approached this opportunity fairly casually. However, I had a long-ago tie to the hiring manager (through an alumni event connection) and when we reconnected, we hit it off.
A couple of weeks later, I had interviewed with about more than a half-dozen agency employees, including both of the SVPs who would be my peers, my entire four-person team, the hiring manager two more times and his boss, taken the agency's psychological/aptitude test, discussed salary expectations with the HR manager and supplied references.
I was left with the distinct impression that the agency was on the brink drafting an offer letter ... and then nothing. I was left to sweat - and wonder - for almost a week. Had a reference bad-mouthed me, jettisoning my chance at big-time agency life? Had some horrible crime turned up in my background check, committed not by me but by some evil-doer who had hijacked my identity? WHAT WAS GOING ON?
In the end, at least the agency had the common decency to close the loop with me. The hiring manager called to tell me that - at the absolute 11th hour - an internal candidate decided that maybe she'd like the position. Two weeks of internal deliberations later, she's in and I'm out.
On on hand, I couldn't be that upset because I very much support the idea of organizations promoting from within. However, how many of these near-misses am I supposed to endure?