Bad Cop, Good Recruiter

Scott was in a quandary. His candidate wanted the job, and the company wanted to make the hire. But they just couldn't agree on terms.

Scott tried several times to reach a compromise, but neither side would budge. The main issue was the compensation package, which had morphed into a mish-mash of sticking points.

For example, when the salary went up, the revenue sharing went down. The more generous the perks, the more stringent the performance goals became. And when the signing bonus ballooned, the severance package deflated. And so it went.

To make matters worse, Scott was beginning to take heat from both sides. The harder he tried to put the deal together, the more each side accused him of playing favorites. From a dealmaker's perspective, it was a total nightmare.

Bad Blood and Gridlock
Frustrated, Scott pondered the situation. It seemed that both sides sincerely wanted to work together, but their pride kept them apart. Ironically, the only common ground was their growing distrust of him.

So Scott took an unusual step. Borrowing from the script of a typical TV police drama,

Scott played "good cop/bad cop." Only Scott cast himself as the bad cop.
Admitting his failure to find a solution, Scott persuaded the candidate and the company to let a neutral third party act as an arbitrator. Then Scott stepped back graciously and let the good cop -- a well-known and highly respected business leader -- find a way for everyone to settle their differences.

Scott felt he had nothing to lose and everything to gain. He didn't care who got the credit, as long as both sides walked away with a smile.

Scott's Big Gamble
And that's exactly what happened. A few hours after meeting, the candidate and the company came to terms. The candidate got the job he wanted, the company got a superstar for their team, and neither Scott's reputation -- nor his fee -- was diminished.

Were it not for Scott's creativity -- and his willingness to put aside his ego -- the deal might have never taken shape.

"Bad Cop" in the News
The technique I just described has not only worked for me in certain situations, it recently served as the centerpiece of an historic sports negotiation.

When longtime agent Scott Boras reached an impasse in the contract negotiation between his client, baseball superstar Alex Rodriguez and the New York Yankees, a neutral third-party, billionaire Warren Buffett, was asked to arbitrate.

Soon after, the Yankees announced that a 10-year, $275 million agreement had been reached. Although Scott Boras had bowed out of the direct negotiations, he played a significant supporting role in crafting the language of the contract.

Scott's deal represents the richest contract in major league baseball history, and consists of a complex series of bonuses and incentives tied to several different performance goals.

As far as I know, neither Scott Boras' reputation -- nor his fee -- was diminished.

By Bill Radin
 BlackDog Recruiting Software Inc.
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