shutterstock_156755336Here’s a sampling of some devastating comments I’ve heard in headhunters’ meetings – comments that broke the chances of particular candidates.

· “Alan’s not an A player.”

· “The reference said Allie is an operator but has no vision.”

· “The company Anne is with doesn’t have a reputation for being well managed.”

· “Keith’s a good guy, but there’s no technology background in his career.”

· “We’re looking for someone with more pull than Meggie.”

· “John is too slick; you never know what he’s thinking.”

· “We want someone with broader industry experience.”

· “Looks good, smells bad.”

· “If you asked Jerry for a reference, you’d get twenty bad ones.”

· “I’m a little hesitant about Juan. He’s heir apparent [at his current company], and he’s only had experience at one company. I’m afraid he won’t scale.”

· “Ben’s wife is a decorator who was doing work for a board member. She told him he should hire her husband, and that’s how he got the job.”

· “She’s not a leader.”

· “She’s not a consensus builder.”

· “He has trouble networking.”

· “He was at the battle, but he sat behind the lines.”

· “She’s a loose cannon; they call her Wacky Jacky.”

· “He’s got one real flat spot on the wheel.”

· “He’s solid, but not world class.”

· “Lacks discipline.”

· “Can’t execute and pulls things together.”

· “A real plodder.”

· “Constantly churns from company to company.”

· “Treats people as if they are expendable.”

· “Shamelessly greedy.”

· “Spends more time worrying about who gets credit than getting the job done.”

· “An incessant complainer.”

· “Uses company time for private projects.”

· “Bad-mouths other people.”

· “Calls in sick every other Monday.”

Needless to say, you wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of any of these or similar comments. On the other hand, comments like the following can push you to the head of the pack.

· “We think he’s a good guy.”

· “Makes the best presentation I’ve ever seen.”

· “Runs a crisp organization.”

· “Mark manages problems in a nondisruptive way.”

· “Tim wants this job; he’s looking to hit one out of the park.”

· “If you could get Karen on your board, that would be very smart.”

· “You might as well forget Phil – you’ll never get him.”

· “He’ll take the hill and hold it.”

· “He’s totally jazzed and motivated, with no ego.”

· “Janice builds trust.”

· “He’s a go-getter and a real team player with a great personality.”

· “Paula’s a water-walker.”

· “Pete is world class.”

It’s sobering to realize how one comment from the right person can change your life. One search consultant told me, “We’re right about 75 percent of the time.”