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Hiring Greatness by Mark J. Haluska, David E. Perry

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Chapter 1Great ExpectationsDefining Value

Never tell me “the sky's the limit” when there are footprints on the moon.

—Paul Brandt

The midday flight to L.A. had been uneventful—up, down, no delays. Exactly how I like my flights.

Michael, my designated “second” on this project, drove from the airport. We were both pretty quiet as we limped through the heavy Los Angeles traffic heading toward the client's office in the City of Industry. Going straight there was my idea and Michael was visibly nervous. I guess I should have been too. I had voiced my concerns to Michael on the flight down. I saw no point in stopping at our hotel to rest, let alone unpack, as we might not be there long. Although this was potentially going to be my 1,000th recruiting assignment, Michael knew I wasn't certain we were going to accept the assignment we were heading to discuss. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's rewind a week to when our story began.

It was a typical Friday morning. I was halfway through my second cup of coffee. Fridays are always busy: closing out projects, reaffirming next week's meeting itineraries, weekly strategic results review, and so on. For me it's a designated quiet time from 7 to 10 a.m. and the staff knows to hold my calls: no one gets through unless it's an emergency and they know what constitutes an emergency. So when the phone rang I picked it up immediately, expecting to hear my wife or one of my children's voices on the other end.

“Hello,” said the stranger's voice. ...

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