This recruiter uses a late-night text message to see if you're a good fit for a job

 You arrived at a job interview at 1 p.m. Later that evening, around 10 p.m., you received a text message from Ben, an employee at Vanderbloemen, apologizing for not being in the office and expressing interest in connecting with you. The test's creator and occasional proctor, William Vanderbloemen, uses this text message test to evaluate job candidates for positions at his executive search firm in Houston. It is designed to assess their responsiveness and willingness to engage outside of regular business hours.

Responding promptly to the text message may increase your chances of being hired, especially at Vanderbloemen's fast-paced firm. However, Vanderbloemen emphasizes that a quick response is not a make-or-break factor in the hiring process. Even responding within 24 hours would put most candidates ahead of the competition. He believes that people, in general, struggle with timely responses, but responding within a minute would impress his team, showcasing a similar level of dedication.

The after-hours text message test was implemented after Vanderbloemen discovered that some promising hires were unable to meet the company's fast turnaround time for clients. This test allows Vanderbloemen to assess candidates' speed and availability before making a final hiring decision, particularly for roles in sales and marketing. While this approach may not be suitable for every company or every job, it has proven effective in identifying candidates who can meet the demands of Vanderbloemen's fast-paced environment.

Overall, a swift response to Ben's text message would be beneficial, but it is not the sole determinant of whether you will be hired. It is just one element that Vanderbloemen considers when evaluating candidates.  

Vanderbloemen Search Group's founder and CEO, William Vanderbloemen, recognized the potential of the text-message test as a measure of how well a job candidate would fit into a fast-paced client environment. He likened it to finding compatible organ transplant tissues, where the candidate's approach aligns with the client's culture. While not normal or necessarily right, the match in working styles can be advantageous.

In addition to the text-message test, Vanderbloemen implements other unconventional methods during the interview process. On one occasion, he found himself unable to make it to a coffee shop for a scheduled meeting and suggested meeting elsewhere. The candidate responded positively, displaying an openness to change. Impressed by the candidate's flexibility, Vanderbloemen occasionally changes the interview location last minute to assess candidates' responses.

Vanderbloemen acknowledges that not all positions require such adaptability and speed, and he doesn't implement these methods consistently. He delegates the task of sending the text message to someone on his team to avoid intimidation resulting from his name being associated with the message. As he put it, it would be unfair for him to be perceived as "just abusive" due to his position.

To ensure a work-life balance, Vanderbloemen Search Group has established guidelines to shield employees from constant accessibility. After-hours emails should receive a response within 24 hours, while evening Slack messages, although rare, should be addressed that same night. Text messages from Vanderbloemen himself carry more urgency, requiring an immediate response. Additionally, if he calls after hours, he expects the call to be answered promptly.

Maintaining these rules is crucial, and Vanderbloemen admits that he and colleagues had to opt out of a group text discussing "Game of Thrones" on Sunday nights to uphold them. He believes that the text message test remains relevant in a world where some workers strive to avoid being perpetually on call. As Vanderbloemen humorously stated, it serves as a direct indicator of whether a candidate shares the company's quirks and dynamics.  

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