The Greatest Man I Never Hired

John was one of those people you just fell in love with instantly. I’m not talking romantic love. His spirit, energy, warmth and humor made itself known immediately. Those drawn to vitality were easily pulled under his spell.

I first met John when he interviewed with me to be a recruiter on my team. Though I recognized how special he was as a person, I also saw how he was not a fit for the job I had available. All of John’s strengths could not save him from his greatest weakness, the absence of a poker face. Every thought and emotion played itself out on John’s face without restraint. In the world of third party recruiting, you encounter all sorts of unusual situations and need a reliable poker face to get you through those experiences without additional drama.

So, I did not hire John. When I gave him the news he did something that was so John. Without skipping a beat, he asked me to have lunch with him so we could figure out how to connect one another to more people. My verdict on him not being a fit for my company wasn’t personal to him in the least. For those of you who are thinking he was making a move on me, think again. Without being too personal, I’ll tell you a romantic lunch with me was the furthest thing from his mind. John felt a connection between the two of us and wasn’t about to let the fact he wasn’t right for my job kill any other chances we had to have a positive relationship.

The lunch John and I shared was the beginning of a fantastic friendship. It was a friendship that paid off for me in spades when I said goodbye to the company I’d been working for and struck out on my own. John referred my first corporate client to me. He was my cheerleader in so many ways. In return, I found ways to help him with his dreams and goals too. I was the sounding board when he had an unreasonable mortgage client and the strategist filling his brain with different ways to market himself.

I learned this week that John passed away. Sadly, we’d lost touch several years ago and I chalked it up to John no longer being interested in maintaining a friendship long distance. How stupid for me to think that. Just as I tell all of you not to jump to negative conclusions over someone else not following up with you, I should have heeded my own advice and realized that was so far from John’s true character. He wasn’t ignoring my emails. They were going unread by a friend who’d made his mark on this world and left it a better place.

To honor his memory, I wanted to share a piece of John Solis with you. That was his real name. In my heart, I know he’d of been tickled to be a part of helping others in their job search. Follow John’s lead and don’t let rejection distract you from life’s possibilities. Show your interest in people even when things don’t go your way. Realize there is more to a person than what you may see when sitting across their desk. Always ask yourself what potential is out there still unrealized.

I love you, John. You are missed and I feel immensely honored to have been on the receiving end of the light you brought to this world in your life. Rest, my friend. I won’t say “in peace” because peace bored you to tears.


  • Amber Gracia says:

    The other day I was looking through a drawer and I found the program from John's memorial service. His bright face always made me smile and still does.

    We miss him so.

    Thanks for your thoughtful and heartfelt words.


  • Safa says:

    That was beautiful, Lisa. What an inspiring story! It sounds like John was a great person.

  • Jules says:

    What a great tribute, Lisa. John sounds like an amazing man. We should all be so lucky as to have such a friend.

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