“Where’s your candidate?” the hiring manager fumed. “His interview was supposed to start a half hour ago.”
Alex suddenly felt sick. This was his third no-show in two weeks. “You mean he didn’t call to cancel?” Alex said.
“You got it,” said the hiring manager. “And I’m getting pretty tired of this. If you can’t control your candidates, I’ll have to find a recruiter who can.”
The Rude Revolution
Of course, the candidate’s behavior was inexcusable—but not unexpected. In a culture that seems to reward expedient self-interest, this type of rudeness is becoming increasingly commonplace.
But on reflection, Alex probably could have done a better job of qualifying—and ultimately, taking control of his candidates.
I've found that by gathering better information, spotting red flags and exercising caution, recruiters can generally avoid the pain associated with erratic or conflicted candidates. Here are some easy ways to increase control and avoid disasters:
For example, not only is it reasonable to ask your candidate to keep you posted as to any changes in job status or new opportunities, it's practical as well.
Inherently Defective Candidates
Finally, you should recognize—and adjust to the fact—that some candidate populations are more problematic than others. For example, certain industries tend to attract flakey candidates like a high-powered magnet. If that’s the case, do the best you can to qualify all your candidates, even if you know that some may bail out unexpectedly.
When dealing with an unreliable candidate pool, it makes sense to protect yourself from employer blowback with the following script:
“Mr. Employer, my experience has shown that the candidates in our industry have a tendency to drop out of sight shortly before their first interview.
“Despite the headache it causes for me, this cloud has a silver lining: problematic candidates will show their true colors before we invest a lot of time resources in the person.
“That means that the candidates who follow through have a much greater likelihood of successfully completing the interview process—and in fact, will make stronger, more loyal employees in the long term, since the candidates are self-selecting from the very beginning.
“So, let's allow the weaker candidates to drop out on their own and be grateful that the candidates who show that they're willing to make a commitment early on will have a higher level of enthusiasm and a better chance of success with your company down the road.”
- Bill Radin
BILL RADIN is a top-producing recruiter whose innovative books, tapes, CDs and training seminars have helped thousands of recruiting professionals and search consultants achieve peak performance and career satisfaction. Bill’s extensive experience makes him an ideal source of techniques, methods and ideas for rookies who want to master the fundamentals—or veterans ready to jump to a higher level of success.