Phone screening candidate calls me a half hour before they are scheduled to call the HM for a phone screening and tells me they just received an incredible job offer and are pretty sure they are going to accept it.  Client is new and this is the first candidate I sent over to them.  

Would you cancel or not, and why?????

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Define "pretty sure".  If there is something holding up the "accept" decision do not cancelllllllll that scheduled interview because nothing is a lock until you lock it down--and even then it's not for real until you actually report to work.  I've see scheduled start dates end up with a no-show.  Shit happens in between job offers and start dates.

Valentino is absolutely right - BUT caution your candidate to not tell the hiring manager they're sitting on another offer! Then they look like they're playing games and possibly wasting everyone's time.

I've seen offers rescinded too... your candidate should keep that in mind. Until they show up on day 1 and have a desk to sit at it's not really "done".

Let's think past the phone screen.  Candidate does the phone screen with the new client.  New client says, no don't think so nice candidate but not what we are looking for let's see more.  No problem.


Candidate does the phone screen, HM loves them and says to them on the phone at the end of the interview, when can you come in for a face to face?  How about next Thursday.  Do you think the candidate will accept a face to face when they have just gotten an offer they are ready to take? 

 a.  candidate says, honestly i just got an offer that i am pretty sure i am going to accept by Friday so can i get back to you about the face to face on Monday?  HM says, did you tell David you had another offer you were pretty sure you were going to take?  Candidate says, i just let him know about thirty minutes ago.  What does the new client think about you, maybe no problem, maybe he is mad as a hornet 

b.  candidate says that sounds good, books it , hangs up the phone and calls you on Friday to tell you they have accepted the other job would you please cancel the face to face.  You call your new client and say "sorry, candidate accepted another job".  New client says, did you know he had another offer before i talked with him?  You say, well just a few minutes before the phone interview but i encouraged him to go ahead with it.  What does new client think about you, maybe no problem, maybe he thinks you wasted his time.


What if you call new client and say.  Jim you are a new client.  the candidate you are about to phone interview just this minute let me know that he has just received another offer he is pretty sure he is going to take.  It's not a done deal yet and i know a lot of things can happen and he may talk to you and decide that your company/job is as good or better than the offer he has on the table.  I just want to be totally upfront with you.  If you want me to cancel the phone screen i will do so and find another candidate.  If you want to move forward knowing the situation i would suggest we do so.  It's your call, i work for you.  I didn't refer the candidate to the other job so i don't know any details.


Consider who you work for.   Is it the candidate or is it the new client and which would you prefer if you were in the client's chair?  If the candidate had not told you the phone screen would have gone on as scheduled, but he did so now you have knowledge that your client doesn't about this candidate.  Most of my clients would appreciate the heads up.  If the candidate told you that late before the phone screen he is going to take the  great offer and probably will phone interview like a troll anyway.  :) 

It is true that lots of things could hapen, but Sandra's answer was dead on.

If I was the hiring manager, I would like to know from the recruiter and decide myself. I would probably do the phone interview if I had felt strongly about what I had seem in their resume, see how it went, and go from there. I'd have the impression that the recruiter and candidate were honest and professional.


If I were the candidate, I would be pretty uncomfortable knowing the situation (because I had informed the recruiter) if it came to something in the conversation or process where it might come up and I tried to hide what I already told one person.


And Valentino made a great point - why hadn't the great offer been accepted immediately?

 why hadn't the great offer been accepted immediately?

because candidates are weird.  

yes, cancel the phone screen.  it shows you appreciate the client's time and you present good candidates.  

sounds like th candidate is a good person who wants to fulfill a commitment or is waiting for clearance not to from you.   

Tell the client the truth and don't oversell the job to the candidate.  Instead of mourning the loss, buckle up and look for another candidate.  This won't the last time that it will happen to you

Thanks everyone!  I took Sandra's (and really everyone's) advice and called the client, they still wanted to go ahead with the screening and did.  The call went well and I received good feedback on the candidate and I think if things fall through with the offer I have a great chance of placing them with my client.   Honesty is the best policy!

Thanks Again for all the great reply's!

Now talk to your candidate, tell him the HM was impressed and see if he doesn't think he should interview with your client before he makes a final decision. If he is willing to do so before he pushes the button, call your new client, tell him based on his conversation with the candidate your candidate would like to interview with him. You have nothing to lose by trying to give your client the opportunity to sell the candidate. Knowing your candidate has an offer on the table your client may decide to go into sell mode. If client wants to wait to see what candidate does before client moves forward let your candidate know he has the option to interview if the offer falls through. If candidate says he is taking the offer, congratulate him and ask him for a referral. Since candidate has spoken with your client he has an idea of the job and may give you a super referral.

Sandra's advice as usual is spot on. :) I hope you'll let us know how this turns out... and I didn't mean to imply the client shouldn't know the candidate is interviewing elsewhere, just that it should come from you not the candidate... 

It will be interesting to see how your client's position compares to the other offer in your candidate's. Please keep us informed!

Thanks for all the posts.  This was extremely helpful feedback as usual!

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