Question of the day: Do you give a second chance to unprepared candidates?

This week on #RBChat we covered an interesting topic about recruiter pet peeves. One of the things we discussed was unprepared candidates. The proposed scenario was this – a candidate initiates contact by responding to a job listing but when the recruiter follows up (that same day) the individual is clueless. What are your thoughts on what happens next?

Do you give a second chance to unprepared candidates?

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It depends on the circumstance.  In today's job market candidates are casting a much broader net.  They may apply to a dozen openings per day and my job may be one they felt was a long shot or didn't expect to hear back so quickly. 

If I am calling for an intial introduction and they are unprepared, I direct them back to our website and posting and schedule a call in the near future.  If they are unprepared on the subsequent call, I do NOT move forward with them.  It takes less than an hour to view a website and company offerring and do a little digging.  If a candidate fails to "do their homework" it shows me that they do not take my opening seriously and gives an indication of what type of employee they would I wouldn't hire.


I would say yes you should give the "Unprepared Candidate" a second chance.  Just because they don't initially know who you are when you call, I don't think you should write that person off.  I call 60+ people a day and sometimes I don't record it diligently enough on my call log, or they call me back a couple days later and I have to ask who they are and why I contacted them.  I assume they are applying to lots of jobs (casting lots of nets) in the hopes that someone will follow up with them.

I would say if they are constantly unprepared, or have a terrible/sloppy looking resume and in general are disorganized those are bigger red-flags to me than not remembering who I am when I initially contact them.

For a scenario like that I would lean towards forgiveness.

Simple reasons being the candidate could be applying to a fair amount of similar jobs.  I work as a contingent recruiter in the accounting/finance field.  If a candidate with a specific skill set applies to one of my roles, he may also being applying to a similar role posted by a competitor. 

In addition things change, even in a few hours.  I had a candidate contact me in the morning regarding a job, when I called him back in the afternoon he could not remember that he applied but in talking to him I discovered his boss has dropped a huge project on him and he was under the gun to wrap and prepare an executive board presentation in less than 24 hours.  He still wanted to look for a new job but obviously his short term focus had drastically changed.

As Michael (above) mentioned if someone is consistently unprepared then I drop them, but one time, not a big deal.

The situation I encountered was when I called someone an HOUR after they applied directly through my company website. She said she had never heard of my company and had just applied to so many jobs in the last few weeks there's no way she could remember. Look I understand about casting a wide net but really? An hour later...? And this person was unemployed, so no bombs dropped that could have taken all her attention. If candidates took their job search more seriously and actually used some discernment when applying to positions all our lives (including the job seeker's) would be a lot easier.

Yes... Everyone deserves a 2nd chance....

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