Follow the beginning of this exchange here.

Recruiting Animal Said:

Oh Becky, I wish I had you on my show right now. I'd go after you like there was no tomorrow.

I know you're a gutsy broad, one of Rayanne's amazon women, but you can't even see that you're evading the question.

You told us that you don't give candidates any direct information when their personality is the problem. Instead, like Jerry, you use codewords that they might not understand - and you pray that they won't press you on what you mean.


Oh, come now! I'm not dodging anything here, it's not code when you say "it wasn't a good match" It's in fact, very cut and dry. (and to be honest, I hope I'm not dealing with candidates who "don't understand" this type of "code") If they press, I'll tell them the manager didn't think the opportunity was going to be a fit. Is it vague? Sure. What they need is to know we respect them enough to let them know we are passing.

Also, a poor personality match DOES NOT mean that the candidate has a "bad" personality.

Let's talk this out, what do you think?

*****Disclaimer***** the goal of this call for recruiters on the corporate side and TPR side are not the same, there will be differing opinions here and I want to hear YOURS!

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Hey Becky -

Let me begin by saying that I try hard to be as honest as possible with all of my candidates. I feel they deserve the honesty and that it enhances the candidate experience. That said, feedback for anything other than a black and white skill match reason can be tough. There are a few problems that are unique to each side of the business, though. Having worked on both, I've got to admit it was easier giving feedback on the TPR side of things. I could simply state the the customer was unwilling to provide details, but they had passed. Gee shucks, isn't that too bad I couldn't get any details?! This side-stepped any reasons that could have been questionable or led to some sort of push back, legal or otherwise.

Unfortunately, I don't have the same luxury any more, especially when I tell candidates that one of the mindsets my company operates by is transparency! On a personal level I want to give feedback to the candidate. After all, they took the time to apply, prep, and interview, so if we won't be offering them the job I like to offer a legitimate reason. Thinking with the company hat on, I want to provide feedback to live up to our promise of transparency and earn a little good PR by actually closing the loop with our applicants. Essentially I want to ensure they have a good candidate experience even if the job is not offered.

This is why I get heartburn when a manager tells me he or she will be passing on a candidate for a reason that could potentially stir the pot with the candidate. If the issue is personality fit, I'm usually as honest as I can possibly be without upsetting the candidate. My response is usually something along the lines of:

"The manager was impressed with the skills that you brought to the table, but didn't feel as though your qualifications were quite the mix he/she is looking for."

This is certainly not very specific feedback, though. As such, I always ask the manager if there were any technical areas which could have been considered a shortcoming for the candidate. This way, if I am pressed I can make note that the manager didn't feel the candidate was solid enough in xyz area and he/she is really looking for somebody who can step in without much ramp-up time there. That part is sometimes trickier, but I like to have something in my back pocket in case the candidate presses for more.

The funny thing is, most candidates are just happy to get closure. Apparently there are a lot of places out there that won't give feedback at all, just a stock email stating the company is not proceeding. The simple fact that I make the effort to pick up the phone and call usually makes up for any lack of details I provide.

Wow...really got on my soapbox there...yikes.
"it's not code when you say "it wasn't a good match" It's in fact, very cut and dry.... Is it vague? Sure."

Vague yes. No real content. But cut and dry in that they should get the clear message that you are not interested.

"What they need is to know we respect them enough to let them know we are passing."

Fine, now I understand. No awkward feedback. Just a courtesy call.

What do you say when the candidate does press?
Karen,

Would love to chat with you about this in more detail - mind a quick call?

~Becky

KarenM / Hirecentrix.com said:
Then I come in and bring in the "boring" stuff, like say Legal obligations, which many raise their eyes to the ceilings, and go sphaw, this doesn't apply to me? and to which I ask, why not - why is it Recruiters, even third party are not Legally Mandated to live up to the Uniform Guidelines of the Employment Selection Process, better known as UGESP?

so, let's get to the Legal Obligation/mandate/requirements -

1 - of the Requirement of telling a candidate Why one is making a Disparate Hiring Decision..
2 - if you are a recruiter, and the candidate meets the Objective Qualifications, it is our Legal Obligation to submit the candidate, and yeah, you can inform the client of your thoughts and perspectives, but we still are mandated to submit the candidate to the client for review, if they fit the process
3 - If you as a recruiter find out ANYTHING about the candidate which could be deemed as a dis qualifier - the candidate MUST be informed of the information in full, and allowed to challenge the accuracy.

We can choose to call it transparency, or we can choose to call it respect, even call if Honesty if you want.. but as long as you are doing it, well.. that is all that counts..

Hopefully this would Not be a conversation killer, which sadly it appears that when one mentions the Extremely Important Facts that surround What we do every day as Recruiters.. and our Legal Obligations that we are MANDATED to uphold.. and not because we are being Nice or Honorable, but because WE CAN BE HELD legally Liable.... well, it is sad that bring up these Very.. NO... EXTREMELY Important conversations, and somehow the conversations closes and dies on the vine..
I say, "Listen, Bill, tell me something. Are you the kind of guy who can take a hint or do you have to really be smacked in the face before you get the point?" They usually say, "What do you mean?" So, I say, "Look, I've got some bad news for you. I can give you a handshake, a kiss goodbye, or I can shove it down your throat. Your choice." They usually go for the handshake. You have to make it clear that they don't want to hear everything you've got.

Rayanne said:
I'd like to know what Animal does...
Personally, I really don't like being the bringer of bad news. It's part of our job, but I really don't like it.

I would like to think I'm not in the minority in the sense that I prefer to be honest, yet I do try to soften the blow. I feel it is my obligation to provide the candidate with the information that will help them improve their position, however sometimes it's more about the 'how' we provide information than the actual information we provide. A little NLP cocktail, anyone?

That being said, what I observe from many recruiters is that they don't ask for more information about why a candidate was denied. So the conversation normally goes, "Bob, I really don't know why - they just said you're not a match. I'm sorry."

Ultimately, I would want my recruiter (if I was a candidate) to be honest with me, but I wouldn't want them to drop a bowling ball on my head. It's also worth mentioning that sometimes (actually, 'manytimes'), a candidate is not selected purely because they bring to the surface some latent insecurity in one of the interviewers. When I say this, I mean the 'real' reasons a candidate wasn't selected; the reason that comes out over a drink during Happy Hour.

And in that regard, let me ask: How many times have you tried to work with a Hiring Manager that was over his/her head, and you knew that you had to present a "C"-performer coupled with a deferential personality if you were to make the right 'fit'? Personally, I don't like those searches, but there are times when they are truly 'closest to the money'.

I'm sure many of us have been in this boat before - that's why I laugh when I see the notion of "top talent" all over 99% of search firm's marketing material (and/or in LinkedIn profiles). The truth is that shareholders often want 'top talent' to be employed at the organization (because this increases the probability of strong returns), but where the rubber meets the road, only the best of the best Hiring Managers want to hire top talent. Because I understand this (and many of you here do, too), it's easier for me to level with candidates that the reason they weren't selected might not even have anything to do with them.
Finesse and nuance is very helpful in these situations as not everything is clear cut. I agree with Animal's approach.

Not everyone wants to know how that dress actually makes them look.
It seems to me that Becky and Animal are really doing the same thing. When Becky says, "It wasn't a good match" and the candidate asks for more, what they're telling her is that yes, they'd like it shoved down their throat please. Except with Becky's approach, the candidate gets to save a little more face. And assuming they were a decent candidate (or you wouldn't have presented them in the first place), it might be a good thing if they weren't too chagrined to work with you again.
Lisa - Thank you!

Lisa Offutt said:
It seems to me that Becky and Animal are really doing the same thing. When Becky says, "It wasn't a good match" and the candidate asks for more, what they're telling her is that yes, they'd like it shoved down their throat please. Except with Becky's approach, the candidate gets to save a little more face. And assuming they were a decent candidate (or you wouldn't have presented them in the first place), it might be a good thing if they weren't too chagrined to work with you again.
So what do you tell someone who say, got a bad reference? (formal or informal) or who's details were seen by someone in the company who recognised them from a previous job and thought, whilst good on paper were decidedly average when on the job?
Ohhhh Karen! Maybe you can help our good friend Dan out on this one?


Dan Nuroo said:
So what do you tell someone who say, got a bad reference? (formal or informal) or who's details were seen by someone in the company who recognised them from a previous job and thought, whilst good on paper were decidedly average when on the job?
Karen, it should be noted here that you are referring to US law under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and that clearly laws vary internationally (Dan is in Australia). Splitting hairs perhaps, but wanted to be clear.


KarenM / Hirecentrix.com said:
... this comes down to making an Adverse Employment Decision based upon their Character Reference.
Lisa

A. that's not what I really say.

B. You missed the point.

Becky was setting herself up as a model of integrity. But she isn't. She's a cop-out artist just like everybody else.

She makes a courtesy call to the rejected candidate -- and that's just swell. But if a candidate wants to know the ugly details she starts talking about the weather.

It would be more honest to say: "I can't tell you" or "I don't know".

I'm not saying that honesty is always the best policy. But the truth in this discussion would be:

"I don't always tell candidates why they were rejected. But I do call and tell them that they didn't get the job."

It's usually easy to tell them they were rejected if it's a technical issue like lack of a designation. But it's hard to tell them the truth if it's a personality issue.

And Becky - just like everyone else - doesn't tell the truth in those situations.

-------------------------------------------------
Lisa Offutt said:
It seems to me that Becky and Animal are really doing the same thing. When Becky says, "It wasn't a good match" and the candidate asks for more, what they're telling her is that yes, they'd like it shoved down their throat please. Except with Becky's approach, the candidate gets to save a little more face. And assuming they were a decent candidate (or you wouldn't have presented them in the first place), it might be a good thing if they weren't too chagrined to work with you again.

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