Let’s have a toast for the douche bags. Let’s have a toast for the recruiters

I messed up. I'm a douche bag. I'm an asshole. I'm a recruiter.
***Before going any further, I should mention that you MIGHT want to be familiar with Kanye Wests' "Runaway" to understand the pop culture reference. Click here to listen to the song, but honestly, it's not all that important.

In "Runaway", Kanye basically sends out a public apology to women he's dated, Taylor Swift, the world, and even himself. In the song, Kanye acknowledges that he's not the greatest guy the world has seen, and that it does make him unhappy. While he admits his character flaws, he realizes that working on them may or may not change anything.

In recruiting (as well as other professions and areas of life), things will slip through the cracks every so often. Unfortunately, when it does happen, it's most likely related to not getting back to a candidate quick enough, or just not getting back to them at all. It happens often, in fact it's the number one complaint from job seekers regarding interview processes.

My Douche Bag Moment

A few weeks ago, I interviewed a high-level candidate for a critical position at the company I work for. On October 12, the candidate sent an email asking for an update, and then he sent another on October 15 repeating his question. Somehow, I failed to act on both and completely forgot about it. On October 24, the candidate let me know of his displeasure by sending me the following email:
I can't tell you how disappointed I am that you have not shown me the courtesy of responding to either of my past 2 email messages. I will be sure to mention your lack of responsiveness to my friend who is close with both the CEO and CFO of COMPANY X.
I immediately felt a little shitty when reading the email, but not because this candidate used a threatening tone, or because I feared losing my current contract. What got to me was the realization that no matter what I do, this IS GOING to happen again and again. No matter how hard I work at it, situations like this will repeat themselves, and candidates will ALWAYS complain about not hearing back.

I'm not asking you to "runaway". I'm not even really calling recruiters "assholes" or "douche bags". What I'm trying to say is that I'm sorry.

Maybe I'm speaking for all recruiters here, or maybe I'm just speaking for me, but while I'd love to get back to every candidate, it's just not going to happen. People out there will claim there is no excuse for not getting back to a candidate. I'm not arguing with them, but when you walk through a shit storm you're bound to get crapped on.

I haven't heard back after two emails, what do I do?

Don't send an angry email or voicemail. I'm not holding it against this particular candidate, but many recruiters/hiring managers would see it as lack of patience on the candidate's part. My honest opinion is to wait another full week or two, then send one more email or phone call. After that, it's time to forget about the job, and realize that they either don't have information yet, have gone with someone else, or have forgot about you.

Don't take it personal. Just move on. Just "Runaway".

Views: 647

Comment by Paul Alfred on October 27, 2010 at 11:43am
No RIch ... In my books you are the servant of 2 masters. Your client and your candidate who could be your client one day in the future .. You get to your candidate right away I have not heard from the client give me till the end of the week etc etc ... If he persists then yes you can say he or she is impatient...

The minute you represent that candidate you serve that candidate to the end of that process. Unless of course you are playing darts ...
Comment by Rich DeMatteo on October 27, 2010 at 11:52am
Paul - In this situation, the client is my employer. I'm working corporate now, and while that doesn't make it right, when you have many canddiates contacting you, 15-30 phone screens a week, and other various recruiting duties, things will fall through the cracks. It's human nature, and it happens to every recruiter.

You can't possibly tell me, you've never had this happen, because I won't believe it
Comment by Paul Alfred on October 27, 2010 at 12:02pm
Rich if I represent a candidate to a client even working as a Corp Recruiter on contract or Agency - I have never not got back to the Candidate to say where he/she is in the process ... I am representing 2 candidates for each role the way i was trained ... So yes I can tell you that I always get back to my candidates ``if I have represented them to the client`` ....

Phone screens are not submissions - but you work as a Corporate Recruiter and you have to respect the candidate... You represent the Company ... Its tough ... But that is your job as a corp recruiter... Perhaps you need to preface your phone screens that we will contact the folks we will move forward with ...

Its an image thing and folks talk ...
Comment by Paul Alfred on October 27, 2010 at 12:09pm
And Rich in reading your blog again " You interviewed the candidate" so yes you do need to get back to him... This is your primary responsibility outside of conducting phone screens...
Comment by Rich DeMatteo on October 27, 2010 at 12:21pm
Then you're a better recruiter than 99.9% of people out there, Paul. It's happened to everyone. I've already talked to 3 highly respected recruiters today who have told me the same thing.

I agree with you on the image. It's not something I'm proud of, but something like this happens all the time, to many candidates. It's basically the number one complaint folks have about the job search process. It happens more than any of us want to admit, and it's not our goal or objective, but we do let some candidates slip through the cracks, and recruiters are full of the worst smelling shit if they won't admit that.

I never interviewed the candidate. I conducted a phone screen. When I received the third email, I let my supervisor know of the situation, and it was handled from that point on. It hasn't been the first time something like this has happened, and it won't be the last. I'm not proud of it, and I'll work on it, but it's going to happen again.

We can talk about image and brand all we want, and that part I am 100% on board with. But, things like this will continue to happen. All we can do is work hard on making sure it doesn't happen, and when it does, reach out and apologize. Many recruiters simply won't reach out after a few weeks has gone by. They have new openings they are working on, with important initiatives. If a recruiter can take a few minutes and call the folks they haven't got back to, then it goes a long way.

I just know that I'm not the only one who's been in this situation. I refuse to believe it.
Comment by Christopher Perez on October 27, 2010 at 1:12pm
Rich, IMO it's irrelevant whether you're the only person who has done this, or whether you're in the 99% who have had it happen. You fell on your sword, had the self-awareness to acknowledge that it was a shortcoming (albeit an inevitable one in your opinion), issued a public mea culpa, and committed to trying to do better in the future. I respect that and am not sure what else a person can do after they fall short of their goal. My .02.
Comment by Rich DeMatteo on October 27, 2010 at 1:16pm
Hey Christopher - I'm certainly not happy about the situation, and I will do my best to work on it. I appreciate your comment and the droppage of coin here.

The candidate has been reached out to, and all is well on our end.
Comment by Christopher Perez on October 27, 2010 at 1:23pm
It's the oldest cliché in the book: It's not about the mistake, it's about the way you handled it.

PS: I'm no Kanye West fan by a long shot, so I didn't get the reference initially, but there was no way I was going to NOT click on this post after seeing the title. LOL! At first I thought it was another person slamming TPRs. Thanks for the break. Chris
Comment by Paul Alfred on October 27, 2010 at 1:55pm
One last comment ... Rich the way you wrote your blog painted a picture that you Interviewed a high profile candidate for a high profile role... So if you read your blog from the reader's perspective it seemed like a totally gross blunder not to follow-up with the Candidate .... Your mention of phone screens only came up in your response to my query ...

So which is it? Was it a phone screen or a high level interview and I quote "I interviewed a high-level candidate for a critical position at the company " ? ....

You blog is not consistent with your feedback as to why you did not get back to the candidate ... Just thought I would point that out ...
Comment by Rich DeMatteo on October 27, 2010 at 2:02pm
Paul - I did conduct the phone screen, but it was not a face to face. You are right, I should clarify that in the post. I did write this at 2am last night, so that would be why that has happened.

To correct it, "I phone screened a high-level canddiate for a critical position at the company". A phone screen is still an interview in my books, but for this role I was just gathering the basic data from the phone screen.

I apologize for that, but no matter what step of the process, recruiters still let candidates slip through. That, I won't budge on.


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