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: 569

Comment by Rich DeMatteo on October 29, 2010 at 10:06pm
Hi Jim - Thanks for the comment on this. I tend to agree with you. The folks that have claimed they never make the same mistake I did are most likely just hiding their faults. Hey look, I understand they may fear future employers or clients or customers seeing that they've admitted their failures online, but I have no time to hide who I am. I too, doubt their perfection.

And I also agree with you on points A and B. I added a disclaimer up top as to why some language in the post was foul. They could have stopped there and made it easier on themselves.

Comment by Paul Alfred on October 30, 2010 at 3:18am
Wooo so let me get this straight Jim you are telling me that you forget to get back to a candidate you have submitted for an interview with your client ... After interviewing the Candidate ??? As far as I am concerned it would be better to understand that Rich was referring to tons of "Phone Screens" as supposed to an Actual interview with a candidate to be submitted to a client or hiring authority ... A mistake I have never made ...
Comment by Paul Alfred on October 30, 2010 at 10:38am
Jim the only point I am trying to make is that - Yes recruiters do make mistakes - But not the kind of mistake where you have engaged an Candidate for an interview - followup is just a part of that equation. That's all I am trying to say .... And to Rich's defence mistakes do happen when doing Tons of Phone Screens with respect to not getting back to each and every candidate - we need to or he needed to be clear that - that was what he was referring to ... My only point on the matter ...
Comment by Brian K. Johnston on October 30, 2010 at 1:41pm
Unlike others in this community, willing to write GARBAGE to get attention, RICH reveals himself, and is authentic/transparent about his approach.... Rich is someone, I would go out of my way to have a beer with, while the minority writer GARBAGE for attention....

"Some doth protest too much, methinks" is a "Judgement" we are ALL guilty, so get over yourself!

Best to ALL, Brian-
Comment by Rich DeMatteo on October 30, 2010 at 1:55pm
Paul - Once again, please remember that this wasn't someone that I submitted to a client. I'm an internal/corprorate recruiter right now, and I was told to phone screen 5 candidates. This specific candidate was the only one asking for an update. When I received the second email, I notified my supervisor who was the main point of contact for the position who then left a voice message for this person. The candidate never called him back, and then popped me with the third harsh email. Yes, I should have emailed him back quickly after that second email to let him know my supervisor would be updating him, but I forgot as I was burried in other screens. I was at fault, but the candidate should have called my supervisor back.

Follow up is no doubt part of the equation. But sometimes we lose count on a couple numbers when there are too many numbers in the equation. Everyone has done it. I am better because of this mistake, and I'm proud of myself for putting it out in the air to dry. It's been interesting to see so many recruiters claim perfection.
Comment by Rich DeMatteo on October 30, 2010 at 1:57pm
Jim - I'm glad a few members "Judged". It wasn't the reaction I expected, and if anything, it opened my eyes to the online world we live in. People are afraid to admit mistakes more than ever. I understand, but jeez, isn't our world already plastic enough? Thanks for your comments and support.
Comment by Rich DeMatteo on October 30, 2010 at 1:57pm
Brian - I'm down for a beer. Sign me up!
Comment by Amy on November 1, 2010 at 11:59pm
Happens to the best of us. When you have to take on that many candidates at a time there are bound to be ones who will fall through the cracks. It doesn't make it "ok" or "right," but it's a fact. There are tools that can help automate the process and maybe decrease the people who don't get notified one way or the other, but I'm sure you know that.

I think the good sign is that you feel badly about it.. I think just that sets you apart from recruiters who really don't care about the candidate experience at all..
Comment by Brian K. Johnston on November 2, 2010 at 12:02am
Amy- Amen to your comments! Bravo! Bravo! Specifically the part about "automation".... Best, to ALL, Brian-
Comment by Rich DeMatteo on November 2, 2010 at 12:03am
Hi Amy - Thanks for your thoughts and comments. Appreciate that you are able to step up and say that it does happen. So many here have basically proclaimed themselves as god's gift to recruiting. Thank you!


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