“Give me a job, give me security… give me a chance to survive…”


I don’t normally let candidates get to me. I’ve recruited in good times and bad, been screamed at, threatened, called names, and Lord knows what else by candidates who don’t handle rejection well. It’s rare, but it happens. I typically respond with a shrug and go on about my business. My experience with frustrated job seekers is, sadly, pretty broad (maybe it’s me?). Even still, this latest meltdown was worth documenting… as a cautionary tale.


Candidate comes in on a silver platter, courtesy of an employee referral. GREAT employee, solid referral. The stuff recruiting dreams are made of. Initial phone screen goes…. Ok. Something I couldn’t quite put my finger on wasn’t working for me but I tried to not let it get in the way. Proceed to phone interview. After a round of phone interviews with various stakeholders (this was a relocating candidate) we get close to an offer. I’m checking in regularly with the candidate as things were being worked out on our end and still that alarm bell is going off in my head. I try to ignore it some more.


Great, the scope of the position has changed. Another interview is required. Candidate is not pleased. More bells in my head, getting louder. I warn one of the stakeholders, who I have a really good relationship with. He understands but thinks we should still have (oh please let it be) the final interview. Schedule conflicts abound and the candidate flips out. He’s rude to the hiring manager/final interviewer, me, and the employee who made the referral. Sirens are tornado warning loud in my head - I don't see how I can possibly make this guy an offer. In the meantime, still trying to salvage this deal, I attempt to once and for all close the candidate. We’ve talked money before; I’m pretty up-front from the initial call as to what can be expected. All of a sudden we’re talking relo assistance (never on the table). Finally I get this email in response, spelling errors and all –


“I'm going to get to brass tax because it's been hellva day; add 5k to the top of the base range, extend me an offer and I'll accept.


The longer you drag this out the more expensive it's going to me to move, I'm trying to coordinate, movers, roommates, landlords and now I have to find a way to pay for a new head gasket for my car. Remember I am not moving accross town, I have to pack up my life an move it 2,000 miles across country. We lost March, its gone, let's not waste April.”


Perhaps I’m overly sensitive, but this struck me as mind-bogglingly inappropriate. Sadly, this had been pretty typical of the candidate’s communication up to this point. I let the hiring managers know that I could not, in good conscience, extend a job offer to this candidate. I just couldn’t do it. The manager was also taken aback and agreed this was not the person for this highly visible role. I let the candidate know that after careful consideration we couldn’t meet his salary requirements along with our concerns about his long term job satisfaction (he’d indicated in previous interviews his future career plans which clearly did not include Zones). He then asked for more feedback, saying “I’m not looking to get vicious, mean, or petty, just curious.” Sort of like leading a conversation with “no offense”, then proceeding to offend the hell out of someone.


Moral of the story? Recruiters and hiring managers will irritate you. So long as they are the ones making the hiring decisions, better to go scream into a pillow than fire off an email you can’t take back.

Views: 4993

Comment by Kelly Porciello on May 3, 2012 at 12:34pm

Amy, I love your posts.  Anytime I see your name next to a blog, I know it's going to be a good one.  As a Recruiter, it's nice to know I'm not the only one experiencing crazy stuff like this.  I think we can all learn from each other's experiences.  This reminds me that when something just doesn't feel right and you can't quite put your finger on it, it's probably the big iceberg below the surface.  Tough when it's a good referral -- it makes you try to ignore your gut.  And as said before, he probably didn't think he did anything wrong and would never see the error of his ways no matter what your feedback was.  BTW, I love Styx but didn't recognize those lyrics. Nice.

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on May 3, 2012 at 12:41pm

@Sandra, no response yet. I'll keep you posted :)

@Jennifer - just when you think you've seen it all... lol nothing suprises me anymore!

@Travis - how'd you know? :)

@Kelly - thank you!! exactly my thoughts... such a great referral, perfect on paper... but the gut never lies. It was a tough call but I'm glad I made it.

Comment by Raphael Fang on May 3, 2012 at 8:08pm

It's unfortunate some educated people think that they can get through life without learning how to respect others or having good communication skills.   

We see too many of this type of people every day and it's a our job to prevent them from poisoning our company or our client's work place.  Well Done Amy.

Comment by Sandra McCartt on May 3, 2012 at 9:20pm

@ Amy  Maybe he didn't want his name in lights as the poster child for "The Angry Young Attorney"

Comment by Amanda Selleck on May 4, 2012 at 12:22am

I agree about transparency. I always try and give meaningful feedback to candidates. But now and again you get the candidate that no matter what you say, you are wrong. 

Comment by Derek Cornelius on May 4, 2012 at 11:48am

Amy, excellent blog!  Very well organized, written, and delivered.  It's amazing that these types of candidates have careers let alone "highly visible" positions.  At any rate, your experience proved that obnoxious, unprofessional time wasters are abound.  As recruiter when we come across these people, we should accept them as the nuisances of our profession.  After all, every professional, regardless of his/her profession, interact swith people where one scratches his/her head and say, "Really?!?!"

Comment by Peter on May 4, 2012 at 1:09pm

It's clear that some candidates just don't understand that YOU have the job and they are ASKING you for it.  Regardless of that reality, it sounds like that person just has a nasty / incredibly impatient personality.  Good riddance.

Comment by Andrew Hanneman on May 4, 2012 at 4:35pm

After being in staffing for the last year, I am convinced of a few things.  1.  Most people who are unemployed are unemployed by choice.  2.  People are absolutely crazy and sometimes, I feel like a parent scolding their kid and making them say sorry.  3.   Whenever I'm having a bad day, I just think...geesh I could be one of those idiots!  Not to forget...it is a full moon this week so I'm coming in contact with those who are hyper sensative and turn absolutely crazy during this week

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on May 4, 2012 at 5:18pm

@Andrew good point about the full moon.... :) my husband has been blaming it all on solar flares but you may be on to something!

Comment by V.Sojy Oommen on May 5, 2012 at 1:53am

Hi Amy, An interesting read like your many others. You just saved the company a lot of headache and renewed your clients trust by not entertaining any further such an unprofessional candidate.


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