“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: 5000

Comment by Andrew Hanneman on May 1, 2012 at 12:58pm

I learned right after I graduated college, never ever use email when upset.  Even more so at work...  Regardless, this guy sounds like many of the employees I work with (unfortunately).  Gotta love idiots, is all I can say!

Comment by Peter Ceccarelli on May 1, 2012 at 1:07pm

There are great candidates out there, so why waste your time on someone who clearly has insanity issues.  Mental illness comes in varying degrees (truly) and in our business you see its many shapes and forms, hence the alarm going off in your head which is telling you to STOP and move on.  I mostly listen to my gut and whenever it tells me "no", I pay attention.  It's when I don't that I end up firing the person 6 months down the road and have lost productivity, team morale, etc.  Aren't you glad this doesn't happen all that often!

Comment by Sandra McCartt on May 1, 2012 at 2:18pm

Amy just got a vicious attack on twitter as to this blog being ageist, told her she was dumb and internal HR issues should never be blogged or talked about.  Since the tweeter seems to be reading this blog and i don't have time for a rebuttal in 140 keystrokes.  Here is a suggestion to you sir.  If we do not blog or discuss internal issues nothing will ever be resolved.  If you feel that this person's response was A. appropriate.  B.  Mature.  C. a candidate you would hire.

Then by all means ask for the persons contact information and put him/her to work for your company.  In my opinon the tweets that you flopped out there are both immature and illustrate a lack of being able to see the forest for the trees as to what is being pointed out in this blog.  It is clear to me that you are one of those activitists who sees discrimination when the lack of hire had to do with the candidate being an angry and immature , reactive jerk.

Nobody mentioned GenY.  But i can assure you that age and maturity do not always go hand in hand but for the most part this type of quick draw email or text is coming from those who are not seasoned business people.  Or as Peter says they are just insane.  What would be your excuse for your off base comments?


My suggestion is that you become a "factivist" instead of an "activist" .  Your angry tweets are indicitive of someone who would write exactly the type of email that you feel should not be discussed.  If all you see is the word young in every post you read you are going to have bloody little fingers from tapping out your anger on any venue.

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on May 1, 2012 at 2:34pm

Thanks Sandra. What hurt the most is his slam on Styx. Not only am I all the other vile things he accused me of, but I apparently have crappy taste in music.

Comment by Bill Schultz on May 1, 2012 at 3:14pm

Amy- When you're with me I'm smiling....

Comment by Andrew Hanneman on May 1, 2012 at 3:22pm

love it sandra

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on May 1, 2012 at 3:46pm

@Bill, it is the best of times... :)

Comment by Sandra McCartt on May 1, 2012 at 4:20pm

I think he needs to go to his room for a time out.  For some reason we seem to have the "activists" out in force in all venues.  You should see the ones who are flaming out like lunatics in the animal world.  Anybody who ever bred a horse is a communist or the reason for all animal cruelty that ever happened on the planet.  I think it finally rained and they washed up out of their holes mean, hungry and biting at everything like the honeybadger.  If you haven't seen that video google honeybadger or get a link from Steve Levy.  It's honeybadger season.

Comment by Kyle Schafroth on May 1, 2012 at 5:45pm

Things I've learned and am seeing more proof of (e.g - this story)

1) reject with your gut

2) stick to your personal guideline or moral compass or whatever...if the candidate's behavior has you wondering how anyone could ever work with a person like that then don't make your client find out. Cheers Amy for that one.

3) No longer shall I place adjectives near any sort of indefinite pronoun (before the linguistic police jump on me that may be the wrong type of pronoun). Somebody go tell Eric Carle that caterpillars everywhere are furious that they are all being considered "very hungry" and small children across the world are going about their day assuming every caterpillar is ravenous and simply craving a nice green leaf..it's immature and bias.

Comment by Bill Schultz on May 1, 2012 at 5:50pm

Are honeybadgers hungry catterpillars?


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