9 Ways to Burn Bridges With Future Candidates

Congratulations on finding the perfect person for your role! Now, what are you going to do with all those resumes that you no longer need?

Here’s some advice: Burn them. Seriously. Who cares? That person made a connection with you, your company, and your brand; but none of that matters now. You don’t need them. You’ve got what you need and over 50% of them weren’t even remotely close to what you needed – or will ever need in the future anyway. The best thing to do with people who didn’t make the cut is to treat them like garbage, right?

Plus, fire = toasty! (It’s been cold in San Francisco recently.)

Wait a second though. Don’t burn them (fire code regulations could pose a problem, after all!). There are plenty of other creative ways to cut off ties with these people, some of them much more fun and requiring a lot less effort than pulling out the gasoline. These ideas will leave a bad taste in their mouth about your employer brand probably for the rest of their life! Better yet, they’ll tell all their friends about their bad experience, so you’ll never have to deal with a passive pool of admiring candidates.

Here are 9 easy and simple ways to burn bridges with future applicants:

1. Don’t Respond to Their Application

We hear that this one is a pet peeve and it really annoys them! They know that it’s so simple for us to set up an automatic email reply letting them know potential time frames for hearing back about a job. They also know that it would take us probably about two minutes to put together a group email to all the unsuccessful candidates to let them know they didn’t make it (using bcc, of course). Knowing we couldn’t be bothered to do either of these things makes them really mad, so poof goes the bridge!

2. Unfriendly Careers Page

You just need to warn them that you get about a hundred applicants a month wanting an unpaid internship so they don’t get too excited. That’s if you can bother putting a careers page up at all. After all, all the good people are in the passive job market right? And they never look at careers pages of companies who contact them. Keep that careers page as unfriendly and scary-looking as possible to make sure that only arrogant self-obsessed people will ever apply for any of your roles.

Bonus points if your careers page is unfriendly, scary, tough to navigate, AND out of date!

3. Refuse to Take Informational Interviews

Why on earth would you want to talk to someone who wants to know about your job rather than apply to work for you? You wouldn’t want to run the risk of discovering someone with transferrable skills and increasing your workplace diversity and creativity levels. Also, you won’t have to deal with the headache of fielding interest from an experienced candidate willing to work junior positions to get a foot in your industry’s door. Say no.

Oh! Better yet, don’t reply to their request. You’re clearly too busy.

4. Post Jobs That Don’t Really Exist

Sometimes it’s just good to see what’s out there and find out who you could reel in to keep on your passive candidate file. High quality applicants particularly hate spending time filling out a resume, researching the company, taking time off their current work, and traipsing in for an interview only to discover the role isn’t actually available anymore! If you do this one right, you’ll never have them apply for another role with your company again. Another bridge gone!

5. Have a Bad Application User Experience

This is a great way of filtering out people who have an eye for design, appreciate great user experience, and prefer to get things done quickly. Your application system should be as unfriendly as possible. Make sure resumes realign when they get uploaded. Ask them to manually enter their job experience and university degrees even though it’s all on the resume. Don’t allow pdfs, and ensure that at least one link is broken in every application process. Bonus points if you can make the search function turn up vague job descriptions with tiny text – that works wonders with starting bridge fires.

6. Don’t Have a Mobile Website

No one who is serious about a job search would do it on an iPad. Keeping your careers webpages desktop-only makes sure that the person on a train or in a café during lunch can’t apply. They’ll have to do it at home, and they’ll probably forget about it. Also, it’ll make them frustrated with your brand for about a week as they keep realizing that they never have time to apply for your role. If you’re lucky, by the end of it they’ll just give up.

7. Ask Them Pointless Screening Questions

These are best combined with a requirement to upload a cover letter. After writing the cover letter, ask the applicant to put all the same information into the question boxes. They’ll realize they need to say the same thing differently. Again. Considering the amount of times they’ve looked over and rewritten their resume already, this sort of requirement brings them straight to boiling point. At the very least, it will give you a reason to cut out candidates with common sense who just copy and pasted the information from cover letter to screening questions.

8. Hire an Unenthusiastic, Clueless Recruiter

It doesn’t really matter who the recruiter is as long as they don’t know who you are or what your role is about. Get your roles into the hands of as many depressed and overworked recruiters as you can. An unknowledgeable or unenthusiastic recruiter has been known to turn off many a high performing candidate on behalf of their clients.

Bonus points if you can find recruiters like the ones who really annoyed me in the past.

9. Treat Current or Ex-Employees Badly

The great thing about the people who work for your company (or used to work for your company) is that they gossip. They tell all their industry friends about what it’s like to work for your organization and when they’ve been treated badly, it turns other people off from wanting to work for you as well. Especially if someone is leaving your employment; don’t bother to look after them. You’re not getting any immediate benefit from them anymore anyway. Move on to the next sucker…

Clearly, we don’t actually think you should burn bridges with your future candidates! We just wanted to have a little fun with it to show just how easy it is to alienate folks you might want to hire in the future. You’re pretty safe if you avoid these 9 things – gotta keep those bridges intact!

Please note this piece by Jenn Steele first appeared on the RecruitLoop Blog.

Views: 419

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on December 20, 2013 at 2:05pm

I get it - I also know that I, as a single recruiter, can only control a few of these things. So - how do I do my job better?? I"m being completely serious. I ask this question EVERY TIME someone comes up with a list of recruiters' sins and I am genuinely interested in improving my communication, branding, follow up skills. Enlighten me.

Comment by Keith D. Halperin on December 20, 2013 at 2:31pm

Well said, Amy. We can only work on what we can control/influence. Many of us work/woeked in highly dysfunctional recruiting organizations in which we can do little or nothing except do our own jobs as well as we can.


Comment by Debica Sigamani on December 25, 2013 at 8:23pm

Is it just me or this article is a recipe for the doomsday of companies branding and image?


You need to be a member of RecruitingBlogs to add comments!

Join RecruitingBlogs


All the recruiting news you see here, delivered straight to your inbox.

Just enter your e-mail address below


RecruitingBlogs on Twitter

© 2023   All Rights Reserved   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Privacy Policy  |  Terms of Service