I had taken a hot job order from a new client, you know the golden type that always picks up the phone when you call, responds to e-mails almost immediately, instant feedback on candidates, basically the best case scenario. In my initial sourcing efforts, I found three solid candidates. I set up interviews immediately and received instant feedback with an offer for one of them. I was excited as the candidate they selected was a perfect personality fit, had the required skills, background, and everything else they were looking for.

We completed all of the paperwork and narrowed down a start date that was renegotiated twice because of last minute scheduling conflicts. Fast forward to a week before the start, I received a call from my candidate that they needed more time before starting. I wasn’t too excited, but things happen and this was a great candidate, so I connected with the hiring manager and changed the start date.

Fast forward to a day before starting, I get a call from the candidate explaining that they needed more time. Something didn’t feel right about the situation at this point, so I connected with the hiring manager, expressed my concerns and removed my candidate from the process. I connected with the candidate who didn’t care that they were being removed from the process - interesting. Because I had not stopped sourcing for this role and had warm candidates in my pipeline, I had another solid candidate lined up. I set up an interview, the client made an offer, and the candidate started on time.

After I removed my first candidate from the process, I brought up my situation at a staff meeting. I found out that the same candidate acted in a similar way with one of my colleagues one year before. The candidate interviewed, accepted an offer, set a start date and then went completely dark.

My take away from this situation:

  1. Candidates can be unpredictable; it is ALWAYS a good idea to keep warm candidates in your pipeline.
  2. If your candidate is giving you a bad vibe, don't be afraid to take control of the situation and remove them from the process if need be.
  3. Make sure to log all results in your ATS system so the zombie candidate doesn’t come back and bite you or any of your colleagues in the future.

Check out my Minneapolis Recruiter blog for more great content!

Views: 238

Comment by Bill Schultz on March 29, 2012 at 1:32pm

Always good to keep warm candidates.  I had a candidate last week who was cooperative until he got an offer then he took advantage of my client's kindness.  I had a candidate in the hopper from a very respected firm.  So I told the (hem-haw) candidate " Take as much time as you need, we want this to be right for you.  Of course, we are going to continue to look at people during this process.  I have a guy from xxxx who looks promising"

He signed within 24 hours.  

Comment by Ryan McCormick on March 29, 2012 at 3:06pm

That is is a great strategy, I like the sense of urgency it creates! Good job!

Comment by David Jansons on April 2, 2012 at 5:31pm

I have had a client use a similar tactic. My candidate wanted more money and the client met him half way but insisted on a decision in 24 hours otherwise they would offer another candidate.


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