Let's get right to it. Candidates know EXACTLY what I am talking about.

The client LOVED you. They want to be kept updated on your search progress.
The client LOVED you. You were their first interview and they want to meet a few others.
The client LOVED you. They just wish you had a little more experience.

Recruiters know EXACTLY what I am talking about.

Those resumes you sent over were PERFECT. Do you have any more?
Do you have any candidates that have both X skill and Y personality?
Do you have any that are velvety smooth with hints of vanilla and black pepper?

The last one was made up. Or was it?

Clients, for the most part, treat candidates like produce. They may treat their employees like royalty, but they certainly don't treat their candidates with much respect. Companies need to realize that the onboarding process actually starts with the selection process. Sure, on day one you may be able to enjoy a fridge stocked with Greek yogurt, but there still may be some lingering resentment about the hiring process.

Candidates, like most humans, don't enjoy being judged. It leaves them feeling vulnerable, and, for most job applicants, literally rejected. But there is just something about the impersonal nature of the current hiring environment, especially when a recruiter is involved in the process. The recruiter gets a job order, compiles all of the interested/qualified candidates, and presents them to the client for inspection. The client proceeds to carefully inspect all of the options, squeezing for firmness and smelling for sweetness. *EDITORS NOTE - This is an analogy. If, at any point, a potential employer squeezes and/or smells you, please consult a lawyer. And run.* Most candidates are then thrown away due to their unsavoriness. The remainders are usually put on a shelf while requesting more samples from the recruiter.

I recall one such time in my career. A repeat (i.e. successful) client of mine had asked me for something extremely specific...like 7 or 8 "must have" skills. I ended the call, made another call, and within 5 minutes I sent over a dead hit. No, not "a" dead hit. "THE" dead hit. I got the read receipt (yes, I'm one of those) and called up the client to discuss.

Me: Weelllll? Right? Eh? Right? Riiiiight??

Client: Looks great Adam. Looks perfect. Send me over a few more and we can start interviewing.

Me: Excuse me?

Client: I just want to have some resumes to compare this candidate to.

Me: *deep breath* You need to compare the perfect candidate? With? Other candidates?

Client: Well, yes. You sent this one over so quickly, I just assumed you had others. I want to see if this is the best one.

Me: Sure. Actually, let me just check in the back real quick. *fake yells to an associate* Hey! We get that new shipment of accountants in yet? ACCOUNTANTS. No? *back to the client call* I just checked. Everything we have is out on the floor.

Dead silence. After a while I started to count. And after 15 more seconds...

Client: Don't get bent out of shape. We just want to find the best person.

Me: I understand that, but these are people...not inventory. I'm not just over here sitting on product.

Client: We will take our time to find the right person. So after we compile a good initial group we will start to interview.


Client: Hey Adam. We had a chance to talk to a few more recruiters and review a few more resumes. We are interested in meeting Candidate #1. Let me know a few times and days that work.

Me: Sorry, she's no longer interested in the role.

Client: What? Why not? What changed? She's perfect for this?

Me: I know. I knew that a week ago. She knew that a week ago. I told you that a week ago. She felt if you didn't recognize it then, then it probably wasn't the kind of workplace she was looking for. And if you did recognize it then, and just made her wait, it was a big turnoff.

You go to the farmer's market and buy some delicious fruit. You go home and sit it on the counter. Then you forget about it. "Oh, right, we have peaches!" You grab one and what happens? They're spoiled and you have to throw them all away. All fruit spoils. Doesn't matter what kind it is, where you bought it, or how much you paid for it. You wait long enough, and it spoils. It's the same with candidates. You send a resume to a client, and the process just DRAGS. Delays in scheduling interviews and then the offer process needs approval from this person and that person. Eventually the candidate says "To hell with this. It shouldn't be this hard if they really wanted me."

In fact, it happened twice this past month with my clients. One client loved my candidate but made her wait 3 weeks with no progress while they kept interviewing and having internal meetings. When the offer finally came in, she declined. She just did not feel wanted by that point. Momentum was lost. Other suitors appeared. They sat her on the shelf and kept looking. Another client waited a good 3.5 weeks to get back to me on resumes. They had acted quickly once they finally met the candidates, but the offer was turned down bc in the previous 2 weeks they met other firms that showed more immediate interest. Interest spoils. Desire spoils. Momentum spoils. If you don't eat the fruit when it's ripe, it's no one's fault but your own. You can't be mad at the fruit...it's a natural process.

As recruiters, there is only so much "keeping them warm" we can do. I can't stand when clients ask (i.e. tell) me to keep candidates "warm," i.e. interested in the opportunity. "Keeping them warm" is code for "this is going to take an unnecessary amount of time. An amount of time that no human will maintain any level of interest. Make them maintain interest." We are putting our reputation on the line for the client. And it hardly ever works. I can count the times when a client asking me to keep a candidate warm has been successful. Zero. Oddly enough, warm fruit spoils more quickly. Coincidence?

Employers - don't sit your candidates on the shelf and forget about them. And certainly don't try to figure out how to use them when they are all you have left...after they are over-ripened. You'll just give your recruiter an upset stomach.

Thanks for making last week's article "Recruiters Need To Give Candidates The 'Disney Experience'" a featured article on RecruitingBlogs 

For more about me or my firm, please visit www.karpiakconsulting.com or www.linkedin.com/in/akarpiak I am always looking to network with good professionals that share my values in recruiting, so shoot me an invite if you agree with me!

You can find job postings, as well as loads of content on Karpiak Consulting's Facebook page www.fb.com/karpiakconsulting Please "like" or follow the page to be kept up to date on all of new content daily. I re-post articles of interest I find online regarding recruiting & public accounting, and I also post emails & messages I get (redacted of course) regarding recruiting that I think are of interest, including stories from candidates about other recruiters doing bad/confusing things.

I am also featuring a Daily Job Candidate. If you are interested in being featured in one of my daily LinkedIn posts, shoot me the following info in an email (I've created a Gmail account to stay organized: DailyJobCandidate@gmail.com) with the subject: Daily Job Candidate. Tell me your desired position, industry, and geographic area. This way my entire network of recruiters and networkers could see if they could help out the candidate in any way with leads or point them to someone else that might be able to help. Just by reading the post, people in my network would be able to:

1) Reach out to the candidate directly if they think they can help them.

2) Like or share the post with their network, in the hopes someone in their network can help the candidate.

3) Tag a person in the post's comments that may be able to help the person.

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