Dear hiring manager, 15 reasons why you lost the best candidate ever

As a career strategist, I hear grumblings from my workshop attendees about how their interviews with hiring managers are less than pleasant. And what follows the interview can be just as irksome. For those of us who are gainfully employed, it may be difficult to understand candidates' frustration and, at worst, despair. 

Hiring managers, don’t take it personally. You’re busy with projects that need to be completed and feel you have better things to do than hire the next person. But think about the logic of your disdain for interviewing candidates; your next employee is the person who can make your life easier. Help you complete important projects.

Not all hiring managers are at fault in the hiring process, but for the few that are, below are some reasons why—shall we say—you’ve blown the selection process. What follows are paraphrased thoughts of my customers (clients) over the years.

  1. In search of the purple squirrel? Good luck with that. I may not have 100% of the qualifications you’re looking for, but I’m ambitious, a quick learner, and want to succeed.
  2. I got laid off from my last company because it reduced its workforce by half. I survived five layoffs. And still you think being out of work for three months is a sign of my ineptitude. (Maybe its a sign of a jobseeker's poor job-search methods.)
  3. That photo of me in Cancun drinking a Margarita, I somehow got tagged on Facebook. But you weren’t as focused on my stellar LinkedIn profile as finding something wrong with me on Facebook.
  4. Really, you couldn’t reschedule our interview which would have taken place during my son’s graduation ceremony? No, I don't think it's worth missing this milestone. Hope you understand.
  5. I guess you heard I’m 50 years old. End of story.
  6. I was 15 minutes early for the interview. You were 45 minutes late for it. Hmm.
  7. Your handshake was limp. You didn’t maintain eye contact. Your face looked like it was made of stone. Did you learn anything about first impressions?
  8. "When did I graduate from high school?" Really? Can't you be more creative than that?  (Many of my customers get asked this revealing question.) 
  9. The job posting didn't call for someone who is proficient in Flash. If it had, I wouldn't have applied for this position. I don't suppose telling you I can learn it quickly....I didn't think so.
  10. I might have taken your job if you had returned my inquiry. I have accepted a different offer. Oh well. 
  11. You told me I'd hear about your decision within a week. Two weeks later I'm still waiting. Yes or no, I'd like to know what you've decided.
  12. I'm not the "right fit?" How about: "You don't have the expertise we're looking for," "You came across as dispassionate," "I've decided to fill the position internally." All of these would be fine. I can handle the criticism.
  13. You want me to write a five-page explanation on how I'd solve your supply chain issue? I can do that with my eyes closed. But are you offering me the job, or do you just want free advice?
  14. So let me get this straight, you want to pay me half the amount of money I was making at my last job and do twice as much work?
  15. This is our 11th interview. How many more will there be? (A customer of mine landed a job after 12 interviews, including two on the west coast...on two different flights.)

These are among other complaints I've heard from my customers. They don't expect to land every job for which they apply; they just want to be treated fairly and with respect. Hiring managers, perhaps you could consider what you're doing to make the job search harder/unpleasant for your candidates, and make some minor corrections.

 Photo: Flickr, Kristof Ramon

Views: 1340

Comment by Matt Charney on September 9, 2015 at 12:22pm

Thanks, Rob. Appreciate you sharing with our community. And I like this post, too - you're getting to be a damned good blogger these days.

Comment by Bob McIntosh on September 9, 2015 at 12:28pm

Thanks, Matt. Hope I don't piss any hiring managers off...or maybe I do. I've certainly pissed some recruiters off over the years.


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