I have a question for the group. When, or do you stop communications with a candidate? A candidate being defined as someone that had a scheduled interview and the interview was cancelled by agency or the prospective employer. Do you instantly stop communications with the candidate or do continue to maintain communication for a period of time? I was going to go into a long dissertation as to why these questions are being asked, but I think the bigger question is do recruiters have an ethical obligation on how to treat candidates?

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Comment by Christopher Perez on January 10, 2012 at 12:31pm

It's impossible to give a blanket one-size-fits-all answer to that. Was the interview cancelled because the candidate was found to be a fugitive from the law? That might suggest a termination or at least a chilling effect on further communication with that person.

If the cancellation was not reasonably attributable to the candidate, and that person seemed otherwise placeable, I would probably keep the door open for further chats. Even then it would depend on my current workflow and how the candidate fit into my open job orders, if at all.

To your final question, I think all people (regardless of profession or context of the interaction) have a moral obligation to be decent toward one another. But I don't think this is stipulated anywhere in a code of conduct specifically for recruiters. If a candidate looks good enough to submit to a client then I would assume they've got some value to your desk in terms of future submittals, networking for referrals, or just plain old goodwill and karma. Maybe I was missing the point of the question!

Comment by Amber on January 10, 2012 at 12:38pm

Not sure exactly what prompted this question, but I try to communicate with others as I would like to be communicated with. If there is a reason that you feel uncomfortable having further contact, then I would say a simple email expressing that the client is not interested in further discussion and "thanks for your time" should be sufficient.

Comment by Sandra McCartt on January 10, 2012 at 1:14pm

It sounds to me like this candidate was set up for an interview which was cancelled either by the agency or the company for some reason that you don't want to discuss with them and now they are driving you nuts wanting to know why or just driving you nuts calling all the time since you got them scheduled for an interview even though it fell through.  If that is the case and you can't or don't want to tell the candidate why the interview was cancelled and you don't want to represent them in the future then qut talking to them.  No one is ethically under any obligation to do business with anybody they don't want to do business with at any time.


If you don't know how to get rid of them take one more call.  Tell them that you don't think you can effectively represent them and suggest they would probably be happier with another recruiter as you don't do much in their area of expertise.  Give them the name of another firm to contact.  Unless of course they are either crazy or a criminal, lied on the resume or some other messy thing.  In that case just don't take their calls.  Eventually they will find another victim and go away.  With those types i take the same approach i do with obscene callers.  Don't answer the the call and don't engage.  The only code of ethics for dealing with unethical people is don't deal with them. 


If my take is not accurate then you need to be more explicit as to the situation for any of us to comment in a way that might help you resolve what appears to be a deep concern about what to do.

Comment by Stuart Musson on January 10, 2012 at 3:08pm

Treat others as you would like to be treated is a good rule of thumb....Like everyone else that has commented, so far, it all depends on what the scenario is for the cancelling of the interview on whether or not we can give you an answer.

Comment by Howard Greenwood on January 11, 2012 at 4:13am

What a good question…. Whatever the reason the interview was cancelled (unless as stated for poor references or criminal activities etc), just think, the minute before your consultant received the cancelation call, that candidate was your consultants Most Placeable Candidate, one minute after the call the candidate is on the recruitment scrap heap.  However this is more than should I keep communicating with the candidate, I believe this is down to the lack of opportunities the agent has for the candidate.  Sandra's comments are valid but that is down to training our consultants to reject the candidate from the process properly and professionally.


What is one mans poison is another mans meat; so if your consultants cannot submit the candidate to two or more clients at one time, it’s the lack of knowledge of their market which prevents the consultant from re-engaging with the candidate in a positive manner.  The candidate is on the market for a reason, and the candidate at some point will get placed.  The likely hood is that the candidate will get placed by an agency, so why not yours?  The candidate might be poison to one of your clients but a meat feast to another!


I blogged an month or so ago about 'there is no recession in the recruitment market only a consultant who cannot find a market that is buying', this is another example of that.  If you have nothing else for your candidate reject them properly and re-engage when you have other opportunities, however, if the candidate in your eye's is worth it, then explore your market, find another client and create something for that candidate because if you don’t, someone else will. A minute before that rejection call that candidate was money in the bank, your Most Placeable Candidate, so treat them as such.


Every Monday morning I think, how many people in my market are starting a new job today! Then I ask myself, how many of those people have I placed.  The market of opportunity is massive, it is only our lack of exploration that prevents us truly engaging with our candidates and giving them more than one opportunity at a time.

Comment by Debra Siksay on January 11, 2012 at 11:30pm

Thanks for all the comments! 

The reason for the original post was due to the fact that several recruiters stopped communications with candidate(s) after their interviews were cancelled.  The reasons for the cancellations were; salary requirements too high, position filled, and Intel experience not sufficient for the client.  No fault of the candidate(s), just part of the process, what we deal with daily.  After the interviews were cancelled the candidate(s) sent an e-mail to the recruiter with very basic questions and they never received a response.   Wanted to make sure I wasn’t in the minority. Good to hear that the majority feels as I do; treat others as you want to be treated. 


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