Junior Varsity Recruiting Behavior (Be Nice to Candidates!)

I get a fair amount of phone calls from candidates asking me for advice on how to deal with certain
recruiter behavior during their interview process. Some of the stuff is basic,
such as “I never heard back.”

This blog post is in response to what I hear from frustrated candidates. I direct this post to my
fellow recruiters, corporate and agency based. Some of this is basic but needs
to be reinforced. Seems like in the rush, rush to get things done,
recruiters have forgotten their training and manners. I’d like to encourage you
to be a human being during the hiring process, not a corporate drone. Below are
the top complaints I hear from candidates.

“I am sorry, but I didn’t have time to read your resume.” I don’t care how busy or
important you are, if you have set up time to interview a candidate, read their
resume and be informed. It is unprofessional and junior behavior.

Don’t miss a scheduled phone interview. If you can’t make the appointed time, send a
quick email or call and reschedule. Candidates have schedules and obligations
too. They made an effort, have some manners.

Fake job descriptions are illegal. Yes, I am talking to you, headhunter at a
Third Party Staffing Agency. If the job does not exist, don’t advertise
it! Find candidates by actually getting on the horn and networking or cold
calling. Advertising jobs that don’t exist or have been filled is bad

Keeping a candidate warm, 12.0pt;font-family:inherit"">forever. 9.5pt;font-family:inherit"">Your hiring manager either knows they want to hire
the candidate, or they don’t. Have a frank conversation with them about the
perils of keeping a candidate warm for too long. Keeping someone hanging is
cruel and not an effective recruiting practice. It also really hurts
your employment brand.

Return phone calls, even if you don’t have an update. A quick email back will do.
People hate being ignored.

If the candidate does not make the cut, for god’s sakes, just tell them. This is
especially important for a candidate who spent time with several of your
employees. It is bad manners, bad karma and bad for your employment brand to
drop off the face of the earth and never call them back. Sadly, this
happens way to often.

Give real feedback, please. I can’t tell you how many candidates have thanked me
when I told them they did not progress in the process because they did X, Y or
Z. People can’t improve their behavior if they don’t know what they did
wrong. This blog
post has some great comments on how to go about this.

Help your candidate during the process. No, don’t spend an
hour prepping them or giving up company secrets but do share
information that is relevant and might be helpful. Creating a level playing
field is not a crime and that candidate will forever respect you and be

Don’t over-sell an opportunity. Be honest. Do you really want to hire a
candidate fueled by exaggerated info? Think about it. On
the worst day on the job, it will be your fault! Don’t lie and mess with
people’s lives. Remember, this person might be leaving a perfectly good job to
go to your company. Give them the whole deal and don’t exaggerate.

Hard closing candidates. I am still amazed that recruiters think this works! Don’t
play games with candidates and don’t be aggressive about “closing my offer.” It
will just come back to bite you and your reputation will suffer. Here is a
great blog on
closing offers the right way.

"Times New Roman""">We are building relationships for the long term, not based on your current open requisition. Remember that as you go about your day to

"Times New Roman""">

"Times New Roman""">Other relevant articles about the subject via FastCompany here and via ERE here.

"Times New Roman""">

"Times New Roman""">Are you a candidate with a recruiter pet peeve? Please add your two cents, I want to hear from you.

"Times New Roman""">

"Times New Roman""">Please, go right ahead and call me a Candidate Advocate, I deserve it.

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