I always worry if I am doing the right thing by telling a candidate not only are they interviewing for an opening but so is our second submittal. We always tell candidates we can submit 1 or 2 resumes per an opening. Which is true in some cases, dependent on the client. But are we really hurting ourselves when we are making ourselves look good?

More recently, this has happened repeatedly, I have had 2 of my own candidates up for the same job. They knew about each other. They have tried to find out if they somehow have an upper hand-which Ill never tell. But then when one candidate gets the job and the other doesnt, should you even tell them? Tonight I had to let a candidate know the position was filled and we did not get any feedback from his interview except it was between him and the other candidate out of 3 people who were being interviewed. He asked me if our other candidate got the job and I admitted to him he did. Should I really fess up we were the ones who got the hire? Should I even let candidates know about each other when they are interviewing?

This little situation makes us look good as recruiters and shows how well we can do our job but is it really hurting us in the end?

Views: 177

Comment by Lisa Howarth on August 2, 2010 at 9:30pm
My general feeling is to be honest as much as possible, without compromising the trust relationship that you have with the client (i.e. don't provide any feedback to the candidate that the client would not want divulged.

If you have two candidates up for the same job and they are the only two candidates, you are in an excellent position. In reality, you want both candidates to put their best foot forward, and I would suggest telling each candidate honestly where their strengths and weaknesses lie. This will allow them to play up their strengths and address their weaknesses comparative to the competition, and should actually make them stand out in the interview process.

The caveat I offer to this is that you have to judge the candidates' maturity level - some people don't handle constructive criticism and feedback well, so you need to make sure they'll take it well and use it to their advantage.

In the end, an honest approach will have the candidates respect you and trust you as they go through other job searches.
Comment by pam claughton on August 3, 2010 at 7:27am
I would just tell candidates they are one of two or one of three on the short list and leave it at that. I would be very careful about discussing other candidates as you have to respect everyone's confidentiality.
Comment by Brian Pho on August 3, 2010 at 8:55am
Candidates know that each position that a recruiter introduces is competition. We (as recrutiers) get paid by the client NOT by the candidate - so we should work on behalf of the client. For all the candidates that i have dealt with, they have asked me, "how many candidates did you present?" and I always tell the truth.

I go about it by saying to the candidate, "Well...if you were the hiring manager and you were hiring me as a recruiter, wouldn't you want choice before you made your hiring decision?" Most candidates would agree with me and that normally smooths it over with them...
Comment by Suzanne Levison on August 3, 2010 at 9:19am
Most candidates know there are other professionals being interviewed. I don't believe it's my responsibility to communicate with a candidate about any other candidate, regardless of the circumstances. Not only is the issue one of confidentiality~it's just not the way to conduct the process (IMHO)
Comment by Ashley Barker on August 3, 2010 at 9:26am
Im really thankful everyone has an opinion on this. I just hope everyone knows I do not tell what the other candidate's skills are or how much money or what their name is to the each candidate who they are up against. My question was simply, should I tell a candidate they are up against our other candidate or our other candidate got the job over them? Or should we just let them think what they want to think or lie to them about the other candidate getting the position over them.
Comment by pam claughton on August 3, 2010 at 9:44am
Ashley, I would never lie to them, I just don't think you need to tell them so much information, such as do they really need to know who the other candidate is from? Unless you have the search exclusively, and then I'd simply let them know the benefit of that, that they have less competition, and clearly if you have the search exclusively it's a given that the other candidate is through you. If it's not exclusive, I don't see how it's relevant to share that the other candidate came through you?
Comment by Greg Inguagiato on August 3, 2010 at 10:00am
My two cents worth...
I think total honesty is the best policy with candidates, but this has to be balanced with the level of information that is disclosed. I have no problem letting my candidates know that they are in competition with others, but do not typically discuss specifics. What I've found is that giving more information than is needed, leads to more questions, and then it becomes a vicious cycle. It's really a case of less being more. Greg Inguagiato.
Comment by Linda Ferrante on August 3, 2010 at 10:22am
Good morning, Ashley! Great conversation. In this situation, I always inform the candidates about the circumstances. If they ask the questions, I give them the answers. Like you, I don't give up any personal information about the candidated, the pay, etc, but I will answer their questions. It's the right thing to do; share the information with the candidates as to the situation. From a personal standpoint, I would rather know that the position is between me and one other candidate, and if I didn't get the position, why. I prefer constructive criticism so if there is anything I can do better next time, I will.
If I'm consistent in my approach with my candidates, as well as my clients, then I have nothing to worry about. My candidates (and clients) will trust me even more. Through this, my reputation builds with candidates (and clients) and if I can help one person out in their job search then I know I'm doing the right thing!
Comment by Paul Hanchett on August 3, 2010 at 11:06am
I think there is a question of agency here-- who are you really working for? If you work for the client then there is no need to tell what you are doing. But if you are working for the candidate, then your obligation is to tell them if your interests are divided. If you represent yourself as working for the candidate (most recruiters do, by their actions) but see themselves as agents of the client, then there is an ethical obligation to be sure that the candidate understands the conflict.

Recruiters might do well to consider who they actually work for-- If you are recruiting on a contingency basis, you don't get paid until your candidate gets the position! Even though you may get paid by the client it is in your best interests to do whatever it takes to place your candidate...

The corollary to this comes from marketing-- to sell more, don't overwhelm your customer with choices. Anything more than three choices leads to paralysis. When multiple agencies are submitting, one clearly good choice is more likely to win than two good choices because it won't prompt indecision.

Bottom line, unless you are on retainer you should do what is best for you and your candidate, In any case, you should disclose your conflicts of interest-- Remember that the candidate is choosing and trusting you to represent them to the client, and implicitly giving you the product you sell. They could have gone to your competition!
Comment by Sandra McCartt on August 3, 2010 at 11:41am
We tell candidates that our clients request that we send three qualified candidates for a position. Each is an individual, even with the same skill set they are individually unique. If candidates know each other and know they are both interviewing for the same job, if they start questioning or commenting about each other, we simply tell them that we do not discuss other candidates with anyone, anymore than we would discuss them with another candidate. If they know each other it will be up to them to discuss things between themselves or not.

If they come back after the dust settles asking why another candidate was hired and did we fill the position we will tell them yes, we did fill it. The feedback was that they were well qualified , it was a difficult decision and our client wished they had two positions open so they could hire them both.

I think our interaction with each candidate is confidential as to that candidate. We are never sure ourselves why one candidate was hired over another, we were not there. If there was something glaring that needs to be addressed for future interviews discuss it in terms of the individual mistakes not in comparison with another candidate.

We hopefully deal with adults who understand that employers almost always review and/or interview more than one candidate for a position. Assure all candidates that even if we refer three we represent all three to the best of our ability to present their individual skill sets but we do not make the final decision.


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