I'll try to make this brief but I think you need the details.

In my 18 years of recruiting, I have never had this situation and wonder if you have, how you handle it.

I should start by saying the niche I recruit in has always been in high demand, more jobs than skilled candidates, so I am used to candidates getting multiple jobs offers.

My candidate, Alice, contacted me over a month ago. She had joined her current company 3 months prior and they were starting to do  layoffs and she wanted get ahead of it and start looking.  She was nervous about who would hire her due to her short tenure.  She had a bad experience with a recruiter that placed her there, who yelled at her and degraded her to take this job for a lower title (Sr analyst when she was a Manager level) and for less pay.  Her prior company had alot of turnover and she was working crazy hours.I asked if she had references from her past companies (there were 2 others before this). She told me she did.  So, to summarize, graduated in 2008 and was now looking for her 5th job.

When I first spoke with her, I had no immediate jobs for her, but spent time with her, helping her map out a job search strategy and giving her the confidence that with her skills she should be able to find something else quickly.  She thanked me many times over the next weeks for my advice and help and I believed we forged a trust.  I called her a week later with a Manager opportunity, and we began working together closely.  At that time, she was candid and open with me about her other options, and asked for my guidance many times.

During the course of the interview process, I had the opportunity to give her some constructive feedback, nothing that couldn't be fixed.  In fact, the client kept interviewing her to help her get past this. I tried to help as well.

This is where things started to change.  Her whole demeanor changed from passive and sweet to angry, disrespectful and hostile towards me. Her attitude was "well if they don't like me, then they don't have to make an offer and I don't have to work there"..  I was able to finally calm her down, and we moved to the offer process.

The client then ask me to check references (this is rare, usually they do). That's where the problems started.  She gave me 3 people she worked with, as it turns out, for no more than a few months each on a project from each of the last 3 jobs (not the current, which I totally understood).

When I went back to her and explained that these may not be the strongest people to use, and asked again for a supervisor, she got angry and defensive and said "well, that's all I have and if they don't like, I don't need an offer from them. I have 2 other offers (and 1 is from Assoc Director(!). I have no supervisors I can give.  You don't understand, you are a recruiter, in the corporate world 2 months is a long time to get to know someone's work".

I held my breath and then said " I do understand, I was in the corporate world for 14 years prior to my 18 years as a recruiter. " She answered "yes but that was as a recruiter" I said no that was as a VP in the same area you are going into.  Then she balked oh, but that was at a bank, it's different. To which I answered, no I worked at other companies as well.

The reason I bring this up is it raised a red flag to me.  In addition to not having 1 supervisor in 5 years of work at 4 different company, it also showed, to me, perhaps a lack of respect for mentors or others more senior, and a problem accepting constructive criticism.

I wanted to discuss this offer with the candidate which she received verbally late Friday afternoon.  I made myself available from Sat 7PM on.  She told me she would not be available until 6am on Monday! Then emailed me at midnight on Sat asking if she could call me. I said yes, and during the conversation she told me I was unprofessional since I was speaking to her at this time!!! I wanted to find out her feelings about the offer.  She was close lipped, telling me she hadn't made a decision. I said, that's not what I am asking. Then she berated me, since the client offered more money than I (supposedly) told her they would.  I was exasperated.  I said "why do you think they offered that?  I told them to. "  Then she told me to stop inserting myself and being so judgmental about the references and just submit them and let the client decide if they are good or not. She reminds me she has 2 other offers now, and "you see how easy it is for me to get another job!",

What should I do here?  I don't want my client make a bad hire if this is something I can stop now.  Or is this just a case of bad chemistry between the candidate and recruiter.  I know I am being punished for her prior bad experiences.

Tags: Agency Recruiting

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Roni, this sounds like it goes way beyond bad chemistry between a candidate and a recruiter. It looks like she was playing sweet when she thought she was desperate, and now that she realizes her skills are in demand she's got a bad case of ego tripping. What's more concerning is her lack of maturity (she didn't graduate this year...she should certainly know how to conduct herself professionally) and poor attitude. And she's complaining that the company offered her more money than expected?? I wouldn't want her on my team.

Thanks Vinda.  She wasn't complaining about the salary, she was saying that I had nothing to do with the salary offered. Made it sound like I was trying to lowball her (when all I did was ask what she was looking for to accept). I took that number and got her a great offer and she believes I had nothing to do with the offer.

 

 

 

Postscript:  I decided to send my client the references I had done and I had a long, heart to heart, with them to explain the red flags.  It's now up to them how to proceed.

END OF THE STORY

Well, the candidate emailed my client to reject their offer in favor of the Associate Director position (big surprise, I expect to see her back on the boards in less than 3 months).  Her reasons for declining, after letting them know once again that they were her first choice,  included wanting to be an AD since she has been a Manager for quite some time (really?), and  her stating that due to the reference duration issue that Roni thought could be a problem, she could not afford losing the AD position should this one not work out!!  Had she listened to me at all, I was trying to tell her how to manage all of this!!!  Better to blame me!

I wonder if she will ever tell me she turned it down.  She ended her note by asking if she could keep in touch with them directly for the future (again, cutting me out of the loop).   Unbelievable!!

The HR was kind enough to tell me that she replied that the references would have been a problem, that THEIR policy is to get at least 1 supervisor, and that the short tenure of all of them is an issue. She re-iterated that this is their standard procedure and they have never had a candidate have a problem in the past.

They believe they dodged a bullet! 

Lesson here (for me), going forward, I will be more diligent than ever 1)understanding the client's process up front 2) explaining my process to the candidates and getting their signoff and references up front and 3) explaining the client's process to the  candidate when I submit them for the job.

Recruiting 101, I am sure, but somehow, it all needs to be spelled  out more clearly to candidates so there is no misunderstanding.

Wow! I think the Client dodged the bullet big time.  Some candidates don't realize that there would be no reason to "low ball" them. In the end, a bigger salary for them means a bigger fee for the recruiter. They also don't realize all the time and dedication that goes into each placement. You went out of your way to help her, give advice and map out a plan of action. You did that because you are a true professional. This whole situation is very upsetting. I think you dodged the bullet as well. I hope one day she realizes what she has done wrong and apologizes to you.


 
Roni Zapin said:

END OF THE STORY

Well, the candidate emailed my client to reject their offer in favor of the Associate Director position (big surprise, I expect to see her back on the boards in less than 3 months).  Her reasons for declining, after letting them know once again that they were her first choice,  included wanting to be an AD since she has been a Manager for quite some time (really?), and  her stating that due to the reference duration issue that Roni thought could be a problem, she could not afford losing the AD position should this one not work out!!  Had she listened to me at all, I was trying to tell her how to manage all of this!!!  Better to blame me!

I wonder if she will ever tell me she turned it down.  She ended her note by asking if she could keep in touch with them directly for the future (again, cutting me out of the loop).   Unbelievable!!

The HR was kind enough to tell me that she replied that the references would have been a problem, that THEIR policy is to get at least 1 supervisor, and that the short tenure of all of them is an issue. She re-iterated that this is their standard procedure and they have never had a candidate have a problem in the past.

They believe they dodged a bullet! 

Lesson here (for me), going forward, I will be more diligent than ever 1)understanding the client's process up front 2) explaining my process to the candidates and getting their signoff and references up front and 3) explaining the client's process to the  candidate when I submit them for the job.

Recruiting 101, I am sure, but somehow, it all needs to be spelled  out more clearly to candidates so there is no misunderstanding.

@evelyn  I too, hope one day she matures enough to realize what happened her.  I am still waiting to hear from her that she has accepted another position. I can take the high road (once again) and send her a note of congratulations, but I don't want to let her off the hook, but I don't want to write anything to stir up trouble either.  She'll be back!!

Evelyn Amaro said:

Wow! I think the Client dodged the bullet big time.  Some candidates don't realize that there would be no reason to "low ball" them. In the end, a bigger salary for them means a bigger fee for the recruiter. They also don't realize all the time and dedication that goes into each placement. You went out of your way to help her, give advice and map out a plan of action. You did that because you are a true professional. This whole situation is very upsetting. I think you dodged the bullet as well. I hope one day she realizes what she has done wrong and apologizes to you.


 
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You all dodged a bullet on this one!  Quite honestly, though, when the conversation first started to raise a red flag for you, I would have dug further.  There's a lot to be said for your gut feelings when it comes to recruiters and candidates.  One thing we look for in candidates is the consistencies in behaviors.  Even if they are rude, if that is consistent, then we have identified a behavioral trait.  The problem here was inconsistencies.  Paying attention to the flag, and discussing your hesitations with the client would have been my next step.  When you look out for your clients best interests, they will appreciate it and it will increase the value you add with your recruiting services. 

As far as the games the candidate was playing with you and the company, I think that has to do with boundaries, in part.  Somehow, she felt it was OK to talk to you like she did.  I would have shut her down a little quicker.  She felt she had the upper hand, and not a recruiter/candidate relationship.  Had she understood the true nature of your relationship, she would have spoke with you differently.

There are a lot of 'next times' in your story, and that's a good thing!  In this industry we are thrown a lot of curve balls and we don't always know how to handle them.  I'm glad you were presented with a learning opportunity at this stage in the game!  It keeps you on your toes and makes you a better recruiter.  Good for you!  I think I would wrap up the story with calling the candidate letting her know you are aware that she turned down the offer and that you won't be working with her again.  There is no 'expectation of confidentiality' with either the candidate OR the client since you are the one representing the candidate TO the client.  It violates NO HIPAA, employment, or any other sort of 'privacy' concerns.  End the relationship with YOU in charge, not a sneaky candidate.

Good luck to you!! If there is ever a follow up, please post here!!

Obviously this candidate had no respect for you and our chosen profession. you have done more than enough to help her and she isn't grateful with you.   Glad to know that nightmare is over.

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