My focus as a recruiter is to help match opportunities (and all related requirements) to the very best candidates. Sometimes it is easier said then done. So what about the candidate that you introduce to an opening, get them engaged in the process, and for whatever reason an offer never gets extended. Yet- you as the recruiter take the barrage from an angry candidate. What approaches do you take to address this scenario?

Tags: Agency Recruiting, Candidate, Offer, RBC, Recruiter

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Hi Tim,

Unfortunately, this happens. You just have to let it roll off your back. More than likely, if this candidate acts like that to you- someone who is trying to help them, then its probably a good thing that your client didn't bring them on. Saving yourself trouble down the road.

 

 

In our litigious society, this is a difficult situation.  There's many times when I want to let people know why they were not selected, but it's just more pruident to say "Another candidate was a better fit for the position".  Having been out of work myself at one point for over 14 months, I understand how frustrating that response is!  I do try and let a candidate know if an internal candidate was selected, or if they missed a deadline of some kind.  Because any explanation in those situations is better than none.

I do get a lot of disappointed candidates but not very many angry ones.  I am honest (within reason) if a candidate is not seen as desirable by a client.  Sometimes when a client falls off the face of the earth, goes dead, drops the ball in mid-process the fact is that is really frustrating and rude.  I listen and hear my candidates disappointment when that happens.  I never want to trash my clients but in a professional manner I will validate feelings of frustration. 

My attitude throughout any interview process is for the candidate to see the interview not as a win/lose scenario but more as a networking opportunity.  You might not get the job this time but take notes, because this hiring manager might be a valuable industry contact in the future.  I think it is best to diffuse any feelings of this is THE one and only job.   I think when candidates have the right attitude they are less likely to have those more deep feelings of anger and disappointment when they don't get an offer. 

We have all lost out on a potential job or a potential lover over the years and typically when we look back on those situations the job or the love-interest was in reality not the best fit and there was something better waiting for us.     

I think that candidates value communication above all else. As long as you are keeping them posted regularly, even if it's an update that there's no update because the client is dragging their feet, that is still information. It's also sharing the bad news as soon as you get it too, most candidates will be disappointed but will understand that there were other good candidates in the mix and they hired someone who was a tighter fit.

 

This happens... you just have to let them go.

I would absolutely give the candidate feedback if they asked especially an irate one.   There's nothing litigious about saying that the people who work best with ___________ company are emotionally disciplined and avoid reactionary responses in business situations.  If you're lucky, they'll ask for an example of what you mean to which you would provide them as an example.

However, to be fair, this is only helpful to them if you are demonstrating respect to them regardless of their reaction.  Also, that you give an example of how they might have handled the situation differently / or said _________ instead of _________.

There is not to my knowledge any company that doesn't value emotional discipline and non-reactionary responses. 

Pam,

You are so right.  I think communication is the key.  If you communicate throughout the process, situations like these are kept at a minimum.  Candidates tend to get irate when they receive little or no feedback, but this happens less when they are updated regularly (good or bad).  I remember being a candidate myself and all I wanted to hear was "yes" or "no" so I could move on.  I think that is what most candidates want to hear.

pam claughton said:

I think that candidates value communication above all else. As long as you are keeping them posted regularly, even if it's an update that there's no update because the client is dragging their feet, that is still information. It's also sharing the bad news as soon as you get it too, most candidates will be disappointed but will understand that there were other good candidates in the mix and they hired someone who was a tighter fit.

 

I give them your phone number, Tim.    

:)

I would empathize with the candidate and do some active listening for a few minutes, especially if you have built up a relationship with this candidate.

However, I agree with other folks here - you may have dodged a bullet....it's normal to be frustrated but it's very different if the candidate is truly "angry" and really taking it out on you.

It is my experience that the candidates who have become really angry/irritated at any point in the process have turned out to be BIG trouble....

File 13...  Life is too short!

That's a tough one. I try to set expectations up front and tell them that there are no guarantee’s except that I will represent them honestly and fairly if they will deal with me the same way. Even at that, I get the occasional irate individual who needs to chew on someone's back end. So I let them chew on mine. It doesn’t hurt me and it keeps this (sometimes) nutcase away from the person paying the bills, my company.

At the end of their rant I will normally tell them that I really appreciate the feedback and I am always looking for process improvement. Then I ask, "What would you suggest as some ways to improve my process." Believe it or not, I have actually gotten some pretty good suggestions from doing this. However there are those times that I have received some suggestions of what I should do that are anatomically impossible. Those I pay no attention to and file that candidate under DNU. (“do not use” for the rookies)

By engaging the candidate the situation is often diffused, the candidate has had a chance to vent, I have gotten a couple of suggestions and I have protected my company. While it is not fool proof, I have had far more successes with than failures.

On such occasions:- 

1) Follow Up with the Client / Account Manager to Push harder for giving us (the sourcers) a justifying answer which would pacify the candidate for awhile;

2) If nothing concrete comes out of it, go out and be Frank and honest with the candidate. After all we represent their job prospects and thus deal with their careers. we cannot fool around with careers of Professionals who entrust us with responsibility to assure their next job, career growth improvement, which has direct impact on their personal & family life. 

As recruiters, tell them the truth and try to gain his/her confidence to keep working with you in future and for the time being release them from all obligations towards existing client engagement and advice to move ahead with other opportunities in pipeline.Think how much you can do, if the candidate likes to work with you. Then you get to start rendering services to churn someone’s career which impacts his/her life. Now that’s what the nature of true service should be and trust me this is where the main root of Job Satisfaction lies for us Recruiters.

Sorry for being strayed away from the main topic...actually get emotional and want to express / lot of things...!

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