Top 10 Ways to Identify and Eradicate a Pest

Some candidates are pests. They just bug you. These are the folks who work hard to take up as much of your time as they can. Here's how to identify them and how to deal with them:

1) Pests apply to every job on your corporate job site. They reason that if applying to one job is good then applying to 200 is even better. They don't realize that this is a sure fire way to be identified as a pest. Where I work we disposition every job that a candidate applies to. That results in a long list of rejections which is like a neon sign to recruiters that says "Don't hire me!"

2) Pests track you down every way they can. They email you. They leave multiple voice mail messages. They send you messages on LinkedIn, twitter or facebook. They call other people in your company to let them know how great they are. Pests don't understand that taking a shotgun approach does not cause them to be viewed in the best light. They are viewed as spammers or junk mailers and nobody likes them.

3) Pests drop by your office and ask for just a few minutes of your time. They bug your front office people who may not know how to deal with them.

4) Pests tell you that they were referred by someone at your company. Oftentimes you eventually find out that the person that "referred" them doesn't even know them or perhaps doesn't recommend them.

5) Pests show up at every job fair. They tell you that they met one of your colleagues at a previous job fair who told them that they were a great fit for your company.

6) Pests write cover letters that have two columns: one that lists your requirements and another that shows where their skills match up. This would be OK if they didn't stretch the truth so much or make nebulous associations.

7) Pests think that listing everything they have ever done on their resume is a good idea.

8) Pests think that providing a long list of references with their resume is a good idea.

9) Pests think that name dropping will help their case.

10) Pests just won't take "no" for an answer

There is a really simple way to deal with pests and it does not involve the use of harsh chemicals. When you identify a pest there is just one thing to do and that is to pick up the phone and call them. Genuinely let them know that you appreciate their interest and give them an opportunity to talk. Make sure that you really listen to what they have to say and that they know that you are listening. After that have a really straight conversation with them. Review their resume with them and the positions they applied for and let them know that you don't see a fit. You should never give them details so just keep it general. I've done this countless times and mostly I receive a thank you for taking the time to reach out. An amazing thing usually happens. The pest ceases to be a pest!

Views: 50

Tags: apply, dropping, eradicate, identify, job, name, pest, requirements, resume

Comment by RECPEST - Recruiting Pest on November 2, 2009 at 7:43am
buzz buzz Nooooooooooooooooooooooo :)
Comment by Simon Meth on November 2, 2009 at 9:07am

Funny .


Comment by Kathleen Smith on November 2, 2009 at 5:29pm
Fabulous! thanks for the great, and concise outline along with "helpful" tips on eradication.
Comment by Simon Meth on November 2, 2009 at 11:32pm
Hi Kathleen,

Fabulous? That's very high praise.


Comment by Simon Meth on November 2, 2009 at 11:33pm
Hi KarenM,

Awesome? Now I'm getting a complex. I'm sure some candidate will bring me down to earth soon.


Comment by Jim Canto on November 3, 2009 at 8:25am
My take? Well, I'm thinking that phone call you suggested is all they were after in the first place. Though, I would bet they were hoping for a better result.

Simon, when you make those calls, how often have you been pleasantly surprised by the candidate? Ever end up hiring a "pest?"

Just curious.
- Jim
Comment by Simon Meth on November 3, 2009 at 8:38am
Hi Jim,

Thank you for your comment. I'm rarely surprised. I think that my standard rule applies to these calls as it does for screening resumes: 100 resumes results in 10 somewhat interesting resumes, results in 5 people worth calling, results in 3 worth interviewing, results in 1 hire. So from the candidate perspective you have a 1 in 100 chance of getting hired if I'm screening your resume. Bad as that seems, it's a lot better than with many companies because I actually view all the resumes for people who apply to my jobs.


Comment by Jacqueline Bozorgi on November 3, 2009 at 9:55am
I got a good laugh from this. So much of it holds truth. I think Karen is right when she says a contributing factor could be the desperation of todays typical candidate. While it is good to be aggressive, these people need to realize that if you put all your eggs in one basket, and the eggs go are not eating breakfast. ;-)

Seriously, do candidates really think they will capture a recruiters attention by applying to multiple jobs that they don't qualify for? This puts them in the reject box without a glance, even if they actually did qualify for one of the positions.

I find that blunt honesty and constructive criticism is the best way to deal with these people.
Comment by Jim Canto on November 3, 2009 at 12:26pm
Karen (and other reders :)... Simon touched on it in his reply. Only 5% of resumes he receives are "worth" interviewing. (P.S. That puts a lot of weight on the candidates ability to craft a "catchy" resume... but that's another story.)

The 5% rule supports the candidates perception that they will not be called after submitting their resume. Factor in the reality Simon pointed out in his reply above; "Bad as that seems, it's a lot better than with many companies because I actually view all the resumes for people who apply to my jobs."

And I would ask you...

If you were a candidate, and you believed you were qualified for the job (let's assume this for conversation.) Are you going to sit back, while your savings dwindles and credit rating enters the cross-hairs of doom, and let the 5% rule work against you in an environment where you already know many recruiters either don't or can't review all the resumes they receive? Seriously. I highly doubt it.

A qualified candidate who hounds you aggressively is still a pest by definition. The difference is; You want them as a pet. :-) Be glad I'm not applying to your jobs. Because I would knock down your door (metaphorically of course) to get your attention. Why, because I believe I'm the "talent you're looking for." And, if I end up in your discard pile because I'm aggressive... well... your loss. Isn't that the kind of confidence and ambition your want on your team?

ok.. I'm done.. for now.
As always... thanks for hearing me out.

- Jim
Comment by Elisa Abner-Taschwer on November 3, 2009 at 2:35pm
When I do training on " How to conduct a professional Job Search" I tell people that there is a fine line between being persistent and being a pest and that they NEVER want to cross that line. I explain how to be persistent yet professional and reasonable. Some people will never get it, but once explained to them, most are very willing to do what it takes to get a job and realize that being a pest is the first step to remaining unemployed.


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