This problem is becoming a increasing worry for me and my staff.

We interview the candidate, sumbit candidate, tell the client what our expectations are of the next available interview time - we stress the urgency etc etc - and then we WAIT! Sometimes things come up, sometimes we get a dud. However this is just completely out of our control.

Now we have candidates phoning every hour on the hour to get feedback and we have nothing.

The more we tell them, we will call them the moment we know what is going on - the more they DON'T hear us.

This is so frustrating as it is only obvious that we want the process to move as fast as possible, we would not work with the client if we knew we would never hear from them again - but candidates don't seem to understand this. They think we like to spend all our time interviewing , and then submitting, and then just walking away - why???


Please can someone give us some advice on how to come across to our candidates, without sounding arrogant, pushy or aggresive. How do we explain to them that sometimes this is just out of our control, without them getting upset with US?

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First, welcome to the RBC Samantha-Leigh Harper. You came to the right place for some answers to your question(s).

Second, getting a bad apple in an employer is inevitable (as you know…liked your earlier story about being fired by your own company…liked the story, not the experience) as is getting less than great candidates. The built-in unpredictability makes for the fun, the dumb, the ShITs and the world go ‘round.

Without sounding too cliché--one answer to your concern regarding candidates expecting righteous responses and  responsive employers—is cliché--it goes with the territory. So the quicker you can insert the reality of what can, may and will go down with your candidates the better. And that's not being pushy or arrogant--it's being realistic in a work environment that has gone from bad to worse world-wide.

When I brief my candidates about expectations…I walk them through the “best and worst scenarios”. Telling them upfront in a frank but optimistic manner will lessen their anxiety somewhat when no response is the response.

As recruiters we can empathize and sympathize with our recommended candidates because we’re essentially in the same boat—waiting for righteous responses as well. So an emphasis during negotiations with clients is in order. Not that it’ll fix future problems but it goes in the direction of managing expectations.

Finally, have a Plan B in your arsenal of responses. And that is to squarely confront bad manners; bad business practices; and/or poor performance.  Confronting their lack of response to your concerns, one way or the other, needs to happen for a mutually benefiting relationship to go forward.


Thanks for the question. I'd like to share my two cents.

Please can someone give us some advice on how to come across to our candidates, without sounding arrogant, pushy or aggressive. We can do this as recruiters by putting ourselves in the candidate's shoes. When was the last time you were in-between jobs and generating no income? How important was it for you to hear back - whether a yes or a no - from the employers your were wooing? I think when we genuinely try to relate to the pressure that comes along with looking for a job, we won't come off as arrogant, but as empathetic and concerned. We can make sure our candidate knows, "I understand how excited you are about this opportunity and I'm doing all I can to ensure that you are kept informed at each juncture along the way."

How do we explain to them that sometimes this is just out of our control, without them getting upset with US?

We do just that - explain the process, being honest about our roles as influencers and not decision makers. The candidate has to know that the final choice on who to interview/hire is the clients.  As far as candidate's being upset, that's their right to feel however they want to feel. I don't focus on that.  I really don't look at them being upset with me, but rather frustrated with their current situation and the process of finding a new position. Sometimes, a frustrated job seeker's emotions can get in the way, and all we can do is apologize for the delay and reassure them that once we get word from the client, we will relay it to them. If we keep our word and follow through, I think the candidates will feel like they were treated fairly, even if not selected.

Now, if a candidate is actually calling you every hour on the hour for feedback, there are some issues going on that for me, would serve as red flags. That just seems over the top! I would be firm and let them know calling me every hour is not pushing the process along since, again, as I've already explained, the process is in motion at the client's level until I am brought back into the loop.

Hope this helps!


I believe Valentino presented it very nicely.

We always go through the entire process (best and worst case) before even scheduling the candidate for their first interview.

We explain every step to them and after each one we then ask "Can you do this?" or "Do you understand this?" 

Then, if at any time during the process, they ask something that has previously been explained, a gentle reminder of the fact that we have spoken about these situations at the very beginning is generally all that needs to be said. 

Of course there are exceptions and then an additional explanation may be necessary.


All the best,


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