All of us Recruiters have been through it-the dreaded MIA candidate. We speak with them, feel we develop a great relationship with them, get an interview set up with them and the client and then *POOF* they disappear. I have never had such an issue until I changed markets. I guess the hustle and bustle of a larger city seems to make people think that Recruiters are evil or not human. I tend to pride myself with finding great candidates and developing relationships with them. But when I do not get the same common courtesy back that I show them, I feel like I just got dumped. You don’t want to be the crazy ex-girlfriend however you would like to at least like some closure. All I would like to hear back is “Im no longer interested”. If they let me know that, I can still reach out to them or them reach out to me for future positions.  Basically, I have set up a candidate with an interview, and then reached out to that candidate 4 days prior to the day before their interview with no answer by email or phone. I am now stuck with calling and emailing that candidate every day until the day before their interview.  As stated I do not want to go crazy on him. I am now stuck with messaging this candidate on LinkedIn and texting. I would like to keep him in mind for future positions. I just need a response.

Any ideas on how to better handle this?

Views: 2120

Comment by Terence on November 29, 2012 at 11:10am

Hi Jerry,

No one is perfect, even the best recruiter will get hoodwinked or let down sometimes and it is extremely annoying to put it lightly and I will not just let it go I have to have satisfaction if duelling was still allowed it would be pistols at dawn

Comment by David Weaver on November 29, 2012 at 11:15am

Ashley, I have been recruiting for 4 years and have had this happen a couple of times as well.  I send them a message to as many places as I can and ask them to contact me about our prior conversations.  If they don't, I make a note in their file and move on and would not present them anywhere else.  If they do, and they have a valid reason (not sure what that would be but never say never), then I might try again.  They key for me though is that it is my reputation on the line with the client and the client is the one that pays the bills.  Anyone that is going to jeopardize that is someone I will not represent ever again.  

A harder and related question is what you do when you have a client that does the same thing.  Fantastic candidate, initial interview and then goes dark with no feedback on the interview, the candidate or the position.  This is even more frustrating to me because I am very reluctant to "fire" a client....Thoughts or suggestion?

Comment by Jerry Albright on November 29, 2012 at 11:21am

There is no point in convincing this person to drag his @$$ into your client's office.

I love reality.  I relish knowing how things "really" are.

2 weeks ago we had a sendout scheudled for an interview with a client.  This person "appeared" to be qualified, had completed a phone screen with the client and was scheduled for a 2:30 meeting with the team a few days later.


A call was already scheduled with our recruiter and this candidate for 9 am the morning of.  So - our recruiter called her at 9, got voicemail and left a message.  Around 10 or so she called me to say "I haven't heard from __________ yet - should I call again?"  I said no.  Leave it.

So by 1:30 we hadn't heard from her.  We knew it was about a 1/2 hour drive to the client.  So - one more call was made.   Candidate answered "Oh yes.  I was going to call you.  Can we reschedule for next week? I had to bring my child home from school.  She's sick."

Recruiter calls me to bring me up to speed.  "What should we do?"  I said "I don't buy it.  So - she's out.  Sorry."  Call her back and let her know if she can't make the interview, then we're going to pass.

So Recruiter calls her back.  Candidate answers "Hello.  Oh - my doctor is on the other line.  Can you hold on a minute?"  so Recruiter sits there, waiting....and waiting.......for 4 minutes.  I'm on the other line also waiting.  I finally suggested "Just hang up". So she did.  I said "she'll never call you again" ----------and guess what?

The candidate NEVER called her back.

If our recruiter would not have called her (and we're even suprised she answered) the candidate would have just into the darkness.

Reschedule?  NO WAY!!!!!!!!!!!!

Take a hint people!

Comment by bill josephson on November 29, 2012 at 11:28am

Ashley, with 32 years of recruiting experience to draw from in Accounting/Finance, Information Technology, Medical Devices Manufacturing, and Defense Engineering I've never had a positive result (sale) with a candidate who became MIA.......with the exception they may have told me they were going away and I forgot, or they might have forgotten to tell me.

Likely they changed their minds and conflict avoiders not wanting to spend the emotional capital to explain to you why they aren't following through.  Bottom line is the opportunity must not be important enough to them to be responsible no matter how they sounded as their actions count--just like dating.

I'd use the 'take away' approach leaving them that V/M or Email letting them know you're certain they must be busy and, if so, that's okay but to please let you know by a deadline time/day or you'll look for another candidate. 

Unlike dating, don't take their inaction personally as they don't know you so they aren't rejecting you.  But their behavior deteriorates towards you as your services are "no longer needed," hence of value to them.

I'm naturally trusting/forthcoming giving everyone one chance.  Recruiting has challenged my M.O.

Best of luck going forward

Comment by Wally on November 29, 2012 at 12:03pm

@Ashley, couldn't help but weigh in on this as most everybody in recruiting has had this experience! Mine involved a candidate scheduled for a client interview, who blew off my calls pre-interview and decided to move out of town for a new job. Don't worry, I finally found him and "congratulated" him!

The first thing to know is that you can't take it personally. We have control over almost all steps of the recruiting processes except the human condition. Candidates tend to show their stripes at different times in the process, and this kind of behavior (assuming there is no valid reason why they vanish) provides a great data point.

Agree with others who say get them to adhere to a pre-interview process which they select and you work around; this way you can hedge against bad behavior. Re-check with them each step of the way on how they feel about the opportunity, and see if there are any red flags.

In the end there are things you can't control, but just wait for the moment a year later when this candidate reaches out to you as they are looking for a new job - totally forgetting how they treated you with this process:)

Comment by Dawn Goar on November 29, 2012 at 12:08pm

Well, I hate to say this but it is the luck of the draw. I have been in this business for over 20 years and I have heard and seen it all. I recently had a candidate go on site twice and had multiple interviews, offered the position and "Poof" on day one he was a no show. I didnt know why, what where, when or how. I called every number I had for him and still nothing. I reviewed my actions making sure I did everything I was suposed to do and you know what...? I found that as recruiters we can have our detectors on high alert for the duds,  and cover all of our bases with these candidates, but they have to want it. We as recruiters work very hard to locate these candidates and kick ourselves when it doesnt go right. Now its not often, but when it goes wrong .....My fellow recruiters keep your chin up:) ! Oh and I love the Blog idea I'm in.

Comment by Lisa A, Doorly on November 29, 2012 at 12:17pm

I think most of us would automatically think - oh no something awful must have happened.  Then as time passes you realize - they are a flake and not very professional.  I like the flake blog idea.

Comment by Amber on November 29, 2012 at 12:40pm

@ David - some smart guy on this site once led me to realize that "firing" a client ends up being a real positive. It frees up your time to work on productive and paying searches, lowers your stress level like a 1000%, and lets you keep your credibility. Since I have started being selective in who I work with we have been busier then ever, more revenue comes in, and a much happier work environment!

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on November 29, 2012 at 12:45pm

Everything Jerry said!!! Terence, best case scenario you're setting yourself up for a stress induced heart attack. Worst case you become known as the crazy stalker recruiter who won't leave people alone (you really think the candidates you're "punishing" don't tell their friends and colleagues?)

Comment by Darryl Dioso on November 29, 2012 at 12:49pm

Amen Amber. I'd rather 3 or 4 quality searches that are good billing as well as can be realistically filled than a board full of 20 orders filled with crap (e.g. we need a neurosurgeon for $40k) or headaches (e.g. they just weren't a good fit) or combo headache-crap (e.g. you need to work with our head of HR, Mr. Recruitersareathreattome). 

You get the picture.


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