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: 2119

Comment by Terence on November 29, 2012 at 12:55pm

@ Amy I may have gone a little bit over the top my sense of humour does run away with me sometimes, with regard to candidates telling their friends and colleagues, birds of a feather flock together I really don't want to get involved with their friends and their colleagues probably don't think much of them either.  I have an enviable referral rate because I get so involved with my candidates and will not rest until I have found them the right job and when someone I have done my best to help lets me down it really £$&^%%$ me off

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on November 29, 2012 at 1:12pm

Ok Terence fair enough... admirable that you take such interest in the candidates. In that case I have a binder full of candidates I can't place at my company and haven't been able to refer to other recruiters (as they're generally focused on finding people for their open reqs - the client being the priority in their minds).


Can I send them your way? :) Mind you I'm not suggesting that we shouldn't keep a robust pipeline going and have a strong network, but I would get fired if my focus was on finding someone the right job. I have 27 "right jobs" for someone - I need to be focused on finding the someone, that's all. No time to chase people around. I'm with Jerry on the 1 call 1 email rule.

Comment by Pamela Witzig on November 29, 2012 at 1:48pm

I would not want to keep this person in mind for future reference. Integrity is critical. Being completely unresponsive and avoiding the tough conversations says a lot to me about how they would (not) perform for my client. If I have to chase them, they're toast. Take it away by giving the deadline for a reply by which time you will notify the client they have withdrawn. If there was a legitimate reason for the absence, they'll jump on it. Chances are they will just be gratefully silent. Because they are lame.

Comment by Melanie Farnell on November 29, 2012 at 4:42pm

I ignored my gut once in this regard.  I was working with a candidate, that was a little difficult, even from the start.  I head hunted him, as he was fully employed at the time.  Even went through the "pain" questions with him, phone interview with me first...took almost 2 weeks for him to commit to a face to face...I pushed, he did...had the face to face.  Took another 2 weeks for him to firm up a meeting with my client.  I should have axed his application right there.  Anyway, he interviewed with my client.  He blew them away, they had an offer on the table within 24 hours.  Took him a week to accept it.  He signed and returned the offer to me, gave me a start date and told me he was giving his notice in the morning.  Followed up with him the next day, he had not given his notice and told me he would do it the following day.  2 days later he told me he gave his notice and was all set for a certain date.  I emailed client "good to go" blah blah blah...start date came and went.  Never heard from him ever again, no show, no call, no nothin.  Sneakily one day I decided to call his supposed to be ex-place of employment and just randomly asked for him without identifying myself.  Guy who answered said, "he's not here, he's at a client site".  Guy never gave his notice at all, or he accepted a counter offer and never informed me.  Either way, I got played, and my client was furious, and since then I have changed my tactics and expectations drastically.  If you are not in touch with me within 24 hours of me being in touch with you, I start to doubt your commitment to the process or position being offered.  2 or 3 days with no contact, or return call or email and I am withdrawing your application.  Period. Excited candidates ACT excited.  If they can not sell themselves to me, I can not sell them to my client.

Comment by Lisa A, Doorly on November 29, 2012 at 4:52pm

Melanie - he should go on your DNU list - permanently

Comment by Melanie Farnell on November 29, 2012 at 4:55pm

Hi Lisa, Oh, he did, a long time ago!  This was awhile ago it happened, and those notes are still in his file in our system.  I have been doing this long enough to know better, yet I ignored my gut and sure enough got burned.  Any recruiter in my company can read the whole story anytime they open his file:-)

Comment by Paul S. Gumbinner on November 29, 2012 at 4:58pm

My apologies.  I misunderstood your post and reread it again.  Sadly, all recruiters face this issue occasionally.  I once had a candidate who negotiated with a company (through me) for six weeks. Once the offer was firmed up and put in writing, he completely disappeared.  I even called his wife who told me to go away in not very nice terms.  Neither the client nor I ever heard from him again.  You can't take these things too seriously, even though financially it can really hurt (as in this case).  It is just part of recruiting.  I also had a candidate who got an offer and committed suicide that afternoon.  The company was not that bad.

Comment by Terence on November 30, 2012 at 4:58am

@Amy I guess it depends on which angle you come at it from, you can have all the vacancies in the world but if you haven't got the right people they are worth nothing, a top candidate on the other hand is worth it's weight in gold when I speak to someone who I know is the real deal I will go and find them a job by utilising my extensive contacts in the industry who doesn't want a top performer in their business?  Don't get me wrong I treat my clients extremely well and work the vacancies they give me 100% but at the start of the month give me 10 top candidates not 10 great jobs every time, obviously both is preferable!!

Comment by pam claughton on November 30, 2012 at 7:12am

I had a great trainer when I started out in this business. At first I thought his approach seemed a bit harsh as he didn't believe in second chances, or excuses of any kind. If a candidate canceled an interview with a client, he would never reschedule. He said if they did it once they will do it again, and if they were canceling for any reason, they just weren't that interested. I tend to be a bit of a softie though, and have fallen for sob stories about why they need to reschedule. Every single time I've been reminded of my boss when sure enough, they cancelled again. Or the people who confirm and then suddenly go MIA before the interview and don't return a call, when that happens they ALWAYS will no show for the interview. 

So the rule of thumb that tends to work is simply to never chase candidates. If you have to chase them, they just aren't that into you and whatever job you've presented. Better to figure it out early on.

Comment by Lisa A, Doorly on November 30, 2012 at 7:39am

Pam - I echo that sentiment.  I had a recent candidate who told me he was available "any time" for a phone interview - I suggested a time and he responds "Oh, I am not available then" and then proceeded to provide such a narrow window of availability - my spidey sense was activated.  He then cancels 15 minutes before the interview with the "family emergency" and then emails me back 5 minutes later saying "I am available now" - if someone is this flaky before the interview - bad omen for me.  I don't chase either - if you are truly interested - you will be available and show consistent interest.


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