What Candidates Do to Us

In the world of recruiting, we hear it all!

In my three years of recruiting, I think I have heard every excuse known to man for a candidate not showing up for their interview or better yet….not showing up for their first day of work. In these hard economic times, WHO WOULD DO THAT??

As much as you coach them, prepare them, and invest your “blood, sweat, and tears” into making sure they are 100% prepared for your client, the reality is, they will let you down. This is not always the case, but sometimes they will disappoint.

At this point, YOU as a recruiter can do two things:

  1. Take it personally and spend half of your day tracking your candidates down for an explanation. By doing this, you are wasting your time and money.
  2. You can choose to move on. They are not saying no to you or to the opportunity you gave them; they said no to the job, not you.

This is a situation that you can’t control. As recruiters, we like to think that we can control every issue. But this is not the case.

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Screening Red Flags

The best we can do in this situation is to pick up on ANY red flags in the beginning stage of our screening process and really gauge their true interest in the job being offered. This skill takes time, and even seasoned recruiters can and will be burned.

By really listening to them, you are less likely to get the call from your client asking you where your candidate is and why they did not show up for the interview or first day of work.

What screening methods have helped you weed out the candidates who are most likely to pull a stunt like this? Leave a comment and let me know!

Kati Basso has been in the recruiting industry for three years. She is an Account Manager and manages one of MOUNTAIN, LTD's largest accounts. She attended NAPS in Orlando, Florida, for her first public speaking engagement. She speaks to recruiters who are new in the industry and shares her experiences that helped her in her first years as a new recruiter. Her next speaking engagement with be at NEAPS in April 2009.


2 Comments on “What Candidates Do to Us

  1. Here is the “best defense” against fall offs:
    (1) cover counteroffer in your first conversation
    (2) cover counteroffer in every other conversation
    (3) get the canddiate’s commitment to this: If I am willing to present you to my client, and I place you, defined as a verbal offer with your verbal acceptance, I want your word that if you fail to show up for work on the date that was agreed, and fail to remain there for sixty days,that you will reimburse me for my expenses”.

    The mistake is to say “you will pay the fee” which is not enforceable. Reimbursement of expenses IS enforceable. Make your expenses one third of the fee…they will think twice about not showing up. Trust me, this script works, and is a “contract” in many courts.

  2. A great post that reminds us that in recruiting, we deal with PEOPLE not widgets, and people are unpredictable.

    I really tried to focus on qualifying the seriousness of my candidate’s intentions upfront. Basic recruitment questions to determine why the candidate is leaving their current employer, what the candidate is looking for in their next job, and how well the candidate has thought out this opportunity can help prevent this situation. For example, I would ask “what their family, spouse, kids think of the move” to see if the candidate has engaged the key stakeholders. The last thing you want is to lose the deal because the candidate’s spouse is not supportive. Or to uncover potential landmines with questions like, “When you review this opportunity, what concerns or reservations do you have with this job?”

    If you really don’t trust their responses, then it might be possible to ask them to blind copy you when they send their resignation letter in. Then like Neil says call them to talk about it, ask how it went, and ask if a counter was offered etc. Stay focused and engaged through out the process with support and communication through to the end.

    In conjunction to Neil’s best defense approach, you can provide some incentive to show up and remain on the job for x amount of days. The old “carrot AND stick” method is very HR but it can be effective sometimes.

    Anyways, here is a post with more information:


    Good luck!

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