How Do You Want To Be Treated?

Recently I responded to this a Twitter, post and the ensuing replies reminded me that I wanted to write about this topic before now – how do you treat your candidates at the end of the process? Would you want to receive the same treatment if you were in a job search?

The above tweet refers to internal recruiters “hating” that they have to call the candidates that are not selected and giving them the bad news. He is appreciative in his comment because someone must have called him and he got his closure on that particular position. I responded that I did not “hate” this part of the job but it was not my favorite. Every job has an aspect that people do not want to perform but calling the candidates and telling them the final decision is critical to our success. Yes, notifying candidates that you have spoken to during the process will actually help you and your company in the long run.

Over the years I have heard the excuses by both internal and external recruiters on why they do not call the candidates:

• They do not have enough time in the day to call them
• They did not receive feedback from the manager on why they are passing on them so what do they tell the candidate?
• They only want to focus on those that will be hired or (if you are TPR) increase their commission checks
• Lastly they just don’t like making the calls (whimps).

What gets me is that WE are the ones that INITIATED the contact! We are the ones that told the candidate his or her skills were “impressive” and “there is a potential fit”. We are the ones that pumped them up about the role, the company and treated them with great respect during the process. That all ends as soon as you find out they are no longer under consideration by the hiring manager. That impressive candidate just became a loser in your mind and now they do not deserve your attention. Cruel? You bet. Playing with emotions? Most definitely. Avoiding confrontation/conflict? Need I say more?

Back in the early 90’s when I started my career at an agency one of my managers repeatedly stressed the need to notify all candidates of their status because:

• We might be able to place them in the future
• If they have a positive experience they will want to work with us again
• He was convinced that the majority of our competition did not practice this and it would lead to more referrals

Being the early 20 something know-it-all, I did not initially follow the advice and used the same excuses listed above. Wow, I could never have been more wrong. When he reminded me of the golden rule that every child learns at a young age and that if we are true to our word then good things will come and not necessarily in a larger commission check (initially).

Now I am a long term corporate recruiter and I have been following this practice ever since that talk with my old manager and it has paid dividends over the years. Candidates that I “rejected” (for a lack of a better word) have referred countless people to me or my teams because of how they were treated during the process. I have recruiters that used to work for me or that I interviewed but never hired refer candidates to me. Some of these referrals have come several years after the call. Lastly, during these (sometimes rough calls) the candidates tell me they appreciate it and that it is rare a COMPANY will contact their candidates. It gets me every time.

As a recruiter you signed up for the good and the bad of the job. Please do not perpetuate the negative image of corporate recruiting by not stepping up and treating the candidates how you would like to be treated. A little time management, empathy and customer service will go a long way in making you successful. The candidates deserve to know and by giving them a call you will move your company forward.

I welcome your thoughts.



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4 responses to “How Do You Want To Be Treated?

  1. Thank you for writing this! It is a difficult part of the recruiting process, but the overall candidate experience includes the conclusion. I give a final answer to every candidate I have spoken with during the hiring process, and I have received many (surprisingly) positive responses.

    Thanks again!

  2. Steve

    There is no joy with rejecting a candidate but if I feel the candidate is still a good fit for other opportunities, I will keep looking for a new position for them. I had 1 guy interview for me 4 times only to be rejected 3 times but I never gave up on him and to this day he is still very appreciative and we still remain friends today.

  3. wow, I love this post. I wish that every recruiters would think this way!

  4. Gabriel

    It’s so refreshing to read this. I personally have been on the receiving end of the cold shoulder and it’s never much fun. It doesn’t take that much time to reach out and respond.

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