Talent Acquisition

4 Final Straws: When to Farewell a Flaky Candidate

Agency recruiters have a tough gig, having to find both the products and the customers.

The customers – your clients – are always the hardest nuts to crack, as they’re the ones who’ll be forking out the big bucks (and rightfully so) for your service. The products – your candidates – are generally easier to manage and woo, as you represent the gateway between them and their dream career… and they don’t pay a thing.

Candidates should be (and usually are) grateful for the free service you provide them, however sometimes they can get their noses out of joint and mess you around a little, just because they feel they can. Candidates who think they are super hot property and harvest unrealistic expectations and sense of self worth are ones to watch out for. Don’t let these types of candidates get you down, calling them out might be necessary for both your sanity and wellbeing. You will probably find you even call these candidates’ bluff.

In every sales industry, sales people have to bite their tongue at times to make the customer happy. For recruiters, this also applies to the products, who are vital to the sale too. Having said this, there does come a point where you need to draw a line in the sand and say ‘no’ to bad attitude and disrespect from candidates. If your candidates are flaky and guilty of the below, they probably aren’t going to make you a fee anyway… so maybe it’s time to wave goodbye to them for good!

1. They keep rescheduling their interviews last minute

Diary management is a skill in itself, and phoning you up prior to their interview to reschedule the time or date is an absolute no-go. Sure, people get sick and emergencies happen, so a one-off is probably acceptable. However, if your candidate has a habit of having ‘work emergencies’, or wrote the book on last-minute excuses to get out of an interview, they aren’t worth your time. Having to constantly let down your client or the HR mediators, even if it isn’t your fault, reflects badly on you. If your candidate can’t get their diary in order, they obviously aren’t committed and are stringing you along.

2. They make you wait days for a quick response

My old boss used to say ‘time kills deals’. In today’s technological age where smart phones offer multiple was to communicate, there is very little excuse for a candidate making you wait days for answers to important questions. Your job is to manage client and candidate expectations, but if one party is failing to provide answers in a timely fashion, long and drawn-out processes ensue and your business will be negatively affected.

3. They insist on you only calling them after hours

Fair enough, a lot of candidates are already in full time work and a simultaneous job hunt is stressful and time consuming for them. However, it is their responsibility to free up some of their time to correspond with you and get the interview / application processes moving forward. Asking for you to only call after hours is disrespectful to the service you are trying to provide them – if every single candidate asked you to call them after hours you’d turn into a nocturnal phone operator twiddling your thumbs between 9-5. You need to operate during business hours for a reason, and while you can be accommodating and flexible to their schedule, they also need to meet you half way if you are going to have a positive relationship. They aren’t the centre of the universe.

4. They continue to leave out vital information about their job search

Failing to tell you they are interviewing with a competitor, or about to receive an offer elsewhere, is not acceptable. It is important to understand where your candidate is at, so you can manage expectations and do your best to get them the offer they are after with your client. Being misinformed about big things due to a candidate failing to keep you informed makes you look like you aren’t very thorough. It can also lead to huge amounts of your time being wasted.

Image: Shutterstock

By Phoebe Spinks

Account Executive at Link Humans, download our 12 Essentials of Employer Branding eBook now.