Talent Acquisition

The Most Off-Putting Things Candidates Say to Recruiters

A huge part of the fun of working as a recruiter is getting to speak to so many different people all the time. Helping them on their way to getting their dream role with your client is a great feeling! It’s always interesting learning how different candidates have navigated through their careers to date, and representing top performers is exhilarating. However, some conversations with candidates are simply painful.

Like any job, recruiting has it’s pitfalls, which often come in the form of bitter candidates giving you bad attitude for no reason. There’s nothing more disheartening than stumbling across an excellent CV, only to have them say these things to you:

“Yeah put me forward, whatever really, I just want to move”

No, no, no. This is not something a recruiter wants to hear. Desperation is an ugly look for candidates. Their case for being the best suitor to the role must be compelling, and you don’t want to be representing them for a role that they really couldn’t care less about.

“I don’t want to discuss my salary details with you”

Sorry mate, we need to address this. Salary talks are never fun, but part of being a good recruiter means you are able to match the client’s budget to your candidate’s worth. Sure, candidates don’t have to reveal everything to you over the phone the first time you talk, but if you’re going to represent them, they need to be open with you.

“I don’t care if I’m being unrealistic”

Working with a candidate who is confident and knows what they want out of their career is always the ideal situation. What isn’t ideal, is when they are totally unrealistic about the level or salary they’re reaching for. Being foolishly cocky or self-assured and refusing to budge on outlandish expectations is not worth the hassle dealing with.

“My friend moved and got X salary”

When a candidate turns around and backs up their outrageous demands with a poorly referenced anecdote from a friend… that’s when you need another coffee immediately.

“If you don’t put me forward or I’ll go direct”

As the recruiter, it is up to your expertise to discern the strongest shortlist of candidates, not the candidate themselves. There is nothing more off-putting than a candidate who threatens to go apply directly with the organisation.

“I didn’t have time to prepare”

Representing a candidate who interviews with your client, only mentioning afterwards that they never looked at the prep material you sent them is very painful to hear.

“Why are you asking me so many questions?”

As a recruiter you have to understand your candidates position thoroughly and be able to make educated judgements about the types of roles that might suit them with your clients. Candidates who get defensive at your many questions just show they’ve probably got loads to hide.

“I’m basically doing my boss’s job for them”

Wrong. Candidates who claim to be doing their boss’s job are a bit delusional. A candidate who wasn’t bragging and simply being truthful would word it in a different way anyway; they’d instead explain that they feel they are operating at the same level / have similar responsibilities to their boss and have no room for promotion, hence looking around for a role where they have some room to move. They wouldn’t come out and claim they are better than their boss.

Have I missed any? Tweet me and tell me what other off-putting things are said by candidates!

By Phoebe Spinks

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