Talent Acquisition Workplace

How Can Recruiters Deal with the “Dear John” E-mail?

We have all had one of these emails in our recruitment lives. So how do you deal with one?

It happened today. First day back from my holidays and the night before you return, you drop all your placed candidates and pending starters a lovely text to say “Hi! I am back, how are things? Let’s catch up during the day….” and everyone bar The One texts you back to say “Yes, great! Speak at (insert time)…

Why didn’t they text back?

So, the “one who didn’t text back” – your paranoid mind immediately suspects the worst. Your rational brain says:

“Be reasonable, you text on a Sunday night; you can’t expect someone to respond then…”

But then Sunday night becomes Monday morning and before you know it, it is already 10.30 in the morning and you are thinking, “Why haven’t they text me yet?!”.

You hold off calling and sending another text as you don’t want to sound like a stalker.

You update with their new employer, your client who is waiting to embrace them with open arms this time next week.

You know, new PC, mobile and business cards sat waiting – training booked in, place on the next night out paid for…..

The e-mail:

Then the email from The One pings into your inbox at 10.45am. Your heart pounds as you ‘scan’ read the first paragraph.

Then you realise the email is to your AND the client as well, so you know now there is no way back as they clearly don’t want to be convinced or cajoled by you and are clearly not taking it. Oh, I am assuming you are paranoid too which is why my fear was right. They are backing out of the offer, extending gracious thanks, apology  to both…and so on….

Bear in mind, said candidate has been for dinner with the client (paid for personally by them), has been emailing and speaking to the client directly as recently as last Wednesday to sort out start times and a client visit next week…

What next?

I have spoken to my client again now. She is literally devastated as apart from the disappointment of them not starting, they had discussed candidates doing this to THEM in the past and apparently my candidate had even commented on “how cowardly an email rejection was“. Oh the irony!

And yet, they thought it was acceptable to let my client down this way? Double standards?

How to deal with the situation:

Now call me soft but I always give the benefit of the doubt: something has obviously changed in that person’s situation and you know what, had they just called me and the client, I would have not tried to convince them (anyone who knows me professionally will know I totally respect and advocate my candidates making their own decisions….) but to at least have the courtesy to CALL me and tell me. RING my client in person…..

But it is the way in which it was done. An email is a coward’s way out. It is true. It shows a lack of respect for the time the client and recruiter have taken – even if you acknowledge that in your email which this candidate did; it is a reflection of your integrity to pick the phone up and explain the reasons WHY you can’t start employment for that client.

How do YOU deal with this? It does happen to every recruiter, although hopefully not too often. What scenarios have you had which sound worse than this? Is it a reflection of you as a recruiter or is it just a transactional way of dealing with it? Am I too soft or am I right to think this candidate took the coward’s way out?

In the words of Debbie Harry’s infamous song “Call me” ….. with important news. Save the emails and texts for confirmations and minor info. Not the important stuff like changes in circumstances or altering your decision, whatever the reason….. That is just my sentiment in life generally.

By Lysha Holmes

Lysha Holmes is founding director of Qui Recruitment established in 2005 to completely challenge the traditionally poorly perceived service offered by other Rec 2 Rec providers. Lysha as Qui Recruitment is dedicated to representing the best talent to the best suited roles, focussing on placing recruiters of all levels in a candidate led service across the NW.