Talent Acquisition

How to Lose a Candidate in 10 Days

Have you ever wondered what it is that annoys candidates the most about dealing with recruiters?

There are a number of things you can do to test a candidate’s patience – think Kate Hudson crazy in ‘How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days’. Over the 10 days make sure you introduce them to your split personality, turning commitment levels from 0 to 100 intermittently, depending on their application status. To really get under a candidate’s skin, all you have to do is follow this 10-day plan. (Candidates, maybe you can also relate.)

Day 1: Call a candidate with no agenda

Maybe you’re new to recruitment or simply low on your call times. Try calling a candidate with no agenda, get them to step outside their office for at least five minutes while you watch the seconds tick away and ask them about salary requirements, their previous managers, applications and any other fishing you can do! When the candidate asks about the opportunity you have in mind bluntly tell them that you don’t have one, just keen to find out in case something comes up.

Once you’re done, if you really want to test the candidate you can transfer them to your colleague who you sit next to in the office (and repeat process).

Day 2: Keep them guessing

When the candidate calls in to check whether the advert is describing a company which they’ve already applied to, enter into a Mexican stand off with them and firmly tell them that they can only know the company name if they tell you the company name by process of elimination. If they don’t want to agree to this then assure them that the only way for them to find out is for you to submit their application and let them know if it comes back as a duplication.

Day 3: Go hot and cold like there’s no tomorrow

Make sure you alter the amount of contact and pressure you put on the candidate based on whether it is you or the candidate who is required to complete a task. When you first realise that they could be a good fit for an open role make them feel like the world could end if they don’t leave work to go to a library and email over their CV within the hour. As soon as you have their CV you can take your foot off the pedal and if they chase feedback make them feel as if they’re being clingy, assure them that you have other important things to do and will get back when/if you get feedback!

Day 4: When they call in, get your colleague to say that you’re in a meeting

Still not got that feedback from the client? You basically asked the candidate to book days off from work the following week, assuring them that you would get them an interview slot. You assured them that, as it’s an urgent role you needed the commitment for interview and that you’d sort the rest. It’s the Friday afternoon and you told the candidate to book off the following Tuesday – they’re calling in and as your colleague calls out the candidate’s name it reminds you that you haven’t chased up the client (Oops!). Swerve that call, having your colleague tell them that you’re in a meeting is usually believable.

Day 5: Tell the candidate a different salary

You’ve had a look at the candidate’s CV and you don’t think the client will pay above a certain salary for the candidate’s experience, beat them down on their salary requirement which is lower than they are looking for. Assure them that this is the absolute maximum for the client. Get off the phone to the candidate and immediately send out a blanket email to candidates on the database advertising the role above the discussed salary.

Day 6: Don’t call me, I’ll call you

They sent you their CV to you months ago but there wasn’t anything open at the time which led to a number of ditched calls and lost emails. Now that there’s a live job, by lunchtime you’ve managed to call them, their partner and their company to let them know!

Day 7: Presentation prep, what presentation?

As they call in after their interview to tell you how it went, act surprised when they tell you that they weren’t aware that they were supposed to be doing a presentation, or maybe they were late as they went to the wrong company building (oops!). Plead ignorance, if they question too intensely about this tell them that you have another call and you’ll have to pop them a call back when you’re free.

Day 8: Oversell the job

Tell the candidate that, whilst it may not be the salary or even close to the type of job they told you they are looking for,  definitely emphasise they will be working on cutting edge, world leading stuff that definitely matches their profile. Vouch for the office location (even though you’ve not been there yet… the manager told you it’s nice, though). Short contract? Tell them there’s a 99% chance the company will keep them on even if you have no clue! Let the candidate take the day off work and sit back as they experience the disappointment for themselves!

Day 9: Book that much needed spa day on the day of the candidate’s interview

You’ve had a difficult week, treat yourself and book in a nice R&R day for the day of the candidate’s interview. In your excitement forget to mention this to the candidate so if they call in flustered about directions 5 minutes before the interview it will take at least 5 minutes for them to track down a colleague who is of any use!

Day 10: They didn’t get the job? No need to get in contact then…

No one likes to be the bearer of bad news, I’m sure the candidate will forget about it if you just don’t get back to them anyway. If they chase it up you can always dodge the call and send them a template email saying that you tried to call to give feedback but couldn’t get through, just a one liner saying they were unsuccessful will be fine!

Guilty of the above? Hey, no one’s perfect but don’t expect a Christmas card from said candidate/s next year!

By Naomi Baggs

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