When I started off in the recruitment industry things were great – deals were coming in, my team were happy, my boss was happy, I was happy …. 3 months later I had my first few experiences of dealing with candidates that well, just lost interest. One day everything is fine, the next they are avoiding your call’s, come up with excuses, become inflexible etc etc.
As the years went by I learnt more and more what to look out for and when you should be thinking “Ok this guy is slipping” – here are a few of them and how I would deal with them, some you may relate to and some maybe new to you.
- Candidate stops returning your call – No matter how good you are this will happen to everyone. You cant exactly stalk them, however you make 2 to 3 calls and maybe send a text message. They may not be interested. I always try to stay positive – “there in a meeting”, “they forgot to tell me there travelling” … Honestly no one wants to waste time, 3 messages and it’s time to move on.
- Willing to take any job – I see this more and more in the Middle East, not so much in the UK. Your applicants send their CV, covering letter, you give them a call and they don’t know what job there applying for – there wasting everyone’s time. In this instance I would re qualify the candidate see if they really are serious about the job you have – then you make the call.
- Change of meeting and interview time – Once is fine, twice maybe but when it keeps happening its a big tell. They were available for one time now they can’t come and it becomes increasingly difficult to pin down a time. I would be quiet direct and ask what the problem is – it maybe that they feel the company is not for them, the job is not for them. But you have to find out – the recruitment process will move on and if you cant work it out with your candidate its time to move on.
- Interview – no show! – This is huge. You have taken the time to speak with the client, arrange a suitable time with the candidate and they don’t show! This can be frustrating as you have emailed everything across and spent time prepping the candidate ad you will look bad in front of your client. There maybe a genuine reason in this case do everything you can to reschedule. If this is just a pattern that has been evolving over time, its time to move on.
- Change in priorities – Working in Dubai candidate are a lot more well reserved then those in the UK. “I want better prospects”, “I want to lead a team”. You set up the interview you have re – qualified them and then at second stage – “oh by the way Krishna I want a lot more money” … Of course money is important but now there dismissing the fantastic career move you got them. You need to ask – “what’s changed”. Speak to your candidate find out whats changed, is it change of circumstance? maybe there boss has found out there looking?, maybe they have a counter offer – whatever it is you need to find out and get it resolved.
- Delay tactics – This tends to happen around offer stage. Got them an offer and now you have made the offer they need a week to make a decision ….. now they want a another week, maybe one more day … not a good sign. You should be wary that they could be using your offer letter as leverage, maybe countering on a counter offer, using it to get a pay rise – everything anything will go through your mind. This can be avoided and this is something you should be doing from day 1 – relationship building – regular contact, regular updates, informing them of changes, meeting your candidates for meetings – if you have a string relationship this should rarely happen at this stage of the game.
- Incomplete paperwork – Time to get the paperwork references, visa (for Middle East candidates), contracts etc. There stalling why? Do they not have references? Is there something in the contract they don’t like? Surely not replying promptly raises alarm bells?? Again this is where your relationship and communication comes in – whats happened? why are they not sending in there paperwork? Do they have multiple offers?
- First day, no show! – This rarely happens, first day and they don’t show up or even better I remember in London, candidate was ready for his first day and at lunch time went missing. Remember that the recruitment cycle doesn’t stop once the deal is done. Your relationship should carry on with both the candidate and the client and if there is a shift in behavior then this is noticed and you can act upon it straight away.
I hope this list helps. Hopefully you get to work with candidates that are honest, like open dialogue and inform you of changes. The main reason why we lose candidate is because of questions they don’t ask and we fail to ask – so ask. To reduce the risk ask all the questions, be open, honest, qualify strongly, re qualify, is it money they want?, opportunity?, why do they want to leave?, do they see them selves working for your client or company?, who makes the decisions?, do they need to speak to anyone else?, be up front and make sure you don’t keep no stone un-turned.