10 Things Candidates Hate about Recruiters

The replies I received for my previous article “10 Things Recruiters (Me Included) Hate about Candidates” inspired me to write about the people in the other team – the candidates who have their likes and dislikes also. I must admit I have been a candidate too at some point and I know how all the items below feel.

So, here they are:

  1. Never confirming that the CV was received – this is really unpleasant. You can’t be sure if the CV arrived anywhere or if it was sent into the abyss.  Should I send it again? Should I try to find other means of communication? And this when you really want a job – driving you crazy, right? Well, dear recruiters, I must admit this is annoying. The solution: set auto responder emails for your mailboxes or use automatic job portals to receive CVs. They will confirm the candidate that even if they don’t get a call, at least they did their best to send the CV on time and to the correct recipient;
  1. Lacking Experience – this is often translated in lack of confidence during interview, reading your notes all the time, not knowing what to ask the candidate, asking about details that already are in the CV – well, this doesn’t look good al all. The candidate will turn desperate – if this is the person deciding my fate, then I am doomed! You would think the same too should you be in the candidate’s shoes. What to do – do joint interviews at first with a senior recruiter, always read the candidate’s CV before the interview, and underline items that interest you so that you have a clear idea of what to ask, prepare an interview plan to make sure that you don’t miss anything. Calling the candidate later because you have forgotten to ask something is also looking bad.
  1. Being Narrow-Minded – have you as a candidate felt during the interview that the person in front of you is not listening to what you are saying? Well, that’s a narrow-minded recruiter who hasn’t heard about active listening. Making the candidate feel that you already have an idea about what they are worth and that you really don’t care anymore about what they are telling you is being narrow-minded. Recruiters, stop judging by initial impressions. One thing that might help is my article about communication styles – “Human Resources Mysteries – Understanding Communication Styles”. Listen to the candidate and offer everyone equal chances – you might be surprised. The IT world in particular offers a lot of out of the ordinary candidates who you may judge by the way they look and who might be geniuses. Rejecting one of these can cause your company financial loss. Also, I will tell you about one situation where I was a candidate in front of narrow-minded recruiters: a few years ago I went to an interview for an HR position in a furniture factory. The two recruiters admitted they were not HR people and when they started asking me HR questions they opened a book about HR and expected my replies to be by the book. HOW STUPID! I replied from my real HR experience – a few years already back then – but at the end of the interview they told me I was rejected because they couldn’t find my answers in what the book told them. At least they were honest, but stupid and unprofessional.
  1. Not offering feedback or offering useless feedback – no calling a candidate back means that the recruitment process you conduct is not concluded – offering feedback is the last mandatory stage – feedback includes negative feedback also, not only a salary offer. Feedback can be offered via phone or email, but telling the candidate when they are going to receive it and by which means is mandatory. If the candidate also receives improvement ideas, they can turn into a great candidate later on. Of course, there are cases when the candidate has attitude issues. Then a standard email is ok, but also mandatory.
  1. Not being able to offer relevant information about the position when asked – this makes you, dear recruiters, look very bad. This means that you have no idea about your job and then, what on Earth are you doing on that position? When a job ad is posted, it is mandatory for the recruiter to know what they are looking for. If the position is too technical and you are at a job fare for example and technical candidates are expected, ask a technical colleague to come there with you. He will reply technical questions for you and you will not look bad. Also, if there are questions you simply can’t know, offer contact information for the candidate to use and ask. Make sure emails received are always replied after talking to the managers that have the job opening. Never leave candidates’ emails unanswered. You will endanger the company’s image.
  1. Not keeping track of applications and calling the same candidate several times – not being organized – this is really frustrating for a candidate that has already received some previous feedback or who has just been through part of the selection process. If they have received negative feedback, calling them again and realizing you called them by mistake makes them angry. They will never be interested in your company. Guys, please remember that recruiters represent the company and the way candidates are treated influences the image of the company on the market. A negative image created in such a way takes years to fix.
  1. Not reading applications carefully – being superficial – asking questions about details that already are in the CV or asking people to come to interview and realizing you have made a mistake looks bad – this is a waste of time for all sides. Recruiters, you must prepare a list of requirements and search each CV carefully. Read all CVs that are scheduled for interview, underline details and ask relevant questions. Remember that some candidates are really good and that they are really worth your time. Being superficial can make them reconsider your offer. You may lose good people.
  1. Promising to do something and not doing it – sending stuff via email, replying to questions sent by email, sending the candidate’s CV to someone, offering support – remember that you represent a company. Being unreliable means for the candidate that the company is unreliable. Think about that really carefully. Never leave messages from candidates unanswered. Even thank you messages must be answered – tell the candidate that his message was received, that you were glad to have them for interview, thank them for their time and tell them when feedback will be received. Always keep your promises. Even if it is a rejected candidate, leaving them with a good impression, can make them recommend someone that turns out to be what you need.
  1. Not caring about the candidate – just about their stupid deadline to fill the position – this is an impression that a lot of candidates have after the initial contact with a recruiter. Make sure you have time for everybody. If you don’t, reschedule or delegate, but make sure that each candidate was handled carefully. If their CV is not good, at least send them an auto responder email telling them that you thank them for their time and CV. Candidates that have also been invited to interview, need even more time and attention. Remember that each of them can be the next perfect candidate – offer them equal opportunities and equal parts of your time, listen to them and offer feedback. These are key elements to show candidates you care.
  1. Too much power to decide – who gets rejected and who doesn’t – this is really scary for both the recruiter and the candidate. The recruiter is the first filter and holds in their hand the fate of hundreds of candidates. Have I made a mistake? The recruiter may ask. Has this guy even bothered to read my CV? The candidate may ask. Anyway, all you recruiters out there must remember that you have great responsibility in your hands. Use your power wisely.


Thanks for reading and for offering feedback to my articles.

I am looking forward to other elements being added to the list by all of you candidates out there.

Take care,