Recruiters – Ten Reasons Why Your Candidates Hate You!

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So after ten years working in recruitment, I have a pretty good idea of what a good level of service looks like – and I definitely know what constitutes a bad level of service!

As recruiters we are often tarred with a ‘bad brush’, which is usually based on a candidate’s previous experiences of working with ‘bad recruiters’.

As with any industry, there will be people who are good at their craft, and, inevitably, those who are not so good. But what differentiates us?

Ten years of taking on board feedback directly from candidates that I have worked with, listening to their complaints about other recruiters, and, more recently, at first hand whilst being ‘on the market’ myself (which arguably has given me the best insight) has shown me that there are a few common mistakes or ‘deadly sins’ that recruiters make which in turn makes their candidates hate them.

As a recruiter it is imperative to have a good relationship with your candidates, to gain their respect and actually get them to like you! Ideally, you should build a long term relationship where you are the ‘go to expert’ to help them throughout their career and someone they can refer their colleagues friends, associates and hiring managers to.

Any recruiter worth their salt knows that this makes your life a whole lot easier and your job much more pleasurable, not to mention rewarding. It can be the difference between being known as a good recruiter or a bad recruiter.

So where are recruiters going wrong? What are they doing to make their candidates unresponsive, unreliable and waste their time?

Ten reasons why your candidates hate you:

You’re not listening to what they want – Candidates will have certain criteria that is imperative for them in their next move; this can vary from company size to location. Quite often recruiters will try to pressure a candidate to go for roles that don’t match their criteria. Any criteria that candidates specify as a must have, needs to be respected. Of course, discuss opportunities that could be a little ‘left field’ with them but never pressure them to go for roles that they do not want!

You don’t respect their time – The best candidates are usually in work, some may not be able to speak on the phone during working hours. Recruiters need to respect this. Calling a candidate ten times a day when they are in the office sat next to their colleagues or even their boss is a dead cert for getting them to dislike you. Call your candidate outside work hours, on their lunch break or alternatively drop them a text/email if there is anything urgent; they may not be able to answer a call, but they may be able to send a quick text or mail back.

You don’t stick to your appointments – If a candidate gives you a time that they can speak, you need to stick to it. Remember that these people are mainly in work and will have to shuffle meetings, go outside the office or even book time off to speak/ meet with you. If you have a set time to speak or meet with a candidate for a registration, stick to it. If you are going to be late, drop them an email or a text to let them know, giving them as much time as possible in advance. If you consistently miss set calls/ meetings or appointments, they will get the impression that you don’t respect their time and they will start to dislike you.

Your admin is poor – Sending a candidate confirmation with the wrong time/date/location on is a cardinal sin. We all make mistakes but being a consistent offender will result in your candidates hating you. Emailing them and misspelling their name or sending them emails meant for other people, etc, will give them the impression that you are unprofessional and will result in them not wanting to deal with you.

You don’t keep them updated – Sometimes clients go cold, they are out of the office ill, the head count is lost, etc. However, you still need to keep the candidate informed, even if it is just a call to say that there is still no news! Candidates are often waiting with baited breath for news from recruiters: Will they get the job? Are they getting a second interview? Have they made the shortlist? Keep your candidates informed of ANY movements the minute you know, and be just as quick to tell candidates bad news as well as good news. This will gain you their respect.

You don’t give them feedback – Once a candidate has taken the time to research a company, shuffle their diary, take time off, expense travel and meet with one of your clients; the least that you can do is give them feedback. Be honest with them. If the feedback is negative, give it to them diplomatically in a constructive way. It could help them critique their interview technique and land them their next role. If the client isn’t coming back to you or isn’t giving feedback, make the candidate aware of it. As long as they know that you are chasing this for them, they will be grateful for it and will be happy with the service from you.

You expect too much from them – Looking for a new role is almost a full time job within itself, especially when you are in work. Some recruiters will expect candidates to attend six/seven plus interviews in a week; this is a sure fire way to burn a candidate out. It will not give them sufficient time to research the roles or the companies, which will in turn lead them to confuse the roles and the interviewers and will definitely affect their interview performance. Be mindful that most candidates are working ten to twelve hour days and living busy lives aside from looking for a new role, and there is only so much that they can do. Spread interviews out and give them time to prepare so that they can perform to the best of their ability. This gives them (and you) the best chance of securing the role!

You’re too aggressive – I have heard stories of candidates being called at funerals, being harassed, spoken down to by recruiters, and even sworn at. These are very few and far between; however, it goes without saying that being aggressive in any way towards your candidate is a dead cert way to get them to hate you.

You don’t know them well enough – People buy from people they know and trust, so, therefore, what have you done to get to know your candidate? Do you have a good rapport with them? What do they like outside of work? What football team do they support or are they more rugby? Are they a big family person or an avid traveller? Knowing these kind of things and taking the time to get to know your candidates will get them to buy into you more. This will enable you to build better relationships with them and make you stand out from other ‘scripted’ or ‘cold’ recruiters.

You have a bad name – People talk. If you have given any candidate a bad service in the past, they will likely share this with their network. Bad news travels fast, especially in this day and age with the use of social media, so don’t give candidates any reason to call you a bad recruiter because it is not just the relationship with them that it could affect!

From my personal experience of being a candidate as well as from using recruiters and hearing several horror stories from candidates that I have worked with over the years, I know that there are many things that recruiters do that make candidates dislike them

For me, the main thing is to offer candidates a high level of service and to be consistent with this; you may be pleasantly surprised about the rewards that you will reap from doing this.

I have had recommendations, referrals and leads, making several beneficial business contacts that have at times resulted in substantial revenue and deals from candidates that I never placed or even arranged an interview for – I did, however, offer them a level of service that they were satisfied with.

You can’t make every candidate love you, but you can certainly change a few things that will stop candidates from hating you.

I hope you find this article useful!

Read more of my LinkedIn Publisher posts.

Global Seven News

Sarah Socha

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