How to Scare Away Candidates

As a recruiter, I have MANY stories to tell. One would think that all are great, humorous stories with fairy-tale endings. Unfortunately, I and most others in my industry share the same frustrations in the hiring process. Matching the right candidates with the right companies is not always that difficult but the challenge many times comes from the exhaustive process; which could be corrected without a lot of hassle.

While we all understand that making a good hire is important, it is also just as imperative to provide anyone interviewing with a fair and quick interviewing ‘experience’. Before I am engaged in a search, and before the paperwork is completed, I thoroughly vet out my new potential client. I look at them as if I would be interested in working there; (as if I was back in the electrical wholesale industry and not just recruiting in it). I need to make sure that before I start approaching candidates, I will have the knowledge along with my past experience to judge a company, their culture and hiring process to confirm that it is a company for which my candidates will be excited to work.

Since I typically get involved with multiple interviewers in a company, I do what I can to streamline the process. There are some things that I can’t control (such as the interview location and time, etc.). But I can make suggestions into the process. I try to make a determination as to what is realistic and what is redundant. Candidates will tire early in having multiple interviewers ask the same questions in an interview. It is a complete waste of everyone’s time. Fortunately I have found that this does not occur nearly as often as it did just a few years ago.

Larger companies seem to take longer in the process. Many reasons include 1) finishing interviews with internal candidates; 2) their HR department does the first screening and then the information gets passed to the hiring manager and the process ‘really’ begins; or 3) they must wait until the published deadline passes until all potential candidates are included. There’s nothing we can do about any of that. But that still creates a level of frustration for applicants.

While some smaller companies may have limitations as to salary, benefits, and growth opportunities, they mostly do one thing very well: act quickly! I have worked with multi-billion dollar clients with successful placements all the way down to companies with sales barely breaking seven figures a year. I have to buy-in to the notion that the process with the large companies will indeed take longer and I prepare my candidates for that so they don’t get spooked right away. I also make sure that the ‘typical’ interview process with the smaller companies is explained so there are few hiccups.

During this process, what is unreasonable? Multiple interviews are fine and can be expected. It’s when it starts making it difficult for the candidate. This includes excessive traveling or driving to interviews, making excuses to their current employer to meet with the company or it starts taking up valuable vacation time that things can start going awry. Most people want to do the right thing and be fair to their current employers, which is right; especially if they’re paying them to do a job. A covert lunch meeting at Starbucks is one thing but playing hooky while traveling out of state on a work day is another.

Interviewers and hiring managers need to meet the candidates in the middle; you can’t forget that they are interviewing YOU also. Not only do THEY have to make a good impression; so do you and the rest of the interviewing team. This is a critical time and they shouldn’t get turned off when they are excited and engaged in the process. Interviewing is daunting enough; let’s not scare them away with silly procedures.

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