Whether you’ve been a jobseeker in the past or have worked with other recruiters both in and out of your company, chances are you’ve had your fair share of not-so-friendly circumstances. Even the best recruiters and hiring managers make mistakes, but what’s important is making sure you take the steps necessary to treat candidates with respect and dignity.
You might be thinking, “...but I am always friendly, attentive and work diligently to communicate with my candidates.” However, the truth is, you may have come off in a way you didn’t even intend to without realizing it. In a recent study by CareerArc, nearly 60% of candidates have had a poor candidate experience.
Take a look at some of the stories below to see if anything strikes a chord. Are you guilty of similar recruiting faux pas?
This question originally appeared on Quora. Answers have been edited for clarity and brevity.
Q: What is the most unprofessional interaction you've had with a recruiter?
Recruiting Mistake #1 - Canceling an interview and not notifying the candidate
“[A small software company] asked me to come to their headquarters to meet the team and basically do a round-robin interview. Not a problem. Their office was about an hour long drive from where I lived so it was a bit of a commute for an interview, but totally worth it if it panned out.
[When I arrived..] I called the recruiter letting her know I had arrived and was waiting. No answer.
It was 10 minutes before my scheduled time but I still wanted to be in there earlier rather than later. I emailed the recruiter letting her know I had arrived. Still nothing. I then began to get nervous. I called the hiring manager. Nothing. Sent an email. Nothing. Waited. And nothing.
Security then received a call and told me that they would not be meeting with me. Apparently they had decided to go in another direction and had a security guard relay that information to me.
I was appalled. I even sent the recruiter and the hiring manager an email telling them how unprofessional they were in how they handled the process. They never had the decency to reply or apologize.” - Ronnie Cheng, Co-Founder & VP of Marketing at Digital Astronauts
Recruiting Mistake #2 - Repeated contact to uninterested/unqualified candidates
“Virtually everyday I am contacted by a recruiter, either by phone or email for a job that I'm not qualified for, in a location nowhere near where I live. All emails start with, we have reviewed your resume…Yeah right!
The phone contact is the worst. Repeated calls from the same person or agency offering a position that I'm not remotely qualified for.
Over the course of a 2 week period I was contacted for a position that I wasn't interested in approximately 8 times. After the 1st few times I told them I wasn't interested, I then asked them to remove me from their contact list. But they kept calling.” - Larry Buhay
Recruiting Mistake #3 - Using a manual process for outreach
“[When it comes to sending email strings…] “To” is fairly self-explanatory.
“Cc” denotes “Carbon Copy” “Bcc” just means “Blind Carbon Copy”.
One day at work I got an email from an IT recruiter in my area, claiming that he had a position that I was “really well suited for”. This isn’t unusual, especially in mid-level Software Development careers.
With the commonality of these outreaches, it isn’t far fetched to say that these emails go out to a large number of candidates with often little or no changes. Sometimes a recruiter will send the same exact email to a few developers, without them knowing. That can be done with the “Blind Carbon Copy”. You get the email addressed to only you.
Except, this recruiter used the “Carbon Copy”. Uh oh.
25 or so developers from the county area received the same email, LISTING ALL OF OUR NAMES AND EMAILS IN THE HEADER.” - Jack Miller, Software Engineering Consultant
Recruiting Mistake #4 - Poor interview scheduling
“One fine day, when I was badly in the need of a job, I got a call from a recruitment team.
After asking about my profile and work details, she asked if I would be interested in a technical discussion on the same day, in the next hour. After 3 calls in the next 15 minutes, and a lot of persuasion, I agreed for the discussion on the same day, at 5 PM.
By 5:45 PM, still no call. I called up the recruiter. She said nobody is free for this interview today, so we postponed it to the next day. I said, why didn't they inform me? She said she forgot to inform me..!!
My inner self cried inside, dear lady, I was waiting here for your team's call, on the day I already mentioned I am busy, but now when your team is busy, you simply forgot to inform me..!! Wow.” - Akriti, Medi-Caps Institute of Science and Technology
Avoid This Mistake: Invest in recruiting software that includes interview scheduling software!
Recruiting Mistake #5 - Lack of exit plan for recruiters
“Had a dream job opportunity that I interviewed for and knocked it out of the park, but the offer was rescinded because the recruiter also tried to place an unqualified candidate with the employer. The recruiter was disqualified for lying and all of their pending placements were rejected.” - Ryan Wilson
Recruiting Mistake #6 - Not having the candidate’s best interests
“A very long time ago, a recruiter sent me a candidate that they were very insistent was a perfect fit for my organisation, the role advertised and the itch we needed to scratch. I received phone calls 7 times a day from this particular recruiter, with e-mail messages stating that I would review the submitted CV and get back to the recruiter in writing later that day being responded to with incessant phone calls to my mobile, my desk phone, the company’s publicly listed number and the mobile and desk phone numbers of my colleagues. The promises made were extremely insistent.
Alas, these promises all turned out to be completely untrue.
After our discussion it was clear that he wasn’t in a position where he wanted to apply for the role on offer, but the recruiter in question had pushed him to do so with a relentlessness I’ve seen neither prior nor since.” - Chris Ricks, System Development Engineer
Recruiting Mistake #7 - Lack of professionalism in representing their company
“This incident happened in my University. During our campus recruitment drive by (Notable Tech Company), I encountered a very unpleasant and unprofessional interaction with the recruiter. The campus drive had 3 rounds, written aptitude test, technical interview and HR interview.
We had completed the written test and shortlisted students were made to wait until the interviews began. During this time, we saw the recruiters smoking in the university campus which was seen by the college officials and TPOs. There was a very unpleasant scene which almost led to a heated argument between the (Notable Tech Company) talent acquisition team and the university officials. I was shocked to see people from (Notable Tech Company) behaving so cheaply. - Pelicula, Computer Science
Recruiting Mistake #8 - Not being honest with candidates or telling the full truth
“TL;DR: Got lied to by an internal recruiter at a large company and lost $500 out of pocket to participate in fake interviews for the position that was already filled.
The year was 2013… I worked for a startup which flopped, and then I had to look for a new job.
So, one major biotech/pharma instruments company (let’s call it BigCorp) responded to my resume submission. I passed two phone screens, then met a Regional Director for lunch in the same West Coast city where I lived at that time. All went well, the guy recommends me for the next round, and passes me to the internal recruiter/HR. So far, so good…
The final round should be at the BigCorp headquarters, which is on the East Coast. The recruiter waits for about a week, and then tells me they are in a hurry, so I need to be there FAST because the final round of interviews is tomorrow morning. Sends me tickets for the same day (arriving late at night), tells me everything will be taken care of (hotel, taxi expense), so there I went.
I arrive at the hotel at about 1 am, and it’s the most expensive place in town. So, I ask about reservation from BigCorp for my name. They find it, but say - it’s weird, it’s not reserved under their corporate account, it’s for you individually. I think “OK. Maybe they have some weird reimbursement rules”, so I let it slip, and pay for it out of pocket (about $400).
At 7am I’m at their HQ, and it turns out to be a superday - 7am-7pm back-to-back interviews with a 30 min break for lunch. There are probably a dozen of interviewers that change, while you stay in the same room. The highlight is a presentation that I have to do in front of a room filled with middle management plus 3 VPs, who were playing the word game in their paper notebooks (count the number of certain words the presenter says) and giggle. This struck me as odd, not only because of disrespect, but because that was not an interview where a VP, let alone three of them should get involved (the position was maybe 3 levels below a VP).
So, around 7 pm it all ends, and I’m in a quick meeting with recruiter/HR guy. He tells me everyone was happy with my performance at the interviews, asks for receipts for my expenses (hotel and taxi), and tells me that he’ll let me know the outcome of the interviews and will send me the check in mail. Now hurry up - your flight back is at 9pm!
While I am waiting for a taxi - there is another person, turns out - another applicant. We were interviewed in different rooms while interviewers ran back and forth between them. The other applicant also thought the overall experience was odd.
I fly back home, and in about a week I get an automatic e-mail - thank you, but we went with an internal candidate. So, I write to the HR guy regarding the reimbursement, and there is no response. Never got it. I e-mail the other applicant I met waiting for the taxi - same story.
I swore to never work for that company, and even put the names of the people involved in an Excel spreadsheet (which I keep to this day) - in case someday I’ll be in a position to get even.” - Anonymous
Recruiting Mistake #9 - Trading trust for commission (resulting in negative reputation)
“One that sticks out the most is a recruiter who found me a job and called me four months later to offer me a different job. They had just received their 90-day commission for placing me as an employee and wanted to cash in again. This is, as I understand it, quite normal, but it’s the last time I ever dealt with a recruiter.” - Ian Douglas, Web developer and DevOps
Recruiting Mistake #10 - Making assumptions without grounded research
“This was a few years ago.
It was a British recruiter who refused to count my 3 year long professional software development experience from India to the total experience while applying for a job in the UK because according to him, “British developers are on average better than Indian developers”. I asked him if he can forward me the link to the definitive research he had that proves this because I figured he must have some evidence for this extraordinary statement…but…he couldn’t.
Needless to say, I blocked him.” - Aman Agrawal
One thing these encounters all have in common was one form of miscommunication or another. It’s easy to do without the right processes and software to support your recruiting tactics. Implementing the right system to streamline your recruitment process is one of the best ways to avoid one of these catastrophes. ClearCompany’s sophisticated Applicant Tracking Software helps recruiting teams track and communicate with candidates in an organized, compliant manner. Take a personalized demo of ClearCompany’s ATS to see how!
As a Marketing and Event Specialist, Meredith coordinates best-practice content and brand-awareness events for ClearCompany. With her career in HR tech, Meredith works closely with HR practitioners and is passionate about providing them with the tools and information they need to succeed.