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10 warning signals to drop a candidate

May 28, 2011

Your most promising candidate drops out at the last moment. The short-listed candidate refuses to go for an interview. you are frustrated that your candidate just does not talk to you.

These and many other such instances are commonplace in the life of a recruiter. Every candidate gives you enough signs to tell you when he has lost interest in the opportunity that you are discussing with him. (male pronoun is being used throughout this post to represent both male as well as female candidates).  It is vital to read such signs as early as possible to avoid a heart-break at a later/final stage.

Here is  a list of 10 such signals based on my experience.

Signal #1 –  the candidate listens to you every-time you call ( and this has happened 3-4 times already) & asks you to call back after a day. Either the candidate is too slow to grasp or too indecisive or a procrastinator, all of which you may want to avoid in a candidate.

Signal #2 –  After repeated discussions, the candidate does not remember which profile you had discussed with him and wants you to go through the details again. A common explanation is that he has been talking to many consultants for a number of positions and does not remember which position he discussed with you. What ?

Signal #3 – Does not take your call & does not respond to your emails & text messages. Wake up my friend, the candidate is seriously not interested or is just sick of your calls. Of course, if the candidate had mentioned this in the first call, you would not have pestered him so much.

Signal #4 –  is busy every time you call him, does not give any specific time for you to call,  promises to call back all the time & never calls back. Do you really think this person will have time to attend the interview if shortlisted? Forget it.

Signal #5 – does not send his profile after promising to send ” within next 30 minutes” half a dozen times. He is probably not looking for a change . Most certainly he is not interested in the change that you are proposing.

Signal #6 –  is interested in that sales profile but wants it to be near his house ( or gives such similar contradictory reasons for other roles). Self-explanatory. Isn’t it ?

Signal #7 –  is interested in a profile but can’t travel too far ( within same city) to attend the interview, a variant of this is the candidate who keeps asking you to reschedule the interview for one reason or other and is too casual about the whole process. You can either keep such candidates or keep your client.

Signal #8 –  is unduly rude and impolite and treats you badly. If a candidate cannot reciprocate respect, he does not deserve you (unless of course money comes above self-respect on your list.

Signal #9 – claims to be the top performer, the do-all, highly decorated employee and yet is unable to justify the low remuneration level or the reason for change or the multiple gaps in the profile. Even more inexplicable cases are of such 5-star performers who leave jobs before you can say – candidate.

One of my conversation with a candidate went like this

iHR – why did you leave when you were doing so well ?

Star candidate (SC)  – I wanted 2 weeks leave. they did not allow me, so I left them

iHR – Why would a company do like to this to a star performer? You mentioned that you beat all your targets, you must be a valuable employee.

SC – They gave a better bonus to my colleague who is doing less than me. and when i asked for leave, they told me i had not done enough.

iHR – That should not be a problem, i am sure such a big organisation will have a good MIS & performance appraisal system. You can always prove what you have done.

SC – Nah, the MIS is all wrong and  had a fight with my boss about this as it is showing me at the bottom…

You know where it is leading to. Thank you so much.

Signal #10 – This is a serious one. Drop any candidate who does not seem alright in terms of integrity. There will be candidate who be willing to walk out on their existing employer, candidates who would request you not to mention certain details ( that they discussed with you about their job)  in your note to the client, candidates who cannot give convincing answers to glaring inconsistencies in their profile etc. There will be many such signs which a recruiter picks more by instinct. Recruiting is like match-making. It is not a transaction. would you ever want to suggest a candidate who would be a bad match ?

Are there any other signs that have made you decide to drop a candidate.  Feel free to share.

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  1. August 28, 2011 at 8:27 pm
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