Do unsuccessful candidates hate you?

Posted on April 24, 2019 by PaulHickey | Recruitment

Every recruitment campaign that produces at least three candidates finishes up with more unhappy than happy people.

How do those unsuccessful candidates feel? Do they feel wounded and negative about your firm? Will some of them wind up hating you?

Sorry to be the one to tell you this, but oftentimes…

Yes.

Unless you do this…

If you were to ask a recruiter whether they care more about their candidates or their clients, you’d get a lot of diplomatic answers.

But here’s the hard truth…

Most recruiters prioritise clients over candidates.

This is partly because contingency-based recruitment is such a high-volume process that candidates become commoditised.

It’s partly because loyalties naturally become a bit divided.

But mainly it’s down to the simple fact that recruiters will inevitably come into contact with far more candidates than clients. And in the long-term, recruiters will spend more time talking and building relationships with clients.

It’s just the nature of the work.

This should matter to you. Because if candidates feel commoditised and unimportant, some of the negativity that results will be directed at your firm.

They might grumble to their friends, family and colleagues about not being given a chance to interview or being overlooked because of some perceived prejudice.

That’s bad for your brand and your reputation as a whole.

And it’s unfair because you’re being punished for the recruiter’s poor relationship with their candidates.

But it doesn’t HAVE to be like this.

Many years ago, I had a candidate who was smart, experienced and well-qualified, but failed to land the role. There was nothing wrong with his application, he was just pipped to the post by a stronger candidate.

Then something strange happened.

The candidate told his employer how impressed he was by our recruitment processes and recommended that they use us for their recruitment campaigns!

Maybe you have to work in the recruitment industry to appreciate how unusual this is. It’s unheard of.

Usually recruiters are just doing their best to manage unsuccessful candidates’ disappointments and hoping to keep enough of the relationship intact that they’ll agree to apply for another role in the future.

But in this instance, the unsuccessful candidate was in such a good place that he sent us new business.

And this kept happening.

More and more we were finding our unsuccessful candidates were less upset by bad news, more confident in our ability to find them something else and more willing to give us a glowing endorsement.

Even better, they left the application process with a good feeling about the employer. The reputations of our clients were remaining intact.

The reason for this turnaround is because the i-intro® process that we use requires the candidates to be more involved in the application process. They get to have more of a say in how their profile is presented and the assessment process reassures them that the hiring decision is being made on facts rather than just whose face fits.

We believe this is also why the candidates we place tend to integrate quickly and stay in place longer. The commitment they bring to the application process carries over to their new position.


For recruiters, the nature of the work creates conflict. When you’re trying to represent the best interests of the employer and the candidates, there’s a fine line that must be walked.

And occasionally, ill feelings from unsuccessful candidates is going to result.

But our recruitment process allows us to keep our empathy for everyone involved and ensures that no one feels overlooked.

That means better recruitment campaigns and better results.

Most importantly, all of your candidates conclude the hiring process with their respect for your firm intact.


For a no-obligation discussion about how we can help you save time and money on your next recruitment campaign, book some time with us.