Legal Recruitment from Ten-Percent Legal

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Awkward Candidates at Interview Stage Tend to Waste Recruiters' Time - Recruitment Agent Rule of Thumb No.323


Recruitment agent rule of thumb number 323: If a candidate is hard to pin down for an interview time, they are almost certainly going to mess everyone around at some stage in the process.

We have produced numerous rules of thumbs for recruitment agents over the years, and this is one of the almost guaranteed rules that applies nearly every single time!

Picture the scene – we have taken a vacancy from a client, the vacancy seems very promising with a good salary, decent conditions in an easily accessible location, and we send it out to our candidates. We get six enquiries and send off four CVs. Three of the CVs we like the look of and we have found the candidate very easy to deal with. The fourth CV will be good, but we may have struggled a little bit to get hold of the candidate to confirm their interest. You can almost guarantee that the candidate the firm will want to interview will be the fourth one that we have been slightly uncertain about.

The Interview Arranging Dance

You can guarantee that when we try and contact the candidate the following will happen:

They will not reply to our interview request email.
They will not reply to a text message.
They will not answer a telephone call and let their phone ring through to voicemail.
They will not reply to a follow up email asking them if there is a problem with their email, text and phone lines.
The client will chase us lots of times asking what’s going on, and trying to find out if we have done something wrong or not contacted the candidate.
Out of the blue the candidate will contact us and say their grandma has died or their car broke down or they lost their phone, and of course they are available for interview at the client’s convenience.
The client will be very pleased to hear that the candidate has been in touch and give us some dates for interview.
The candidate will promptly repeat the first four steps at least twice, before we finally pin them down and get an interview arranged.

Phew! As a recruiter at this point we’re usually quite pleased because we’ve done our job. We have sourced candidates, we have arranged an interview and now we just need to sit back and wait for the candidate to attend the interview, perform well and get offered the job. Wrong!

The "My Dog Ate My Grandma" Excuse

What happens next is that the candidate contacts us the night before the interview to say that they are unable to attend the interview because (insert your own excuse here) their grandma died, there was a gas explosion, the end of the world occurred, they crashed their car, they’re not very well, they have developed symptoms of the bubonic plague or they are simply too tired to attend and won’t do their best.

We will then have to go back to the client, rearrange the interview (unless the client tells us to clear off and immediately sacks us and goes with another agent as undoubtedly they will think it’s all our fault), go through the whole process again of pinning down the candidate, arranging the interview and dealing with any last minute cancellations which may or may not occur.

Once this has all happened, and assuming the candidate has finally attended an interview and impressed the client enough to be offered the job, we then enter into the next phase of the recruitment dance, which is the 'receive the offer and disappear' stage.

The "Receive the Offer and Disappear" Trick

This is where the candidate gets the offer through from us, either by telephone or email, and then immediately disappears never to be seen again. We will email, text, phone, email, text and phone, and sometimes you can just guarantee that we are never going to hear from that candidate again. Whether they have taken the offer to their current employer to gain some leverage for a salary increase, decided they can’t be bothered or simply have a psychological condition which makes them feel wanted so they attend lots of interviews in order to get lots of people to tell them how great they are, it does not matter.

The candidate will have disappeared never to be seen again, and we will lose our client who will be by now completely fed up of the whole thing and moving on to other agents to source a candidate.

Recruiters Get Nervous When Candidates Hesitate

Of course we can avoid all of this simply by dismissing the candidate at the first opportunity and not bothering putting them forward as soon as they start to show any signs of flakiness. This is why on some occasions recruitment consultants will be very nervous if anybody shows signs of flakiness at any time during the process. A candidate may have a perfectly valid reason for not wanting to attend an interview or taking their time to get a CV across, but bear in mind the recruitment agent rule of thumb. As soon as you show any sign of hesitancy, the recruitment consultant is instantly thinking of the worst case scenario...

Jonathan Fagan is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment and a non-practising Solicitor. Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment provides online Legal Recruitment for Solicitors, Legal Executives, Fee Earners, Support Staff, Managers and Paralegals. Visit our Website to search our Vacancy Database. Our Legal Careers Shop has eBooks on CV Writing for Lawyers, Legal Job Interview Guide, Interview Answers for Lawyers, NQ Career Guide, Guide to Finding Work Experience or a Training Contract and the Entrants Guide to the Legal Profession.

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