How To Keep Job Candidates Happy

one-on-one meetingWe recruiters are pretty quick to point out mistakes candidates make during job searches.  We talk about common resume errors, we roll our eyes and relate tales of candidates who answer cell phone calls during interviews, and we complain about the ones who apply for every position posted – even when they clearly don’t have the required background or experience to get the job done.

Let’s turn the tables and think about the things we can do to keep job seekers happy and engaged throughout the process. What got me thinking about this today? An article I read in Forbes, entitled A Job-Hunter’s Bill Of Rights. I suffered a few pangs of guilt as I read Lydia O’Connor’s account of unprepared interviewers, hiring managers showing up in sweat pants, and — the big one — no follow up. Go ahead and take a few minutes to read it. See if you can relate.

I know lots of recruiters. For the most part, we’re an empathetic lot who would never knowingly irritate or pain applicants.  Let’s take Lydia’s story as a warning of what could happen if we ever forget that candidates are every bit as much our clients as are the companies who pay our fees.



9 Replies to “How To Keep Job Candidates Happy”

  1. Reading this I’m thinking back to early on in my career when I was not very good at derailing my transferable skills on my resume. I’d read job postings, think “I could Totally do that” and fire off my one and only version of my resume. I’m certain that I got filtered out for a lot of things that I actually could have done quite well. In addition to making me want to review my current resume versions Again (though I’ve been obsessing over them for almost 2 weeks so I will resist) I’m also thinking of what a great stuff business or partnership opportunity it could present to take unqualified resumes and refer their owners to someone who could help them write them better… not just someone with a good grasp of the English language (I can’t tell you how many friends’ resumes I’ve worked on over the years without really understanding what recruiters need to see on that page) but a recruiter or someone similar. I have no idea if that poses a confidentiality issue or conflict of interest (particularly if the coach wasn’t the first recipient of said unqualified resume) but that’s what comes to mind when I, as a total outsider to the world of recruitment, read this post. 🙂


    1. Hi Kieta,

      You’re so right when you suggest that less-than-stellar resumes deserve a little work rather than tossing them. Unfortunately, recruiters work at a pace that can make the rest of the world appear to be moving in slow motion. The profession actually reminds me of nurses in a hospital. The work is important yet there’s never enough time to give everyone 100% of what they need.

      If you do decide to take another run at your resume, try reading it through the eyes of the person who wrote the job ad you’re responding to. Have you made it easy for her/him to find the elements they said they’re looking for? And have you cited your accomplishments? That’s so much more powerful (and informative) than stating what the responsibilities of the role were.

      Thanks for stopping by and for taking the time to comment.


  2. Susan, nice perspective! From where I sit as a technology supplier for this interviewing process, you’re so right. Even when the interview is virtual, candidates arrive early and – gulp – often the interviewers arrive late! Luckily for our clients we have a rep there acting as a concierge to greet them and fill that gap.


    1. Hi Michele,

      Great to see you here! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment.

      Wow – That’s a double whammy for the applicant. Very good of you to provide a concierge so the interviewee isn’t sitting there staring at a blank video screen, wondering if they connected properly…


  3. I think there is something to be said for lost etiquette. It’s important to acknowledge the please and thank yous, and to be respectful of other’s time and energy. Mediating the balance between both of these worlds, is, I can imagine, as much a part of your job as filling a position.
    Thanks for a glimpse into your world…


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