I am working in a consultancy or agency in which we will catch a client and get a job description. After that I clearly read the description and search for the candidates in job portals.

I call the candidate, explain to him about the company and designation along with job description. After such a process, I schedule him/her for an interview. Most likely the first round is a interview by phone. They will complete the telephone interview and some of them have succeeded with their first round of interview.

Here the problem starts. When I call the short-listed candidates for the personal interview, they won't show up. They will say 'not interested' or 'I have an offer'.

How do I handle these type of candidates?

  • 7
    "Won't show up" implies to me that your candidates have a scheduled interview, but don't appear for it. You should clarify whether you mean this, or they decide after the phone interview that they're not interested in the position. – alroc Apr 8 '14 at 13:21
  • Do you make any attempts to improve the positions you're trying to fill? – user8365 Apr 8 '14 at 16:30
  • The most you can do is ask them why they are not interested. If they have an offer, you can ask them in a friendly way who is making them the offer and for what position. Then contact the offer-making employer and seek ways to get him to do business with you. – Vietnhi Phuvan Apr 24 '14 at 0:05

There are two separate issues here.

  1. you were late to the party with some of your candidates. They were already a long way down the process with some other job when you sent them for an interview.
  2. some other candidates didn't like the job you sent them to.

How can you build your practice as an agent, and deal with these difficulties?

First of all, have more conversation with the hiring manager if you can. Find out more about the job. Find out more about the kind of person they are seeking, and what's good about working for them. HELP THEM figure out how to sell the job opening they have to candidates.

Secondly, as you find new candidates ask them questions about themselves. Here are a few conversation-starter questions.

  • What is your idea of an excellent place to work?
  • What is your idea of a terrible place to work?
  • What do you hope for when you imagine your new supervisor?
  • Are you interviewing anywhere else?
  • How far along are you in the interview process in other places?
  • How soon are you hoping to make a change, and why?
  • How much notice must you give to your current employer?

Keep in mind that people love to talk about themselves. You can always keep the conversation going by saying "please tell me more about that" or "how so?" when they say something.

Your job is to qualify candidates, and figure out whether they fit the employers for whom you work. It's best for you to find out a lot before you send a candidate to an employer. If a candidate isn't a good fit, don't hesitate to tell him so and move on.

Thirdly, when somebody turns down a candidate or a job, always follow up, always in person or by telephone, never by email, by saying "I am curious about how you made that decision. If you have a moment please tell me your reasoning."

If you have a situation where several good candidates turn a job down after the telephone interview, you should have a conversation with the hiring manager to explore the reasons. It could be simple: they're not offering enough pay. It could be more complex in some way.

  • 2
    " It could be simple: they're not offering enough pay. It could be more complex in some way. " - spot on Ollie. A lot of people forget the interview (telephone or otherwise) is a 2 way process, in as much as it is the interviewer selling themselves and the company as much as the interviewee selling themselves as a prospective employee. I've had managers in the past who were horrendous interviewers ("Sooooo....tell me about yourself") and could not see why no one ever accepted an offer! – Mike Apr 8 '14 at 13:03
  • "always follow up" I can't stress this enough. I wouldn't be working my current job had the agent not followed up. Essentially I had a few reservations which is why I had passed. After the agent did a follow up another interview was scheduled to address my concerns and well. I'm happy with my new job and avoided a hostile take over. It's also good for the employer to know why people turned them down. I can't say how many times I've had a job offer a "competitive wage" and wind up laughing when they offer something sad like 30K USD for a senior developer spot. – Eric J Fisher Apr 8 '14 at 14:02
  • +1 - Follow up and ask they why they prefer the other job. – user8365 Apr 8 '14 at 14:26
  • 1
    +1 for suggesting that a recruiter should think about making a good match instead of just keyword matching job descriptions and resumes. I've never seen the former happen, but I can dream. – AShelly Apr 11 '14 at 14:21

Supposedly there are 'hiring seasons', and in IT the first of the year is evidently a time when a lot of companies want to bring on new staff. This last January I had about 5 solicitations, usually through LinkedIn, others were via email when the recruiters had my address from earlier inquiries.

Most of the requests ran 'We need C# for a financial services provider' or somesuch. Since there are a tiny number of those in my city, I pretty much know who they are. These are 'run of the mill jobs' and fundamentally not interesting. Since I'm working on something I'm happy with, the discussions go no further. If I were unhappy, or my contract was running out, then I would be willing to discuss the next opportunity. If the line of questioning in the phone interview suggests that it's going to be work that I've done in the past, and don't have much appreciation for, I won't involve myself in any further discussion. Similarly, if the interviewer starts hammering me on technology details and isn't showing any interest in industry-specific or organizational skills, then I pretty much figure it's the developer equivalent of a boiler room.

If I find out the potential employer makes gambling machines for casinos, the discussion is over. Period. Same would go for tobacco companies and more generally businesses that are conducting a frontal assault on people's physical, mental, and financial health. Some of the organizations on this list might mystify a recruiter. For one reason or another, people filter out particular positions without offering much explanation.

I received two offers within a day or two of each other, one for a defense contractor and one for a continuing education company. The work for the defense contractor involved (as far as I was able to tell at the time) figuring out who should be deployed in global hot spots. In 2008, we were involved in a number of them. If something went wrong that was traced to algorithms I developed, I could end up being responsible for unnecessary death or injury. Not personally in a liability sense, but simply a matter of conscience. I took the other job. The hiring manager didn't bother to hide his displeasure in the follow-up call. He still thinks it was about money.

  • That hiring manager was completely unprofessional, to his own detriment. I would call it professional if he does not feel displeasure. It means he felt you own him something. And also, if he does not make assumptions about your motives. If he can not even hide his emotions, that is much less than professional. (In this case, if he really thought it is about money, he may be outright stupid, it is not hard to understand that potentially killing people could be an issue.) – Volker Siegel Jan 1 '20 at 2:27

When I call the short-listed candidates for the personal interview, they won't show up. They will say 'not interested' or 'I have an offer'.

How do I handle these type of candidates?

Clearly, you should move on to a candidate who is interested.

And you might also choose to make a notation in your database, indicating what happened with this particular candidate so that you don't waste your time in the future.

I'm assuming you are new to your position. You will learn that this sort of thing happens all the time. Matching up candidates with position works both ways - the company must feel comfortable with the candidate, and the candidate must feel comfortable with the position.

If this is a recurring theme, you may wish to review the way you describe the company and position to potential candidates. Perhaps you are missing something that would allow the candidate to make a clearer decision earlier in the process.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .