There is a satirical movie line where a soldier from a notorious regiment realizes their presence in a foreign land is not to save or restore.

The solider does a slow turn to look at his superior and asks “…um, are we the baddies?”

There are practices and policies within the Talent Acquisition profession that go against a candidates need to see us as knights in shining armor.

Having been a practitioner for over thirty years in talent acquisition, I can tell you for certain many of us want to be the good guys.

But our behavior to candidates says otherwise.

10 Signs you are the Baddie

You Make the Candidate Interview Over and Over

It is a candidate’s market, and passive candidates are scooped up quickly. I am going to be so bold as to give you a number, and that is two.  There would have to be compelling reason to make a candidate interview more than twice.

Nowadays you can get away with a third if the candidate gets to pick the availability and the meeting is via a virtual tool.  Anything more is antiquated and shows an organization does not understand the market today.

We Move Slow

This is the kiss of death. I saw a recent social media post (so it must be true) that said while in a virtual interview, a candidate got a job offer from another organization and just ended the call.

Do you have candidates ghosting you?  This is another sign that hiring managers do not understand the market.

We need to interview within a few days of applying online and make offers within hours of the last interview to secure interest.

We ask for Information We Never Use

Old habits die hard. Do you still ask for graduation year? Or previous employer addresses? This is needed for background check, maybe.

Save those questions for that process.  If it does not have to do with the resume or EEO questions, it can wait.

We Ghost People

True story. My daughter is on the job market.  Today she was ghosted for the second time on an interview.  She scheduled the call based on the Recruiter’s availability.

Confirmed it. And sat by the phone for a call that never came.

That is the ultimate insult. How dare they!  And do not tell me “…an emergency came up”.

There is no such thing as a talent acquisition emergency. It is a sign that a Recruiter is out of their depth and overwhelmed.

We Break Up Over Text

I teach classes for the Recruiter Academy Certification.  I tell students to break up with candidates but do it with love and compassion.

Not every candidate is going to get the job. As applicants, we know this.  Just tell me.

If I took the time to get up, take a shower, put on pants that I have not worn in a year, drive (again which I have not done in a year), paid for parking, and took the time to interview, YOU OWE ME A PHONE CALL.

We are Not Transparent

Am I still in the running? AM I unqualified? Did you even view my resume?  These are questions that candidates want the answer to.

It takes only a few seconds to mass email at the end of the day a candidate disposition.  This lack of attention can be misconstrued as ingenuine and apathy.

We Abuse Your Time

Start meetings on time, end meetings on time. The employers time is not more valuable than the applicants.

Please honor the candidate’s clock, as well as your own.

We Make Promises We Cannot Keep

I have been guilty of this. I told candidates I would follow up when I knew I could not. I told candidates they seem like a good fit when they probably were not.  It was not intentional.

I just wanted to leave the call on a positive note and had not learned the art of the decline. This goes back to being transparent. Practice declines and retorts that are fair and genuine.

We Disregard Your Goals

What I really think is happening here is a failure to log a candidate’s goals and dreams. Not intentionally.

But when we consider offer acceptance rates, tying a candidate’s goals to the extended position helps for higher close rates. Use candidate goals to directly affect offer acceptance.

You Make the Hiring Manager Your god

There are three people in the hiring relationship. The candidate, the recruiter, and the hiring manager. Each person has an equal part of responsibility, expectation, and needs.

It is a relationship. All three in this trio are important.

In this market, it is important that the candidate is allowed a powerful voice.

I am NOT recruiter-bashing.  I spoke to a recruiter with 202 open requisitions this week.

Recruiters are busy. It is hard to find time for pleasantries when a recruiter is buried in work. I only ask that recruiters become self-aware and that leaders protect recruiters from max capacity.

Thoughtful use of technology can aid in efficiencies to free up time and automate processes. Let us all behave like the good guys.

Happy Hunting.


Christine Hampton

Christine is a Doctor of Business Administration candidate researching talent sourcing strategies in healthcare. This is Christine's 29th year in Talent Acquisition, with the last 9 years focusing on sourcing and recruitment marketing.