Two months ago, while still at the US, I received a call from a Fortune 100 company -Argentina’s branch-. They had a job proposal for me in HR -talent management, keep this in the back of your head for later-. They liked my profile and wanted to set up a phone interview, and so we did.
My gf -who also received a proposal- and I had been already weighing the option of heading back home so based on that phone screening we decided to pack our stuff and come back home.
Once arrived, we set up our first round of interviews. 3 days after we landed we were contacted in order to schedule a face to face interview and an English test -yeah, I know-.
The interview was the exact same screening we had over the phone, the English test was a waste of time but I understand it’s a formal requirement.
This is where things started to go awry.
We were told we were going to be contacted within one week to arrange the second round of interviews with a line manager.
A week passed with no news, then a second one, so since the recruiter wasn’t getting back to us my gf sent an email to see what was going on.
Two days later, the email was still unanswered so I called the recruiter directly.
She apologized for not getting back to me sooner but she was planning to do so that day or the day after. She also told me that right after we interviewed, the position I was applying for got frozen but it had just de-frost, so she was going to give me a call back later that day.
Lesson 1 (for recruiters): follow-up and keep people on the loop. Even if it’s just a simple call saying “it’s taking longer than expected, hang on”. It goes a long way. It’s deeply appreciated and lowers anxiety on the candidates’ side. Your company’s public image will appreciate it as well.
Lesson 1 (for candidates): if the company doesn’t get back to you, reach out to them. You aren’t doing anything wrong. Actually, you are showing interest.
That call never arrived, not even a week later.
My girlfriend received a call a week after what I just narrated and another one the following day to schedule a 2nd interview.
I waited for 2 more days but no one called me, so I decided to call again. This was the result:
[almost copying and pasting from a few paragraphs above]
The recruiter apologized for not getting back to me sooner but she was planning to do so that day or the day after… deja vu. She also told me that I didn’t make it for the second round due to my profile being “too clinical” (sic). I thanked her and hung up.
She was either lying to me or covering for the company’s cyclothymia -which I doubt is the case-.
I guess a)I caught her with her pants down when I called her, since the only “clinical” thing about my resume is my degree in Psychology which I guess that’s all the info she could summon at that moment, b) she never even took 1 second to type my name on Google. Whatever the reason was for me not being pre-selected, that wasn’t the one.
Funny thing is: my gf is the one with the kind of “clinical profile”.
Lesson 2 (for recruiters): I know you guys usually have tens if not hundreds of requisitions going on at the same time and it’s impossible to remember every candidate’s name, background or face. But be mindful of what you say. Put the person on hold and pull the file or take some time to recall and collect yourself in these situations, but don’t just spit whatever comes to mind first. It doesn’t make you look professional.
Real Lesson 2 (for recruiters): I get it, you don’t like giving bad news, but grow some balls, pick up that phone and make the call. It takes 1 minute and you don’t need to cry with the candidate. 2 lines of -honest and truthful- feedback is more than enough.
Lesson 2 (for candidates): no one likes giving bad news and recruiters are no exception. Often, young or unexperienced recruiters are afraid to tell you that you didn’t get the job, so if possible, they’ll try to avoid confrontation at all cost (that meaning they will never call you back to give you the bad news). If you are crawling up walls, just give the recruiter a call and give the situation closure so you can move on.
Bonus Lesson 2 (for candidates): during the face to face interview I made the fatal mistake of not asking the recruiter if she has any reservations with regards to your qualifications, credentials or profile. Never forget to do that.
Update 1 month later: a week after all this, browsing the company’s job board, I noticed that the position I was applying for had been re-posted. So I sent an email to the recruiter detailing my experience and transferrable skills -to make a point of why my profile is not clinical-. I also told her I was really interested in the position and asked her to be reconsidered for the new search.
The response to my email was very predictable: there was no answer.
I bet you’ve had some awful experiences. Wanna share them? Comments section is all yours.
PS: as a personal policy, I don’t badmouth previous, current or potential employers; please don’t ask for names.
Image credit, JJ Lassberg