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It’s Time to Start Treating Job Candidates with the Respect They Deserve

Job applicants need to be treated with respect, by recruiters, certainly, and also by employers. Last week, when I answered the phone, I spoke to a candidate who was very upset because he had taken some time off work to attend an interview. He was literally on his way to the interview with the potential employer when he had a call to advise him that the interview was postponed because the employer was ‘too busy’ to meet with him.  This was the second time the employer had rescheduled the interview at the very last minute.

I put his call through to the consultant, but I am pretty sure that this candidate was going to tell someone to shove something somewhere (if you get what I mean). Then I hear of candidates being kept waiting for an interview for up to 45 minutes by potential employers with no apology at all or only a facile comment that makes no reference to the time the candidate has wasted sitting in reception. It’s not good enough.

I don’t know where people have got the impression that, as the employer, they have all the power in the job vacancy situation.  Sure, you get to make a decision to say yes or no to someone and to potentially change their life, but it’s not all about you. Do not make the mistake of thinking that the interviewee is desperate and will do anything or put up with rude, arrogant behaviour in the recruitment process.

Your behaviour, your attitude and your treatment of them will reflect very much on the decision they make in deciding whether or not to accept your job offer.

And even if they do accept it, if you have treated them carelessly before they even start, they won’t make it through their probationary period.  Not because they aren’t good at their job, but because as soon as they are sitting in your office, they will be applying for other jobs. Recruitment is a two way street.

You must respect your candidate’s time and effort. You must remember that as much as their conduct during the interview process forms your opinion of them, your conduct affects their perception of you and your company.

If you make an appointment to meet, stick to it or give plenty of notice if you need to reschedule.

Acknowledge that you have inconvenienced the candidate in doing so.

Do not keep an interviewee waiting for extended periods of time. Be prepared for the interview. Don’t make it look like this is the first time you have bothered to read their resume.  Don’t ask questions about their marital status or home situation.

Don’t be aggressive in your interview style.

Spend a few minutes talking about the company and about the role; help them relax a little. Don’t try to be too clever and ask ridiculously complex questions. You want your interviewee to relax so you get to see as much of their real personality as possible.

Be aware that they are nervous and want to make a good impression.

Remember they are evaluating you at the same time. The very good candidates are still very hard to find, and they DO get multiple job offers.

They won’t choose you if you have treated them shabbily, which leaves you no choice but to settle for second best.


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