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Beware of the Thirsty Candidates

July 20, 2017
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When you and your team have interviewed IT candidates to fill one of your critical openings, it’s fair to give the recruiter and/or the candidate some feedback as to how well they did and a status on the timeline for you to make a hiring decision. It’s equally as fair to have them send you a thank you note regarding how much they enjoyed meeting you and your team, and why they think they are the best and most qualified candidate available for the role you are trying to fill. I get that.

What I don’t get are the candidates that constantly call (two to three times per week) to see what’s changed since the last time they called (like the day before—and the day before that)! Enough is enough! These candidates appear too eager or thirsty, and it always sends the wrong message to me when they constantly call, write or worse, change the medium and start messaging you on LinkedIn as if your e-mail is no longer working. I find this both disconcerting and annoying at the same time. Something is up with this candidate.

This phenomenon could signal lots of red flags you should be aware of:

  • This could give you a preview of upcoming attractions as to them being “needy” should you elect to hire them. This sort of behavior could mean you are about to employ a new member of your team that is (very) high-maintenance. Buyer beware!
  • This could also signal that this employee is on the ropes at their current employer and the end could be closer for them than what you heard and understood during the interview.  This really conveys a sense of desperation. Again—something you should run from—and fast!
  • Unfortunately, it could also demonstrate such desperation on the part of the candidate that you may find out later (as we would) that they are actually unemployed and they need a job right now. This sort of disingenuous behavior is telling of their character if they are unemployed and they told a different story to you and to your recruiter. This is not good.
  • The other thing to consider is that if the candidate is this thirsty and this high maintenance, you may have a problem employee who you are hiring into your stable cohesive team, which is never good. If they are bothering you all of the time, chances are they are bothering everyone. Cultural fit and chemistry are both critical elements to making a hiring decision. If a candidate is constantly harassing you and aggressively seeking feedback from you multiple times before you conclude your hiring process, you should evaluate if you want to keep them engaged. Trust me—they won’t just “go away.” Pull the plug, immediately!

There is something unique about making a hiring decision for you and your team. Measuring technical skills, team fit, historical performance, references and career progression are all key data points when narrowing the field of candidates to make an informed decision. Too many hiring managers use “gut feeling” when deciding on whether or not to hire a candidate. I submit to you that you are in the information business and hiring human capital should be done using as much information you can gather about a candidate as possible.

If a candidate appears too aggressive in their follow up, make sure you pause and read the tea leaves and be extremely objective before you make your decision. There is always more to the story when this behavior is revealed. Always!

Their unnatural sense of urgency is their issue—not yours.

 

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