Ask a Recruiter: What Do You Wish You Never Had to Tell a Candidate. Illustration of an Executive Recruiter rejecting a candidate.

There are probably a million reasons a candidate doesn’t get hired. Some reasons lay with the client (the opening has been put on hold), and some rest with the candidate (lack of relevant experience, for example). As executive recruiters, the Bristol team regularly interacts with clients and candidates so they’ve got their fingers on the pulse. We’ve included feedback from the employer and from the recruiters themselves. We polled three of our recruiters: President Ben Farber, Sr. Vice President Peter Stern and our newest addition, Associate Account Executive Sean Parry to find out the news they hate to deliver to a candidate. 

Here’s a compilation of responses from 3 of our recruiters when we asked them…

“What Do You Wish You Never Had to Tell a Candidate?”:

  • The employer said you are a long-talker, a name-dropper, didn’t make eye contact or didn’t dress appropriately
  • The employer said you rambled or evaded questions
  • Your listening skills need to improve
  • Stop feeling entitled to the job — you’re not hired until they sign on the dotted line
  • Don’t use the leverage of other offers to put pressure on the employer
  • Yes, have self-confidence but more importantly, show passion and commitment about the position for which you are interviewing
  • To remember that you, the candidate, are interviewing for an open position, not the other way around
  • Sorry, but a last minute change of direction by the client has shut the search down or eliminated you as a candidate (this may come as particularly bad news when a lot of time has been invested)
  • You finished a very close second (so near yet so far)
  • As a recruiter, and based on my assessment—you are not a good match for the job so I will not be presenting you for this opening
  • You must be more responsive to my messages and calls
  • The client has made a disappointing offer (this may create a loss of trust in and goodwill towards the employer and even to us, as the recruiters)

President Ben Farber recommends that candidates do their homework — of course on the company and the position — but also on themselves. “I often refer them to blog posts like “How to Prepare for a Video Interview” or “How to Answer Difficult Questions.” Sean Parry reflects that a candidate will have a higher likelihood of advancing through the process if the client feels a special connection as to the fit of the placement, as opposed to a candidate who may simply look good on paper.

You can see that the replies and feedback are diverse — sometimes there are issues having to do with the individual; sometimes with the position or company itself. Either way, candidates who listen to, and respond positively to, criticism will often improve their chances of landing the job.

View the LinkedIn Profiles for the recruiters who contributed to this article here: Ben Farber, Peter Stern, Sean Parry.

Bristol Associates is an executive search firm with a 49-year history of excellence. Bristol specializes in recruiting for companies and candidates in the casino gaming, food manufacturing, hospital/healthcare, hotels/resorts, travel/tourism/attractions, facilities/concessions, restaurant and nonprofit/arts businesses.

If you’re interested in working with Bristol Associates, click here if you’re an employer, or here if you’re a job seeker.

 

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