Finding the Right Candidate from a Recruiters Perspective

by HSG on Mar 23, 2017 in Articles from Software Fans

I’ve been a technical recruiter for several years, let’s just say a long time.  I’ll never forget how my first deal went bad and the lesson I learned from that experience.  I was new to recruiting but had been a very good sales person in my previous position. I was about to place my first contractor on an assignment.  I thought everything was fine.  I nurtured and guided my candidate through the interview process with constant communication throughout.  The candidate was very responsive throughout the process.  From my initial contact with him, to the phone interview all went well and now he was completing his onsite interview with the hiring manager. 

Shortly thereafter, I received the call from the hiring manager that my candidate was the chosen one for the contract position, I was thrilled.  All my hard work had paid off.  I was going to be a success at this new game!  The entire office was thrilled for me, including my co-workers and my bosses.  I made a good win-win deal.  It was good pay for my candidate and a good margin for my recruiting firm. Everyone was happy. 

I left a voicemail message for my candidate so I could deliver the good news. He had agreed to call me immediately after the interview so I could get his assessment of how well it went.  Although, I heard from the hiring manager, there was no word from him.  While waiting for his call back, I received a call from a Mercedes dealership to verify his employment for a car he was trying to lease. Technically he wasn’t working for us as he had not signed the contract yet…. nor, had he discussed this topic with me.   I told the Mercedes office that I would get back to them.  Still not having heard back from the candidate, I left him another message and mentioned the call I just received.  Eventually he called back.  He wanted more money. 

I told him that would be impossible as he and I had previously agreed on his hourly rate and it was fine with him.  I asked him what had changed since that agreement.  He said he made had made much more money in doing the same thing when he lived in California.  I reminded him this is a less costly marketplace than where he was living in California.  I told him if he signed the deal I would be able to call the car dealership back and confirm that he was employed with us.  He agreed to sign the deal. 

 I faxed over all the paperwork to him immediately.  It was a lot of pages.  He was to sign and fax back to me.  He said I would have the signed paperwork faxed back to me before the end of the business day. He also thanked me for all my help.  He also apologized for not letting me know he needed my help in with the dealership in advance.  It was 5:30 now and I was still waiting for the paperwork.  At 6 pm the fax started receiving his paperwork.  He had signed the paperwork to be represented by our firm.  The was no signature on the contract for the job.  I called to let him know he forgot to sign the paperwork.   He answered the phone this time.  He told me rather proudly that it was not a mistake that he didn’t sign the contract.  He said he thought about it and the rate was too low. He went to the hiring manager from AT&T on his own to get a better hourly rate for himself by removing my recruiting firm from the equation.  He was offering AT&T a lower bill rate and a high pay rate for himself by removing us, the middleman, and the ones who introduced him to the hiring manager in the first place. 

I was appalled and shocked at his deception and manipulation of all of us.  But mostly, I was not going to have my first contractor out on assignment after all.  I felt hurt, cheated, deflated and manipulated.  I felt I was made of fool of because of my naivete in this new business.   I let the office know the next morning as it was in the evening the day before when all of this transpired.   My colleagues and my bosses told me not to take it to heart.  It’s better that this lesson is learned early in the beginning of your recruiting career.  First lesson learned is that you can’t really trust to believe that you have a real deal until the actual paperwork is signed by all parties involved. 


As a recruiter, you’re dealing with a product that can think for itself.  It can lie to you.  It can manipulate you.  It will tell you one thing today.  It will tell you something different tomorrow.  The product goes home and talks to friends and advisors and family elicit advice.  Then things can change.  We are all actors.   Staying in constant contact with your candidates can make your life a lot easier.   The better relationship you have, that is built on mutual trust and respect that you continue to nurture will keep these types of things from occurring. 

My first red flag that things were in trouble possibly was when he didn’t get back to me after the interview as he had previously agreed to.   In recruiting we have products called people that talk out of both sides of their mouth.   In the end, everyone looks out for themselves.  Some are better at it than others.  If you can establish a connection, a bond of some kind with your candidates so that you can make honesty and integrity a priority upfront with them, it will help alleviate these types of situations from occurring.  There’s no way to eliminate these types of situations as human beings have a mind of their own that is subject to change at any time for whatever reason.   Managing your candidates from initial contact to delivering an opportunity or a career change to entice them into making important life changes requires a lot more than just a phone call.   This is a constant struggle in the industry as recruiters in general have a certain perception from the public.  Recruiters are a necessary requirement in the business for corporations to reach their hiring goals.

I’ll end this story by saying that I didn’t have to call the hiring manager at AT&T the next morning about my candidate not signing the contract.  There was a voice message from the hiring manager when I got into the office.  He basically told me the same thing the candidate did.  The contractor candidate tried to cut us out as the middleman.   The hiring manager was very offended by the candidate’s behavior, coming to him that way.  He thought it was sleazy and underhanded.  He didn’t feel this candidate was trustworthy, or had any integrity since he made a verbal deal with our recruiting firm and then tried to get around it by getting my client involved in the potential deception.  He no longer had any interest in hiring this candidate as a contractor.  He didn’t fault me.  He told me to send him more candidates with technical skills like this one but someone with honesty and integrity.   I don’t know, in a way I felt redeemed. 

Aaron Spence
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