6 Things that Will Absolutely Piss Off Your Job Candidates

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11 Jan 2022
5 min read

We see articles every day telling job candidates how to act, dress, and what to say during the hiring process. Why isn’t there just as much advice for employers? 

Hiring managers and other people involved in recruiting and landing top talent need to know how to handle these people. There are many things that will offend them, turn them off, or outright infuriate them. With the job market as smoking hot as it is right now, losing even one potentially great hire can significantly damage your company. 

Here are 6 actions that will absolutely piss off your job candidates. 

The “Bait and Switch” Shenanigans

Rating: 3 🤬🤬🤬

Fresh out of college, Julie applied for an entry-level position. The phone interview went great. During the in-person interview, they started asking about specific skills and experience not mentioned in the job ad. Julie didn’t have any of them. Why were these requirements not mentioned in the initial description?

Result: Julie didn’t get the job and has a bad taste in her mouth about the company. 

Where they went wrong: Failing to include required skills and experience on the front end wastes everyone’s time. Make sure the job description is fully-baked and accurate.

The “Being Late” Hijinks

Rating 2 🤬🤬

Brandon was excited for an opportunity at his dream company. He showed up for the interview 10 minutes early, ready to wow them. He waited. And waited. The interviewer showed up 20 minutes late without any explanation. Brandon wondered, if they treat candidates this way, how do they treat their employees? 

Result: The treatment soured Brandon and he ended up going with a different company. 

Where they went wrong: Some companies forget the interview process is a two-way street. How they’re treated during the process is what job seekers expect as employees. If a hiring manager is disrespectful and/or rude, it may send top candidates running the other direction. 

The “10 Interviews and Going” Antics

Rating 4 🤬🤬🤬🤬

Natalie offers over 10 years’ of experience and a powerful degree. She met with the hiring manager, then the head of HR, then the department VP separately. Convinced she was getting the job, she agreed to 2 more interviews over a month’s period. She turned down another great job somewhere else in the process. Another month later, Natalie’s waiting to interview with a member of the Board, with the date not being set. Natalie is NOT HAPPY.

Result: Natalie is in limbo with her career because the company’s hiring process is convoluted and includes too many people in the decision-making. 

Where they went wrong: Drawing out the hiring process frustrates everyone involved. Companies should ask “Do we need to hire for this position, or not?” and “Does (insert name here) really need to be involved in the decision?” Then move forward in weeks, not months. 

The “Write Me a Book” Buffoonery

Rating: 3 🤬🤬🤬

David is excited about the opportunity to showcase his skills during the interviewing process, which is why he wholeheartedly agrees to performing a test exercise project. He turns it in, only to be asked to make multiple revisions and additions to what was supposed to be a broad example of his skill set. As it drags on, David realizes he’s invested many hours into the unpaid project. 

Result: David feels like he’s being taken advantage of and gets the feeling the company is looking for free work, not to fill the advertised position. He looks elsewhere for his next career move. 

Where they went wrong: Yes, requesting top candidates perform a test exercise is acceptable. However, this request should only go to the top 2-3 candidates late in the process, not take up too much time, and the employer should consider compensating the candidate if the company uses the work. After all, nobody wants to work for free. 

The “Ghosting” Curveball

Rating: 5 🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬

Allison went through 3 interviews and felt good about an interesting opportunity with a company she respected. And. Then. Nothing. She waited for news about an offer and nobody ever called or emailed her. She reached out to her contact a couple of times, but never got a response.

Result: Allison was irritated and angry. She shared her displeasure on her social media channels and wrote negative reviews of the company on job boards. 

Where they went wrong: Say it with us. NO. See,it’s not difficult. Companies must realize that leaving unchosen candidates hanging has the potential to damage their employer brand. Plus, it’s just a crappy thing to do. 

The “Lowball During Negotiations” Situation

Rating: 4 🤬🤬🤬🤬

Caleb was excited about the mid-level career move he had been trying to land. He made it through and got the call he was the one they wanted to hire!

Then it went to hell. 

The offer was 5 digits lower than the average pay for the position. They said he would be able to qualify for a raise “down the road” which was a different story than Caleb had received during his interviewing process. 

Result: Caleb took the job, got another year of experience under his belt, then left to work for a company that paid their employees what they were worth. 

Where they went wrong: Companies need to research job roles and line their compensation up with industry standards. It’s also smart to talk about salary ranges early in the interviewing process (or post it in the job description) to save everyone involved from wasting their time. Lowballing candidates leaves a bad taste in the short-term and increases turnover in the long-term. 

Treating candidates respectfully and responsibly throughout the hiring process is just good business. The attitude that the employer holds all the cards and can act any way they want is an outdated and offensive approach.

 Employers should pinpoint the type of candidate needed, create a seamless interviewing process, avoid wasting anyone’s time, and commit to honest but courteous communication. These actions help organizations build a positive employer brand and hire candidates who are appreciative and loyal . Plus, they can avoid pissing off their applicants, who then share their negative experience all over social media and online job review boards. 

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