Help Me, Help You

As an external Recruiter, there is nothing more frustrating than lack of feedback from clients. General lack of communication in all areas is annoying, but to not receive constructive feedback or worse – to get zero feedback post-interview is the chief grievance of all grievances. 

First of all, you are making it really difficult for me to do my job. You must view me as a true partner for this to work – you get that right? You can’t go dark and emerge a week later to tell me you need to see more resumes without telling me why or what needs to be different this time around and expect me to be successful. 

Secondly, it’s rude. It shows a complete and utter lack of respect for my time and for the candidate’s time. OK, forget me for a second. I signed up for this job and I get it, I work for you – I take the good with the bad and my skin is thicker than you can imagine. But what about the candidate? They invested time in you – they researched you, got excited, had a suit pressed, arrived on time, gave it their best shot – and quite frankly, they deserve to know what happened. They really want to know. They want to understand how to improve for the next time – constructive feedback is always helpful. It’s only going to help everyone involved, there is no bad here. 

Lastly, dear client – they are sort of pissed at me. And even though I know their anger is misdirected, I feel badly. Because I do want to tell them something, anything. I am invested in them. And I want to know, too! I have taken your need very seriously, I’ve put a lot of time and effort into this search. I have not thrown you resumes to see what sticks, I’ve sourced, vetted, referenced, and sent you my top candidates – but maybe I missed the mark. Let’s talk about it! 

A few scenarios: 

Scenario 1 – 

Client A interviews a slate of candidates and goes dark. We now can’t manage the candidates or offer them any feedback. Client A re-emerges and decides they want to hire candidate C. Candidate C is turned off – they didn’t love the darkness. Now they are unsure of the company and all the key players – because, no one really likes darkness. And if this is how you’ll treat me as a candidate, why would should I expect that will change when I’m an employee? Now you want me to be a magician and squash their fears and rope them in – but guess what? I’m scared for them. Where was the candidate care?  

Scenario 2 – 

Client B interviewed 3 stellar candidates and is now not responding – to anything. Not calls, not e-mails, not the blimp that I rented to float around the office that reminds them to call me – nothing. Client B sends a brief e-mail a week later to say they are back to square one and needs to see additional resumes immediately. However; I don’t know what to look for because I don’t know what was right, wrong or indifferent. Did I nail the skill set, but the personality didn’t make sense? Did I miss the mark entirely? Do I need to reevaluate compensation? I don’t want to waste my time, but I do not want to waste your time either! I take this seriously, I spend all my days identifying the area’s strongest players and I do this day in and day out to save you time, money, and increase your company’s productivity. Trust me, I do not want to waste a moment of your time unnecessarily.  

No one benefits from lack of communication – this holds true in all great relationships. Let’s all invest in the recruiting process and candidate experience, because it matters – they matter. Candidates are actually, wait for it…PEOPLE. They are our friends and family and neighbors. 

I recently had lunch with a networking buddy, turned client, turned candidate, turned friend – a very high level HR Executive who is in transition and he described the process of looking for a new job as, “the most deflating and depressing experience of my life.” What was his chief complaint? Lack of feedback. The constant feeling of rejection tethered to the unknown.  

We can do better than this! I believe in us working together for a more efficient and successful process and let’s treat our candidates with the dignity and respect they deserve. Let’s treat the candidate experience as step one of on-boarding, because for the candidate who gets hired – that’s exactly what it is. Insert cliché – “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”


Mikal Harden