Don’t be that Jobseeker! 6 Candidates that Recruiters Avoid Working With.

04.11.2022 | Blog

Hello again, jobhunters!

It has been almost 10 months since I’ve become a third-party recruiter, and I’m still learning new things, mostly by communicating and working with people. After all, that is a fundamental part of what we do. One thing sticking out to me recently is that there are job seekers who are not so good at collaborating with recruiters on their job search. For this article, I want to specifically focus on the types of candidates that we recruiters would rather avoid working with.

Before that, I have three disclaimers.  First of all, I am not referring to those who have bad luck or have not developed job hunting skills. From a recruiting perspective, success in connecting a candidate to a client’s opportunity relies heavily on the candidate putting their best foot forward during every part of the process, from resume submission, to getting hired, to performing well on the job. A job seeker’s personality on the job search has an effect on how efficient and worthwhile the time a recruiter spends for helping them is. The jobseekers I will be discussing here are those who do not present themselves in the best light, thereby making their job search (and us recruiters wanting to work with them) all the more difficult.

Secondly, I am speaking from the perspective of an outsourced recruiter, meaning I work for an agency that aids client companies in finding candidates for open positions. As such, I have to consider a few factors when contacting and communicating with a candidate. These factors are respect for (1) everyone’s time, (2) my professional and personal self, and (3) the agency-client relationship. To be a bit blunt, we try not to submit the type of candidates I will discuss here to our clients.  In this article, I hope to make clear the reasons why.

Lastly, my aim is to educate you about the qualities that hold some jobhunters back from getting successful placements through recruiting agencies. These are candidates that I or my coworkers have run into in the last 10 months, so I write this form personal and professional experience. I would like to use my experiences with such candidates to help whoever is reading with their job search.

The first type of jobseeker I would like to discuss is the Passive Poster, who simply posts or submits a resume and does nothing else. Of course, playing the waiting game is part of jobhunting, but waiting and not doing anything else is a very bad strategy. A lot of a recruiter’s time is spent cold contacting candidates through phone, email, and social medias. However, relatively little of the contacting gets a reply from candidates because so few seem to actively participate in their own job search. So, if a recruiter sees the same person applying but never replying, they eventually ignore the resume altogether because they have to value their limited time in filling a client’s position.

In a similar vein, there are the Wishy-Washy Wishers, jobseekers who act or seem interested only to drop out with no explanation. Job searching is all about having your own power throughout the entire process, no argument there. But when a recruiter has taken their time to exchange emails/messages with you, set up a screening time, and confirm everything ahead of time only for you to ghost/block/hang up on them, you could be placed on a personal blacklist. That is to say that they will not contact you no matter how many of their job postings you apply for.  Such candidates waste not only the recruiter’s time but could potentially waste the client’s time if they were to make it to the interview or hiring stages.

In the last paragraph, I mentioned candidates having their own agency while job hunting. This is because it is important for both the jobseeker and the recruiter to have an idea of what candidates are looking for in the job search. In the cases of Apparitional Appliers, people who have well-meaning loved ones applying to jobs for them, there is miscommunication from first contact. Due to the person being called not even knowing the position they are being contacted about, time for both recruiter and jobseeker is wasted as they are usually not truly interested in the position. Even if they are, it also makes the recruiter feel that this particular candidate will not do their own follow through if they were to be submitted for a client’s opening.

Another candidate lacking their own agency in job hunting is the Ventriloquist’s Dummy, who literally has someone else in their ear and spits out that person’s ideas. Consulting someone else during the rigmarole of job hunting is normal, even advisable. No one knows you better than those close to you, and others who have been in the working and job search worlds can offer great guidance. There is a caveat to this: being helped on the job search and simply letting others make your decision to apply for, start, or quit a job are not the same thing. It is very difficult for recruiters to work with someone who does not use their own head during the job search. If for no other reason than the fact that recruiters have respect for themselves and their time, and a candidate who is unable to make their own decisions can stall in the recruiting process.

I have mentioned a lot about recruiters’ and clients’ time, so I want to change gears a bit. Some candidates just don’t respect recruiters. One such candidate is the Over-Reactor. This type of candidate goes off on the recruiter, usually in response to small questions about the resume. Unfortunately, we outsourced recruiters often have to ask about the small details of the work history, like any gaps in employment, why previous positions were left, and if the resume we are looking at is the most updated. This is because 9.5 times out of 10 our client companies will ask us. We also have to clarify what the candidate is looking for in terms of role, location, and salary expectations to see if any of our positions even fit the jobseeker’s criteria. While these can dip into more personal territories, professionalism in responding is still an expected minimum.  If you cannot show us that expected minimum, we will have no reason to believe that you would show it to our clients. And, we will not risk a client’s relationship by sending you, regardless of your qualifications.

The last candidate I want to bring up is the Projector, or the candidate who puts their frustrations upon the recruiter. Every recruiter and jobseeker is human, every human has their struggles and frustrations. Recruiters have sympathy and understand the many feelings tied up in having employment or a career. After all, “work” is how we fund “life”, both literally and figuratively. However, we cannot be the screens for the candidate’s dissatisfaction with their current work or life situations. To be clear, there is a difference between candidate telling (even venting to) the recruiter about a recent struggle in employment and a candidate trying to make the recruiter feel bad (purposefully or not) for contacting them about employment. The former is a natural conversation to happen, and the later is the recruiter being a screen for the jobseeker’s projections. Aside from being unprofessional, projecting is a clear sign of toxicity. Not only do we recruiters want to avoid that, we do not want to send a potentially toxic element to our clients.

This is not by any means an exhaustive list, but I wanted to end by letting you know what type of candidates that recruiters do want to work with. We want to work with job seekers who are active in their job search and will clearly communicate with us what they are looking for in their next step. We also love collaborating with candidates who not only respect our time, but make their own decisions throughout the job search process. The same goes for candidates who show professionalism in both personal presentation and the respect of boundaries. Thus, the take away for this article is, DON’T be that jobseeker who is the opposite of this type of candidate.

Thank you so much for reading!