It’s Not Me, It’s You. When Candidates Revolt.

What do you do when not one, not two, but THREE candidates turn round – independently of each other – and say that there’s no way they’d work with your client?

Do you walk away from your client, or do you review your selection process?

This is a puzzle I’ve been facing over the last couple of weeks. And these were not run-of-the-mill candidates, these were guys who had worked at some of the world’s top tech companies (OK, Meta and Google), and had grown businesses many times over.

We’re talking about guys that the tech companies themselves are falling over themselves to hire.

So what’s really going on here? A few thoughts…

  1. Some candidates (perhaps especially those who are ex-FAAMG) find it easier to reject clients that don’t align with them
  2. Some clients have a particular way of working that goes deeper than what is mentioned in a brief or a job description
  3. It’s a recruiter’s job to understand WHY candidates are rejecting the client, and what’s being hidden in part 2 above.

And remember – our job is to represent the client as they are, after all, the ones who pay the bills. To represent the client, you have to understand the client.

In this case, I think:

  • The client might not want people from FAAMG companies (unspoken, but we live and we learn)
  • The client has a way of working that doesn’t align with their experiences (and all three candidate experiences align)
  • Both client and candidate are convinced that their way is the right way

If you’ve ever been rejected by a candidate, even if you’ve rejected the candidate yourself, it can be a learning opportunity. And you can learn one of two things:

  • You’re right, and you need to stick with your way of working
  • You’re wrong, and you need to listen to the candidate market

Neither of these answers is wrong, but as recruiters in the middle, we have to go with your answer, refine our sourcing, and refine our screening process.

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