Recruiting In 3D

Candidate Experience for Dummies

Everyone seems to be talking about candidate experience these days, and the noise surrounding this perennial talent

trending topic has become deafening, even though most of that banter ultimately falls on deaf ears throughout the recruiting universe.

I’m a little self conscious even writing about it; after all, no one needs another post on what’s become a pretty tired topic.

After all, I’m not sure anyone’s really an “expert” on candidate experience, but I’m damn sure that I’m by no means any sort of definitive authority on this subject. Read More

TMA’s Social Recruiting Summit Recap

Last week I attended the TMA Social Recruiting Summit in New York City. For a kid from New York, any trip there is nice, because in addition to being able to see some family while I am up there, I pretty much eat pizza every day and twice if I can find an excuse. Being able to cover the event gave me the ability to view the conference from a different perspective, where I could actually listen to all thecontent, while also taking in how the crowd is reacting to it.

The event itself was well attended by about 125 people, and it was nice to see that the attendees’ experience levels and industries varied greatly. This was particularly refreshing, because it brought out some of the challenges that are definitely unique to certain industries, while other times attendees were secure in knowing everyone else faces the same struggles. TMA did a really nice job on including speakers and content that spanned recruiting, sourcing, marketing and employee branding. It’s a tough feat to successfully cater to an array of audiences in a smaller conference, and it worked. Read More

Zen and the Art of Candidate Maintenance

Recently, thanks to the remarkable and inimitable Amy Ala, I was lucky enough to score ringside seats for a fascinating follow up conversation to a seemingly simple question a candidate had posted to Quora, asking for advice on which of two outstanding job offers they should accept.

The resulting firestorm of impassioned opinions and inflammatory commentary about which option the candidate should choose served as a fascinating real time case study into the world of online recruiting and talent acquisition today. Read More

Workshop Recap: Build Your Agency’s Talent Pipeline

I had the opportunity to attend a workshop last week, sponsored by DiceTMP DiceGovernment and the Partnership for Public Service, which centered on how to effectively build talent pipelines for your agency. Much of the content was centric to the federal sector, but as always it contained some relevant information for public and private alike. In addition to a lineup of well-informed speakers, they also included a panel of young professionals that helped drive home the message of the day: Recruiting needs to keep evolving. Read More

Candidate Experience: To Call Or Not To Call

As we all know by now, candidate experience is all the rage, and rightfully so. When the lifeblood of your career in this industry is based on your relationships with the people you interact with, this is exceptionally true.  But ensuring each candidate gets 1:1 personal treatment can be a daunting task, and in many cases, so overwhelming that communication gets ignored completely. And closure (of any kind) is important to a candidate. After all, it’s stressful to be in a full-on job search. Not hearing anything back only compounds this stress.

From a recruiter’s perspective, we ideally want to be able to provide that personal touch and experience for all candidates. However, reality can set in, and being able to personally call or talk to each candidate who has applied becomes nothing more than fantasy. But for many of the people we connect with, knowing where they stand is just good enough.  Don’t believe that? Sift through the results of any of the last few years of the Candidate Experience Awards data. It matters

And when closing the loop, how do you decide when to call and when to just email? Sadly, it’s not an exact science. But then again, recruiting isn’t an exact science either, which further muddies the waters. There aren’t rules, only guidelines, and the guidelines can vary from recruiter to recruiter and industry to industry.  So, here’s a sample framework for knowing which method of response to use when closing the loop. Your individual preference may vary.

Scenario 1: Candidate Application – No Contact – Rejection

Depending on the size of your company, the amount of openings you have, the size of your team, and how broadly you post your jobs, your candidate flow will vary. Candidates who aren’t even remotely qualified will apply for your jobs. It may not be realistic to reach out individually and personally to each person.

If they’ve applied, but there has been no direct contact, it’s OK to close things out with an email. It’s even acceptable if it is a form email. It’s something. And it’s even better if the email from your ATS (or Outlook?) comes from a real person’s email address.  Yeah, you’ll get the occasional crazy, but they are the exception and not the rule. And what if you get a referral for this or another role, just because they were impressed that you took the time to respond? This is worth it for the positive perception it builds with candidates. From a candidate’s perspective, the relief comes in knowing “hey at least they let me know I didn’t get it”

Side Note: Your internal practices may dictate additional steps, based on the structure of your company’s Employee Referral Program, so keep that in mind.

Scenario 2: Phone Interview Rejection

Let’s take it a step further, and say that they had a 20-30 minute call with you, the recruiter. But after speaking with them and reviewing your notes, or discussing their profile with the hiring manager, they are determined to not be a fit. In this case, you’re probably covered if you just send a personalized email saying that you are not moving forward, but would keep them in mind for the future opportunities. You’re fostering some trust with the candidate, and that is valuable in 3 months if they are a great fit for a new role.

On the other hand, if the candidate has had a phone interview with the manager, you can go either way. It really depends on your experience and relationship with the candidate. There isn’t a hard-and-fast catch all for how you should play this. That said, any written communications should be personalized and definitely not form emails. After all, they did spend anywhere between 30 and 90 minutes cumulatively talking with you and the hiring manager, so if you need to email, make it personal.

Scenario 3: In-Person Interview Rejection

Without question, this is the easiest one of the bunch. This is always a personal call. Always. Always. This person came in for several hours to get grilled by the hiring team. There’s a good chance they probably did the “Superman Change” if they were headed back to their job, and they took time off work to come meet with your company. Call them and explain that they didn’t get the job. Provide feedback if you are able (and if you are comfortable with this). Essentially, you want to provide them the soft landing that you’d want for yourself. Few other things in the candidate experience realm can be more damaging to your reputation as a recruiter and a company than to not provide any response to someone who came in to meet you. Unless of course, you used the form email.


Because candidates matter. Because your professional reputation matters. And most importantly, one day you’ll likely be in that same spot looking for some type of closure about a job.

This post first appeared on SourceCon on January 8, 2015

Respect Is Reciprocal

respectThere’s quite a bit of chatter about candidate experience these days, and rightfully so. For far too long, candidates would be treated more like a number or a task than a human being, in essence, it’s about respect.

However that has begun to change, and the change is evident by the rise in awareness by recruiters and organizationsSo, while this is a great time of awakening for the rapport between candidates and recruiters, it still has a ways to go before it comes full circle. While I won’t go into the full spectrum of what still needs to happen, I want to provide an example of something that happened to me recently in regard to respect. Read More

Why Reference Checks Need To End

The recruiting industry should be proud of itself. In the last 15 years that I’ve been fortunate to be a recruiter, I’ve spent time on the agency side, in-house corporate roles, and as a consultant (a real one, not the unemployed kind). I’ve been privy to seeing a number of amazing technological transformations in this industry that really only come along once in a generation. I’m constantly amazed – if not a little overwhelmed – at all the tools and technology we have at our disposal. We’ve been able to eliminate a lot of manual processes and busy work.

However, I’m mystified at the reluctance of companies in virtually every industry to begin moving away from one of the oldest, most useless processes HR and recruiting have ever embraced, the reference checking process. Yep, I think reference checks are garbage. And yes, while you may still need to do them and , they are about as useful as a North Face parka in Oahu…. ever. Read More

Counteroffers In The Candidate-Driven Market

In what has shifted to a very clear candidate-driven market, candidates have more opportunity for choice among the offers they are fielding. At a quick glance, this is great news for those who have been slogging through a difficult last few years. Since the recession took hold, the market has been largely employer-driven, giving companies the opportunity to be selective about who they bring on board.

A deeper look uncovers a much more unwelcome trend. As with any candidate-driven market, the incidence of candidates accepting counteroffers and/or reneging on offers tends to increase. This is detrimental to both the company hiring and the candidate who experiencing second thoughts. On the company side, there are costs associated with advertising and recruiting for a position. In addition, there is the cost of time spent on interviewing. The interviewing cycle takes time away from completing company initiatives. For those companies, this process needs to begin all over again. Read More

How Recruiters Can Pay It Forward

Ask a recruiter why they do what they do, and you’re likely to get a wide variety of answers. Among them may be:

  • “I sort of just fell into recruitment”
  • “I’m an extrovert, this was a good fit”
  • “I didn’t want to do sales”
  • “I like helping people”

The fact is, most of us got into this business because deep down we love helping people, just as much if not more than making money. Yes this is true. Fortunately, we’ve picked a profession that allows for both. Career choice FTW! Read More

Just Do The Application. Please?

There are fewer things in this world that irritate me more than when someone can’t follow simple directions. For example, fill out the application (at the time after we’ve scheduled an interview of course – I wouldn’t want to enrage any of the candidate experience gods by asking for legal paperwork too early on when I should be offering a Frappa Mocha Someshit so that I can make them feel right at home.  (I kid, candidate experience is important. Just bear with me here.) Read More

Counteroffers – Come Together, Right Now…..

I had been thinking alot about how the job market has been rather competitive as of late, and started thinking about counteroffers, as I began to hear more about them. As I was perusing Twitter the other day, I found a gold nugget that brought me back a few years.  Seriously, what did we do before Twitter? I think we waited overnight for news and trends about our respective industries or something like that.

I happened to stumble on a great blog post from Kristina McDougall (I highly recommend the follow on Twitter), about how we’re starting to see the return of the counteroffers and “tire-kickers” in their full glory, a la the great tech boom of the late 90’s and early 2000’s. I suspect that it’s like the infamous killer animals, the Poison Dart Frog and the Box Jellyfish, where people tend to shiver when they hear about these. I digress…..I think Kristina did a great job of walking through the things you should talk to the “tire-kickers” about to vet them out, and do the heavy lifting early on to avoid being window shopped.

And in reality at the end of the day, I think counteroffers will only ebb and flow,  but never disappear. So what’s the fix? The burden of responsibility probably lies with both the recruiter and the candidate. But what can each side do to reduce the chances that a counteroffer will interfere with things?  For starters, both sides need to work together in a relationship-driven, and not a transaction-driven model.  Everyone will feel more engaged. With engagement comes trust.

Here are a few ideas:


  • Be upfront. Talk about the potential pain areas of the role or company, while still accentuating the positive aspects of the organization. Trying to sell everyone sunshine and butterflies only ends up making you look silly, and your candidates know it.
  • Discuss early on the potential that there could be a counteroffer, and discuss this with your candidate. Don’t dance around it. It is an uncomfortable situation, without a doubt. However, it’s not quite as uncomfortable as having to tell a manger or client that the candidate that was hired is suddenly not going to be there for Death By Powerpoint orientation.
  • Don’t badmouth the current company that the candidate works for. It’s cheap and doesn’t make you look any better.


  • Be upfront. Talk to me about why you are really looking. Tell me what you make, and what you want to make going forward.  The more I know about your motivations and what you are looking for, the more I can do in working with managers to get that for you. Skip this, and we’re all just gambling.
  • If you are unhappy now, it’s probably not just about money.  So, more money isn’t going to solve whatever is making want to leave there.
  • Know that if you accept a counteroffer, you are wielding irreparable damage on your relationship with this recruiter. The chances that they will work with you in the future are very slim. If it is a successful and well-networked recruiter, remember that word travels fast.
  • If you accept a counteroffer, know that it is something that will forever be linked with you at your company. Companies rarely give out unexpected sums of money under duress without it being followed by some type of angst.

At the end of the day, if both candidates and recruiters get on the same page with one another from the beginning, we will see fewer  “tire-kickers” and counteroffers accepted.

Feel free to comment on what other things each side can do to reduce the potential for an 11th hour fiasco.

Thanks, But No ^#$%&* Thanks!

When you are a recruiter, you get to see all sides of human nature, and all the accompanying emotions. When people get the job, there is elation. When they don’t dejection. You get to see kindness, competitiveness, nervousness and aloofness. While all these things are great and each have their own place, I feel the need to highlight my favorite….stupidity.

I devote a short bit of time (and catharsis) occasionally here at RI3D to the absurd, amazing and usually unbelievable snippets of things recruiters hear. As comedian Ron White says, “You Can’t Fix Stupid”.

Maybe we should have hired that guy after all?
Some of the things that fall into the YCFS category are the things that people write back after being rejected for a job. Look, I get it…..the job market is tough, and you’ve applied to 200 jobs (of which you are qualified for all of them, I know) and I’m just the next recruiter to stand in your way. But there is a graceful way to reply to a rejection, if you feel so compelled to respond to it. Below are two examples of how NOT to respond. Recruiters get hours of entertainment out of these. I hope you get a laugh or two.

  • “LOL I am more than qualified good luck to u”
  • F$ck offSent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

I’d put each of these in context, but, well this is all they wrote. At least I don’t know which cell phone company the first person uses.

Yes friends, the old saying goes, “you can pick your friends, you can pick your nose, but you can’t pick your friend’s nose”. But, you can pick your choice of words.  Aside from the obvious lack of salutations that most professional e-mails tend to contain (what? I embraced my geekdom long ago) and the “sentences” written in “Textglish”, these are pretty funny. I mean, unless you are the angry person who wrote it.

So, if you need to respond, then do so with a little dignity and tact. And maybe one or two less F-bombs.

But then again, those are funny.

If you look close, you can see the Medulla Expletive

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