Candidates don’t realise that every interaction with a recruiter reveals something. Every email, phone call or face to face meeting is a golden opportunity for the recruiter to assess them.

Over the last six months, we have screened in excess of a thousand candidates. But we have chosen to meet with only around 70 of them. Why such a big “cull”? Quite simply, it’s the things candidates do or say, when they don’t connect that we’re assessing them, that help us weed them out. Some prime examples are:

The candidate doesn’t listen when you answer the phone
Case in point, when I answer the phone with, “Welcome to People in Mind, you’re speaking with LesleyAnn” and the first question a number of candidates ask me is, “Can I please speak with LesleyAnn?” my immediate reaction is “Doh!” Poor listening skills.

A lack of filters
Some candidates don’t seem to have a filter when they share information. Our coffee test is so good for this. It’s a less formal environment, and many candidates share far too much information about their personal lives and the woes with their previous roles, sometimes even bagging their current employer. Recruiters don’t care if the candidate has had a run in with somebody with the same name as the recruiter, or the candidate didn’t like the sales manager from 5 years ago. Really what we want to know is whether candidates can conduct themselves professionally and whether they have the temperament and skills to do the job.

The candidate dresses inappropriately for the screening interview
We recently recruited for a quasi-manufacturing role, where candidates needed a strong focus on health and safety. One candidate turned up in jeans and jandals and then proceeded to tell us that they often went on the “shop floor” in their jandals. They hardly oozed respect for health and safety.

Inappropriate timing of calls and texts from the candidate
Candidates often call or text well into the evening or before a reasonable starting hour. Another pet hate for me is the casualness of some text messages. Or the candidate who rings every few minutes because we couldn’t take their call on the first attempt. A candidate might think we’re their best friend at that particular point in time, but the cold hard fact is we use every opportunity to assess, and candidates who over-manage their applications are a red flag to us.

The written application is of a poor standard
We take into account the standard of an application including the covering email, resume and cover letter. If the advertisement asks for a cover letter, what does it say about their attention to detail if there isn’t one? We have 7 roles open at the moment and I got an email in this week addressed to me, with nothing but a resume attached. The subject line said CV. There was no email message. Nothing. And when I emailed to enquire why this had been sent to me, the response implied I should have known! Given that this role had a great deal of public relations attached to it, the candidate was declined almost immediately.

Picking an argument from day one
I once had a candidate who phoned and wanted to speak to a particular person. When I said we didn’t have anyone of that name working here she proceeded to argue with me. She told me the advertisement had that name. She insisted that I was wrong, to the point that I started to second guess myself and had to check the advertisement. But no, it clearly said my name. Needless to say the candidate was not progressed.

The point I’m making is, if you are recruiting, you should seize every opportunity to screen the candidate for their fit with your business. Do they match your values, have their interactions with you demonstrated they have the soft and technical skills, and will they be a great brand ambassador for your business? These assessments sit alongside everything else we look at, such as whether they have the experience we’re looking for; whether they’re a job gypsy, changing jobs way too often; or whether they have a right to work in New Zealand.

If you have any questions about finding employees who will be a good fit for your business, if you need a sounding board or want help at any stage in recruiting, give us a call, phone 07 823 3250.