This didn’t happen to me. But it is a story related to me recently, and one that I can relate to very well. The candidate was booked in for interview. On paper they looked good for the role the recruiter was trying to fill and the phone screen had revealed encouraging levels of communication skills and commercial acumen. Due to urgent deadlines and a tight work schedule, other meetings were moved to accommodate the candidate’s desired interview times.
The candidate was late for the interview by about 15 minutes. When she arrived at reception, flushed, flustered and imperceptibly agitated, what did she say next?
A. “I’m so sorry I’m late. I didn’t mean to be rude but should have anticipated the central city parking challenges and unfortunately hadn’t noted your number to call ahead. Shall we pop out for coffee instead? They’re on me.”
B. “Sorry I’m late but it’s not my fault. My last meeting ran over time and it’s just impossible to find parking around here.”
C. “….” [says nothing at all]
D. “I couldn’t find your offices. I finally managed to find parking in the general vicinity of where I thought your offices were but they weren’t where I thought. And then I called the White Pages to get your address and you aren’t listed. Why aren’t you listed? How are people supposed to find you?”
In 2009 the answer would most likely have been “A”. In 2010 probably more like “B”. But of course, the actual answer in this instance is “D”. Despite every other visitor we have come and visit us here always finding it quite easily, and coming prepared with the address and contact information that we send them each time, this particular candidate decided that it was actually our fault she was late.
Because we aren’t listed in the White Pages….
There are so many things I could say in response to this, not least of which is: Why would anyone bother paying to list in the White Pages these days? 90% of our visitors come here wielding smart phones these days so that, even if they are not well-prepared enough to have allowed time for traffic, finding a car park and locating our offices, it would be easy to pull up our website to find our contact details and call ahead.
It looks like the return of acute talent shortages has also heralded the return of the Arrogant Candidate. This is an interesting phenomenon closely tied into human nature and the handling of positions of power. In 2009, during the GFC, the candidates had lost all power. Companies were making redundancies left, right and centre and to be interviewing for a role was a position of privilege. Amazingly, good manners abounded. Now that the power has shifted back into the hands of candidates, some of them out there are clearly finding it difficult to assume their new status of highly in demand whilst maintaining basic levels of integrity and respect.
I saw a tweet earlier this week from @AaronDodd saying:
“Candidate no-show for interview. #blackflag #blacklist #neverdarkenmydooragain”
And as that spread it was clear many other recruiters out there were feeling the same, and being treated the same. Particularly, it has to be said, in the more acutely candidate short markets, such as IT, Engineering and – dare I say it – Recruitment. An accounting recruiter in Auckland Adam Napper (@BeanyRecruiter) tweeted:
“Try accounting then. My candidates are more than obliging as it is still very tight for roles!”
We in recruitment are frequently lambasted by candidates for poor communication, lack of follow up, insufficient feedback and not having their best interests at heart. Sadly, in some cases, these criticisms are justified. But isn’t it interesting to see how, once the power shifts into the hands of the candidates, it is they who suddenly deem it acceptable to behave rudely and mess people around?
I suppose that’s just human nature.