Whether you are a job seeker or a recruiter, experienced or inexperienced, there are always new lessons to be learned. One should always seek to learn from their mistakes, and the mistakes of others. The cost of integrity and honoring your personal and professional commitments is steep! You never know the doors that a casual meeting or a formal interview could open for you, but by dishonoring those commitments you could lose important opportunities.
Let me paint a picture for you.
A bright, hardworking candidate who specializes in a new and popular technology stack has teamed up with a recruiter to find work. Through correspondence with his recruiter, the candidate is offered an interview at one of the top technical companies in Portland, OR. Let’s call the candidate Joe and the company PDXTech. Joe’s first interview at PDXTech goes very well and he is invited back. During the second interview, the hiring manager tells the candidate that he is a perfect fit for the role! The hiring manager wants to schedule a final interview, just to have him meet the team, but the job is his! Joe’s final interview is scheduled and he confirms with his recruiter that he is prepared to accept the offer. Everything is looking good!
Then things start to go wrong. The day of the final interview, Joe calls and cancels. He decides to take another offer from an out of town company. In spite of counsel from his recruiter to still take the interview with PDXTech, Joe declines, saying that the other company’s offer is too good to pass up.
A little over a week later Joe contacts his recruiter. The role that he accepted turned out to not be a good fit, and now he would really like to re-engage with PDXTech. His recruiter contacts PDXTech, but they are not interested in re-engaging. They were unhappy with how things transpired concerning the final interview, and they do not feel that they should invest anymore time in this candidate.
There are two lessons to be learned here:
Lesson for candidates. Hindsight is 20/20. Sometimes what looks good on the surface may not be the right fit when exploring deeper, but you won’t realize that until you’re looking back. If the candidate had gone to the scheduled interview and then declined an offer for another one that would have been preferable. It would have left the door to reengagement open. He would have shown the company that he is the kind of person who honors his commitments, and that he was seriously interested in the role and the company. If he had taken the original interview, the client would have been much more willing to re-engage with the candidate and he might have received a second chance at the offer. Because he chose to cancel the interview, he burned a bridge.
Lesson for recruiters and HR professionals. No matter how long you have been recruiting, or how adept you consider yourself at navigating the hiring process, mistakes can still be made. The recruiter in this story made a huge mistake. It is your job as a recruiter to properly educate the candidate about why they need to honor their interviews and what the consequences could be if they choose not to. Early on in the hiring process, it is important for you to discuss professional integrity with your candidates for their own sake, and also for the sake of your relationship with the client. Candidates may not know how a decision like missing an interview could cost them a job opportunity, but you, as their recruiter, have a responsibility to inform them.
Just remember that you never know what the future will bring! By honoring your commitments, professional and personal, you can set yourself apart in the job hunt and you can open doors that you might have otherwise closed.