The Unrecruitables: No Candidate Left Behind

Not all candidates are born equal. Some just seem to have a knack for rejection. Whether it’s body odour, inflated self-esteem or surprisingly misguided interview techniques, there’s a clear obstacle that needs to be overcome. There are candidates out there who could make great recruiters, but just can’t quite manage to make it past that insurmountable task of giving a good first impression.

We fancy ourselves as pretty hot when it comes to interview training. So we thought, let’s take a crack at getting these unrecruitables a job.

Here’s how it unfolded…

Jeremiah (25), Philosophy Grad

There’s no doubting that Jeremiah is an intelligent man. He’s studied Philosophy at Cambridge and reads Immanuel Kant in his spare time for ‘fun’. With a first class degree, classical training in the harp and half-complete semi-biographical novel under his belt, Jeremiah knows he’s exceeded in academia.

There’s a but coming…

He’s a little bit too proud of his achievements. In interviews, he often sounds like he’s talking down to hiring managers and has a tendency to answer a question with another question (you’ll see what we mean).

So, Jeremiah, tell us about your previous interviews and what went wrong

Well, I honestly just think I may have been overqualified for the positions. I mean, I am passionate about a career in recruitment, but I should probably explore a niche which requires a higher level of intellectual capacity.

What do you want from a job in recruitment?

What do any of us ever want in this world? We all exist, but our nature is never truly knowable. Apologies, I digress. I would like to be challenged and stimulated both intellectually and emotionally by a role.

If an agency hired you, what would you bring to the table?

That’s an interesting question… Well, I’ve always been successful wherever I go and whatever I try. I have an aptitude for learning which is unparalleled, so if I find something difficult, I will study until it becomes second nature for me. I think an individual like me will be able to thrive in whatever situation I find myself in.

How can Jeremiah break the unrecruitable label?

It’s clear how Jeremiah could rub interviewers up the wrong way, especially if he decides to discuss the meaning of life. But, we did touch upon an interesting point. He speaks of his hunger for success and willingness to learn the ropes if he ever finds himself struggling. By getting Jeremiah to give less airtime to his ‘superior intellect’ and more to his drive for success, he could find himself employed in no time!

Izzy (22), Head in the Clouds

Scatty is probably the most appropriate description of Izzy. She’s passionate, charismatic and shows a true devotion to her commitments. But, she’s just got her head in the clouds. Izzy has done a lot of voluntary work in her time and she genuinely cares about each of her causes. She’s willing to go the extra mile and do anything she can to help those in need.

It’s undeniable that Izzy is an admirable candidate. That said, recruitment is a business. When she tells hiring managers that she wants a job in recruitment because she wants to help change the lives of others, it can send the wrong vibes.

Yes, recruitment has come a long way from the days of immoral sales techniques, but money motivation will get you further than any charitable ideals ever could.

How can Izzy break the unrecruitable label?

Izzy needs to understand that however admirable her work and charitable campaigns are, recruitment agencies are not charities. She could drop this in and explain how she’d love to get involved in any charitable work an agency does, but this shouldn’t be her main motivator for a job in recruitment. If she really sees a future for herself in the industry, she needs to take some time to understand why. Then, she needs to communicate this effectively in an interview.

Billy (23), Two Pots for a Pound!

Billy can really sell, there’s no doubt about that. But, when you sound like you’ve come straight from an East End fruit and veg market, it can be tough for CEOs to take you seriously. With his pin striped suit, slick back hair and Eliza Doolittle accent, it’s hard not to imagine him rolling up to an interview in a yellow Reliant Robin.

Now, it’s clear that Billy’s got the potential to be a seriously talented recruiter. Growing up on a council estate in a rough area of East London, he learnt from a young age that you’ve got to work hard to achieve anything in life. He’s mastered the art of hustling to get what he wants and has an unmistakeable charm and confidence when selling.

How can Billy break the unrecruitable label?

Billy needs to demonstrate his sales patter without slipping away from a professional façade. He’s at risk of clients and candidates not trusting him and even labelling him as ‘sleazy’. If he maintains a solid level of professionalism, and refrains from referring to female candidates as ‘darling’, he could be an agency’s next top biller.

Bob (27), Meek and Mild

Every now and then, you meet someone whose name fits them like a glove. Bob is one of those people. He’s academically strong, highly intelligent, deeply professional and could really excel at recruitment.

The problem is, he’s got the personality of a wet towel. He lacks any real confidence and offers very little to anyone interviewing him. When we first spoke to him, we wouldn’t have said he’d have a future in recruitment if it weren’t for his astounding CV.

Candidates don’t have long to make a lasting impression in an interview, and Bob certainly isn’t the memorable type.

How can Bob break the unrecruitable label?

This one really does come down to how Bob markets himself. He needs to learn how to articulate himself in a confident and charismatic way. If he’s to impress, he needs to offer more insightful answers in his interviews. There’s nothing wrong with being a bit boring, but he needs to give interviewers more to go on than simple one-word answers.

Simone (24), Always Knows Better

There’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance. It’s not uncommon for a recruiter to ere on the side of arrogance, but they must always know when to actually listen to others.

Simone isn’t a bad candidate by any means. She’s intelligent and clearly knows how to articulate herself well. Yet she seems to think more of herself than any candidate ever should. She’s dismissive of interview advice, doesn’t listen to feedback and allows recommendations fall on deaf ears. A touch of arrogance can go a long way in the industry, but her know-it-all behaviour is alarming to all hiring managers.

Despite precise guidance from recruiters, she arrives at interviews unprepared and gives the impression that she lacks commitment.

How can Simone break the unrecruitable label?

This can be a tough one for any recruiter to handle. This is where any recruiter really earns their money. Simone needs to feel like she’s not being told what to do, but encouraged in the right direction. Simone needs to drop her know-it-all façade and adopt a more personable approach. This type of arrogance could be a defence mechanism used to hide her nerves. Getting lots of one-to-one preparation time in place is key to any successful interview with Simone.

Alicia (27), Car Crash CV

Alicia’s pretty likeable. She has the gift of the gab, can build rapport with ease and has a natural way of talking to people that earns trust. She has all the trademarks of an exceptional recruiter, but her CV is an absolute car crash.

Alicia has been working as a ski instructor for 2 years and has been travelling the world for 5 years before that. Her work experience is minimal and she isn’t looked at twice by hiring managers.

It’s painful to see Alicia being rejected again and again, knowing she’d be a great recruiter if someone just gave her a chance.

How can Alicia break the unrecruitable label?

Getting Alicia in front of a hiring manager at an interview is the biggest hurdle in any application for her. She’d smash any interview if she was only given the opportunity to do so. To successfully place Alicia in a role she wants, it requires a recruiter to play on existing relationships with hiring managers. This means leveraging the trust you’ve already gained through working relationships and asking hiring managers to take heed of your recommendation, not Alicia’s CV.

An Industry Like No Other

Recruitment is a unique industry. In most sales roles, you’re stuck with a service or product which doesn’t ever change that much. Each sales pitch can become a recycled version of the one before it. This isn’t the case in recruitment. There’s an ever-changing dynamic in the sales process and you’re dealing with both the positives and flaws of a person. It’s your job to coach a candidate into nailing an interview and you can see the benefits of what you’re selling.

If this ever-changing dynamic is something which appeals to you, let’s have a chat. We work to find the best type of agency to fit your personality and attitudes to work. We know what it takes to make you successful. Upload your CV below, or alternatively have a browse of our job board to get a taste for the type of vacancies we currently have on offer.

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