The glorious world of recruiting comes with its ups and downs. Sometimes we find the purple squirrel, the mystical creature who lives deep in the depths of the hidden forrest and matches what our client wants to a tee. Before finding the squirrel we tend to talk to a lot of duds...and well nuts. Just ask any recruiter about one of their horror stories and I can assure you they will start if off with a laugh.
I was scheduled to have a preliminary phone screen with a candidate on a gorgeous Friday morning. Much like my normal routine, I prepped for my call by writing the topics I wanted to cover on my notepad, pulling up his resume, Linkedin, and the calendar invite. I called the candidate right on the dot and introduced myself, asked if it was still a good time to talk. After explaining why I was calling and the breakdown of the interview, he insisted it was still a good time to talk but seemed confused of who I was or why I was calling.
A few minutes into getting to know the candidate, I started to realize that he was not listening to my questions, simply because his answers had nothing to do with my question. After a short period of asking questions, I turned it over to him so he could ask about the position or the company. The first question he asked was about what the company did and what space they were in. RED FLAG, regardless if this is a preliminary call or your final interview, you should always take at least 5-10 minutes to look into the company to get a general understanding.
Being polite I was quick to respond about what the company does, and even gave him a simple example of one of their products. While I was giving the potential candidate some information about the company I suddenly heard a burp..yes you read that right: a burp. The potential candidate burped over the phone and ultimately into my ear. I should have hung the phone up then. He asked a few more simple questions, then came the part where he told me he needed to be completely honest. He explained that he had no idea what the company was, who I was, or that he had a call scheduled for this time. He also admitted that he thought he was on the phone with another company he was looking into. Although I appreciated his honesty, I had already assumed that from our entire conversation. Needless to say this candidate was not a fit.
How I handled the situation:
Whenever you are faced with a situations like this you, you have to choose on of two options: Be honest and transparent, or hangup and provide no explanation. As you can guess from me pushing through the call, I chose to be honest and transparent. At the end of the call I made sure to be transparent with the candidate about how the call went and what I thought. One thing that I made sure to explain was that you should always respect a recruiter's time, we are taking time out of our days to contact you because something in your profile stood out to us.
Another thing I went on to explain is that next time he got on the phone with a recruiter, he should at the very least know a little bit about the company, especially what they are known for. Luckily, the potential candidate understood where I was coming from, and took this information as advice.
I would like to take it that this call was not wasted but rather a learning experience for this potential candidate and myself.