5 types of difficult candidates and how to deal with them
You may be a great interviewer, but what if the person on the other side of the desk is not a great candidate? This can be an interviewer’s worst nightmare, especially in today’s market, where there’s a shortage of candidates, and recruiters sometimes find themselves desperate to fill roles for their clients.It’s not that these candidates lack skills – good recruiters wouldn't represent incompetent candidates – but rather that they tend to exhibit behaviours that can make them challenging for recruiters to manage.
But fret not! There are strategies you can employ to effectively navigate encounters with these "difficult" candidates. By understanding some fundamental skills and principles, recruiters can provide exceptional service to both clients and candidates alike.
Let's delve into the 5 types of challenging candidates and, more importantly, how to handle them:
1. The Demanding Candidate:
These candidates may have a lot to offer, and you might see them as a perfect fit for your client. However, they often come with high demands throughout the hiring process. When dealing with demanding candidates, it's crucial to be upfront and engage in an open conversation from the start. While you'll strive to accommodate their requests if they are genuinely interested in the role, it's essential to clarify the terms offered by the hiring manager. Mentioning the high number of applicants for the position can also shift the decision-making back to them. Ultimately, the choice is theirs!
2. The Overconfident Candidate:
You've likely encountered candidates who show excessive self-assurance and try to bypass introductory questions, deeming them unnecessary. They may present lofty salary expectations far above industry norms for their experience level and conclude with queries like, "When do I start?" However, can they back up their confidence with substance? It falls on your shoulders to find out. Catch these overconfident candidates off-guard with challenging initial questions. This will push them out of their comfort zone and remind them that they need to prove their worth to you – a credible recruiter tasked with evaluating their skill set. If they genuinely possess the skills they claim, they will understand the need to switch gears and provide concrete evidence of their abilities. Impressing you will make you their most significant advocate, significantly influencing your clients' hiring decisions.
3. The Needy Candidate:
While these candidates have good intentions, they tend to swamp you with excessive communication. They apply for every available role on your website and flood your inbox with daily emails. Their persistent requests for feedback, even when your client hasn't responded, can become a time-consuming burden. In such cases, it's essential to reassure the needy candidate that they remain a top priority. Remind them that you'll promptly reach out with updates as soon as you have news to share.
4.The Nervous Candidate:
Nervous candidates often struggle with maintaining eye contact, have shaky voices, and may even exhibit sweaty handshakes. You might initially think twice about presenting them to your client, but you will be surprised; some of the best candidates may start out nervous, but that’s because these candidates care too much and only want to do well.What they need is a bit of extra support and coaching. Offer guidance on areas for improvement, constructive feedback on their performance, and, most importantly, a confidence boost by highlighting their strengths. Remember that practice makes perfect, so consider conducting mock interviews to help your candidates conquer their nerves.
5. The Humble Candidate:
Among the most frustrating candidates are those who excel in their roles but struggle to sell themselves effectively. They may become tongue-tied during interviews and find it challenging to confidently discuss their skills and accomplishments, despite possessing an outstanding track record. The good news is that these candidates merely require reassurance of their capabilities and some interview coaching. With a little guidance, you can swiftly prepare these candidates for interview success.