Recruitment and Selection: 10 Things Recruiters (Me Included) Hate about Candidates

After working for several years in the recruitment field and after talking to fellow recruiters, here are 10 most annoying items that we hate about candidates. This list should be useful for candidates also as it will help them understand our point of view and will prevent any silly situations in their job seeking activities:

So here they are:
1. Inappropriate CVs - CVs too short, CVs too long (I've received one one that had 14!!! pages), CVs that have no connection to the job, CVs without contact details, CVs with stupid email addresses, CVs with silly names (candidates that don't offer their real name like "Poker DJ" - Guys, do you even hope that anyone will contact you for a serious job if you put such a name on your CV?, CVs in other languages than those requested, CVs that mention "gsgdyuue" for current company name, CVs that instead of responsibilities for a certain current position mention only the description of the company (I received a CV once of someone working in a hotel - they didn't mention their responsibilities there but considered suitable to tell me how many rooms the hotel had, what an amazing sauna, WI FI and similar crap - Guys, are you applying for a job or selling me a vacation?), ugly CVs that nobody bothers to format and put in a nice and readable template - I received CVs in .txt format, without any fonts or alignment, CVs that lie (fake studies, wrong level of languages, fake courses), the list can go on but I will stop here...
2. Not replying when contacted - this is a great waste of time for the recruiter, wasting time with useless phone calls or writing emails nobody answers. Imagine that nobody will ever call you again after 3-4 tries. If you are available only during certain hours or on certain days, please mention that in your CV, don't let us call like crazy. Thanks :)

3. Not showing up for interviews and not calling to reschedule or explain- this is driving us crazy because the recruiter's time is completely lost - you can't schedule someone else in just a few minutes, you have to sit there and wait for at least 15 minutes before you give up, you have to start making phone calls; not to mention the time you have already wasted reading the CV and going through previous stages of the selection. Guys, if you don't want a certain job, be brave enough to say so. "I am sorry, I am no longer interested." You can even give us a nice lie that you have already received a better offer. Just letting the recruiter wait will probably send your CV directly to trash. Chances to be called again are almost zero - you have attitude problems, even if you may be good for another position later in the future.
4. Showing up far too late for interviews - please don't unless you have called before to explain that you can't find the location or that something really serious has happened. Being late means most of the times a change in the entire schedule for the entire day and for the rest of the candidates too. Your risk is to go through a superficial interview or to lose the job to someone who was there on time.
5. Showing up uninvited for interview- don't do it, no recruiter will change their schedule to meet with you especially that not being invited can mean having a rejected CV. Your risk is to seem desperate and this is not seen as a good thing. Especially if you are a pushy type and insist on being seen. They may meet with you just to check what's so great about you, but remember that the exam will be extra strict and most probably it will take 10 superficial minutes. Recruiters have hundreds of CVs to read and tons of other activities on their mind - ads, promotion, job fares, reporting, other interviews - messing up their schedule will not be appreciated. You feel you are amazing and someone overlooked your CV, better send an email or call and politely ask for an interview. You have better chances that showing up uninvited.
6. Acting important - nothing is more annoying for a recruiter that a candidate that keeps bragging about how amazing they are, about how many people they know, sometimes I get candidates that feel the need to tell me that they know important people. So what? You are here to be tested and show us what You are worth. We don't care about your important connections. Remember, a really smart person is only that one that is modest too. They impress by their personality and their knowledge, not by their connections and political skills. Also, lying about your responsibilities drives us crazy too. I've had a candidate once that told me what an amazing manager he was and that he managed a team of 20 technicians in France bla bla bla. He was interested in management only - no team member position - he specified that several times. When we asked for references, he proved he was no such thing as a manager. He was just a simple team member and the 20 technicians were just his colleagues.
7. Inappropriate dress code for interviews - guys, always dress for the position you are being interviewed for - try to imagine what you would be asked to wear on the job on a daily basis and use that. If you simply can't imagine, ask the recruiter - it's not silly to do that. I had once a guy for interview and I even remember him now after a few years - he wanted a sales coordinator position (position that involved working with doctors and medical center managers) , but instead of a suit he came dressed in a T-shirt that wasn't even ironed, his hair was a big mess and at 10 am he looked like he had just woken up. Imagine what happened to him...Sorry, guys, but for certain positions appearance is key as you represent the image of a company.
8. Not being able to evaluate your market value correctly - this is what I personally hate the most - students or fresh graduates that have some general knowledge in a field, have never worked in their life, haven't done any volunteering, no internships, but apply for management positions and ask for a fortune. People, wake up and grow up! You have graduated college, good for you...So did hundreds of others. Now look around and compare your real value with that of others. Do you really offer what the company you are targeting wants? If not, lower your expectations and see where you really position yourself.

9. Accepting a salary offer, then rejecting it one day before start date - this is a great waste of time for HR - we waste time with the CV, we waste time with the interviews and tests, with all medical checks, with all the crazy paperwork, we stop the process because we have found the candidate and then, one day before we are told we have to start everything all over again. Guess what, we have deadlines and targets also and not filling a position on time is very bad. For people like you we need to come up with backups and we have to take risks. Dear candidates, please be so kind to tell us bravely when you are not interested. This will give you other opportunities with us in the future. Giving up one day before start date with no real reasons will probably delete you forever from the database, no matter your abilities.
10. Showing up for start date then telling the manager that you are no longer interested - this is a variation of no.9. I've had this recently and I can tell you it is not fun. Besides all the time wasted before, you have now wasted a day of Induction training also and you have tons of paperwork to prepare for the leaver. Not nice, candidates, not nice. I've recently had one guy who came for just one day then told us he had to leave to another country to prepare his master's degree as it was the requirement of the University. Really? And you have found this out Today?

I hope this sheds some light on the difficult life of the recruiter. So, dear candidates, please read this article carefully and try not to make our life a living hell :)

And for the other recruiters out there, I am waiting for you to share your thoughts or to add more items to the list.

Take care,

Also read:
10 Things Candidates Hate about Recruiters 


  1. hi,

    i can imagine this is frustrating.
    but what do you think of the next list.

    1 urgent vacancy, send cv and time slots available for contact, no response for weeks!

    2 no response in general

    3 contacted for jobs entirely not conected to my line of work

    4 getting asked stupid questions, clearly indicating that recruiter has no clue about the job at hand

    5 job adds with allmost no info

    6 recruiter who acts if he is your best friend

    7 no feedback after interview

    8 drop your cv at customer that you are not aware of

    9 changing your cv in company template or even worse changing cv content without providing you copy

    10 meeting invitation for candidate nobody at the client knows the recruiter and or company he is working for

    11 ... so I think there are good and bad recruiters just like there are good and bad candidates.

    In just in the candidates defense, after being on the bench for a long time you take every opportunity but if you give your word and the day after an offer comes by with more challenging job with a better pay at a better location what would YOU do, keep your word, i don't think so.

    so to conclude put on some grey glasses, the world isn't black and white.

    1. :)


      to defend the candidates I have just published another post 2 minutes ago :)
      10 things candidates hate about recruiters.

      I completely agree to what you are saying. I have been a candidate also at some point and I know what you mean.

      Thanks for reading,

  2. just thought i'd share this link.