I (Herbert)recently had 2 calls that made me decide it was time to write a new article. I had to take a call from an unhappy candidate and later in the week I had a chat with an account manager for one of our clients.
The candidate that was unhappy, felt that we asked too many questions and felt some of them were not relevant. They wanted to know all about the language job but did not want to give any information in return. Some of our standard questions might be along the lines of "where have you applied already?" This was one question the candidate complained about, so I told them, that it's my job. Asking these questions allows me to get a better picture of the candidates story and the more I know the better I can help.
I could ring our clients to find out whether or not a candidate has applied for their language job already but time is precious why not just answer here and now? Knowing where somebody has applied will help us understand the candidate's situation better. If someone is applying for Fortune 500 companies and seems very focussed on the corporate career-path, is it worth our while discussing a small up and coming company?
We have had candidates complain because we have asked them if they had loans or alimony to pay. I personally don't care if you do, however we have lost placements over the simple fact that people looking to work abroad did not take this into account until they received the offer and then realised they couldn't make a living. It actually does have an impact on your living whether you have to pay, for example €400 extra every month to pay bills back in your home country or not. I don't want to waste your time or mine so we want to make sure we have a full understanding of the candidate and his/her needs and currnet situation. It's not only about if you can do the job, it's also important to know if you can make a living when going to work abroad in a new city.
When I had my chat with the new account manager I was informed that they didn't just want a multilingual recruitment agency that sent over CV's but a partner that understands them and only sends the best and WELL SCREENED CANDIDATES, NO SURPRISES. The client did say that when it comes to the offer stage they expect quick answers and don't want candidates to mess around with them. If there will be other offers from other companies, they'd like to know this, so they can anticipate and plan ahead.
I then explained to the client the complaint I received earlier that week and said that our focus is on sending applicants who we think will accept the language job, not applicants that are just good on paper.
We want complaining candidates, we don't want complaining clients.
Don't get me wrong I don't like complaints. We are working on building a name for ourselves and bad news always travels further than good news. However when an applicant complains it is not because we didn't ask enough questions it is because they feel we ask too much.
Imagine what can happen when a recruiter doesn't ask enough questions? Will you speak with the right companies? Will you get the language job you really want? Will you really end up in a sustainable situation or after a long interview process you have wasted YOUR time?
Imagine what would happen when our clients start complaining?