Reject Job Candidates – Agents and Clients Tell us Why They Do It

Reject Job Candidates
Reject Job Candidates

Reject Job Candidates

Why do  Agents and Clients reject job candidates?

This article appeared in Aussie Contractor site

We think it is still relevant in the UK. The more information you can get about why they reject job candidates the better.

Candidate Rich job Market

In a candidate rich market, and with many applications and fewer roles available, it is inevitable that at some stage candidates will suffer a knock back or two. But are they applying for the right jobs? It is often the complaint that agencies simply act as resume collection points. When you send your CV off into Cyberspace, are you left waiting for a reply?

What makes an unsuitable candidate? Are you applying for the right job?

We ask Sydney and Melbourne Recruiters for their opinions

Vicky Vergos, Recruitment Consultant, Sydney

Why do I reject job candidates?

Quite often when you state in an ad that candidates must have, e.g. a health industry background, you get candidates respond with a different industry background. That’s even if this is stated as a must.

We also get graduates apply even though the specific years of experience required are quoted in the ad. For example, “must have min 3 years experience as a level 2 support”. Graduates or 1st line support people respond with under 1 years experience.

I can understand that in the current climate many graduates are desperate for work. We do try where we can to find a more junior role with the same client. However, this is not always possible.

Will Do Job for Free

More and more frequently I hear the comment “But I can do this job – just get me in front of the client”. Or “I will do it for free for a month to prove to them I have the capability”.

Its very unfortunate, but current circumstances mean clients have a larger than normal pool of candidates that have the skillset to do the job and who are also applying for our advertised role.

History of the past does not apply anymore. Where clients would have been happy with a 70% match in skills or level/years of experience, they now want – and find – candidates available with 90-100% match. As an agency we are limited to a number of CVs we can submit. So if there are enough candidates with a 100% match we can’t put forward the less suitable ones.

Melanie Allen, Account Manager, Melbourne

Why do I reject job candidates?

I have a number of niche skills areas that I look for on an ongoing basis. You either have the skill or not (e.g. Seebeyond / Axapta and others).

I have received applications from candidates that don’t have the specific skill advertised. In some cases don’t even know what it is that they have applied for. As for why they apply, maybe it’s a shot in the dark.

I would strongly advise candidates to read the whole job description. That’s especially if it states ‘Please do not apply if you do not have this experience’.

I try to respond to candidates like this by sending the job description again. I point out their lack of the appropriate skill/skills, and ask if I have missed something on their resume. However, apart from that, its very hard to help this kind of candidate.

Suzanne Corliss, Business Manager IT and Technology, NSW, QLD, ACT & SA

Pretty much for every job that you advertise at least half applications received will be totally unsuitable. For instance, in technical roles you’ll ask for a particular skill, and what you’ll get is people that have programming skills in a completely different language. Though they assume with a little training they are sure they could pick it up. Or you’ll get graduates with no commercial experience. Others may be wanting to change career field.

It‘s unfortunate, but in such a tight market client’s are being very specific about the experience required. They deem candidateswithout the experience inappropriate for the position. With so many candidates out there, clients are less likely to take someone on who needs to be trained for a role, as there may be a dozen already skilled candidates available.

Read Job Description Thoroughly

I would agree that its vital to thoroughly read the job description, all of it, as often I have candidates apply for a position in Adelaide for instance, thinking that they’ve applied for a Sydney based job.

I think some candidates seem to feel that if they apply for enough positions, they are bound to get at least one. However this is only the case if they apply for jobs in which their skills and experience are appropriate! In an agency, we get to know some of the names, if they are applying for every job that’s being advertised. Some candidates do this just to see what’s out there in the market and what they’re paying.

Due to the amount of applications that agencies receive currently, it is impossible to respond to everyone. Therefore those that are unsuitable will generally not be called, unless there is another position for which they are more suited, in which case we would call them and see if they were interested in the one more appropriate.

I reject job candidates who don’t have the suitable skills.

Sharon Jenkins, Business Manager – Legal Recruitment

We often get candidates that apply for roles like this. Some people are just desperate and send their resume to anything. Some candidates blatantly ignore when you say a certain skill is mandatory – generally these are not the very high calibre candidates and they are not very easy to place.

Francisco Bledsoe, New Business Manager, Melbourne

I have had a couple of candidates respond to job ads, which were not even close.

Generally, it has been a scenario where the candidate has come from technical areas and is wanting to move into a sales role at far too senior of a level. In this kind of scenario, I believe it is a case of maybe wishful thinking and/or inexperience at applying for jobs. It is pretty clear that they did not have the experience to do the roles.

Clarke Peters, Melbourne Manager

I get candidates without the right level of experience applying all the time. I reject job candidates who do this. It is not unusual to get 1st level help desk people responding to IT manager positions. There seems to be a number of reasons they apply, from disregarding the job spec, to being overly optimistic about their chances, to overseas candidates being desperate to move to Australia.

I think many candidates ignore the part of a job descriptions that reads “Do not apply if…”, but there is a reason that it’s there. This is based on direct requests from the client, and candidates who still apply must realise they are not going to be suitable.

There will always be the wishful thinkers, but for the rest of us, it is imperative to read, read and re-read the job advertisement you have your eye on. Stick to applying for jobs where your skills match the job description, and within your realm of experience.

It also pays to post your CV online at a resume bank on a job board, as recruiters will assess your skills/experience and contact you with jobs that are suitable for you.

So, there’s advice about why agents and clients reject job candidates.