Dear Recruiter: Candidate Experience Real Talk

Dear recruiter,

I’ve been dying to give you some feedback. See, as a candidate – I feel like I should probably keep my thoughts to myself. I don’t think you particularly care what I think about how you do your job but for once, I have to speak up. I have to stand up for myself and tell you what I think because my candidate experience was so awful, I’m walking away from this “dream job.”

See, you wooed me. You called me. You wrote me sweet nothings about how you loved my writing and wanted to talk more about a great opportunity. Those ego strokes worked and reluctantly, I answered your call – more out of curiosity than anything else. We had a great conversation.

Much like a great first date, we had a connection on big inspirations and tiny frustrations. We talked shop on best practices while casually covering work history, achievements, dreams and motivations. You convinced me that my life could change, and I’d like it. We had one of those great conversations that made me want to talk to you more.

So we did. You set up my first interview with the hiring manager and, unsurprising to either of us, it went really well. I think we both knew we had something good. Then, within days of my first conversation, the next interview was on the calendar. It also went really well. I felt like I could see myself on your team and all the change and risk that comes with taking on a new recruiting challenge would be worth it.

Then nothing.

As an educated consumer of work, I waited two weeks before I reached out. I felt like that was a fair amount of time to give your team a chance to meet other candidates, meet as a collective group and determine next steps. That week, I sent you a message via your ATS, where I could see that I was still in the running for the position. I was happy to know I wasn’t out of the running, but rather just waiting to hear back.

So I waited another two weeks. Still nothing so I sent a message via e-mail in hopes that a notification somehow had not made its way to your inbox and this wasn’t a case where you were just ignoring my messages. I went the non-aggressive approach, just “checking in”and wishing you the best in hiring your ideal candidate. I get how hard that is, finding the “purple squirrel” – or whatever elusive color-animal combination you use to classify roles that have taken you months to fill.

Still nothing.

Six weeks later, I get a quick e-mail, apologizing because things had “gotten busy” and asking to schedule yet another interview. Now, I’m annoyed – not excited. That wave of excitement at the big risk – reward prospects has crashed over the past few weeks as friends and family ask me for an update and all I can do is shrug. I went from feeling special to feeling dumped at the altar.

So I’m out. That’s it. You ruined it. I have some choice words but that won’t do me any good either. I dream of that moment I would meet you face to have and have this conversation but that moment is fleeting, just like my interest in your job.


Every Candidate You’ve Ignored

fuck you Im out


Kat Kibben View All →

Kat Kibben [they/them] is a keynote speaker, writing expert, and LGBTQIA+ advocate who teaches hiring teams how to write inclusive job postings that will get the right person to apply faster.

Before founding Three Ears Media, Katrina was a CMO, Technical Copywriter, and Managing Editor for leading companies like Monster,, and Randstad Worldwide. With 15+ years of recruitment marketing and training experience, Katrina knows how to turn talented recruiting teams into talented writers who write for people, not about work.

Today, Katrina is frequently featured as an HR and recruiting expert in publications like The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and Forbes. They’ve been named to numerous lists, including LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Job Search & Careers. When not speaking, writing, or training, you’ll find Katrina traveling the country in their van or spending some much needed downtime with the dogs that inspired the name Three Ears Media.

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