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


Katrina Kibben View All →

Katrina Kibben is the Founder and Principal Consultant of Three Ears Media. For most of Katrina’s career, she has been a marketer living in a recruiter’s world – listening to both sides of the talent equation to understand the real issues and find solutions for engaging and hiring better people. Today, she uses her technical marketing know-how and way with words to help both established and emerging brands develop and deliver content that fuels smart recruitment marketing that makes the right people apply.

Katrina has written for,, RecruitingDaily and many other digital publications. She is a recognized leader in recruiting and employer branding who speaks regularly at conferences around the world.

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