Hiring Nightmares: Handling rude applicants

By Adam Robinson,
January 31, 2013

We received a call late last week from one of our customers who was experiencing a hiring nightmare. They had been looking to hire a graphic design intern and were in the beginning stages of the interview process. With a solid schedule of phone interviews booked, our client was eager to place someone into the position within the coming weeks. 

The Situation

Megan* called the candidate, expecting to use Hireology’s phone screen guide to help determine whether this candidate would be a good fit. Megan didn’t need the guide though – the candidate managed to quickly eliminate herself.

Megan explained to us that she had set up the interview with Sarah* a few days prior to the scheduled phone screen. When the agreed upon time came around, there was no answer. Megan emailed Sarah asking if it was still a good time to talk or if they should reschedule. 

This is the response Megan received: 

Megan explained that she understood how a time zone mix-up could have occurred, but she didn’t understand why Sarah would have agreed to the interview if she was unsure about the responsibilities of the position. 

We looked at the job description Megan had created for the position. It followed every guideline we suggest our customers follow when creating new job descriptions

Megan then received another email from Sarah:

The Outcome

At this point, Sarah was out of the running. Megan told us she didn’t understand why a job candidate would think it’s appropriate to use improper grammar. She also wondered if we see a lot of cases where hiring managers find themselves in situations with rude applicants.

We told Megan that our customers rarely see job applicants who behave in a rude or unprofessional manner. It’s not uncommon for some candidates to come across as dry or uninterested in an email, but depending on the position, this shouldn’t be a red flag. A lot of times candidates are trying to remain professional and in doing so, they lose their personality. Before you eliminate any candidates from the running, wait until you see the results of their candidate survey. If their answers don’t match up with what you are looking for, by all means eliminate the candidate from the running. Otherwise, take the time to go through the phone screen with them. 

Luckily, Megan didn’t waste too much time on Sarah. And in the end, Megan said this was a good learning experience.

A word for the wise: Don’t be rude to hiring manager, and for goodness sake, use proper grammar.

*Names have been changed

About the Author

Adam co-founded Hireology with the mission to help growing companies make better hiring decisions through data and better technology. Adam is passionate about entrepreneurship, donating time to a number of organizations that support the entrepreneurial cause. Adam completed his undergraduate study at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and received his MBA from DePaul University in Chicago, IL.