Recruitment is a fast paced industry and, when you’re balancing multiple clients and candidates, there are just some things you don’t want to hear them say. Weeks of hard work on one role can come crashing down in a matter of seconds.

We’ve had a look at 11 of the most frustrating things to hear as a recruiter, and what you can do to resolve the issues they cause.


Client excuses you don’t want to hear:

  • We actually found a better suited internal applicant that we’re going to go with.
  • They’re late, where are they?
  • We just need to get the budget signed off.
  • Do they know you’re calling?

How do avoid having to hear these:

Before you start searching for the right candidate for the role, you want to clarify the following points with your client:

  • Have they already considered internal recruitment for the role? If not, is this something they will be doing alongside your recruitment process.
  • Clarify what their budget is to recruit for this role. And get that amount in writing (which can be via email), so that you have proof that they agreed to pay a certain fee to your agency.
  • Arrange set times to speak with them, so that you know when they are free to talk and they are expecting to receive contact from you.


Candidate excuses you don’t want to hear:

  • Something’s come up and I can’t make the interview anymore.
  • I’m lost, where are the offices again?
  • I took another offer.

How to avoid having to hear these:

Before you put a candidate forward for any role, do your research and confirm how reliable they are.

  • Confirm when they are available for work, when they have jobs booked in the future and if they can expect their current role to be extended.
  • Ensure they are seriously looking for a new role, so they don’t cancel on you and waste your (and your client’s) time.
  • Encourage an open and honest line of communication with them, so that you stay up-to-date with their job situation, as well as other roles they are applying for.
  • Prep them for interviews, not only with what they will say but with how they plan to get to there and what time they will arrive. Also, ask them to keep you updated if they are running late for any reason, so you can manage the expectations of your client.


General excuses you don’t want to hear:

  • Sorry, but…
  • They’re on holiday.
  • You said you would call, now I’m busy.
  • If you’d called…

How to avoid having to hear these:

With both your clients and candidates, you will need to do the following to avoid the above:

  • Before working with either, confirm their intentions for a role and ensure you fully understand their situation, expectations and requirements. This way you can reduce the chance of them starting a sentence with a dreaded apology.
  • Stay in touch with them throughout the process, schedule in meetings and get them booked into your email diaries, find out when they are going to be away or unavailable to talk to you, etc.
  • Don’t wait for them to come to you. Keep in contact with them and reach out to them to see if they are either looking to fill a role or looking for a roll to fill.


If you take some of this advice onboard, you’ll be able to maintain a positive relationship with your clients and candidates and reduce the amount of times you have to hear any of the above! To help you out more, here’s some advice on how to turn a no into a yes when dealing with clients.


This article was originally published on Aug 7, 2015 and updated Jan 19, 2018