Over the past month, we've shared some posts about why you should want to become one of your recruiter's top-of-mind candidates and some tips to earn you that status, as per responses from Eagle's recruiters in a recent survey. As hinted to in those posts, if it's possible to become a favourite candidate, it's also possible to become a not-so-favourite candidate.
In the same survey that asked recruiters how to become one of their favourite contractors, we also asked them the easiest way to be disliked. The results didn't present any surprises or one particular outstanding characteristic, but there were four characteristics that stood out among the rest:
Bad behaviour at a client's site;
Bad work ethic;
Rude during the recruiting process; and,
Lying about your skills.
In the previous post, we discovered that the best way to be remembered is to be personable, so it’s only logical that the first three traits are all related to the opposite of that. We also noted that great performance while on contract could make you top-of-mind, so again, it’s understandable that bad behaviour and bad work ethic leads a recruiter to have a negative impression of you.
The final one — lying about skills — is worth further discussion. The temptation to fluff up your skills in your resume or on LinkedIn can be strong, especially if you’ve been out of work for some time, but the consequences can be detrimental. The client will recognize quickly that you’re not qualified, at which point it will be surprising if you last more than a few weeks. The impact is more than just losing a contract, though. The client will lose faith in you and it will harm the relationship the recruiter has with the client. In return, the recruiter will not trust you, will think of you as a last resort for any future calls, and will probably speak of their experience with you within their recruiting network.
The good news in all of this is that redemption is possible! In our survey, we also asked recruiters if once in their bad books, a contractor has a chance of moving up to top of mind. More than a third of Eagle’s recruiters said yes, you do, and more than half responded maybe, depending on the situation. If it was a one-time first impression, your odds are better and most recruiters will be open to learning more about you in future interviews and experiences. That said, ethical issues such as lying or bad behaviour with a client decreases your chances significantly.
Being remembered by a recruiter as somebody they dislike hurts your chances of winning a contract even more than not being remembered at all. If you don’t see value in putting in effort to become a top-of-mind candidate, we recommend, at a minimum, making sure you don’t become a bottom candidate.