You came a close second ……….

For me the most difficult part of working in recruitment has been giving feedback to a hopeful candidate who has not been successful in securing a role. Sometimes the candidate may have been out of work and is desperate to find a new job. Alternatively they may be unhappy in their current role and want to refresh or invigorate their career. Whatever the reason they may have invested a lot of hope in the interview.


The feedback you have from the client may be sketchy or contain information that you are reluctant to share with the hopeful interviewee and on thankfully rare occasions may actually be abusive. What is the easiest way for the recruitment consultant to let the candidate down (allow me to be short-sighted for a moment) without wasting a lot of time.

Sometimes people are not contacted at all (unforgiveable) or the pill may be sweetened by saying “You came a close second” with commiserations and best wishes for the next time. Again often used but not acceptable. I have come across a situation where 3 people who went for the same job were given the same feedback.


Mum’s the word.

Often I have heard recruitment consultants and recruiting companies criticised for this and rightly so. But are they only doing what most of us are guilty of in our everyday lives? Exhaustive and robust research finds that we are all more hesitant to share bad news rather than good. How many members of your family, friends or colleagues do you have where you have been reluctant to share bad news with or give feedback to, that may be seen as negative or critical?

The problem is so common that it has been given its own title “The Mum Effect” and it can be destructive within organisations. Who among us likes to give the boss bad news? But from a candidate’s point of view it is important, when you can, to get honest feedback which can help you for further interviews. So often we can have mannerisms, or ways of talking, not listening or a multitude of other sins that let us down at interview and nobody as ever had the courage to tell us about it because of “The Mum Effect”.



Who am I? A chap living in Nottingham, United Kingdom who perhaps has a much higher level of enthusiasm than ability leading to an interest in many things but mastery of none. A father of three no longer dependent children, or so they tell me, and husband to a one-time nurse who now works with me (or rather I work for). I attempt to take photographs and occasionally fluke half decent shots though thank goodness I no longer have to buy film. I endeavour to practice karate but with advancing years spend more time instructing them participating but actively participate in the more gentle tai chi. Professionally I have spent the last twenty years in recruitment – not always the most highly regarded ‘industry’. For my part I take great pleasure in helping companies to find the right people and a lot of satisfaction out of seeing them thrive and succeed. More recently I have spent a lot of time helping people who have, or fear they may, lose their jobs. For many putting a CV together is so difficult and then finding opportuniteis can be a major challenge. Interviews can be a different problem altogether but with a little help most people can perform a lot better than they otherwise would.

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