How To Tell If Your Job Candidate Is Only Looking For A Fling


I’ve come to the realization that I really don’t write an “HR” blog—I write a relationship advice column. I’ve helped you recognize when you’re in a rebound situation, how to think about wedding anniversaries, and how to break your bad habits. All I need to do now is star in my own HR/relationship advice reality show… Real Housewives of HR, anyone??

Sticking with my relationship theme, I was recently meeting with my recruiting team and we were bitching lamenting about how sometimes you put in so much time to recruit a potential employee and then poof—they’re gone. Why? Because they never had any intention of actually joining your organization. You were just the on the side, a shiny and new fling. And you know what? Nobody really wants to be the fling, but if you’re a recruiter time is money and the more time you waste on a fling… well you get it. It ain’t good.  So here’s my quick and dirty guide to avoid being the fling (unless, of course, you want to be the fling in which case you should stop reading right now).

  • They Don’t Let You In. This candidate has it all. Their background looks fantastic. From a high level it looks like they have all the right experiences that you’re looking for in a candidate. They even look good in their LinkedIn profile picture. You get them on the phone and they’re charming, engaging, and you feel like you’re really connecting. That is, until you start asking them for the details of their experiences. They give you vague answers, change the subject or say something like “I’ll elaborate if we decide to move forward.” But as a recruiter you’re saying “Man, they sure seem like the real deal. I’m going to give it another go.” And guess what? They’re charming, engaging and still don’t give you sh*t.  They just like talking to you; they don’t actually want to work for your company.
  • The Fade Away. This is the preferred move for those who don’t really like having the difficult conversation. You know what I’m talking about—-you go out on a few dates, maybe even more than a few, and it all seems to be going great. Then, they’re just gone. No phone call, no email—nothing. Just radio silence. As a recruiter, this is really frustrating. Because you really thought this person had potential; heck, you even stopped looking for other candidates because this seemed like a lock to be hired. All you can do is hope to avoid the random, awkward public run-in.
  • They Just Wanted to Score. This is just what it sounds like. This candidate just wanted to know that they could get into your get an offer from your company. Which by the way they never had any intention of actually joining. They were only interested in just proving they could get the offer (which makes them feel better about themselves) or they used you to get a better offer from someone else. This is the equivalent of you telling your family you’re bringing this great new person home to meet them and then they bail at the last minute. And if they’re really bad, they give you the fade away, too.

So there you have it. As recruiters, you have to be a master at quickly sorting the flings from marrying types or else you’ll find yourself wasting a lot of your own and your hiring manager’s time. Happy relationship hunting.

FOT Background Check

Andy Porter
Andy Porter is Chief People Officer at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard in Cambridge, MA which means he works with some wicked smaaht people. Some days, he indeed does wear short shorts around the office(call it a morale booster) but it really just makes people uncomfortable. Other days, he spits some mad game on cheese. No really – he’s somewhat of a cheese aficionado. But more importantly? At Broad he gets to his small part to help change the world of healthcare.

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