Going AWOL, or between you and me…

That is, missing, disappeared, gone astray, done a bunk, not returning calls, emails or text or Just. Plain. Vanished. This is one of the worst situations for a recruiter.

It doesn’t happen often but when a candidate goes AWOL it’s like a kick in the teeth.

The reason I take this so personally is that clockworkTalent pride ourselves on being different from most recruiters. We pay particular attention to keeping close to both our job seekers and employers. Taking that extra bit of time and effort to get to know our candidates, keeping all parties informed and up to date (of course there are occasions when this goes wrong but the backbone of our ethos is to treat others like you’d like to be treated yourself!).

BUT, what kind of impression does an employer get of clockworkTalent’s services if we can’t even keep our candidates under control?

What are we saying they’re going to be like when they’re actually employed?!

It’s worth noting, clockworkTalent offers a 100% guarantee* on our placements. So, in the rare times when a candidate goes AWOL at this stage, it’s my gut feeling to pull them from a campaign as I’d rather risk losing them now before any major investment has been made, interviewing, selecting and onboarding them into a new role.

If they can’t ‘behave’ right at the interview stage (unless there is a very real explanation) better to lose them early.

Empty train

However, back to my point….

Going AWOL…. when someone who you’re working with goes missing while you’re helping them find a job.

You’ve taken the time to sit down with them, understand their experience, ambitions and interests. Shortlisted the ‘right’ job opportunities for them and made the employer introduction and discussed that opportunity in detail. Looked at mutually convenient diary dates to organized meetings and took the time to give them clear instructions for their due diligence and preparation for the interview.

Then suddenly that job seeker (or candidate, if you will) disappears.

It is very hard not to take it personally. You ask yourself, did I do something wrong? Did I act unprofessionally or did I do something to make them lose confidence in me? Did I, god forbid, send the wrong information to the wrong person? OR did I read that individual all wrong and actually, they’re not the amazingly talented, digital marketing professional I thought they were.

Is this why they just feel it’s not important to get back to me? Or, god forbid has something bad happened?

The first day passes.

There is no call back from the individual in response to your email saying you’re ready to confirm the job interview details with them. So you give them another ring and drop them a text asking to call you back.

Day 2 arrives…

Still no response to your messages. So you deliberately call them early during what should be their commute to work. After all, you’d asked their working hours so you knew when they should be available to talk. It rings out and goes to voicemail. You leave a message. Nothing.

Day 3…

now you’re fielding questions from the employer who wants to know, why hasn’t this all been booked in? it’s been 3 days since providing a couple of options of when is good to interview? Is the job seeker not as interested as you made out when introducing them? (in the pit of your stomach, you just don’t know. Where have they gone? Why aren’t they returning your calls, emails, text?)

Not wanting to be that grim ‘stalking’ recruiter who rings candidates incessantly at work. Or worst of the worst, calls them on the office landline (!). Don’t do it, no matter how desperate you are to reach out to a job seeker – they’ll never thank you for calling them in the office!

So, you opt for reaching out directly through social media, which allows you to message them directly without notifying anyone else…

Suddenly, a response.

The candidate pops up saying they were fine, that they hadn’t meant to worry anyone but hadn’t realised responding was important.


Despite the 3 days of messages which were deliberately left to prompt a response. Clearly indicating the potential interview which was to be scheduled from 2 days ago?

Desert landscape

Bizarre is one thing that springs to mind. Is it a different generation thing? Perhaps a lack of awareness? No matter how you feel about recruiters, you are engaging someone services, their time and effort to source job opportunities for yourself.

It’s not my ego which is bruised, it’s your reputation you’re tarnishing in what is essentially a relatively small industry. Do this too many times and you’ll begin to burn bridges.

There are of course exceptions to the rule and sometimes there is a good reason to vanish for a few days. Perhaps illness, unexpected surgery, kidnapping, alien abduction or similar. Otherwise, I have to say you are just plain rude, disorganised or unprofessional.

Again, I am not talking about a cold calling, one-off discussion. I am specifically speaking about when a series of job opportunities have been lined up and you’re in the final stages of discussing interview details.

An excuse that they’ve been busy and hadn’t thought it important to return the voicemail, text, or call doesn’t wash I’m afraid. Really? Too busy to drop a one-liner saying ‘I’m busy but will get back to you soon’?

Amazing after I’ve spent time with you, used my resources to introduce you to job opportunities which are in your locality, offer career progression, great environment, significant financial rewards and more.

We had already discussed this on the phone and with your agreement I went to my clients telling them how great you are.

So easy to burst that bubble, better to pull out now based on the intuition that all is not well, that I’m not convinced of your integrity or professional courtesy.

Seen in the many testimonials which clockworkTalent publish with pride, our team have been helping source exceptional talent for many years now.

The upshot is this elusive behaviour is not common.

We really enjoy helping employers source great talent for the many types of jobs throughout digital and the flip side is we get to work with hundreds (if not 1,000’s) of amazing people to find exceptional jobs and career moves!

If I can offer a few words of advice when job hunting it would be…

“don’t blow your chances by behaving unprofessionally as you’ll quickly lose your reputation – it’s such a small industry, everyone does know everyone.”

I’ve allowed my fingers to have this rant in the hope it helps job seekers who perhaps are at the start of their careers and yet to start sending applications.

Remember that old saying… treat those around you as you’d like to be treated yourself. Have the courtesy to return a call.

The recruitment profession is like estate agency in many ways. Everyone loves to hate them but remember, they’re all human and yes, I agree there are lots of bad ones. But if you’ve found yourself a great recruiter who takes the time to get to know you, it’s a really good thing to pick up the phone speak, develop that relationship.

* Subject to terms and conditions.

If you are currently job seeking or looking to hire talented digital marketing professionals into your business, please do get in touch with me, Natasha on 0203 7514108 or email natasha@clockworkTalent.com.  You can also find us on social media TwitterFacebookGoogle+PinterestInstagram & LinkedIn.