Ed Hunter: Clients and Candidates – What they say and what they REALLY mean

In recruitment, you speak to people all day, every day. And if there is one thing you can be sure about; it’s that you really can’t be sure about anything. Given time – good recruiters will be able to translate at least 90% of the BS they are fed every day, and actually use it to their benefit.

If you’re still learning or need a helping hand, I hope you’ll find this guide useful… It features typical conversations you WILL have with candidates and clients as a recruiter, and reveals the hidden meanings behind what people say.

Dealing with Candidates

1) What they say: “I’m not looking at the moment but always open to hearing about opportunities”

What they really mean: “Seriously – I am desperate, they’ve already started talking about redundancies and I reckon I’m high up that list – I can’t stand my boss and the job is numbing my brain. The sooner you get me out here the better, but I still want a 20% pay rise so I’m playing hard to get.”

2) What they say: “That’s a good offer but I need to speak with my spouse”

What they really mean: “I like that company, but I much prefer another that I had a final interview with yesterday and I’m just waiting on their offer”

3) What they say: “I’m looking for career progression”

What they mean: “I’m looking for a significant pay rise”

4) What they say: “Nope – never heard of or applied for anything at that company before”

What they really mean: “Honestly – no idea. You’re the 14th agency I’ve spoken to and they might have sent me, I may have sent myself, heck they might have offered me six months ago… but please send me anyway.”

Dealing with Clients 

1) What they say: “Sure just send your details through to info@******.com”

What they really mean: “There’s more chance of Donald Trump converting to Islam than me ever reading or replying to any correspondence that comes from you. However, if I let you waste 15 minutes drafting an email to this black-hole of an inbox, I feel better about myself, my measly HR assistant salary and the fact that my boss is off so I can leave half an hour early today.”

2) What they say: “We only work with one or two carefully selected agencies, but on this occasion I wouldn’t mind seeing your candidate”

What they really mean: “I work with F*£&$*g everyone as long as it’s at 15%, and this job is so niche and the expectations are so unrealistic that they’ve all given up – so welcome aboard”

3) What they say: “An internal candidate has applied at the last minute, and we’ve decided that they’ll be the best fit”

What they really mean: “We had decided on the candidate months ago, but needed to use your candidates as a comparison, and never had any intention of hiring them unless you found us Steve Jobs reincarnated for £40,000”

4) What they say: “We only work at 15%.”

What they really mean: “I’m a parrot. I was conditioned at a young age to repeat phrases that people teach me. I sit in a small cage and am occasionally let out once a week, but I don’t have much space to move around or interact with anyone. If you repeat different phrases to me enough times, I should be able to learn those too, or at least close, but only if I’m still young and impressionable.”

Until next week sports fans.