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"I'm a banking recruiter and I'm horrified by the treatment of candidates"

I'm an in-house recruiter for an investment bank, and I would like to apologize for the actions of my peers.

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I talk a lot to candidates, and I've come to realize that a lot of recruiters are quite brutal in their approach. Ghosting candidates seem to have become the norm in the banking industry. 

I had no idea it was this bad. - I knew it that ghosting candidates happened, but not that it was the norm. In fact, candidates tell me that unless they have a stellar (read: sellable) profile, all that recruiters want to do now is to have an initial conversation. Once they realize a candidate's profile may not get anywhere, they simply stop replying to the candidate's emails! 

I'm not sure why this happens, but apparently it's standard. I hear that all recruiters do it, from leading headhunters to major firms. 

It didn't use to be like this. When I worked at a recruitment firm a while ago, I always made sure to go back to the rejected candidates and drop an email to say they didn't fit - even if just a one-liner. It's not difficult. 

I feel sorry for candidates, but I'm not sure how to change the status quo. In recruitment, the human-connection is really a key factor! One candidate even suggested that the recruitment industry needs to be regulated to prevent such rampant ghosting of candidates.

Let me know if you have suggestions in the comments box below.

 Matthew Hart is a pseudonym

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AUTHORMatthew Hart Global Editor
  • Sy
    Syd Candidate
    8 February 2024

    The problem is also endemic in Australia with private sector recruiters and some bank recruiters. Bank recruiters would either send you an auto-generated response or not bother to respond. Private sector recruiters (with a few exceptions) would typically just ghost you or not return your emails or phone calls to enquire on status of job applications or feedback on interviews. I am a candidate with years of experience and finally found a job directly with a government owned financial institution which treated candidates with more respect.

  • Sa
    Sarak
    3 February 2024

    This is what happens when the industry is not regulated, which is recruitment agency and estate agents- same treatment by both as they do whatever they want as no one is regulating them. So called "talent acquisition" team in a major IB scheduled a meeting and sent a wrong Zoom invite and when the candidate dialled in Zoom displayed the name of the previous candidate with the previous day so I guess the hiring manager was waiting on the other side while not able to open the Zoom call. This is done by "talent acquisition/" team! Things got worse with Gen Z filling the roles of so called talent acquisition probably sitting somewhere abroad and people working from home and no actual accountability.

  • An
    AnonMe
    2 February 2024

    It goes back to the person who contracts the external recruiter too, so that would be you. They are taking cues from you on a candidate. If you reject a candidate, the person is then toast in their eyes and completely written off even for future roles. The candidate is no longer "useful" to the recruiting agency. In most cases, at no time in the interview process is a candidate NOT treated like some kind of commodity. In house recruiting is just as guilty of this kind of treatment.

  • @C
    @CommercialCred
    1 February 2024

    I've worked in banking my entire professional career (ten years), on the commercial credit side. Other than the large banks whom seem to have an automated rejection notice, the overwhelming majority will just ghost. Even after in-person interviews when the candidate attempts to follow up


    I think it is short sided. For many, the ghosting experience dissuades them from applying again for a role they may be a better fit for or for when they gain the necessary experience for the role applied to. Ultimately, I think the blame falls on senior leadership, who sets the expectation to internal recruiting staff.

  • IT
    IT Nerd
    1 February 2024

    It has been this way since the corporate overlords decided everything was subject to outsourcing. When they need on shore and experienced help they cannot turn off the commonization of positions that has happened for the past 20 years. There is a insane lack of qualified candidates with 6 to 20 years of experience in doing quality Information technologies because those workers are in India. As someone who specializes in turning around companies, my first recommendation is to promote from within before going searching.

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