Job Hoarders- What are they and how to deal with them?


You may find it hard to believe, but we’re in a candidate led market at the moment- by that, I mean that candidates have the power and they’re using it!  Now, before you start berating them for such a blatant lack of disregard for your companies goals and vision- don’t!  You were doing it to them a few years back when there were fewer jobs around.  Its swings and roundabouts and people will always leverage control where they can.

But you can reduce the risk of being “played” by one of these so-called Job Hoarders!

First of all, what is a job hoarder?  Well, they come in different guises, which makes them even more difficult to identify- and they are walking among us.  You might even be sat opposite one!!


Job Hoarder #1- “The Magpie”

The Magpie comes out in the candidate-led market.  They are actively out in the market looking for a new job, often unemployed at the time.  They will apply for miriad of roles, interview whenever offered, and then this is where the fun starts.  They will accept any offers that come in, but still continue to interview to see if they can get anything better.  Dependent on their notice period this could go on for months!  64% of candidates surveyed in a recent survey confirmed they would do this (read the full article here)


Job Hoarder #2- “The Curtain twitcher”

The curtain twitcher is the biggest annoyance of the recruiter.  They are often very good at their jobs (and often know it).  They are always gainfully employed, and well regarded within their roles, but they will always keep an eye on the job boards, take calls from recruiters etc.  I think of them as your neighbour whose always twitching at the curtains to make sure they’re not missing out on something interesting across the road.  They will apply for roles, interview, and often get offered the role, but seldom will they take it.  Instead, they’ll go back to their employer and tell them about their new offer and wait to be convinced to stay with more riches!  The reason for the annoyance, is that they often take an interview slot or job offer from someone who actually needs or wants the role.

How to identify them

Having been around the recruitment world for more years than I’d care to remember, I seem to have developed a gut instinct about these people, but that doesn’t really help you.  Although, if you think your applicant might be one of them, they probably are!

There is no hard and fast rules as to how to pick them out of the crowd, but below is a list of normal behaviours of a “hoarder”:

  1. Very little knowledge of your company, and little interest in finding out.
  2. When calling to speak to them about coming in for an interview, they may respond with, “what job is this one again?”
  3. When trying to arrange an interview, they reject at least 3 options as they are interviewing (or if they’re really clever, they will refer to them as appointments).

How to avoid being “hoarded”

There are a few things you can do to reduce the likelihood of receiving a call/email from your new applicant the day before they are due to start to inform you that things have changed and they won’t be taking your job.

  1. Be observant during the process- how engaged are they?  Are they complying with any requests for information on time?  How easy are they to contact once an offer has been made?
  2. If you have suspicions, address them directly.  They are less likely to let you down, if you have asked them outright and they have given you their word.
  3. Make sure you have given them the fullest picture of what it is like to work at your company.  Its not always about salary and you have to show them that the grass really is greener with you.
  4. Most importantly though, CONTROL THE PROCESS!  Once you have made an offer, there is often 1-3 months lag time before they start.  Make sure you have regular touchpoints with them to keep them engaged, re-confirm your interest in them.  This can range for inviting them to a work social do which will help them meet their future colleagues, send them some news about the company, update them on any news from their new department, let them know their IT and desk is set up.  Any contact is positive and makes them feel special and wanted.  Even if you were one of their second or third favorite offers in their “nest”, these kind of activities could push you up the ranking!

If companies don’t get to grips with this, we risk job offers being made, but 2nd options being kept on the back burner and that is no good for anyone!

I’d be keen to hear any other suggestions on how to identify or control hoarders, or even just your experiences of being in this situation on either side of the fence…

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