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Dear Kristy: What if I start to doubt a candidate is a good fit?

recruiting employees, hiring employeesDear Kristy –

We recently went through a couple rounds of interviews with a candidate we thought would be great for a position in our restoration company. Then, toward the end of what would’ve been the final interview before an offer, the candidate started saying things that made me question if they were right for the job or not. By this point, the candidate was expecting an offer, but suddenly seemed to flip a switch and show a different side. How do you suggest handling situations like this?

Thank you,


Hi Lucas –

It is so disappointing when candidates seem to change in one way or another. Many times, this seems to happen because candidates are on their best behavior during an initial interview, but once a rapport has been established between you and the candidate, they may relax and open up more. This can be both a blessing and a curse! Here are some suggestions for situations like this:

  1. Don’t overpromise. I understand you might want to hint toward an offer to help hook what appears to be a great candidate in a really tough hiring market. Instead of promising anything too soon, make an effort to educate the candidate on your hiring process from the very beginning so they know when to expect follow up phone calls, more interviews, reference checks, and so on. Plus, make sure you (or the recruiter) is staying in touch with them throughout the entire process to ease any nerves.
  2. Get curious. If they do say things that concern you, ask about it! Not asking truly does you both a disservice. There could be a reasonable explanation for their response, they could have misspoken, or there could be a misunderstanding between the parties. Engaging in open, honest dialogue like this from the beginning, while remaining professional, is a very healthy start to anyone’s career with your company.
  3. Be honest. This coincides with the first two points. Be honest (while professional!) from the beginning. If you make promises, then realize later the candidate isn’t actually the fit you thought they’d be, figure out a way to share that information with them in a helpful and truthful way.
    1. Do not suddenly go off the grid and quit responding to their calls and emails.
    2. Do not float them a subpar offer in hopes they will turn it down.
    3. Do not lie about the change of heart. You don’t have to give them all the details, but don’t tell them something like you’ve decided to put the position on hold when that is not your intention.

Today’s society is very used to open, honest conversations. More and more of our clients are opting for more casual lunch or coffee meetings later in the interview and hiring process to help all the parties be more comfortable and foster authentic conversations outside of an office setting.

The main rule for hiring is to be honest. This is the best way to uphold yours and your company’s integrity while drawing in top talent.

Happy hiring!