To Candidates: Please be Transparent about Your Interview Status

To Candidates: Please Be Transparent About Your Interview Status

I have been through several cases recently where candidates didn’t act honestly or transparently about their interview status. I don’t know how other recruiters handle this, but it has been bothering me a lot – I can’t figure out the logic behind it.

I want to share two stories I have recently experienced.

Story 1: Suzy

Three months ago, I worked with Suzy, a Scrum Master candidate contracting at enterprise organizations for years. She had just wrapped up her current banking contract and was actively looking for a new position. I got in touch with Suzy through two other Scrum Master referrals, and my colleague had worked with her. At that time, a Scrum Master contract with another big bank suited her perfectly, so I put her resume in. Not surprisingly, the hiring team liked her and decided to offer her the position after two rounds of interviews. 

Then the drama began. When I called her on Friday to deliver the news, Suzy sounded rushed over the phone, saying she needed to go to the hospital because her sister was in labour. Knowing that she might have been expecting another offer, I had no choice but to play along with her sister drama. The whole weekend she was in the hospital with family, the baby was in danger and her sister was in observation. 

On Monday morning, she accepted the offer. While we started with her onboarding process, she emailed in the afternoon saying that her father was seriously ill and she needed to fly back to her home country immediately. Therefore, we had to decline the offer for her and explained her father’s situation to the client. Two months later, I visited her LinkedIn profile – she had just started at another company in that same timeframe.

Story 2: Kevin

Kevin was a Help Desk candidate I got in touch with a month ago. I presented him to a banking client for their Help Desk opportunity. Kevin was very interested in that Help Desk role and was very cooperative during the application preparation. I presented his resume, confident that he would get the job.

We waited for 2 weeks. During that time, I actively followed up with him. Two weeks later, the client got back to me with an interview request, and that’s when I lost touch with Kevin. After two days of calling/emailing/texting, we had to inform the client that we could not get a hold of him – Kevin disappeared.

While we were suspicious that he went out of town without disclosing his vacation plans, I got a call from a guy who claimed he was Kevin’s colleague one day later. He received the Help Desk job description forwarded by Kevin and wanted me to help him apply. The funny thing was, the day he received Kevin’s email was when I tried hard to reach out to Kevin for the interview.


For Suzy’s case – what a joke. It is common for people to have multiple offers in hand and to go for the best one. I don’t understand why Suzy chose not to be transparent about her situation and lied about her family members. Did this do any good for her? She proved herself to be unprofessional to the agency and the employer and even risked the credibilities of the 2 Scrum Masters who referred her.

As far as Kevin is concerned, I would never work with him again, nor anyone he referred. He was aware of the whole situation but chose not to respond for whatever reason. He successfully wasted everyone’s time.

The importance of being transparent about your interview status can’t be more obvious. Be upfront about your situation. There is no harm in being honest about your multiple offers, your contract extension, or your loss of interest in an opportunity. You have the right to choose the role that benefits you most. What harms your professionalism and reputation is telling lies or playing hide and seek.  Everyone’s time matters. Value your own time, and don’t waste others’ time, either.

If you are actively seeking job opportunity, how to build your job search strategy? Check out my article to find out.


  1. Jarvis Cheng
    June 8, 2019

    Great article to share from the perspective of recruiter and employer! First case helps candidates of potential multiple offers to respond professionally. For second case, help both sides to engage first introduction is a in fact a win-win station. Unfortunately he did not make the effort to make long lasting relationship with a trust recruiter by referring and make his referral warm fuzzy feeling that he cared career search of his referral.

    1. Jeslyn Xie
      June 16, 2019

      Hi Jarvis, thanks for sharing your thoughts! Yes, there might be lots of agencies out there and we can easily pick one or two to work with, but eventually the reputation will be built upon our behavioural patterns. It is all about being professional.


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