The Frequent Flyer Candidates

In the staffing game we have a group of folks we call “Frequent Flyers”.  Those of you who are in Talent Acquisition know these folks well.  Your ‘frequent flyers’ are those candidates who seem to stop by all the time – maybe not physically, but they keep cropping up.  Frequent Flyers are those candidates who you know by name.  “Oh, Charlie, is he still around?!”  It’s the candidates that no matter how many times you’ve had an opening – they just keep applying, just keep trying to get in with your organization, many times in positions they aren’t even qualified for.

Do you have some Frequent Flyers?

I know of companies who won’t even post positions because their frequent flyers are so aggressive in applying for the position that TA doesn’t even want to deal with it.  They would rather not let anyone know they have an opening, than to deal with their frequent flyers!  My company has actually worked positions for clients because they would rather pay me a headhunting fee than to deal with their frequent flyers.

So, how do you get rid of a frequent flyer?

I’ll give you three options:

1. Hire Them!   No, really.  At some point you have to think to yourself – “Holy smokes if my current employees only wanted to work here that much we would be in really good shape!”  But your frequent flyers have issues, that’s why you haven’t hired them.  One way I’ve found successful is to give a frequent flyer a list of things to accomplish before I’ll hire them.  Two things usually happen: 95% of the time, after giving them your list, you’ll never hear from them again; 5% of the time they’ll actually do it and make a better than average employee!

2. Brutal Honesty.  I don’t mean ‘brutal HR honesty’, I mean brutal to the point you don’t feel good about yourself honesty.  This is tough, but it’s better than dealing with a frequent flyer that you never plan on hiring.

3. Find them a job.  Sometimes it’s easier to find a frequent flyer a job with another company in town, than it is to deal with them.  Get their resume or application and float it out to HR folks around your area – you might get lucky and they’ll start stalking someone else!

What’s your best Frequent Flyer story?


4 thoughts on “The Frequent Flyer Candidates

  1. I’ve had a few Frequent Flyers. One applies over-and-over but never has the credentials for the positions applied. My favorites are those, while not quite frequent flyers, who simply put their name and address information and that is all. No education…no work….no civic…no references..just name and address.

  2. I have a frequent flyer who is a former employee. We let them go years ago but they still keep coming back asking for a job. He was miserable when he worked here always complaining so I just don’t understand his persistance.

    • Eva,

      It’s pretty common for former employees to be frequent flyers. Brutal honesty is always the best with them – “Look – we aren’t going to hire you because you were a pain to work with the last time you were here!” They’ll want to argue a little – but most are shocked by the honesty and go away forever.


  3. Great read, as always! I work for a Tier 2 automotive supplier and I have many frequent flyers. I’d say the best one would be the individual who showed up for New Hire orientation and tried sneaking in as if he were a new hire, or the the individual who literally chased me down the street screaming my name. It’s amazing what people will do.

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