A few weeks ago, I found a very promising candidate for a technical role. I contacted the candidate, set him up with an hour long phone call with the hiring manager, and things went well; the manager requested an on-site interview.
Before that happens, I always schedule a recruiting call to go over the process with the candidate, answer any questions they have, then ask them a few HR-specific questions such as their general salary expectations, if they need relocation whether they are a renter or homeowner (it determines the type of package we provide), and if they are on a work visa.
Thing were going fine until I got to the visa question. I asked the candidate, "Will you require any sort of sponsorship to work in the US?" This is a standard question in the Seattle tech industry, but what followed was a bit bizarre.
"I will need your company to file for an H1-B application for me as soon as I start". (It is the first week of March; applications need to be filed by April 1st for the year.)
I replied, "What sort of visa are you currently on and what is the expiration date?"
"I need to know you will file an H1-B application for me as soon as I start."
Again, I told the candidate "I cannot make you any sort of promises or guarantees until I know exactly what sort of visa you are currently on, and when it expires."
He came back and admitted to me that he was on an OPT (student training visa) with over a year and half left on it.
So I had a conversation with the manager and explained to him that I had some major concerns regarding the candidate, not from a skills perspective, but based on the fact that he was cagey and demanding. It turns out, the manager had a similar experience but it didn’t trip any red flags until we talked. The candidate had told the hiring manager that he had an offer on the table, so we recommended that he go ahead and accept their offer since we would not be able to meet his need for sponsorship.
After I effectively closed the door, he came back and told me he could obtain sponsorship under his spouse’s employer, which makes the entire situation even worse.
It is important for candidates to understand that your initial conversation with a potential employer sets the tone for your future relationship. If you act demanding, shifty or evasive, you are giving a potential employer initial impressions that can damage your chances with them permanently.