A “burn candidate” is typically the first candidate a client interviews and who is unlikely to win the job. This first candidate is used as a baseline for future candidates. The thinking goes that if the first candidate was outstanding, there must be others who are even better.
Think about when you bought your first house. My guess is that you did not buy the first property you saw. Instead, you used that initial experience to fine tune your wants and needs, then proceeded to look at other properties that aligned against those objectives. Many real estate agents realize that many new home buyers go through a similar thought process. So agents initially keep in their back pocket the properties that best match their buyer’s needs and lead instead with an option that is close to checking all the boxes. Once the buyer sees the initial home and confirms their baseline requirements, any future homes they see that better align against their objectives confirms that there was something better in the market and reinforces their decision to keep looking.
There are a few occasions when I will submit my top candidates before other candidates; 1). when I know that the client has a clear understanding of their target profile and 2). when the search is very narrow and candidate flow will be limited (e.g. I find an exceptional candidate early and it may be some time before we have other candidates). In general I try to bundle 2-3 candidates in an initial grouping to avoid anyone being a burn candidate.
My one piece of advise is to ask your search professional if you are the first person being submitted. If you are, find a way to delay your candidacy!