Beware of recruiters bearing gifts…..

ImageRecruitment is often described as a sales role. To the large extent I would agree with that. But at some point a recruiter needs to take his or her sales hat off, especially when they are talking to a prospective candidate about a new opportunity.

One of my earlier roles in the industry was recruiting telesales people for a call centre. It is a notoriously difficult area to recruit in, mainly because few people want to do it. To get around this, I was advised to advertise the job as something different. “Call it a customer engagement professional, or something like that”, my manager said. “That way, people will apply. And when they come in for an interview just don’t mention the ‘T’ word”

Of course, all that happened was that unsuspecting candidates, having thought they had landed a cool job, ended up leaving very quickly when they realised what the role actually was.

Whilst I don’t recruit telesales people anymore, I still see this type of behaviour from recruiters who sugar coat an opportunity to make it sound much better than it is.  The result is the same so my question is simply…why?

Obviously a big part of a recruiter’s role is to present an opportunity favourably, so as to catch the attention of prospective candidates. However, there is a big difference between doing this, and making something sound better than it actually is. It is very easy to chuck around things like “a warm desk with lots of existing clients”, “you will be promoted in 12 months”, “equity is on the table” or other such promises. It might be true, but often these things are just used as a carrot and have no real substance.

The best way, I believe, is to present an opportunity as it is, with the good and bad. Apart from this being the best way to get the right result, I firmly believe that we recruiters have a moral obligation not to mess with people’s careers / lives. By miss-selling a role, telling people they will get this and that and whatever else when it is not true, you are stepping over a line.

And if you are a candidate talking to a recruiter about a role, my advice …if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is! If the recruiter cannot give you a warts and all understanding of the opportunity, then there are probably a lot of warts.  By the same token, recruiters should listen to themselves and think…is this really a true reflection of the opportunity…. or am I just spinning a load of bull. It is easy to do and we all probably fall into that trap sometimes.

Deal in facts, not adjectives and superlatives. If the opportunity is right for the person, and you present it in the right way, the rest will do itself.

Luke Collard

 

4 thoughts on “Beware of recruiters bearing gifts…..”

  1. All good points and it extends to all businesses. If you don’t enjoy your job, well, hell, it’s not a job worth keeping, and if you have to lie to do you work…then something deep down inside your morale fibre will one day tell you that you are acting unethically and you will dislike yourself and what you do.

    While recruiters need to be honest, so to do contractor management companies who often sugar coat the service, and then as a contractor you find that once signed on, you can’t contact the contractor management company, your pay does not arrive on the date specified and form a recruiters point of view, which the recruiter may have been paid $500 to refer the contractor to that company, the recruiter now has to spend time, and lots of it regularly, to get the contractor paid. Bad experience all around! Getting Naked by Pat Lencioni is a great model to follow in any business. Tell it…warts and all. It builds better relationships; ones that last.

  2. All good points and it extends to all businesses. If you don’t enjoy your job, well, hell, it’s not a job worth keeping, and if you have to lie to do you work…then something deep down inside your morale fibre will one day tell you that you are acting unethically and you will dislike yourself and what you do.

    While recruiters need to be honest, so to do contractor management companies who often sugar coat the service, and then as a contractor you find that once signed on, you can’t contact the contractor management company, your pay does not arrive on the date specified and form a recruiter’s point of view, where the recruiter may have been paid $500 to refer the contractor to that company, the recruiter now has to spend time, and lots of it regularly, to get the contractor paid. Bad experience all around! Getting Naked by Pat Lencioni is a great model to follow in any business. Tell it…warts and all. It builds long lasting business relationships. Don’t be bribed in order to recommend a poor service to your clients.

  3. Good Article Luke. Reminds me of an old home truth that I and my on-call temping mates used to rely on back in our contracting days. Rule no. 1. The more excited your consultant is about the job on offer, the more godawful that job’s going to be.

  4. Splendid writing Luke once again – your blog is quite the hit over here in Toronto. Your lesson is no truer than in today’s climate of social media, where, if you’re not telling the truth, then the truth is very easy to find elsewhere. Most sensible candidates will do their own research about a company before accepting any job, and if there’s bad things that have been said, it’s not too hard to find them. Be the candidate’s confidant & you’ll have more chance of steering them towards the good.

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