Recruitment 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.