My mother told me never to tell fibs. And it is a lesson well served in recruitment. Don’t get me wrong; I am certainly no angel. But apart from the fact that I am no good at fibbing – I go red and sweaty (not a good look!) – it ultimately makes little sense in this game. Leaving stuff off your candidate’s resume, fiddling dates of employment to hide gaps or just generally making out they are something they are not (usually with a bunch of meaningless superlatives) is likely to come back and bite you in the backside at some point. Sure, you might get your candidate a job with this approach; you might even get a fee, but in the bigger scheme of things it is likely to do far more damage.
I think most recruiters would agree with this principal. Even if you have the morals of a politician with an unlimited credit card and penchant for ladies of ill repute, the majority of us get that lying is not good for business. There is, of course, that slightly grey area ….not lying exactly…just being a bit economical with the truth. You know the sort of thing…you hear on the grapevine that a candidate you are about to place was arrested last Friday for indecent exposure and you decide that your client doesn’t need to know this, and ‘ignore’ that you actually heard it. Sure we are all guilty of something like this at some point in our careers… but I generally go with a mantra that has served me well – if you focus on doing the right thing your money will come.
There is a flip side to all this…when companies and agencies lie / are economical with the truth when pitching an opportunity to candidates. Again, we are not talking big obvious lies, such as your salary. But it is not uncommon to see crucial things about an opportunity be inflated to sound more attractive than they are. The “very warm desk” that you were told about at interview turns out to have no clients at all…just happens to be positioned next to the heater. The opportunity to “build a team around you” is actually nothing more than just a hollow promise that may or may not happen at some point depending on a thousand different things out of your control. Or the PSA account that you are being brought on to work, turns out not to exist and you end up in a sales role.
It happens…it happens a lot. In fact it seems to me that in recruitment it has come an accepted norm to hold back some of the more unglamorous bits a job description, or sugar coat an opportunity with a sprinkling of bull$hit. And sometimes a whole truckload of it!
So at the same time as us all being correctly sceptical of everything a candidate tells us before we have qualified it, we should also be sceptical about career opportunities that are being pitched to us.
I am waiting for the first big legal case when a justifiably pi$$ed off recruiter turns to their new employer and says “This isn’t what I signed up for – see you in court”
(….and talking of pitching opportunities, please check out the details of a retained role we are currently recruiting, especially if you are a recruiter looking for their first genuine management role….pretty sure I am safe in not being hypocritical!!!!)