Recruitment, like most sales roles can suffer from having a bad reputation. Unfortunately, it is often seen as a profession where people stretch the truth, promise what they cannot deliver, and act only in self-interest to get the ‘deal’ over the line. Ask most candidates about their experiences and they’ll often share stories of where recruiters were initially friendly and helpful, promising them assistance in negotiating positions and salaries but then ghosting them when clients show no interest. Or clients who have been over promised and found the recruiter to underdeliver or withhold information that might make a difference.
What are some of the things we are often accused of not doing well?
Putting “square pegs into round holes” (just to meet your KPI’s or targets):
- When we try to force a deal through by ‘leaning’ on our candidate to take the role without listening to their concerns, or exploring options to alleviate those concerns, we store problems for the future. (And then wonder why the deal often falls out later)
Promising to give feedback to candidates and then ‘ghosting’ them. (Because you don’t have feedback or are nervous about giving them bad news)
- When we fail to keep in touch with our candidates because we have no feedback or the feedback it too tricky to discuss, we are undermining our reputations and one day when we have another role to present to the same candidate, we wonder why they aren’t keen to work with us.
Unconscious bias when screening candidates (Discriminating based on sex, age, and nationality etc…)
- Jumping to conclusions (a big part of unconscious bias) when screening candidates, means that instead of taking the time to ask candidates to show us their experience so we miss opportunities to come up with unique and interesting candidates – ones who potentially could stand out by providing a more diverse approach to filling your client’s requirement.
Here is how we as a recruiter, can work with higher ethics and integrity:
- Communication means asking open questions and listening to people carefully. (Listen between the lines) Remember, we have two ears and one mouth… we need to use them this ratio. Communication is one of our strongest tools and we should constantly develop our ability to communicate effectively.
- Learn to challenge people. Explaining to candidates why we might have concerns about their fit for the role gives them an opportunity to push back and to explain why they think we are wrong. I love it when a candidate corrects me and shows me why they feel they are a good fit – it proves to me that they are keen on the role and also why we should take them seriously. It requires bravery and great listening skills to accomplish but it is worth it
- Learn to guide and facilitate our clients and candidates in their decision making. Instead of always being the “middle person” or messenger we need to develop the ability to question our clients (assessing their thinking) and our candidates by asking difficult questions or pushing back gently so we can help them come to the right conclusions or decisions. This is our ‘value add’ to the process.
- When preparing our candidates for interview, don’t tell candidates what to say or how to behave, this enables inauthenticity. We should prepare candidates for the process and to think about how they answer or convey their ideas rather than put words in their mouths.
- Manage expectations: It is better to under promise and over deliver, in all cases we must do what we say we will do!
Do your job well and the money will follow:
As a recruiter, having strong ethics and high integrity is hugely important because it builds trust with those we work with (our clients will open more opportunities to us - the more they trust us; our candidates will reveal more useful information - the more they trust us and our colleagues will help and support us - the more they trust that we won’t let them down).
As a recruiter it is important to remember we are facilitating life changing decisions, we should do this with a clear conscience, knowing that when we do a good job, one with high levels of ethics and integrity, the money and recognition will certainly follow.
It means not chasing a ‘sale’ and simply completing a task to make your own life better but approaching the recruitment process as a way towards making lives better for everyone involved, including clients and candidates. For example, it is not OK to knowingly place the wrong candidate in the wrong role, just to meet your own targets. Having ethics and integrity means putting time, energy, and dedication into finding the right people for the right jobs.