We’re always stressing the importance of honesty to jobseekers, especially when it comes to their CVs and interviews. But how often do recruiters stray into the world of embellishment and exaggeration in order to secure that perfect person for a role?
Withholding information regarding a job or misrepresenting responsibilities and expectations will damage your reputation and lose candidates’ trust. It’s a two way street and if you expect the best from your applicants, you should similarly treat them with respect.
Here are some tips for navigating common areas that can encourage lies.
Salary and benefits
Surprisingly, salary is not the main contributor to employees leaving a job, but a non-competitive offer can be a deal breaker in securing the ideal candidate.
So it can be really tempting to make promises of promotions or added benefits, or expand on opportunities that are beyond your power to deliver. In these situations it is crucial to stick to the facts – if something isn’t guaranteed, don’t bring it up.
Most importantly, research the market before setting a salary range. You need to be able to offer something competitive that fits the candidate’s merits. Hiring someone just because they fit the salary range means you won’t necessarily find the right person for the job, and luring people in under false pretences simply mean they’re less likely to stick around or under-perform because they don’t feel valued.
“You’ll hear from us either way” or “We’ll get back to you once we’ve formed a shortlist” are often parting words that mean a candidate will never hear from you again. It’s increasingly common that candidates never receive feedback during the application process and enter a black hole of endless waiting.
It’s especially inconsiderate to not provide feedback after an initial conversation has occurred, whether it was merely a phone interview or an actual face-to-face exchange. If a candidate has taken the time to answer your questions, the least you can do is let them know what’s going on. This is especially true if they email or call to follow up post-interview. You’re always within your rights to turn a candidate down professionally, but don’t leave them hanging
If you’re faced with a long interview process, you might tempted to hedge your bets. That means you could be holding one candidate on the line while actually offering it to another, just to make sure that you have a plan B.
Don’t make it sound like the job is a sure thing for someone if it’s not. Sure, you want to keep candidates interested so they don’t get snapped up in the intervening time, but remember this is their future and jobseekers need to be able to make an informed decision.
Dragging your heels is never the best recruitment strategy, but when you know that your recruitment process is an agonising slow process, don’t beat around the bush. Tell your candidates what is going on and keep in touch during the process so they know what’s going on.
If you don’t, they will assume that you’re simply not interested and then your dream candidate will be hired by a competitor. Sometimes there are just admin issues to sort out and a candidate that’s genuinely interested in the position will stick around, you just have to give them the benefit of the doubt.
We all know the old classic lines – “We’ll keep your details on file” or “I’ll pass your details onto my colleague”. Jobseekers don’t believe these for a second, so why even bother?
Providing actual feedback about someone’s application is a much better way of interacting with candidates and will help them become better future prospects. And if you do actually think there’s another role they’re suitable for, make sure to get in touch after the interview and expand on that opportunity. Otherwise they will simply assume that you’re trying to let them off gently and will move on to other opportunities.
Above all, always remember that a jobseeker’s time is just as precious as yours, so don’t waste it.