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The importance of being honest.

Written by: Helen Anderson, Senior Consultant at Tile Hill.
Published on: 3 Nov 2022

There is sometimes a perception of recruitment agencies that they consider their own requirements ahead of others, for example, encouraging candidates to apply for a role that doesn’t quite suit them or pushing clients to interview candidates that don’t meet their criteria. Recruitment carried out with the wrong intentions can lead to unwanted outcomes for everyone involved.

To all good recruiters, the foundations of successful recruitment are built on integrity, ownership, ambition, and passion. Being honest and transparent with clients and candidates is not only the right thing to do, but it heightens the experience for everyone involved. Integrity must be the golden thread that runs throughout every process which, in turn, builds mutual respect and trust.

So, why is it important? Without honesty and integrity, you affect the chances of finding your dream role or securing the right candidate, first time, and therefore run the risk of affecting outcomes for your local communities. Honesty is an essential foundation from which healthy client and candidate interactions are built upon. It creates the right conditions to deliver genuine and sometimes difficult messages without the need to bend the truth for personal gain.

When building relationships, your recruitment partner should become an extension of you and your personal or organisational brand, living and breathing your values. With candidates becoming increasingly discerning about career moves, enhancing and protecting an organisation’s reputation in the marketplace is critical and something to be taken seriously when trying to attract the best talent. Misleading advice or poor representation of your brand from a recruitment partner will reflect poorly on you or your organisation and, ultimately, has the potential to damage reputations and affect your chances of success.

Guidance should be clear and honest at every point of a recruitment process, whether it’s about giving clients advice at the beginning, for example, to suggest uplifting a salary package for a more competitive offering, through to alerting any reputational factors that might affect levels of candidate interest. It’s important to be truthful about potential barriers to recruitment. Likewise, when it comes to candidates, it’s essential to give meaningful guidance about the strength of someone’s suitability against a brief or whether the quality of their application meets the criteria for the role. Applications shouldn’t just be encouraged for the sake of it – a common misconception in recruitment – and choice should stem from quality, not quantity. Honest advice is often greatly appreciated by candidates too and helps to protect their time and facilitate growth, thus sending out a message of respect.

Crucially, it’s important for recruiters not to take on assignments if they don’t have the capacity to deliver on them. Sometimes, the best thing to do is to make a hard decision not to take on an assignment at all. While it is difficult to say no, it is important for recruiters not to overcommit if it will affect the quality and rigour they can wrap around a process for a client, and if it means that the candidate experience will suffer as a result. Recruiters must remember that a process falling through or not reaching a successful conclusion, in our industry, can have a real and direct impact on outcomes for local communities. Through learned experience, people appreciate the honesty, and, in fact, it can often strengthen the relationship.

The same principles must apply when an organisation is recruiting directly without the support of a recruitment partner. This is important for the sake of the organisation’s reputation and, vitally, the candidate experience. Ensuring clear communications, regular touchpoints, clear advice, and honesty at each stage isn’t easy but it makes a real difference to candidates and provides a positive and memorable experience, regardless of the outcome.

For every recruitment journey, having the right resource and skillset is critical to ensure successful outcomes. With the right resource in place, you can ensure a robust yet enjoyable experience for everyone involved and reach a successful conclusion.

So, where there is doubt, put honesty front and centre or reach out to a trusted recruitment partner who will champion this approach for you. 

Helen Anderson, Senior Consultant at Tile Hill