July 19, 2018

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What You Don't Say to Candidates

As recruiters, we often walk a fine line between full disclosure and holding our cards close to the vest.

For example, there are some things you SHOULD discuss with your candidates when presenting a job opportunity. These include:

  • Job title, responsibilities and expected results

  • Salary, benefits, reporting relationships and promotion potential

  • Size, history and ownership of the company

  • What to expect during the interview and offer process

Obviously, you can withhold certain information during an initial candidate screening, especially if you feel the candidate lacks sufficient interest or fails to meet the qualifications for the job. Or, if your search involves the confidential replacement of an incumbent, the employer may instruct you to use discretion in order to avoid internal strife or confusion.

On the other hand, there are some things you SHOULD NOT discuss with the candidate, such as:

  • Proprietary technologies or strategies used by your client

  • Qualifications or identity of other candidates

  • Any personal feelings you have about the company or its employees

Since enthusiasm is a key element to any recruiting effort, it's okay to describe your client company as "wonderful" and its employees as "terrific." Just be careful not to overreach and misrepresent the company's people or performance. To cite your client's expectations of landing a big contract is decidedly different than stating their expectation as fact.

How Does that Make You FEEL?

Regarding my personal feelings, I've never considered them relevant to my role as a recruiter. True, it's nice to feel warm and fuzzy about a client. But if I can't relate to a manager's style or personality, that's MY problem—it doesn't mean the candidate won't benefit professionally from working for the person or joining the company.

And if the manager's a real jerk and it negatively affects our working relationship, I'll simply take a pass on the job order—while taking care not to burden my candidates with baggage that's none of their business.

- Bill Radin

Bill Radin is a top-producing recruiter whose innovative books, tapes and training seminars have helped thousands of recruiting professionals and search consultants achieve peak performance and career satisfaction. Bill’s extensive experience makes him an ideal source of techniques, methods and ideas for rookies who want to master the fundamentals—or veterans ready to jump to a higher level of success.