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December 14, 2017

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Are You Getting to the Truth?

I was in a log cabin sitting on a cold metal fold-up chair taking notes on a beat up wooden table when the words echoed through the cold Kansas City morning air…

“All we are trying to do is get to the TRUTH.”

Peter Lefkowitz, owner of Morgan Consulting Group, and a master at the art of recruiting, started off the morning session of his 3 day workshop with these words, and those words changed the way I conduct my practice.

Everything we do in our industry, or sales in general, is all about one thing…getting to the truth. Every time we speak to our client about a new position, we are trying to get to the truth about the job and the realistic expectations of the manager.

Every time we talk to a candidate, at EVERY step of the recruiting process, we are just trying to get closer to the truth…do you want this job, will you take this job, what are your true motivations for making a move, and so on.

Getting to the truth can be hard. It’s where mediocre recruiters stand far behind the leaders of the pack. Excellent recruiters know how to get to the truth and work relentlessly with clients and candidates to get to the truth. Years ago, in my first job as a recruiter, we called the truth the “nugget” that you will turn to gold once you find out everything there is to the candidates motivations. Once you find that ‘gold nugget’ or the truth, everything else seems to fall in place.

Think about the last deal you thought you made only to have it blow up. Think about your relationship with the candidate. How much trust did you build with the candidate? How much did you pry into her true motivation for looking? What did they like about your job that they were not getting from their current job, or other opportunities? What about counter-offers? How does the candidate really feel about them and how much did you question her about that?

Take the last job req. you took where you didn’t have the chance to speak to the hiring manager directly. Did you get to the truth of what’s important to the hiring manager?

Years ago, I would try and force a candidate down the path I wanted them to walk. Sometimes they would close their eyes and take the stroll with me all the way to end, and go to the place I wanted them to go. Sometimes they would go half way, wake up and say, “this isn’t for me” and walk the other way, leaving me scratching my head and wondering why the candidate suddenly didn’t do what I wanted them to. Now I know it’s because I didn’t know what they wanted to do…I made assumptions, didn’t ask enough questions, and just crossed my fingers and hoped everything worked out.

Now, it’s completely different. I never move forward with a candidate until I feel like I have uncovered the truth. In fact, several times I have actually turned a viable candidate down, because I feel like the truth isn’t really coming out and my time is more valuable helping people who show me the “golden nugget”. Or similarly, the truth leads me down a path I don’t want to go with the candidate, such as feeling like the truth is that they are using me for a counteroffer, or just testing the waters.

Getting to the truth is all about asking the right questions and acting on what you discover. If you can’t push back on a candidate and ask questions that they may not be prepared to answer, then you better find another occupation because this one isn’t for you. Getting to the truth is also about having innate listening skills. The best recruiters can pick up signs, verbal or otherwise, when a candidate might be hiding something. At that point, it goes back to pushing back, probing, and listening all over again…and having the will power to stick to your guns before moving the candidate forward in the process.

The same can be told about dealing with your clients. How about that manager that constantly gives you the one line job description? Is she giving you the truth? Isn’t your job to get to the truth so you can effectively help that manager fill that position?

Through listening effectively to your clients and candidates, asking probing questions, and having the ability to push back when needed will help you find the truth, and result in better clients, candidates, and placements.

- Logan Bragg

Logan Bragg has spent a decade in the Information Technology Recruiting and Consulting industry. He is a partner with Udig Technologies, a leading Richmond, Virginia based I.T. Staffing firm. He regularly speaks at local Job Fairs, Career Days, and at Technology Colleges across the State.