Transparency counts in all aspects of HR. You don’t have to air all your dirty laundry, but please be real. This is especially crucial in communication with candidates. In #NextChat today, the topic of communicating with candidates and transparency came up. I feel very strongly that when a candidate is making a LIFE CHANGING decision such as possibly leaving a long-term employer, relocating, or even taking their first job, the decision should be made with the most accurate information possible.
Please do not sell your opportunity to the candidate. No one wins in this scenario. You will violate all trust with the candidate, and they will inevitably leave anyway, leaving you to source this position again. Be real. If you have problems, let the candidate know. Invite them to come in and meet the team, including the leadership team, and ask questions. Show them a “day in the life” of the position. It’s great if the candidate hits it off with you over the phone or in person, but they have to work with their team, remember?
If the candidate’s role in the organization will play a pivotal part in addressing your culture issues, let them know that you are aware of the issues currently in your culture, and you are committed to improving it. One step in that is with their role, and this is how they fit in that. Not everyone is cut out for being such a crucial member of the team from the start. That’s okay. You want the person that wants to get their hands dirty on day one in this case, so you need to make sure that your candidate knows that.
Please also be transparent about job responsibilities and duties. When I was hiring an HR Assistant to take 15 years of paper employee files to electronic, I said so in the interview:
“I want you to have an accurate idea of this position. You see those filing cabinets and that scanner? It’s a pretty cool scanner. It can scan 26 pages front and back in 1 minute. Your first task will be converting those files from paper to an organized, electronic system.”
I needed someone who was like “That scanner is cool. When do I start?” not “Ummm…that sounds horrible…I thought I was going to get to solve world peace here?”
The best compliment you can get in HR when you are recruiting for your own organization is for the candidate to tell you after they were hired that their expectations matched their reality. It’s great if they were excited over the phone, found the environment engaging, and are still psyched on Day 1, right? It’s equally rewarding when someone knows there is a challenge, is ready to get to work, and after some time, you both see the results of the team’s hard work.
Be real. Thank me later.