When the Going Gets Tough, the Recruitment PR Keeps Going

Aug 16, 2012

I can’t say enough about how important and difficult a recruiter’s job can be. Yes, we have our share of easy-to-fill jobs, and yes there are times when our load is not quite as crazy as it could be. One might even argue none of us have any reason to complain when there is a bevy of qualified candidates waiting to fill our jobs courtesy of the current economic climate … true!

However, candidates don’t know the half of what it takes from getting the requisition off the ground and posted, to selling a job to a candidate at a company that frankly isn’t worth the paper requisition it came on. This is where I am going with all of this.

Companies make good decisions and they make bad decisions. The good decisions are designing competitive benefits and recognition programs to attract and retain employees. That is, as a recruiter I am happy to highlight in an interview and beyond the plentiful and robust benefit offerings my company has to offer in hopes that the candidate will find the overall proposition of working with us enticing. More often than not the candidate considers all that is available to him/her. A deal is made and everyone is happy.

Here’s where our job becomes difficult: when companies make poor decisions. I mean really bad decisions. They mismanage their staff so turnover is high. They refuse to be competitive in their offerings both from a compensation and benefits perspective. Lastly, they make “business” decisions that are merely in the interest of the business and have not accounted for the inevitable impact of that decision on the employee. This results in disengaged, disgruntled, and despondent employees. Despite these factors, jobs are still rolling in, and when the going gets tough, the recruiter still has to act like the best PR agent in the land and sell that company and their jobs.

These bad business decisions makes the recruiter’s job less of an honest, people-friendly job, and more like a dirty salesman job. The dirty salesman knows his product is garbage but will sell it to you with a pretty bow on top as if it is the product you shouldn’t live without. This is a day in the life of a recruiter when bad decisions are a commonplace in an organization

What are the implications? The recruiter sells the candidate on something that isn’t real. Soon enough, and it has happened to me, the candidate gets in and finds out that the deal of a lifetime was no deal at all, but a deal gone bad. The recruiter in turn has lost credibility, the company has lost credibility, and now no matter what you do you have at least one person out there in the world that knows your company’s dirty little secrets. Bad PR travels fast; good PR travels, but not quite as quickly.

Since I have been faced with this dilemma more times than I would have liked to, I would like to share some insights about overcoming this matter of circumstance:

  1. As a recruiter you represent a brand. You represent your company and you also have a personal reputation to uphold.
  2. Your job is a duel between upholding your company’s brand and your reputation. You need to decide whether the values of the company are aligned with how you work as a recruiter.
  3. Your credibility as a recruiter is built upon being honest, reliable, and being an advocate for your candidates. If you can’t be any of those three things, you’re probably in the wrong business or with the wrong company.

Recruitment and HR in general require us to do some unpopular and undesirable things at times. However, recruiters have a choice in how they approach these inevitable hurdles. You can be honest, reliable, and advocate for your candidates and work around the not-so attractive aspects of your company, or you can be a dirty salesman and destroy careers and give candidates false hope.

Which type of recruiter will you choose to be?

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