Employment: The Importance of Integrity

At its core, the employment process is centered around self interests. Recruiters are interested in placing candidates with their clients. It is their main job function, and it is what secures their financial future. Those job seekers that the recruiters are working with are interested in finding and obtaining a new opportunity for themselves. Their main interest is landing a job to secure their financial future. And the hiring managers who work with the recruiters are interested in filling their openings within their company. Bringing in a new employee allows progress to continue within their company which in turn secures their financial future.

I don’t think it’s surprising to anyone who has ever been involved in the employment process that sometimes these self interests can lead the recruiter, job seeker, or hiring manager to put their own interests first before considering the impact on the others involved.

I’ve sat in all three chairs during my professional career. I’ve been a job seeker 3 times in my adult life. I’ve been the hiring manager dozens of times as I interviewed internal candidates to join my recruiting team. And I’ve been the recruiter thousands of times.

As a job seeker, our main motivation is to do what our title suggests – find a job. Our end goal is to land a new job and have a steady paycheck coming in. Sometimes we find ourselves unemployed and seeking work. Other times we simply want to improve our current situation. Perhaps we don’t like our boss, our co-workers, our job duties, our daily commute or perhaps we simply want to be paid more. Regardless of the reason, the end goal remains the same. It is very easy to put our blinders on and focus only on that end goal. It’s easy to mislead companies, misrepresent our abilities or experience. What’s the harm in withholding the truth from hiring managers or recruiters? I’ll get the job and all will be well…right? Wrong! We are in the Knowledge Age where people are interconnected more than ever. News of your attempt to mislead Company A can very easily travel to Company B. Hiring Manager A and Hiring Manager B probably belong to the same networking group. Similarly, recruiters are all very well interconnected. Every company has an Applicant Tracking System where they store resumes of applicants -and more times than not these databases have the option of adding notes to a job seekers profile. Hell hath no fury like a recruiter burned. So be sure to represent yourself truthfully. Don’t over exaggerate your capabilities or your experience. Be confident in who you are and what you bring to the table. There’s no need to try to invent more than you are. You’ll find that recruiters will go out of their way to help you, and will even refer you to other recruiters or opportunities if they can’t place you.

As a recruiter, our main function is to recruit candidates for our company or our clients. Our interest is in successfully taking a candidate through the process from initial screening to placement. I could write dozens of blogs on the negative reputation recruiters have these days. Recruiting is almost a thankless job (until you do it right!). It’s very easy for recruiters to simply focus on the placement and not the impact they will have on others. It’s easy to talk a job seeker into taking a position that may not be in their best interest. It’s easy to misrepresent a candidate’s abilities to a client in order to get the placement. I used to work for a firm where recruiters made a lousy base salary and they relied heavily on their commission to make any real money. The lure of high commission makes some people bend their moral standards. It’s easy to let the promise of a larger paycheck outweigh the soft nudge of our conscience telling us this placement isn’t the right fit. It’s easy to work with a clients that mistreat their employees – so long as they pay us. What’s the harm of making a placement I know isn’t right? I’m doing my job, I’m finding a candidate to fill a void. I’ll make the placement, I’ll get paid and all will be well, right? Wrong! Recruiters have a bad rap because that lazy mentality exists. Once a recruiter has a bad name, it’s very hard to right that ship. Operating in a selfish manner can ruin business relationships and lead to your company losing accounts. As a recruiter, our main avenue to find new talent is through our networks. Word of mouth and referrals are the most effective, efficient, and reliable ways to recruit. If you gain a reputation as an unethical or immoral recruiter, your networks will diminish. No one is going to feel comfortable referring their relative, friend, or co-worker to you if they think you won’t treat them right. So do yourself a favor and operate with a set of moral principles. There are always more candidates out there. There are always more companies who need to hire. Don’t be afraid to walk away from business, and don’t be afraid to tell a candidate this isn’t the right opportunity. Treat your candidates with respect. If you truly show an interest in their situation and work with integrity, you will build a relationship of trust that will repay you time and time again.

As a hiring manager, our main function is to fill that open position. Whether we are filling a void or upgrading a current position, our task is to make the hire. It’s easy for a hiring manager to look at employees as gears in a machine. It’s easy for a hiring manager to look at recruiters as replaceable tools used to complete a job. It’s easy to hire based on bias or as a personal favor. It’s easy to only respond to applicants or inquiries when it’s convenient. What’s the harm in me misleading applicants or dragging my feet for weeks on submissions from recruiters? As long as I get what I want in the end and make the hire, all will be well, right? Wrong! Just as job seekers and recruiters have reputations to maintain – so do hiring managers. Your job is to bring people into your company so that progress can continue. However, once word gets our that your company doesn’t value it’s employees or is a poor partnership for recruiting firms you’ll find it harder and harder to make those hires. If your hiring process has a reputation of being drawn out and indecisive, the value of your company will go down. Job seekers won’t want to commit to a company that doesn’t value their time or input. Recruiters won’t want to work for a hiring manager who is indecisive or unresponsive. They will seek out other partnerships elsewhere. Treat your employees with respect. Value their opinion and look at them as solutions to problems vs. a gear in a machine. Respond in a timely manner and realize that other people have their interests invested in this hiring process as well. As you do this and grow your reputation, more and more job seekers will be referred to you. Recruiters will go above and beyond to find that perfect fit for you because they value your business relationship and want to perform well for you.

The employment process may be centered around self interests, but that doesn’t mean we have to operate that way. Build up your professional network by conducting yourself with a sense of integrity. Consider all parties involved vs. your own interests. At the end of the day, you have to look out for #1, but be sure to do so in a manner that treats others with respect.


Please send any questions or comments to askrecruitermann@gmail.com.  Be sure to also follow me on Twitter @RecruiterMann23

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