A question I often get from young recruiters just starting out is “what’s the primary key to success in recruiting?” Looking back over my time in the recruiting industry, there is one constant for all the of success I’ve achieved—and in the success, I’ve seen others experiencing. For me, the key to success is having integrity.
“WHAT’S THE PRIMARY KEY TO SUCCESS IN RECRUITING?”
Integrity is something so simple that I used to take it for granted. I had always assumed most recruiters valued integrity as much as I did, but, through visiting with clients and observing industry peers, I’ve learned that integrity is actually a pretty rare quality in the industry. I’ve learned that it’s a key differentiator in my work and in the work we do at Versique Search.
1. Integrity Drives Results for Clients
First and foremost, integrity plays a starring role in giving clients results that meet or exceed their expectations. Defining success in a search is pretty binary—you either provide them the results or you don’t. Integrity should be top of mind throughout your search process if you want to ensure you have success and give your clients the results they’re looking for.
Recruiting with integrity means providing a thorough search for your clients. You have to put in the time talking to people in and around the desired profession, gathering market feedback, coaching clients, running a smooth interview process, and when presenting offers to candidates. By executing each of these tasks with integrity, you greatly improve your likelihood of having a successful result and will ensure your client calls you the next time they need talent.
2. Integrity Leads to Doing the Right Thing for Your Candidates
One of the greatest challenges for me early in my recruiting career was giving bad news to candidates over the phone. I was comfortable doing cold calling but found a way to procrastinate calling people back who weren’t moving forward. I received some bad advice when I had to do this the first time and the call was not received well. I contemplated the situation and decided I had to approach these calls in my own way.
Along the way, I have also received some great advice! In talking with a leadership candidate I was interviewing, he gave me this tremendous piece of advice:
“Start your day by doing your most difficult tasks first.”
Embracing this advice has helped change the outlook and the overall productivity of my day. I’m certainly not 100% perfect on timely follow-up, but I strive for promptly informing candidates with honest and transparent dialogue about each situation. In other words, I make sure I’m operating with integrity.
When talking with candidates throughout the hiring process, you want to maintain this level of integrity. Don’t fluff up a company’s culture when speaking to a candidate, instead give them a transparent appraisal.
Also, make sure you’re true to yourself! This could be the most important element of integrity. I know that not all days leave me feeling happy with my day or with the results I achieve. But by staying true to myself, I do feel content knowing that I have worked hard, put forward my best effort, and have chosen not to compromise my personal integrity. In the recruiting environment, where most times your compensation is 100% commission, I have seen some dicey situations that surprise me. I know those compromises that others try might provide short-term wins, but they do not equate to longevity in this field.
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3. Don’t be Scared to Over Communicate
Finally, integrity in recruiting means being overly communicative sometimes. I’m actually stealing this tip from my VP, Steve Yakesh. Whenever I discuss a situation or frustration during a conversation with Steve, the first thing he will always ask is, “Did you call the client and discuss this with them?” Awesome advice!
Early on in my career, I was afraid to set-up a weekly-update call with a company the hiring manager or HR leader when I was in the heart of my search process. I didn’t have results to discuss yet and I always put internal pressure on myself to produce results before I could have an update call. Wrong. The reality has been each time I have a dialog with the client, I almost always learn a new insight on the company, the culture, and the work environment. The more I learn about those things, the more informed I am in my search.
Over communicating also means admitting any mistakes or missteps you may have made along the way, which is where the integrity really comes into the equation. Making the call to discuss these things can be tough but will usually result in the opportunity to talk through solutions and alternate ideas and plans with the client. I am continually pushing myself to over communicate!
My advice in starting out in the recruiting profession is to hold true to yourself, work hard, over communicate, do the right thing and stay aligned with your personal integrity. And don’t wait to do these things, start now!
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