Well, well, look who finally decided to remember how much fun it is to blog!

To say it has been one of those weeks sounds so very cliché, but quite true. To say I minded would be a lie, though. Work has been an absolute whirlwind of activity in the last few days and I'm glad to have hardly had the time to justify taking a peek at my guilty pleasure that is RBC.

Those of you who have read my previous material know I'm a big proponent of the candidate's experience, taking care of them, and generally doing the right thing. I know, all warm and fuzzy already, right? I still hold strong to that belief, but something that happened yesterday stood to very nearly shake me from that foundation. Before we go there, though, a little back story.

I have been doing some recruiting for a notoriously tough to please manager on a position which is strategic and has job requirements that seemingly change with the wind. We've all had orders like this, so when you finally get a candidate on the line it makes things even more exciting. As of last week, the leading candidate was flown in for an interview and knocked it out of the park. Without wanting to get too far ahead of myself, I allowed a brief moment of elation before terror struck.

Less than 24 hours after the interview was complete some announcements were made that stand to alter (although not significantly) the candidate's pay and bonus structure. Over the next three days I played a delightful game of phone tag day and night calling across several time zones without success until yesterday afternoon. Because accepting the position will involve a major relocation and a small step back in annual salary I swallowed hard and delivered the news knowing it could well lead the candidate to reconsider or decline.

I held my breath and waited for what seemed like five or six minutes...underwater.

Luckily, she appreciated the candor and honesty, but will now need more time to consider in lieu of these new details. Of course the most positive light possible was shed on the subject, but that was essentially limited to touting the virtues of a company willing to be honest even if it wasn't the greatest of news so long as it is in the best interest of the candidate. The conversation ended quite nicely with me feeling quite a bit better about it than anticipated.

That is, of course, until another party involved heard what had been done.

I won't name this person, or even make mention of their relationship to me be it professional or personal, peer or superior. The fact is, it is somebody whose opinion I generally trust, and they went bananas on me. I was appalled. The second this news came out I put myself in the shoes of my candidate and knew I had to tell her. After all, I would be extremely upset to accept a job and find out afterwards that the terms had changed! My lector was unrelenting, though. I should have left it alone to ensure the hire was secured and let things get sorted out later.

I spent the better part of the evening with my head spinning, but finally came to the conclusion that I did the right thing. I haven't gotten an accept or decline notice from my candidate yet, but communication has been open which encourages me further that things are still going in the right direction.

Although things have not come entirely to their conclusion in this mini-saga, I am curious to know what others here think. Is it better to be honest and allow the candidate to make the most well-informed decision possible, or hold the bad news close to the vest and let them accept on false pretenses? Of course, my position is obvious, but then again, I'm also no longer on the agency side and I have to deal with the drama after the fact if I opt to withhold...

Views: 129

Comment by Becky Metcalf on March 17, 2009 at 4:22pm
You came to the right place with this story Gino. Don't let this individual shake your reserve, this was the right thing to do. It will serve you now and in the future. Some of the best relationships I have ever built were with folks who ended up not taking a position because of a similar situation (when wrenches were thrown in the works and I was honest and upfront) and I've placed several of those folks at a later date and even more of them are highly regarded referral sources for me now. They are such because they have a real, tangible reason to trust me. Just as this person has reason to trust you. Kudos.
Comment by pam claughton on March 17, 2009 at 5:03pm
Gino,
Yes, you know you did the right thing. Absolutely. Imagine if you had witheld the info and the candidate discovered this after she started, she would not be happy, especially if she discovered the information had been concealed.

~Pam
Comment by Chris Reuter on March 18, 2009 at 4:51pm
Gino,

I'm dying to hear how this one turns out. I hope it turns out well, but when you mentioned that you had a three day phone tag session with the candidate, it brought back some bad memories. In my experience, when you don't hear from a candidate for three days, nothing good can come from it. Good luck and let us know what happens, I have my fingers crossed for you.
Comment by Gino Conti on March 19, 2009 at 7:55am
Thanks Chris - I agree, usually the phone tag game doesn't work out so hot, but in this case I was less worried about that considering I knew her travel/meeting schedule the two days after the interview was extremely tight. Either way, though, I'm still very much on the edge of my seat over this one!
Comment by Steve Levy on March 23, 2009 at 6:34am
This person whom you "trust"...can I source you a replacement, someone who understands that if you're selling lemonade you don't sell it as chardonnay? Since this person is an incumbent, we'll do it as a retained search. Nice and quiet until the new person has accepted...
Comment by Gino Conti on March 23, 2009 at 7:52am
Interesting offer, Steve...I think it is fair to say my trust for this person's opinion has started to fade more than a bit so I've tried to make sure this doesn't get to me. Hopefully opting for the honest route with the candidate will result in an accepted offer and I can let the result speak for itself.
Comment by Dan Nuroo on March 23, 2009 at 8:24am
Gino, opting to do the honest thing, is the only thing to do. From all aspects. Even (and i may hear you gasp) from the TPR side of things. Placing someone under false pretences is just BAD business. I know people have quantified the cost of a bad hire, I just cannot look into it at the moment. To get someone to accept an offer with smoke, mirrors and withholding information will only result in long term (potentially short term too) pain.

Tricking people into starting with your company, will breed resentment, mistrust, disengagement and probably an early exit. Which will also make you, as the recruiter looking bad to the company, especially if all comes out in the exit interview! Let's not even get into the ethical side of things here (that leads to super long discussions on RBC)
Comment by Margaret Graziano on March 23, 2009 at 11:31am
You already know this. Honest, Honesty, Honesty always carries the day! What goes around comes around. Those of us who work with integrity, live powerfully. That's just the way it is. Thanks for the post!
Comment by Laura Lundberg on March 23, 2009 at 4:58pm
I think you did 100% the right thing. Companies are always changing, more so in these uncertain times. I have had my share of giving the bad but realistic news. I cannot stand surprises and try to minimize them for others. I've had to give my share of bad but realistic news, and the honesty has always been appreciated. I think it's about relationship building. I can't do much about what my company does, but I can affect how and when I give unpleasant news. I can have a reputation (and so can my company) that is honest. I may not work for my company forever but my reputation will follow me around.
Comment by Rita Beerle on March 23, 2009 at 10:51pm
GINO!!:=)
Funny you crossed my mind the other day and here I see your post. You gave me such strong, solid advice - every bit of it right on the money - that I just have to comment on your situation here. It's always easier when you're on the outside looking in isn't it?? Have no fear, you absolutely made the right decision. Every candidate you place, whether if you're a corporate recruiter or independent recruiter, is someone who may either be a future client or direct contact to future candidates. If you are not upfront with them how will they react when they hear your name in the future?? If they know you can be trusted they will not hesitate to share information/contacts with you. Remember how you told me how much those 'real' relationships pay off in the end?? My friend, you need only to be reminded of your own advice. Stay strong and true to yourself and you won't have any regrets.

Talk to you soon...

Rita

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