What do you say to a friend who wants your ‘real’ opinion on a matter of some sensitivity? You know, “Do you think I should marry him?” or showing off a new pair of jeans, “Does my butt look big in this?”

It’s a tricky dilemma. You don’t want to rock the boat. You certainly don’t want to hurt your friends’ feelings.  But on the other hand, being honest, while painful, is almost certainly in their best interests.

To answer these questions well, it takes courage. It takes discretion. It takes a lot of trust between two people.

And guess what?

That is exactly the relationship a good recruiter has with clients and candidates.

Would you tell your client that he is not securing the best candidates because the interview process is too long and too demeaning for the talent? Can you find a way to coach your client on her own interview technique, which is turning candidates away?  Are you a  ‘trusted advisor’? A status that enables you to tell your client that their employer brand is weak, and that there are things they need to do to improve their image in the employer market place?

And do you have the courage to tell your candidate that “their butt looks big” as well?

Do you counsel your candidates on their interpersonal style? Can you advise your candidates to talk less in interviews, to stop using slang, to adjust their interview attire, and maybe (God forbid, but it has to happen sometimes) to use more deodorant?

Do you look your candidate in the eye and calmly explain why their salary aspirations are too high?  That they are not ready to manage staff? That they need more communications polish before they can assume a client-facing role?

This is the recruiting equivalent of telling your friend her butt looks huge in those jeans and she had best stop wearing them. Or telling your best mate that his new mullet haircut is an embarrassment to men everywhere.

It has to be done. You are not a friend if you don’t. And as a recruiter you are not a  ‘consultant ‘ if you don’t.

It takes courage and careful communication.

But mostly it means you have built up trust with that client or candidate.

They wont necessarily like what you say, but they will deeply value the fact that you could tell them.

For fresh, regular recruiting brain-food, subscribe to The Savage Truth

Views: 83

Comment by Randy Alexander on June 21, 2011 at 9:50am

"Does my butt look big in this?"


ALWAYS ANSWER "No sweetheart, it looks great"

Comment by Melissa Zentgraf on June 21, 2011 at 10:37am
The answer my husband always uses is "There are other outfits in your closet that make you look even more beautiful. Wear one of those."
Comment by Greg Savage on June 21, 2011 at 5:23pm
Randy, Melissa, two very smart answers although that of your husband Melissa is diplomacy and tact of the highest possible caliber!


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