As a long time recruiter, I have been privy to all the secrets that we hold as recruiters and I believe that for modern-day recruiting – we need transparency.

What do I mean?  Here are three examples off the top of my head:


Per CareerBuilder’s Candidate Behavior 2015 study, when candidates were asked which items included in a job posting are most likely to positively impact their decision to apply, 77% said the salary range is defined…second only to the job duties/responsibilities being clearly defined at 85%.

I have even heard of surveys that show many applicants will not apply for jobs that do not disclose salary.  I am not sure I believe that one, but I know it is more true of A-players and passive candidates.  I have had many call me to ask me the salary range before they even apply.  Can you blame them?  Who wants to take an hour to complete an application for a job that can not even afford you.

We hide our salary information from potential applicants, and we usually demand (upon their application) their current salary, salary expectations, and/or salary history.  Sometimes we ask during our initial conversations with the applicants.

I know the value of making sure that an applicant’s salary expectations are in line with the position, but what happens to our relationship and the feelings the candidate has for us?  I have heard it many times during these calls, candidates don’t want to say what their salary expectation is because it feels like the company is trying to screw them.

However, if we were transparent about our salary range early on…even before demanding the applicant be the first to show their hand (yes, I have heard it being described this way among hiring managers and recruiting professionals)…what would be gained?

You would start the relationship with the candidate from a position of trust and transparency…rather than secrecy, distrust, and making candidates feel like the company is trying to screw them over.



Another would be when we have difficult managers or difficult departments/environments.  We try to gloss over or hide this information, because we are afraid the applicant would not want to work in that position.

What does that get you?  Maybe the hire, but all the more likely a quick resignation because the new employee is miserable.

I have had prior employees of certain departments tell me how bad their old managers were and I am sure you are aware of how bad some of your managers are to work for.  Why are we not more transparent about this?

Say you have a manager that micromanages.  We should tell the applicants, your prospective manager is some one who micromanages and wants updates constantly and really wants to make all the decisions.  This may not be the right environment for someone who wants to just get things done on their own and be left alone.

No sugar-coating, no concealment.  You might be surprised to find some applicants are totally OK with this.  Some may like the challenge or might even prefer that kind of environment.  Of course, some will turn tail and run.  But those people are not the right people for the job and would not have been happy.

Instead, if you conceal it, you don’t really have the best interests of the candidate at heart and I think they can feel they are being manipulated.  It destroys trust and goodwill…and the length of tenure you might have (thus increasing turnover).



Lastly, when we reject candidates and call or email them with a message that they are being passed on in favor of stronger candidates, why don’t we specifically tell them why they were rejected?

I know for internal candidates, it just makes sense to tell them why – because they want to know what was missing or how to improve so they can be considered next time.  But the same could be said for external candidates.  (or do you never want to see the same person twice?)

I would just be clear with the candidate that it is not open to debate or reconsideration (because internally or externally, applicants sometimes want to fight for it because they really want this job).  Also, you have to be careful that you are not showing any discrimination or rejecting for reasons you can not legally do so.  If there isn’t time to give responses to everyone…at least those you think would be a good fit for the company and you want them to apply again.  Give them some hope through feedback.

For example, if you are hiring a project manager and the hiring manager said he went with someone because he liked that they had a PMP certifcation…why not tell the finalists (that you want to consider again) that they were among the finalists, but the hiring manager went with someone who had a PMP certification.

You can tell them they are missing maybe industry experience, a certain program or technology, etc.  You can say that this specific manager made that call, but it may not be an issue with other managers and encourage them to apply again.

But now they know that if they got their certification, industry experience, technology experience, more leadership/management experience, or whatever…that they would have a better chance of being hired in the future.  Now they can plan how to get those skills and try again to get employment with you.  Instead of always wondering why and causing frustration and poorer candidate experience.


I am sure there are other areas, but these are the three that come to me right away…areas that I have been told in the past to never disclose.  Not disclosing and failing to be transparent is really hurting us…not helping us.



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