Honesty is such a lonely word. Everyone is so untrue. – Billy Joel
There is one truth in recruitment: everybody lies. Sometimes the lies seem small, designed to gloss over an unpleasant ending to a job 20 years ago, or to cover the fact that the reason that this vacancy exists is that there is someone in the team who, despite being brilliant at their own job, makes everyone else’s a living hell. Candidates lie in their resumes, recruiters lie to protect clients and to spare candidate’s feelings. But the one thing that people always claim to want; the one refrain we hear loud and clear is, 'Why don’t you tell me the truth?' But what if the truth were:
- The lovely rose tattoo on your neck just won’t cut it with our incredibly conservative client. You have good skills, but the decision you made when you were 18 to get that tattoo is going to affect job opportunities forever.
- You have incredibly bad body odour, and, whilst you are clearly unaware of it, it's bad. Really bad.
- Your attitude is terrible. You were rude to our reception staff and dismissive and snide when asked questions.
- There are people out there more skilled than you are at this particular task. Quite a few people actually.
- You change jobs more often than some people change socks, and we can’t get a good reference for you,
- You are inarticulate or have terrible communication skills.
A good consultant will man up and tell you the truth. And they will try to leave you with some dignity intact. But it’s not easy to do and feelings can be hurt. Egos can be bruised. Emotions can run high. So be prepared when you ask for the truth. Be willing to take criticism and to take it with grace and with the understanding that sometimes, even when you think you are, you are just not the right person for the vacancy. In next week's blog, I tell you the truth about employers…and how recruiters will cause you grief now to save you pain later.