Every witness in court must take an oath. They swear (or affirm) to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
If only all candidates took a similar vow. And stuck to it.
Don’t get me wrong. We occupy a highly select segment of the executive search market so 99 per cent of the candidates with whom we speak are completely open in their dealings.
They understand the importance and value to them in being absolute frank about their achievements, options, timings and what they want from the process.
So it comes as a surprise when we encounter the odd exception who omits something that will have a direct bearing on their recruitment and retention.
Why Candidates Lie By Omission
Few CVs are absolutely perfect in terms of what the candidate would wish for themselves. There may be an embarrassing gap between roles. Or a role that didn’t last long. Or end well.
Sooner or later every salesperson has a bad quarter or a bad year. Circumstances beyond their control can impact their ability to hit target.
Or perhaps there’s something else about their career they would rather not mention to their recruitment consultant. So some don’t.
Candidates have various motives for being coy. Some worry about whether they can trust their recruiter.
This is a mistake. You must be able to trust your executive search consultant absolutely. If you can’t, if something doesn’t feel right, then don’t work with them.
Work only with those you trust implicitly. Qualify them at the start – ask them these questions.
Some candidates may view lying by omission as part of negotiating. They believe they’re merely playing their cards close to their chest.
Let me give you an example…
“This Is The Role I’m Most Interested In…”
One senior enterprise salesman told one of my colleagues that the position on offer was the one he wanted most.
Just one problem – he then fed another colleague the same line about a completely different role. So he was lying to one of them (or both).
But it didn’t take us long to unearth his subterfuge. It’s not rocket science – we discuss all roles in progress at our weekly sales meeting.
The candidate concerned thought he was being clever by hedging his bets. But the danger of that is that all his bets could be off.
Why would any recruiter put forward a candidate who lied to them? They would advise their client to consider other alternatives. No candidate is so valuable that they are the only option.
In any profession, life is too short to be anything other than completely honest and open. We respect our candidates and we want the recruitment process to be a positive experience for all of them, whether they secure the role or not.
Trust is a two-way process. We place a huge trust in every candidate we put forward to a client because we have 20+ years of sterling reputation to uphold.
So it’s not too much to expect honesty and openness in return. The world is a small place and disappointing behavior can backfire and bite you in…