Overcoming the credibility gap

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Amanda Picton doesn’t like disillusioning nursing students about their first job out of school, “but I want to be honest with them.”

So when she tells the students who call her for career advice to look in Texas and expect $50,000 a year, rather than in Missouri for $100,000, she’s not surprised that some of them tell her she’s wrong. “In nursing school they are misled to believe they are going to be making $50 an hour and are in demand everywhere,” says Picton. “We do this (recruit and place nurses) everyday. We know what the market is like.”

Amanda knows it’s tough to be authentic. For her and other recruiters, being authentic doesn’t always get the quick win; in fact, it can result in a highly-qualified candidate deciding not to apply. For those who have a myopic view of success, losing a single candidate is tantamount to failure.

Only it’s not.

Recruiting is not about sales. Many recruiters and experts will disagree with me on this, but the fundamental nature of human interaction in recruiting precludes the use of a sales methodology. To put it bluntly, candidates place their livelihoods on the line with a recruiter. They’re not buying a computer or a car—objects with no intrinsic value—they’re determining their financial emotional, and mental fate. And in order to do that, they need to trust that the recruiter who is presenting the opportunity to them is doing so with honesty; they need to know that the recruiter is authentically concerned for their well-being.

With this expanded view of recruiting we define success not simply as positions filled, but as positions filled with the right person.

With this in mind, here’s my simple prescription to recruiters for building credibility through authenticity:

  • Always follow the Golden Rule
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