Why Authenticity Should Be Your Recruitment USP
When it comes to finding the ideal candidate for a role, recruiters rely on a variety of tactics, from lengthy job descriptions packed to the brim with clichés (what exactly is a ‘dynamic environment’, anyway?) to structured and rigorous interview processes. However, in our experience, there’s one superpower that really can make all the difference both to jobseekers and to employers: authenticity.
What do we mean by ‘authenticity’?
At its core, authenticity is about being genuine. It’s about being honest about your intentions, and true to your values. However, I think we can all agree that authenticity within the recruitment sector is unfortunately sometimes lacking; in fact, research shows that a whopping 48% of workers have left a job because it failed to align with their expectations, proving that exaggeration and false promises do no one any favours. Practicing authenticity with clients and candidates doesn’t mean saying harsh things about either, it means giving people all the information they need to make properly informed decisions, as well as being thoughtful and reliable. It’s a quality that could well be your USP in a crowded market!
How to practice authenticity as a recruiter
Now we’ve established what we mean by authenticity, let’s take a look some of the most important ways it can be practiced in recruitment to build credibility and trust – a vital ingredient in the long-lasting relationships we all aspire to create.
Write honest job descriptions. Take a look at the latest job postings on LinkedIn or Indeed, and you’ll see that most of them look and sound the same. The ideal candidate most likely scrolls right past them. Creating a job advert should be approached as though it were a blank canvas rather than a quick copy-and-paste exercise - every role is different, requiring different skills and different personal and cultural characteristics, so this should be communicated to candidates. Additionally, it might sound counterintuitive, but the more challenging aspects of a role also shouldn’t be avoided. You may think you’ll get fewer applicants for a position, and you could well be right – the difference is, the candidates you do have will be a much better fit for the role, and they’ll respect both you and their new employer for being upfront.
Show empathy. As recruiters, we speak to people going through all manner of life experiences, positive and negative. Perhaps you end up chatting with a candidate who’s been through a tough and unexpected redundancy, or someone who’s had to take a break from working life due to bereavement. In order to be a true career partner – rather than simply a job salesperson – empathy is everything. Take the time to understand a candidate’s journey and what support they need from you - you’d be surprised at the impact showing a genuine interest can make.
Follow through on your commitments. We’ve had countless conversations with candidates who’ve lost trust in the recruitment sector because of promises that have been made and broken. A huge part of being authentic is showing up and doing what you say you’re going to do, whether it’s checking in after an interview or seeing how a candidate’s getting along in a successful placement. It’s no different to the relationships we forge in any other aspect of our personal and professional lives; if people don’t stick to their promises, we feel they aren’t genuine and quickly lose faith in them.
Be yourself. There’s an expectation in recruitment that we need to be perfect polished professionals, and sometimes that’s definitely true. However, letting clients and candidates get to know the real you is another important way to build trust and credibility. When we first speak to candidates, they’ll often naturally have their guard up, which can prevent us from really finding out about their true goals and motivations. Sharing a little about yourself is a great way to get people to feel at ease. Even simply sharing if you’re having a tough week reminds candidates that they’re speaking with a real person, and helps create a safe space to talk.
Listen and ask questions. Active listening is a real skill, and one that not many people possess. It involves paying close attention to what someone has said, understanding it, and retaining the information for later. When speaking with a client or candidate, it’s all too easy to run through a pre-prepared list of questions without really taking the time to listen to and consider the response. Actively listening to a contact helps that person to feel you’re engaged with what they’re saying, that you care, and that you’ll actually act on the information you’ve been given.
Ultimately, authenticity within recruitment isn’t just a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have. People can spot insincerity a mile away, and want to be treated like a person with value and worth, not a cog in a machine or a KPI. As we grapple with continuing economic uncertainty, the best recruiters can distinguish themselves with a personal approach - because no matter what, being yourself is always a best practice!
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