Are you open and honest with your recruiter? I mean really, really honest. Open about realities that you might not feel comfortable sharing with a hiring manager during interviews, like the real reason you want to change jobs. Or, honest about the simple fact that the position your recruiter recommended you for isn’t something you’re actually interested in.
Recently, my team worked with a candidate who had two exciting offers on the table, one that came through Lucas Group’s placement services and another that came independent of us. I sensed the candidate preferred the second option – the one that didn’t come through us – but was reluctant to tell me this. I knew he appreciated our help working to place him, and, now that he was serious about another offer, he was worried that he’d disappoint us. Here’s the truth: if you’re honest with me, I’ll never be disappointed in you.
For many candidates, being fully open and honest with their recruiter doesn’t come easily. I understand: it’s natural to want to present the best version of yourself during a job search. You don’t want to say the wrong thing or suggest you’re less than the perfect candidate. With your recruiter, however, you don’t need to worry about “showing well.” My mission is to connect you with the right professional opportunity, and I can’t do that if you’re holding back what you truly want– even if that means sharing that you’re simply not interested in an offer I bring you.
I encourage you to be candid about:
What it takes to move jobs. Many of the candidates I work with are happily employed and will only switch for the right opportunity. I’m not a mind reader – as much as I wish I could be – so the more you’re willing to tell me about your dream position, the easier it will be for me to find you that position. For example, are you looking for a clear promotion pathway? Do you want a higher salary or better bonus structure? Are you looking for flexible work hours? When you’re candid about what you need, I won’t waste your time on opportunities that don’t meet your requirements. Likewise, I can let you know what’s possible in the current market so you can realistically consider different opportunities.
What you want to be paid. When it comes to your desired compensation, don’t hold back. When you’re honest about your desired pay, I can first advise whether this figure is a realistic possibility given the current job market and your qualifications. If it isn’t, we can discuss what it would take for you to hit your target range. Perhaps you need to up-level your certifications or gain additional management experience. You’ll be armed with the information you need to earn your desired salary and better positioned for success.
When you aren’t interested in a job description. When you’re honest about what it takes to move jobs and what you want to be paid, it’s much easier for me to connect you with the right opportunities. Still, not every job description I send you may be something you’re interested in, and that’s okay. You aren’t going to disappoint me and I won’t take it personally. Tell me right away and we won’t waste our time on the wrong opportunity.
When you’ve already applied to another position at the same company. This is a big one. For some companies, if a candidate applies to a position, that candidate is now in the company’s job application tracking system for the next year. As a recruiter, this means I can’t share your resume for any positions at the company, even if that position is different from the one you applied to earlier. This is an industry-standard rule and there’s nothing I can do about it. So when I ask, “Have you applied here in the last year?” it’s critical that you’re honest. Otherwise, we’re all wasting time because if I submit you for a job, this submission will be outright rejected. Let’s focus on companies where I can be most helpful.
Why you want to leave your job. Sometimes professionals reach out to me. They’ve been at their position for a few years and tell me they’re “open to a change.” Usually, the default reason they give for this change is that they want to “feel more challenged at work.” Occasionally this truly is the case. Often, however, this is code for “I don’t like my boss” or “I want a promotion, but I’m not getting one here.” While I don’t recommend you send me an epic email complaining about your boss, I do advise being as honest as possible about your reason for the switch. If you don’t like your boss, for example, are you frustrated with their management style, or is it a personality mismatch? Together, we can hone in on what isn’t working in your current role and identify what’s possible to change in a future position.
To Be Open About Your Needs, You Need to Be Honest With Yourself
To be truly honest with a recruiter, you have to be honest with yourself. Sometimes I’ll ask you questions you’ve never considered and you might need to pause for a moment to reflect. The best candidates take the time to consider what they really want. The best recruiters take the time to hear what you say– and give you the time you need to reflect without any judgment.
My promise to you is that I’ll be honest and open, too. I’m not going to lead you on if I know you need another year in your current position or need to obtain a new certification, like a CPA. I want us to have the best relationship possible and I don’t want to waste your time. I want to help you get in a great position that grows your career. When you approach our partnership from a place of openness and honesty, you’re never going to disappoint me!
Have you ever felt reluctant to be open or honest with a recruiter, or worried you were being judged? I invite you to share more about your experiences in the comments below.