Beware: Sensational recruiting is a sure-fire way to disappoint candidates

Beware: Sensational recruiting is a sure-fire way to disappoint candidates

Written by: Ann Melinger, CEO, Brilliant Ink

Picture this – you’re waiting in line for a new thrill ride at your favorite theme park. A self-proclaimed adrenaline junky, your excitement builds with each warning sign you see as the line inches along – “DO NOT RIDE if you are pregnant or prone to motion sickness.” “Ride includes moments of complete darkness and steep drops.” “Remove all loose clothing and jewelry before entering the ride.” Then, just as you reach the front of the line, your anticipation at its peak, you are disappointed to see a slow-moving kiddie coaster that wouldn’t even thrill a five-year-old.

This experience – intense excitement followed by an enormous letdown – is a real risk to recruiters who overstate the opportunities that await job candidates. At Brilliant Ink, we always counsel our clients to ensure their recruiting materials and overall candidate experience accurately reflect the company’s DNA. Materials should bring the culture to life, while emphasizing opportunities for growth and fulfillment.

However, in their enthusiasm to “amp up” their recruiting approach and supporting materials, companies may end up going too far in the other direction, creating a false sense of excitement among candidates. For example, if your company has a more traditional culture, you wouldn’t want to convey that bold, creative thinking and risk-taking is encouraged. Similarly, if your company expects employees to own their career path and proactively seek growth opportunities, don’t describe your work environment as one that “nurtures career aspirations.”

While I certainly do not advocate “over-sharing” every internal challenge your company faces (because, let’s face it, all companies have them), honesty is critical. After all, overstating your culture is not only setting up new employees for disappointment, it may actually attract the wrong type of candidates. That only increases the likelihood of making bad hires, the cost of which are well documented.

Not sure which elements of your culture are most compelling? Start by asking your people – focus groups with employees can help uncover the parts of your culture that were most attractive to them as candidates, as well as what’s keeping them there today.

Want to learn more about how to create a hiring process that accurately reflects your organization’s reality?

Join me at ALI’s Strategic Talent Acquisition and Retention conference.


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