Tell Your Candidates Why They Shouldn’t Take Your Job

Your recruiters are going to cringe if you show them them this video. It comes from a DisruptHR presentation in Indianapolis this past spring, and disruptive is an understatement. Seriously, what recruiter would ever tell a hot prospect, “We kind of suck at training?”

Well, Karen Seketa does. And she gets away with it. In fact, she’s the VP of Talent at Element Three, a 75-person marketing company. She sells her company by telling candidates why they don’t want to work there.

It’s radical candor, radically practiced and yes, it’s definitely the kind of thing that might get your recruiters talking — about your mental state. Yet when you hear Seketa explain it, it does make sense.

We’re not in a war for talent, she maintains. Instead, she says, citing none other than Marcus Buckingham, “The real war for talent is not in finding that talent, it’s keeping that talent.” Most of us put most of our effort into attracting candidates, which leads us to put our best foot forward and not discuss the warts. “Our quest for hitting all these hiring metrics is turning us into liars. We’re sacrificing authenticity for these facades that are just not real,” Seketa says.

At some point of course, new employees discover that the great training isn’t. That the collaborative spirit of the open office means constant interruption and no privacy. And that the “processes” have mostly yet to be invented. When that happens, you lose the war for retention.

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So, she argues, better be completely transparent upfront. “At the very least,” Seketa says, “We owe our candidates the same level of transparency we expect from them.”

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