Transparency in Recruiting should be institutionalized.

Jenna Adorno from Microsoft JobsBlog quoted one of my comments on her post yesterday titled Transparency and agreed on my call for Transparency in Recruiting. That was a comment I wrote in response to her post asking candidates how long do they want to wait? The answer to the question as an applicant is "as small as possible" but in realistic terms - the wait is made "sane" if there is transparency in the process.

But for folks who have read my blog would remember about the first 3 parts of my "How I got into Microsoft" here, here , here and here that lack of transparency was one main reason why there are 4 parts to that story (and there are 2 more - which I never had the time to write and finish). Every single time - the loop fizzled out with ZERO communication - leave alone transparency! The reason though why I *am* working for Microsoft despite 4 parts of a "How I got in here" stories is because of transparency in recruiting with Heather and one her staffing consultants. In other words - being burnt personally on this topic is why I am a huge advocate of transparency in recruiting - lest we miss quality candidates to competitors and maybe their on ingenious entrepreneurial ventures! In other words - do we have stories where we suck at recruiting (Yes - I have personal examples on that), are we trying to learn from all that and changing for the better? (Yes - our JobsBloggers and Heather and her friends are examples of those!).

Now going back to Jenna's post on transparency, she lists out what the candidate has to do to be transparent and in my book all those points towards "Trust the Recruiter and make them trust you" - Transparency occurs immediately - if that relationship clicks. And to the extent that the recruiter holds all the cards - the onus is on the recruiter to make the candidate comfortable enough to trust him/her! So going to the list of issues that Jenna lists for recruiters:

For a recruiter to be transparent, they should provide you:

  1. A history of the position and the team (did people interview before you?, did they not get the job?- why?)
  2. The salary range on the position
  3. Where you performed strong and weak in the interview and feedback/reasons why
  4. The list of interviewers, with an explanation of the process and how long or short the day could go
  5. The level or seniority of the role

From my own experience over 80% of recruiters would be able to offer points 4 and 5. About 50-60% do go to the Point 2 (assuming u go that far in the process) and if asked (which never happens) they give you Point 1 but I would put that at about 70% too. But #3 almost never happens - 10-20% is what I would say in my case - and guess what - that is exactly what is required for the trust relationship.

Truthful Feedback is important and I do give the same to candidates I talk to, students I mentor and alumni I recommend right from the folks who are fit to those who are not. But being upfront about hte decision making criteria, the benchmarks of comparison and THEN the evaluation will let the candidate realise where they stand and how they can be better candidates and better person and therefore have more trust in the recruiter.

In my mind - recruiters are empowered to be career mentors who can choose to be that or jus stay being a recruiter. The ones who transcend that recruiter->mentor shift are absolutely stars who get the star-hires and have hiring managers adoring them.

So yes Jenna - I agree with you - but we need to start practising this and then preaching this and finally instutionalize it :)