Imagine if we were honest during the recruitment process?

All candidates and employers want from each other is honesty - to really get to the truth about each other before committing. So why are we still doing that awkward dance?

Authenticity. I’m not the only recruiter or marketer who harps on about it (although I’m probably a little more obsessed than most). Most people would agree that:

  1. Authentic job ads get more applications from the right candidates.
  2. Relaxed, open interviews drive honest conversations and better assessment of the fit.
  3. People buy people. A positive recruitment experience with believable people means your chosen candidate is more likely to accept.

So why do so many employers and candidates still do that awkward dance?

Here are 4 classic mistakes, matched with some simple ideas to try:

Mistake 1: Fake / overhyped job advertising

Resist the temptation to embellish the opportunity. Just show it in a frank, memorable way. Prospective candidates will relate to the reality and will respect you more.

Try this:

Make a short smartphone video of someone discussing the role, and position it prominently in your ad. Hearing and seeing your future boss or colleague talk openly about what it’s like and who you’re looking for can be incredibly powerful.

Mistake 2: The dusty suit and tie

I know a senior manager who only wears a suit and tie at weddings, funerals and when interviewing prospective employees. I understand the idea of dressing to impress but unless that’s the usual work dress code, why not take the opportunity to create a more real, relaxed situation?

Try this:

When you invite a candidate to interview, send them a picture of the team they’ll work with if they’re successful. Call it ‘Interview Dress Code’.

Mistake 3: Airbrush interviews

In a ‘Facebook showreel’ society, it’s no surprise that people want to show our best side. However, it’s a huge mistake to oversell at interview. Sweeping the less attractive elements under the carpet will get you early resignations or resentful passengers.

Try this:

Be up front about the challenges of the job and the organisation. When offering someone a job, I always tell them every reason why they might not like it. It’s authentic, it’s attractive and it prepares your new hire for the challenges ahead.

Mistake 4: Accepting rehearsed candidate responses

You can spot them a mile away - those candidate answers that you know have been meticulously prepared and rehearsed, and that you just don’t believe. Don’t blame the candidate but don’t let them get away with it either.

Try this:

Be up front with the overly rehearsed candidate. Open up about the imperfect nature of your organisation and encourage them to do the same. And if they’re nervous, remind them that you’re not recruiting for a professional interviewee or an actor; you’re recruiting for the role for which they were shortlisted!

Mark Puncher

About the Author

Mark Puncher is Employer Branding Australia’s Founder and Chief Energy Officer. Having spent much of the last 22 years with one foot in recruitment and the other in marketing, Mark loves helping fantastic, imperfect organisations bring their stories to life to engage their future superstars.

About Employer Branding Australia

We exist to help you attract the best talent and keep them engaged. Together, we’ll create and promote your 'Why work for us?' and turn your authentic people stories into your most powerful marketing tool.

Contact us today for a free, honest assessment of your employer branding opportunity.


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