Was it right for this recruiter to tell candidate to lower their standards?

With leaders, parents, friends and even little slogans dotted around the internet telling us to ‘dream big’, it’s commonplace to meet candidates with extraordinary goals.

However, even the most confident and ambitious jobseekers need a reality check now and then – but is it okay for the recruiter to tell them their standards are too high?

Forbes reports that candidate ‘Yolanda’ was searching for a mid-level HR position and changed her LinkedIn profile to indicate she was open to new opportunities. Subsequently, she was contacted by a recruiter. Yolanda explained to the recruiter, 'Paul', what she was looking for; with her last requirement being to work somewhere “viewed as a great place to work, or is interested in becoming a great place to work”.

However, Paul told her that her standards are too high – saying that wanting to work somewhere viewed as a ‘great place to work’ was unreasonable.

Writing in Forbes, Liz Ryan, Founder and CEO of Human Workplace and resourcing guru, offers her advice and explanation as to why in this scenario, honesty was the best policy – for both parties.

Ryan explained: “As a recruiter we can also understand why Paul would feel constrained by your 'best companies to work for' requirement,” instead, advising Yolanda to take such a project on herself.

Instead of relying on a recruiter, Ryan advised Yolanda to network, research exactly which companies she wanted to work for and to get in touch with the resourcing team.

She added that Yolanda’s requirement to work somewhere great should instead be something she can bring to the table.

“Everybody has their own taste when it comes to corporate culture,” Ryan continued. “You might love working in a particular organisation and someone else might hate it. There's nothing as powerful as stepping into a range of companies and talking with the people there to determine whether a particular culture is right or wrong for you.”

Was the recruiter being unfair? Or was he reasonable to tell the candidate her standards were ‘too high?’ Tell us your thoughts in the comments…

Comments (1)
Thu, 18 May 2017 9:34pm BST
The key to understanding who was being reasonable in this article is what key elements define a "great place to work" in the candidate's eyes. It's not unreasonable to hope to work for an employer with great aspirations but if Yolanda's "Great Place to Work" only benefitted the employee then her goals may be less realistic than she envisages. A good recruiter should scratch beneath the surface of vague statements like this to understand what is truly motivating and driving their candidate's job search. Successful placements are as much about shaping long term career goals as they are about finding a job for today!
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