Why Recruiters Should Leverage Company Culture to Unsell the Job

November 21, 2016

A strong company culture can be the most powerful tool to attract, engage, and retain talent and recruiters should take advantage of that.

According to Brendan Browne, Head of Talent Acquisition at LinkedIn, “[company culture] is something that you should show and candidates [must] feel at any touchpoint that they have with you.”

This means that as you fire off your first InMail to a prospect, you should take time to think about how your language and the information that you share reflect the values and culture of the company. “From a recruiting point of view you need to be mindful and very intentional as you are doing that ...this is going to be touchpoint that will shape the perception of what your company is like,” emphasizes Brown.

Of course, there is no company that’s perfect and Browne advises that recruiters be very upfront about that. In fact, one of the most powerful and important conversations a recruiter can have with a candidate is to unsell the job and point out any issues the company may have.

Browne explains that the “unselling the job” conversation should sound something like this:

“There are some things we don’t do well, things are not perfect here, this is not for everyone. Find people who left the organization who didn’t like it and I can give you names...and you need to determine whether what we value and what you have experienced during the interviews is a place where you want to show up every day.”

This approach can make all the difference when talking to a candidate because:

  • It builds trust: just like life outside of work is not only roses, candidates don’t expect that life in the workplace is. When a recruiter or a hiring manager dares to be open and honest about the company shortcomings, this immediately builds trust and opens up a more constructive dialogue with the candidate.

  • It sets expectations: There is nothing worse than an excited new hire realizing that working in the company is not all that the recruiter made it out to be -- this can lead to rapid sinking of morale and damage your employer brand. Having an “unselling the job” conversation will help you set expectations with candidates so they know what they are getting themselves into and prevent situations like these.

  • It forces self-selection: Having such an honest conversation with the candidate allows them to hit the pause button and really think about if what the company offers through its products, people, and culture really aligns with what they are looking for. This way they can tap out of the interview process and save you a lot of hours regretting a hire that didn’t work out.

To hear more on Brendan Browne’s take on how recruiters should leverage culture during the hiring process, watch the full Talent on Tap episode below:

Talent on Tap is a weekly series where Pat Wadors and Brendan Browne break down some of the hottest topics, biggest challenges, and most enticing opportunities in the world of talent. Talent on Tap will also give you an opportunity to hear from other organizational leaders, subject matter experts, and thought leaders in the space. Stay tuned each week for the latest.

To receive blog posts like this one straight in your inbox, subscribe to the blog newsletter.