Let’s Be Completely Transparent With Each Other

“There is not a crime, there is not a dodge, there is not a trick, there is not a swindle, there is not a vice which does not live by secrecy.”  – Joseph Pulitzer

One of the things that made Joseph Pulitzer’s brand of journalism so successful was his uncanny ability to understand and exploit the deep-seeded fears of every-day people.  He understood that, where there is an absence of fact, most people are willing to make inferences and assumptions to come to their own conclusions.  Often, the greater the gaps in information, the more sensationalized the conclusions (especially when an element of fear is added).

So what does this have to do with the hiring process? I’m glad you asked.

As a hiring manager, when was the last time you got to the end of a long hiring process with someone you thought was your best candidate, only to find that they had already gone a different direction, decided to stay with their current company, or completely dropped off your radar?  For many employers, it’s happening more and more often.

One of the biggest causes is the lack of transparency in the hiring process.

With the number of banking candidates we work with every week, we often hear stories about other hiring processes they were in recently where they never knew where they stood in the process with the employer.  Each story has similar traits: a seemingly unending series of meetings, no clear-cut guidance for next steps, little understanding of the compensation range, and an uneasy feeling that there must be a reason they aren’t being given the full picture.

Candidates fear making the wrong choice, and often confide in us that they consider the lack of transparency indicative of some hidden problem within the bank that they can’t quite put their finger on.

A recent illustration of this happened with a senior-level candidate who told us about an opportunity she had in another state that would have represented a great promotion.  When the bank fell out of communication for three weeks, then suddenly reappeared with an offer, she turned it down.  To her, this was a life-altering change that would uproot the entire family, and she questioned the bank’s ability to be dependable, decisive and adaptable.

This would have likely been a much more positive conclusion had the bank stayed in touch with her, or set the expectation that it would be three weeks until their next conversation.  As it turns out, the hiring manager was on a previously-scheduled three-week overseas trip.  However, with the lack of clear communication from the bank on next steps, plus her fear of such a dramatic job change, she was left to come up with her own conclusions and ultimately took a job with a direct competitor.

So, as you can see, lack of transparency can cause serious misunderstandings.  Fortunately, this can be easily remedied in the hiring process with a quick two or three minute discussion at the end of each meeting to set expectations for the next step.  When the candidate is educated on the process, and expectations are clearly defined, there is very little room for assumptions.

And there should never again be a time when you lose your top candidate because of a three-week overseas vacation.