Integrity and Recruiting


I practiced law for 13 years, and in that time, I heard a lot of lawyer jokes. And I get why: you only need them when something is wrong, and they usually cost you money you would rather spend on anything else. They rank just barely above politicians and debt collectors on the Top 10 Most Hated Professions list. Most politicians are lawyers, though, so I’m guessing we can safely call them tied and not be misleading anyone.

Still, there are a lot of great lawyers out there. Amazing lawyers. Lawyers helped create the foundation upon which our democracy was built, and lawyers safeguard our freedoms every single day. But it’s the bad eggs, the ambulance chasers, the slick, sly, lying lawyers that make it tough for the good ones.

It’s the same in recruiting.

At Joseph Chris Partners, integrity is at the top of our list of core values, and I’m thankful to be working for a company full of consultants, not used car salesmen.

When I was a young recruiter, I was ordered by the owner of the company I worked for at the time to do something that I believed was wrong. I refused. She called me insubordinate and told me I didn’t have what it took to be a good recruiter.

I’m the only daughter of a military lawyer father. I couldn’t be insubordinate if I tried. It’s literally not in my D.N.A. But my parents taught me the importance of honesty, and to be sworn in to the State Bar of Texas, I had to pass an Ethics exam and take an oath that I will conduct myself with integrity. So I will never hesitate to stand up for what is ethical and honest, like I did that day.

I knew I was a good recruiter. I just wasn’t recruiting for the right company. I am now.

I talk to a lot of people each week, and it’s interesting what they have to say about recruiters. Some have had wonderful experiences. Others, not so much. Usually the complaints fall into one category: overpromising.

“I want to talk to you about this amazing opportunity with this incredible company that’s offering a salary twice what other companies are offering. You interested?” Uh, who wouldn’t be? Unfortunately, that’s a hook used by some executive recruiters to get the best talent to share a resume, and the opportunities rarely live up to the initial hype. The old “bait and switch” tactic gives the candidate a bad taste for recruiters, and the rest of us suffer for the used-car-salesman types.

It also affects how potential clients view our services and whether they will work with outside recruiters. Some recruiters promise the sun, moon, and stars just to get a contract signed, and when reality sets in that the firm can’t deliver the company’s biggest competitor’s CEO in just two days and under the company’s hiring budget, the hiring manager’s frustration with recruiters typically lasts longer than that one interaction.

There is no upside to not being truthful and authentic with your candidates and clients. Our goal here at Joseph Chris Partners is creating career-long connections with professionals in the real estate development and construction industries. We listen because we really can’t do our job otherwise. We want to understand what both candidates and clients are looking for so we can make the best match.

Managing expectations on both sides is a critical piece to getting to that match. A candidate may believe their skill set is so in demand that they deserve a 100% increase in their base salary, and other recruiters may have even fed into that belief by telling them they are worth that just to get a resume to add to their database. A client may believe they can find their next CEO for a bargain, and a recruiter focused only on bringing in new clients may agree.

We don’t do that.

We share the industry knowledge we gained over our 40 years in the business and through conversations with professionals in the real estate development and construction world every day with both candidates and clients so their expectations are grounded in reality. We continuously share feedback during the search process so there are no surprises for either side because the last thing we want to do is get a great candidate an offer just to discover he thinks he’s worth $50,000 more than the company will pay, or that the company’s budget is $50,000 less than the candidate will accept.

That requires diligence on our part from the very first conversation. We must know everything candidates and clients know to do our jobs effectively. And we must share our expertise openly from the very first conversation. There is no benefit to talking a candidate into something that isn’t a fit, or pushing a candidate on a client for a sake of a sale. When your goal is to make meaningful connections with both candidate and client, trust is required, and without honesty and integrity, trust will never be earned.

Certainly, trust and integrity go both ways, and when we discover candidates are being less than truthful, or clients are hiding significant information from us, we have no problem ending those relationships. Because a successful partnership must have trust from both partners, and that’s how we like to view our connections in the industry: as career-long partnerships.

Just like there are a lot of great lawyers out there, there are a lot of great recruiters as well. A few shady “Wolf of Wall Street” types have given the industry a bad reputation. If you find yourself needing help from a recruiter, either to find a job or fill a job, just make sure that recruiter is open and honest with you. Ask lots of questions, and really listen to their responses. If you aren’t comfortable, feel you’re being “sold” rather than understood, feel pushed rather than consulted, and you don’t feel like your recruiter really cares about you and your success, you probably need to keep looking.

If you’re in our industry, we’d love to talk to you. If you’re in another, we can probably refer you to someone we trust. Either way, don’t settle for one of the shady ones because there are far too many good ones out there.

Despite what a Google search for “Recruiters are…” may tell you.

Written by: Angie Truitt, Senior Partner