Phone Mail Arrow Right Arrow Left Calendar Chevron Right
The Ten Commandments in Exececutive Search: 4. Be honest!

In every company there are things that are not going well. Every role in an organization has its challenges and unpleasant sides. The MD sales of one of my former employers used to say in his direct (and occasionally somewhat crude) way when people wanted to quit: 'Remember, other places suck too!'

Nevertheless, the job ads, and especially the 'Who we are...' section, almost always read like a paradise. If candidates want to know what their potential new employer is really like, they must become detectives: They read many Kununu reviews, research in their network, find out who has contacts to current employees, etc.

However, being honest about challenges and things that are not going well has great advantages: First, it builds trust. If the negative is openly discussed, the positive is more likely to be true as well. Second, it creates a realistic picture of the task at hand. Working on the difficult issues will usually take more time than working on the things that are going well. Third, the right people are attracted from the start. Because only those who feel sufficiently prepared for the challenges described and have the desire to do so will feel addressed.

In my executive searches, I therefore write detailed exposés in which I state, for example: 'Due to fluctuation, several management changes and high workloads, employees in the department xy are currently feeling somewhat insecure. Therefore, we are looking for a 'rock in the sand' who is there for the team, helps prioritize tasks and finds new team members through internal and external recruitment'. Sounds daunting? Surprisingly, many candidates tell me that they appreciate this no-nonsense description and are willing to take on the role. Thus 'Be honest' helps to quickly find the right people for an open position.

About the author

Dr. Sebastian Tschentscher finds the best digital minds for your company with his executive search boutique "Digital Minds".

Contact us!