06 Jul 2017

Why Transparency in the Recruitment Process Matters

If you have been living on planet Earth, you’ve undoubtedly encountered Glassdoor. Love it or hate it, the employer review website has brought transparency to hiring. This is a very good thing, in our opinion. Today’s blog isn’t about Glassdoor (you can read more about our thoughts on Glassdoor in Glassdoor Part 1 and Glassdoor Part 2) but instead, what we learned from taking transparency to the next level with our hiring process. After making this journey, we’d like to share why transparency in the recruitment process matters.

Transparency Reduces Turnover.

Most interview processes reveal very little about what it’s actually like to work for a company. In fact, it’s painfully common for expectations set during the interview process to not align with the realities of the job. This is one of the fastest paths we know to create a turnover problem.

The logical remedy is to put these expectations into writing. This serves two purposes:

  • It clears up cases of he said/she said as people often hear what they want to hear, as opposed to what was actually said.
  • More importantly, it will quickly uncover and allow you to fix any incongruencies between stated expectations and the realities of the job.

Another valuable step to increase transparency and reduce turnover is to include a field ride into the interview process. It’s one thing to hear and read about a position. It’s altogether another thing to experience it first hand.

At Sales Talent, we decided to take transparency one step further. When interviewing potential recruiters,  we added a formal “expectations” step to our process. Prior to that meeting, we share a document we call the +s and -s of Working @ Sales Talent. (This is a living document that is updated as the need arises.) During the expectations conversation, we encourage any and all questions with the intention of removing “surprises”. An unexpected surprise of adding this step, was the feedback we received from potential hires.

“Speak the truth. Transparency breeds legitimacy.”

John C. Maxwell

Transparency is a Compelling Differentiator.

People want to know what they’re potentially signing up for. Post the “expectations” call, we consistently hear some version of this… “I’ve never interviewed with a company that has been this transparent about who they are and what it’s like to work for them. This is a breath of fresh air.”

What started out as a means to reduce turnover (the right people see the fit and opt in and the poor fits opt out) has turned into a compelling differentiator. The interest level of candidates that are a good fit increases after they accurately judge that we have a transparent and low drama environment.

“The way you do anything, is the way you do everything.”

Tom Waits

Transparency Reduces Drama.

Post hire, the transparency and expectations we set during the interview process eliminated most drama. The culture and the job is what we said it would be. There are certainly issues and difficult aspects of working here but our new hires expected them.

In the rare case that a bad fit made it through our interview process, they stood out like a sore thumb. When you get your culture right, you’ll find that your team will help enforce “the way”. They signed on for your culture and it’s what keeps them at your company.

When you reach this point, the easiest way to screw things up is to lower your standards by making exceptions. Like many things in life, we have found that culture is set by the lowest common denominator. Alas, culture is a topic for a different day.


Chris Carlson

President and founder of Sales Talent Inc, a B2B sales recruiting firm. Based near Seattle, WA we place sales reps, sales engineers and sales leaders across North America.