In one of his acts George Carlin had a telling line about honesty, “Everyone appreciates your honesty until your honest with them. Then you’re an a**hole.”

This dovetails nicely with an old recruiter joke. The hiring manager is conducting an interview with a candidate and everything is going smoothly until the interviewer asks an uninspired but common question, “So what do you consider your greatest weakness?” The candidate answers tersely, “Honesty”. Taken aback, the interviewer says, “I don’t consider honesty to be a weakness”. The candidate replies, “I don’t give a damn what you think”.

Honesty is an interesting facet of the recruiting process. Obviously, candidates, through their resumes or interviews, are often less than transparent. On occasion, every hiring manager will admit to the same lack of transparency. And recruiters may be even worse offenders. At PointClear Search, we try to be guided by the principle of telling people what they need to hear, not what they want to hear. And that goes for both clients and candidates.

We try to fix bad resumes and we coach candidates prior to interviews. If the candidate completely blows the interview, we gently tell them why so they won’t make the same mistake again. When it comes down to a small group of finalists in a bake-off, somebody has to lose and often the real reason someone loses is because the hiring manager simply liked someone better. I’ve seen some very ugly and emotional reactions when I’ve delivered bad news and I’ll admit to sugar-coating the truth when I know a candidate is very emotionally invested.

In the used car business, there’s an old saying “How can you tell when the salesman is lying? His lips are moving!” Politician’s also fall under the same banner. We try real hard not to be that cynical but some days it’s very hard.


Character Counts

Character 1.0

A couple of weeks back, an already-signed-offer-letter-candidate went radio silent for 10 days before finally fessing-up to taking a counter offer. It happens but research shows the majority of people taking counter offers stick around for less than 12 months (they have already told their boss once that they are very willing to explore other opportunities so the boss understands where their priorities are). Knowing this, a lot of companies have a policy against making counter offers.
Most candidates, who take counter offers, immediately alert and offer an explanation to the hiring manager if, for no other reason, because they understand the value of reputation. As we in the media business learned early on, be careful of the toes you step on as you climb to the top; they may well be connected to the butt you’ll have to kiss on the way down!
Just this week a referral candidate pitched hard the reasons why any ad agency, publisher or company would benefit from the candidate’s skills, experience and leadership. After sharing the job description with a great agency ready to fill a key position a day later I receive a note from the candidate stating contact with an ad agency “may” have already been made. Turns out TWO applications had been submitted online – one just THREE DAYS before our initial conversation! Are you kidding me?
Let’s set aside all the proverbial excuses either of these individuals could use and get real.
Character is defined as, “the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual”.
Everyone expect sociopaths have character. For those who don’t think character counts – you’re wrong. There’s consequences and you won’t like the outcome. It’s not too late to build character so step up now.

Who Cares About First Impressions?

What you should focus on

While searching for the perfect candidate I came across this intriguing title, “Director of First Impressions” which included a detailed job description.

Director of First Impressions – February 2005 – Present (9 years 9 months)


• Ensure effortless efficiency for all manner of receptionist transactions for visitors and the agency’s 150+ employees including but not limited to: answering, screening and routing calls Greeting and accommodating visitors
• Scheduling for seven conference rooms
• Regulating company’s phone system
• In charge of company’s access control system
• Troubleshoot all office equipment (copiers, printers and appliances)
• Responsible for refilling and maintaining postage machine
• Processing all incoming/outgoing mail including FEDEX/UPS
• Preparing expense reports for three managers
• Processing office management invoices
• Proofreading of business documents when needed
• Responsible for catering in-house meetings
• Ordered all office and kitchen supplies
• Manage cleaning staff (three)
• Oversee the upkeep of the reception area and conference rooms
• Reliable as main “eyes & security” of agency’s three and a half floors
• Distributing company paychecks/paystub/TransitCheks

Director of First Impressions is not an original title but in our digitally charged, 24/7 world where corporate culture is as important as a pay check remember the importance of first impressions. Some first impressions open the door and move you to the head of the line. Others initiate the opportunity to build trust. Occasionally first impressions start a friendship.

Whether you’re selling yourself to win that next great job or you’re selling a product or service remember the nominal cost of making a good first impression pays huge future dividends.