Recruiting lies, tall tales, and red flags

posted in: APA Solutions | 0

How do I know? Because I’ve seen it all and lived to tell.

My name is Jean Filipiak, and I’m a certified brain-based recruiter with years of people data to my name. I wasn’t always this way but my neuroscience counterparts have, through the years, literally gotten into my head. Thank you Joan Graci and Erikson Neilans, Ph.D., you’ll be happy to know I also see in patterns now. I’ve been taught by my trusting partners that the brain falls prey to the personal narrative developed and stored over time. In our research center at APA Solutions, we’ve validated that most people don’t mean to live in a world of recruiting lies, but it slowly becomes a developed belief that we highlight and challenge every day. 

So, when a group of three entrepreneurs approached me about how tough it was to get talent to say “I Do,” I ignored my fixed mindset and took the neuroscience approach instead. I asked to see the previous year’s recruiting information, and holy Excel, it was a comprehensive list. These 3 lifelong friends had grown up in this thriving business, but were having a real problem closing talent. This in turn was dramatically affecting their bottom line more than they even knew.

Now, I could have easily used my decade plus experience to guess what the issues were, but that doesn’t fly in the research center I called HQ. So, I asked a very important question to the wide eyed three:

Are you REALLY prepared to figure out what’s going on with your interviewing in the “can you handle the truth” type of way? Better yet, once you figure out what ails you, are you prepared to make changes?

Through gritted teeth and painful expressions, they agreed to go on this truth-seeking journey to discover the job seekers perception. Armed with the who’s who of “sorry, no thank you”, I went old school and reached out via telephone to find a group of people more than happy to share the “WHY” behind declining an offer.

Here’s what I uncovered:

  • Structure of the interview: Believe it or not, there wasn’t one. It was more of a “go by the seat of their pants” interview style, which the brothers grim thought was very cool.

Job seeker translation: It seemed like the company was run that way also, and didn’t have structure or goals. Although the owners seemed nice enough, the candidates weren’t looking for friends, they were looking for business men.

  • Family freak out: Even though these gentlemen weren’t brothers, they represented themselves as family.

Job seeker translation: In the eyes of these job seekers that signaled a whole lot of nepotism, and little chance for growth.

  • Bad blood: They had individuals with the huge responsibility of interviewing during certain stages, while simultaneously throwing the company under the bus for a host of cultural issues. Huge red flag!

Job seeker translation: If that’s who you get to interview for your company, I’m now completely freaked out, and my brain immediately retreats to the threat response.

Very few hiring mangers spend the time looking at recruiting through the lens of the job seeker. Even less utilize what neuroscience has taught us about the social order of the brain when approaching a candidate. However, I’m happy to report that after a series of research-backed, brain-based training on recruiting with the brain in mind, we’re BACK ON TRACK! Just to throw around some statistics to show the impact this type of training had, the very first opening we tried with this new-found knowledge netted us a top performer 45% faster, and with a 96% retention rate of hires to date.

If you would like to see the rest of this study or better yet, have my team look at your recruiting structure, please email me at:

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Managing Partner, Human Capital Strategist and facilitator

An certified brain-based recruiter and behavioral specialist, Jean utilizes advanced profiling and matching skills to guide companies and people toward success. When not advising a client, working to fill placements, or counseling a candidate on workplace behaviors, she is an adjunct professor at the University of Buffalo and enjoys spending time with her family.