Let’s face it: in this market, the candidate is king. Demand for talent far outstrips supply, and great candidates usually have several options available to them. This can be an exciting experience for candidates who are used to having to jump through hoops to compete for jobs, and who may have been overlooked or underappreciated by companies in the past. But the truth is, even in a candidate-driven market where they hold the power, candidates should choose to act with integrity throughout the hiring process. Here are three reasons why:
The Market Won’t Always Be This Way
Today, candidates have a lot of options and flexibility in the job market. But markets change, and eventually, the tide will shift and companies will be in the driver’s seat again. When that happens, candidates will hope to be treated with respect, consideration, and kindness, and that starts with embodying those values today. Companies will remember candidates who behaved professionally, communicated well, and acted with integrity, even if those candidates ultimately didn’t come on board with those companies. Reputations spread quickly, and how candidates behave today can have an impact on what options are available to them tomorrow.
Career-Building is a Relationship-Building
Building a career doesn’t happen overnight; it’s all about building relationships, and a candidate never knows which relationship might lead to their next opportunity. Consider this example: a candidate is interviewing for a potential opportunity with a well-known local firm. The candidate gets along well with the team and the interviewer, but ultimately, both parties decide it’s not a great mutual fit because the candidate is looking for room to grow quickly, and the company’s leadership is planning to stay in place for the long term. They part amicably.
A few weeks later, the candidate gets a phone call: the interviewer has a friend with a small company that is growing quickly and doing exactly the type of work the candidate is interested in. The interviewer remembered how impressive the candidate was and wanted to pass along their information to the new company. Within a few days, the candidate landed their dream job. Whether it’s an interview, a networking event, or any other professional setting, showing up with a professional, positive attitude, treating people with respect, and communicating well can build great relationships, which can in turn help candidates build great careers.
Integrity is Always the Right Choice
It’s simple: treating people with respect, telling the truth, and behaving honorably is always the right thing to do, no matter the circumstance. Everyone is responsible for their own behavior, and if a hiring manager communicates poorly, low-balls an offer, or otherwise behaves in a way that a candidate finds insulting, they should still hold themselves to a high standard and respond respectfully and courteously, rather than responding in ways that don’t align with their values.
It can be difficult to keep up with the pace of things during an interview process, especially if a candidate is fielding multiple offers. But the truth is, missing phone calls, failing to return emails in a timely fashion, or brushing off interviewers who took their time to meet with a candidate is a poor reflection on a candidate’s character and can potentially impact their future career prospects in a negative way. Candidates who hold themselves to high standards and act with integrity, no matter what the circumstances are, will set themselves up to build great relationships and a successful career in the long run.