Integrity – More Than Living Your Beliefs

office theft 2There are a lot of things in this world that people can take from you or damage, but the one that you should guard and protect more than any other should be your integrity or character. It starts with honesty, decency and trustworthiness. Following through with your word and being impeccable and honorable with your actions creates respect and professionalism.

Integrity does NOT mean living your life according to your beliefs. Hitler did that, and none of us would refer to someone of integrity. Integrity would need to include an understanding and adherence to right and wrong. An example of such standards would be stealing. We can all agree that this is wrong and employees should never be involved in it. However, check out these statistics…

  • Employee theft is one of the primary reasons of many small business failures
  • 10 – 30% of all bankruptcies are due to employee theft
  • Employee theft is rising by 15% per year
  • Over 40% of retail and manufacturing businesses admit to employee theft

Employee theft is higher in industries in which there are frequent opportunities or strong inducements to steal, such as retail sales, medicine (especially theft of drugs) and banking.

So, knowing that something is wrong vs right isn’t enough. It requires us to be intolerable to wrong and not condoning it in small things so that it never escalates to the bigger things.  The small things? This would include sitting in your office and surfing Facebook or tweeting all day instead of focusing on your work. This is a form of theft – unless you work for Facebook or Twitter. Your employer has hired you to do a job and your focus should be on completing that job each and every day to the very best of your ability…anything short of that is robbing your employer.

Have you ever noticed that teams take on the personality of their coach? It’s true. If you have fiery coach who is big on being physical, those on the team seem to morph into that even if they haven’t really been that way before. Well, the same is true in work environments. Your team will take their cues from you. The way you act. The way you talk. Your tolerance for right or wrong. Your work ethic. They will begin to morph into the example that you set for them. Likewise, if they see that you are relaxed when it comes to working hard, cutting corners, compromising on policies – they’ll follow your lead on that as well.

There are three particular areas where you should focus on having strong integrity:

  • Be a person of your word. If you say that you are going to do something, then do it, on time, every time. You’ll find that those on your team will respect you and have confidence in you when they see you are consistent in this area.
  • Guarding yourself and others. Again, making sure that there can be no accusation made against you because of your zero tolerance of unethical practices. Have the sort of reputation and history that if someone lies about you and makes an accusation, that no one would believe it anyway.
  • Money. This one is the downfall of many people. Make sure that when it comes to money and resources that you are transparent and honest. Keep receipts that can verify where every penny is spent. If you are traveling alone and stop for dinner, don’t just go to the most expensive place you can find, find something is affordable. Search for hotel rooms that are discounted instead of paying full price. Make sure your employer and your team knows that you do your best to save the company as much money as possible.

Unfortunately, we live in a Gotcha World now. People are looking to catch you in a moment that is unhonorable, embarrassing, or compromising. We have to be on guard in ways that we never would have considered 5-10-15 years ago. Make yourself accountable to someone and them to you. Check in on each other and make sure that you’re doing the right things and guarding against any type of moral attack.

office theft


Hi! I’m a Recruiter and I Work for Free!

work for freeCan you imagine a world where professional athletes only get paid if they win? In 1960, the Dallas Cowboys didn’t win a game. In 1976, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers didn’t win one. And as recently as 2009, the Detroit Lions didn’t win a single game. In the NBA, the Charlotte Bobcats won just 7 games in 2012…and Michael Jordan was the guy running the team. He certainly knows basketball! Should those players on the NFL teams not receive any compensation when they couldn’t win a game? They prepared. They worked hard. It took a big toll on them physically and emotionally. They went to work every day and they did what they were asked to do…except win.

The world of contingency recruiting is highly competitive. It has a 90% turnover rate in the first year…meaning most just can’t make it. The biggest issue is the constant and high probability of failure. It’s tough to win a game. In the contingency world, a recruiter gets a company to agree to let them work on an open search for them and they agree to only pay them if they fill the search successfully. But the companies who agree to this deal usually have deals with other contingency recruiters as well, meaning they could have 4,5,10 different recruiters working on the same open search. At that point, recruiters are tripping over the same potential candidates and contacting the same people over and over again – and by the 3rd call from a recruiter, the candidate hates all recruiters and the company who enlisted them to bombard them with calls all day.

Even more frustrating is when the recruiter is the first one to contact THE candidate – the one who is most likely to get the job. They get all of the information and get the candidate to agree not to speak with any other recruiters who may call regarding the same job. The recruiter submits the candidate only to hear from the company, “Well, we’ve put that search on hold for a while. We’re re-evaluating if we really need that person or someone with a different skill set.” Or, “You know, the timing is just a bit off. The person who needs to make this decision just went on maternity leave and won’t be back for 90 days, so we are going to hold off until then.” Or, “Wow! That’s a great looking candidate, but we were just hit with a hiring freeze so we’ll call you next year and see if that person is still available then.”

The recruiter has invested time, money, and resources into working on a search that they will not get paid on. They have worked for free. They do this in the hopes that they will fill a handful of open positions every year and survive to the next year. Contingency recruiters understand that they likely will not get paid for the work that they do. So, they want easy to fill searches with quick turnarounds and as few competitors as possible when they take on a new search…this strengthens their odds of winning.

In most cases, a contingency recruiter will work hard on a search for no more than 2-3 days and if they don’t see light at the end of the tunnel, they are off to focus on something else. This leaves their “clients” feeling frustrated because they didn’t get any solid leads out of it – making all recruiters look bad and making it tougher for all of us.

So, a note to Contingency Recruiters…

Stop working for free! Get paid for your efforts.

I have worked on both sides – contingency and retained. Here are three observations that I’ve made personally:

  1. When companies have invested in the success of a search, the searches they give you are real. There are those companies out there who have no intention of hiring anyone unless you give them Superman or Wonder Woman. They are good with their current situation, but they would consider making a change to their staff if you make it impossible to say no. They don’t have to invest anything into the effort – you do that for them – so they get to see what the market is looking like and have no obligation to make a hire.
  2. When companies have invested in the success of a search, they want you to win. When that company has paid something for your efforts, they work with you and help you to get the information needed to target the right people, the feedback required to make adjustments, and make themselves available to conduct interviews and make a hiring decision. Contingency recruiters, good luck getting a call with the hiring manager to answer all of your questions or to get feedback on anyone that you send over.
  3. When companies have invested in the success of a search, everyone achieves more. The recruiter is focused on filling the search and can be dedicated to it through completion. The company knows that it has someone short-listed only qualified people for them to consider (making it far more time friendly for the company). There is a mutual respect that comes into play that is totally absent when a company works with a contingency recruiter. The goal should be partnership and trust and neither can be built on a contingent basis.

As long as people are willing to work for free, some companies will take them up on it. Not all though. The ones who are serious about getting the search filled with the right person, and not just having resumes thrown at them, will use a retained recruiter. Consider which type of recruiter you really want to be.