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It’s Wednesday, October 4 and today, we have an important big idea:

Betrayal is one of life’s great nasty words, especially when it comes to your career trajectory and personal security.

This one word is the essence of a breach of trust, loyalty and in some cases, it speaks to the heart of the offending party’s integrity. But in my 42 years in recruiting, it is a term that I hear way too often.

A candidate leaves a great job to take that next step in her career. She trusts the recruiter. She asks a lot of questions. When the offer is made she gives it careful consideration. Then she accepts. All is well that ends well, right? Unfortunately no.

Six months into the position, there has been one nasty little surprise after another. While much of what she was told was true, there were some important discrepancies between what was said and the way things really are.

Today, this executive feels betrayed. That is the word she chose. “The recruiter did not tell me the truth on some critical issues.” And then she says, “If things do not improve I am outta here.”

Maybe she is right. Maybe the recruiter was a little off the path when it came to understanding the nuances of the culture or what was really going on in the organization.

Of course, the recruiter is not always to blame. Sometimes clients are not transparent. Sometimes they leave out important, but possibly negative issues. This omission may be because they have a misguided belief that if they are completely candid about the way things really are the good candidates might not be interested. Or, they could be misinformed that this type of disclosure is not necessary. Or, they are simply unethical.

So, here is a big idea for candidates to remember. For them, being recruited is a life changing, career altering moment. It is transformational. But for the vast majority of recruiters, the whole process is probably more transactional, another project completion to meet performance metrics.

In transactional recruiting there can be a big gap between your career aspirations and your attendant concerns about the risks of a new potential job and the search consultant’s performance metrics. Do not lose sight of that dynamic.

Here are some important questions to ask to measure whether you are working with a transactional recruiter or a transformational one.

  1. Ask the recruiter to describe the organization’s culture, with specific insights on their values. Follow this up with a question about the turnover rate — specifically how many executives have left the organization within the last 36 months. Finally, ask the recruiter if the executive departures are related more to performance or cultural fit. This is important information the recruiter should know. If they cannot answer your questions, it should raise a yellow flag.
  2. Ask for specific information about the criteria that will be used to measure a new candidate’s success in this position. Again, this is something the recruiter should be able to answer. If they cannot provide that information, it is time to think about stepping back.
  3. If you are replacing someone, ask the recruiter what we went wrong — why did the previous candidate leave?

Recruiters that are transformational tend to possess a deeper understanding of their clients — from the culture, to the keys to a successful transition.

If the recruiter seems perturbed that you are asking these questions, that may be a big hint that they are more interested in closing the deal and getting paid than ensuring that your transition and tenure is a successful one.

It is better to pass on an opportunity than to have career car wreck with a short tenure that will create all manner of challenges when you seek your next position.

Now here are this week’s mini career tips:

  1. If your career transition/outplacement consultant provides you with copies of your “new” printed resume with envelopes and the year is 2017, know this: whatever your company paid for your outplacement, they overpaid. I do not know one search firm or corporation that would rather have a printed resume over a digital version.
  2. If you are accepting a buyout package, do not be passive. Tell your employer if they want you to accept the buyout, you want to pick your own career transition coach in line with the company’s budget. Speaking up for your best career interests is important. Do not roll over.
  3. If you have been terminated, it is essential you reach an agreement on what your previous employer will say about your performance and your departure. Leaving this to chance is a big mistake. Do not sign any severance agreement until it has been reviewed by an experienced employment law attorney. Not your family attorney or close friend who may not know employment law. The money you invest here could be critical for your next career move.

That’s it for this week. I invite you to follow me on Twitter, my company Facebook page, and on LinkedIn. Remember to check out my blog post tomorrow at JohnGSelf.Com or on LinkedIn. And on Saturday, be sure to check out our SelfPerspective video series on YouTube.