Polishing the Turd…

turdpolish1One of the biggest mistakes recruiters make is trying to polish the turd. I agonised with whether or not I should use the word turd in the title of a professional blog post. It conjures images of… well… turds. And turds aren’t professional right? But as you can see, I managed to get over my original hesitance and here we are. Not only with the word turd in the title, but also used an astonishingly 5 times in the first paragraph…

On to more important things…

As recruiters, we have an amazing number of tools (not turds) at our disposal to better understand candidates… we have behavioural interviewing techniques, referees, background checks, social media and good old fashioned gut feel… let’s face it… more often than not we know the good candidates from the… ummm… not so good ones. And… surprisingly… more often than not the good candidates equal more successful placements. They rarely ‘fall off’. They rarely have their probation extended. And you rarely have problems during the follow up phase.


turd2Follow Up (v): The stage of the recruitment process following placement. A time when recruiters remain in constant contact with both candidate and client to ensure they assimilate into their new role.

Sorry… couldn’t resist. I want to draw your attention to 2 elements in the above definition. Firstly, stats show that after references, follow up is the part of recruitment that most recruiters dislike. Secondly, notice the (v)? That means verb… and that means it’s a doing word… which means you actually have to do it.


Anyhow… back to the turd… As recruiters we are under enormous pressure. Pressure from our clients, (especially in a retained scenario). Pressure from our competitors, (especially in a contingent scenario). Pressure from our candidates (they kind of want a job). And pressure from our managers to produce fees (all of the time). So… like I said… recruiters are under enormous pressure…

And you know what? The easy option when you interview a turd is to polish it.

turd3That’s right… whip out the turtle wax… douse it with perfume… sprinkle it with glitter.

But… the trouble with turds is it won’t take long for the polish to fade… it won’t take long for the smell to return… and… believe me… it won’t take long for the glitter to lose its sparkle. Then all you are left with is… well… a turd.

And your clients deserve better than that.

Craig Watson


3 thoughts on “Polishing the Turd…

  1. Lachlan McNeill on Reply

    With that title, I had to read your blog today!
    Although I think we need to separate the two operations:
    Polish: “This candidate loves people” [Hannibal Lector]
    Sprinkle in Glitter: “Policies, you ask? – Wow, look at that hair!” [Donald Trump]

  2. Mat Gollop on Reply

    While I get the point and you have certainly created interest with the title, I don’t think using the word ‘turd’ to describe a candidate is ever going to represent our industry in a positive light. “Recruiter calls candidates ‘turds'” is not a pretty headline!

  3. Pingback: Shedding Some Light On The Polished Turd – JobAdder News

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