All too often, recruiting resembles the world of online dating. People, or in this case companies, present themselves in the best way possible in an attempt to attract others to them. They highlight all their best qualities, sweep their flaws under the rug, pick the photos that are taken from just the right angle and maybe even embellish a little about their sparkling personality. If the interaction gets to a place where the two meet, over the course of a few dates it usually becomes clear exactly whom you’re dealing with. Gone is the person who perfectly crafted their online persona to attract the masses, and what you’re left with is a real person who very likely still has a lot to offer and looks great even outside of an angled selfie. They’ve just made it harder on themselves to get to the point where they could even get to know someone in a genuine way.

For companies wishing to recruit the right people that are the right fit, creating a persona and image that isn’t completely accurate only does them a disservice. Just like the online dating faker who has to wade through all the people who think they’re a good fit but aren’t, these companies may be attracting candidates by telling them what they want to hear, but they’ll struggle to find the one when they’re not being honest about what exactly they are.

The value of transparency

Of course transparency is always optional, but we live in a time where it’s not just the right thing but also one of the best marketing tactics an organization can use. People have come to expect transparency in the consumer world, and they look for a similar experience in recruiting. Consumers and candidates are smart, savvy and can see right through corporate nonsense. They know when a company is feeding them marketing jargon, stock photos and canned stories and quotes. Recruiting is no different!

This means that transparency is vital to making a positive impression on candidates now and in the future. By being transparent, you’ll do what employers absolutely must do in recruiting while also being a stand out because the truth is that many companies aren’t transparent, but they’re not fooling anyone. It will make all your efforts more effective and lasting.

What transparency looks like in recruiting

It’s great to be open to transparency in recruiting, but what does it really look like? It’s all about telling your story and telling it authentically. Content has always been an important part of recruiting campaigns, but it’s time to rethink that content and produce fresh, telling, people-centered, honest material.  The best way to do this is by telling stories of the people who work for you, using video to show what your office is really like on a day-to-day basis, talking about why you do what you do and focusing on what you would want to know if you were a prospective employee.

In personal conversations transparency could look like answering questions honestly, telling about your personal experience and using your employee ambassadors to share their experiences. In the interview phase, transparency is not sugar coating the company’s flaws or tough aspects of the job and creating the opportunity for a candidate to meet their future co-workers. It’s not about airing the company’s dirty laundry, but it’s only fair for a candidate who is sharing their self with you to also get the full story on the company and job.

Being honest about what you are also lets candidates evaluate whether or not the fit is right, leading to better hires, more productive employees and less job regret and turnover. Another advantage of being so open, honest and transparent in your recruiting is that candidates will know you’re doing so and will be appreciative of a future employer that exercises their values even in recruiting. You’ll leave a lasting impression that has the power to transform your employer brand.

For more ways to tell your company’s story and practice transparent recruiting, download the new Talent Objects e-book, Technology, Creativity and Strategy: The keys to Recruiting Passive Candidates. It shares what you need to know to expand your talent pool this year and highlights transparent recruiting as a way to reach a new set of candidates in 2016.