I have a magnificent job as the Executive Director of Human Resources for LaRosa’s Pizza, but I haven’t always had this job.
Very early in my career, I left my first job at a Fortune 100 Company. I left on my own because I just didn’t fit into that culture. I met with a recruiter who specialized in placing human resources professionals. I thought I would have a leg up because my first job out of college was at a well known, global company that is a leader in HR practices.
I didn’t know how wrong I was.
My interview with the recruiter felt like an interrogation. He peppered me with questions and asked, “Now, why did you leave this great company? What were you thinking?”
He was obsessed with my former employer and seemed to wrap his attachment around every question he asked me. I became very frustrated and—because I was young and impetuous–I shot back, “If it’s such a great company, why aren’t you working there?”
Again, I was young and impetuous. The recruiter was caught off guard and told me, “You’ll never work in HR in this town again.”
I thought that was a pretty broad over-generalization, but I probably deserved it. I never did hear back from him, and the sad part is that I rarely heard back from any employer. After several months, I thought that this recruiter might be right.
The reality was that HR departments just didn’t respond. I’m not talking about being untimely. I’m talking about not responding at all.
I remember how awful this felt, and vowed that when I landed a new human resources job, I would not repeat the same mistakes.
Throughout the rest of my career in HR, I have learned that talent advisors must adopt an “others” perspective. Every single candidate you meet may be a flop, or they could be the perfect fit. You don’t know until you meet several folks and find a good match. But those “others” who didn’t get the job have incredible value—as brand advocates, as future applicants—even though they didn’t get the job.
By changing the way in which HR traditionally considers all applicants and candidates, you can break the stereotype and become more responsive. Talent advisors must understand that anyone who applies for a job is excited, anxious and willing—and probably flawed in some way. Embrace the mindset that you can and must be more human and more consistent in communicating with your talent pool throughout the hiring process. If some applicants and candidates don’t make it, let them know. Encourage them to do well as they continue their search. Be a positive influence on them.
Always remember this: you may think that you will never be in the candidate’s shoes, but chances are you will at some point in your career. I would ask you—how would you like to be treated?