Compassion in work, life and recruitment

It has been a pretty rough start to 2020. The bushfires have been an event that has changed the lives of many people.

But through the tragedy there has been a silver lining. The response from the Australian community has been outstanding. Everyone is either organising fundraisers, attending fundraisers, donating to fundraisers or helping in other ways.

The desire to be more compassionate feels like it is staying with us now that everyone is back at work. If we can feel compassion when there is a great tragedy, has that put things into better perspective? And should we be bringing this compassion into our daily work?

Recruitment can be really cutthroat. I have been working with a particular candidate for the last 12 weeks. He is a senior candidate and has been through long interview processes with three of my clients. All three times he has had four rounds of interviews, gotten to the final stage, only to come second.

As we all know, there are no prizes for coming second in recruitment. I have really empathised with this candidate as I have seen how missing out so narrowly each time has really hit him. We are now onto the fourth company and fingers crossed things finally work out this time.

But that is our job as recruiters – to say “no” – isn’t it? At SMAART Recruitment we place less than one percent of candidates. We say “no” to 99 candidates and then “yes” to one. Our clients want the very best. I’m sure your Talent team is the same. Because we do it day in, day out it becomes normal and we don’t think twice.

But having a touch of compassion can make all the difference. How can we be more compassionate as recruiters? Well, here are some suggestions:

Think compassionately.

It can be a mindset. Think to yourself “how can I actually have a positive impact”. It could just be an encouraging word, some guidance… it needs only a moment.

If we think compassionately, we will find opportunities everywhere.

Offer each candidate one piece of advice.

Just one. The candidate in front of you might have a terrible resume, poor communication skills and are poorly presented. It might feel hopeless trying to give them advice, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.

There is every chance that this candidate has never been told their resume needs some work. Or that wearing jeans to an interview isn’t a great idea. Try giving one piece of advice at a time.

Think outside your own vacancies.

As recruiters, when we discover a candidate isn’t suitable for the vacancy in question we normally move on as quick as we can. Meanwhile our colleague sitting next to us who is also recruiting may have the perfect vacancy.

Being compassionate at work means assisting our workmates along the way.

Understand the position of power you sit in.

As recruiters and TA Managers, we have great responsibility. We are the gatekeepers of our organisation and have the ability to change the course of people’s lives.

Let this sink in – we change the course of people’s lives.

Show servant leadership.

Put others before yourself. Show leadership by serving others.

A servant leader puts themselves last and shows leadership by actively helping and supporting those around them.

Reply to every message.

If you get a voicemail or an email from a candidate, then get back to that person. Not doing so is plain rude.

For unsolicited candidate emails, I have created a template that politely thanks them for contacting me and points them straight to the right part of our website to search for jobs. I probably cut and paste it three times a day. Takes 10 seconds each time.

Nearly every candidate replies saying “thanks for getting back to me”.

And with voicemails, if you can’t return them then don’t have one!

Finally, I’m not advocating for us all to become soft overly sympathetic recruiters. Far from it.

But I believe we can all be better recruiters – and better people – by being more sympathetic to the right candidates at the right time.

Cover image: Shutterstock

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