….When the shoe is on the other foot

About 40% of the employers that I’ve worked with over the years become candidates of mine somewhere along the line. Over the last month this happened with the guy that I’ve been working with for almost 15 years as an employer. His company was sold and he lost his job.

He’s been looking for a job now for about two months and he is very surprised by many things. First of all, he is surprised that he had not had as many interviews as he thought he was going to get. He’s only had two. Like many of his peers, he has always thought that he was so good at what he did, if he ever needed to find a job, people would come banging on his door. I tell everyone that management jobs are really hard to find. Seventy percent of the time people are promoted from within for management jobs (which is the way he got his), whether they are qualified or not. Companies do this for all kinds of reasons that aren’t really worth going into here.

But the point is, he had been promoted into his management job and told by his previous company how wonderful, spectacular, invaluable, unbelievable, phenomenal and indispensable he was…until they just didn’t need them anymore. All of those accolades, promotions, etc. haven’t helped him find a new position.

What’s most astounding to him is that people have been so rude to him about saying they would interview him and then not, saying they would get back to him and they don’t, telling him that he is a wonderful candidate and then never hearing from them again. This last point has been most astounding to me. He told me today that, “I just can’t believe that these people are so rude as to not call me back, tell me they’ll get back to me and then never do… It’s just plain rude.”

What’s amazing about this is that he was exactly this way when he was a hiring authority. He would tell candidates that he was interested in them and then never call them back…. never call me back and just plain go silent. It’s easy to say that what goes around comes around and that he’s getting what he deserves. He was perceived as mean and rude and now he’s being treated that way. But that is terribly unfair and doesn’t make it right.

Since 1973 I’ve never been able to figure out why hiring authorities have to be this way. We all learn and hear that hiring people is one of the most important things that a manager can do and yet when they go to do it, it continually gets put on the “back burner” and candidates are absolutely left in the lurch.

Now, I will admit that when a candidate is looking for a job, especially if they are unemployed, that is their highest priority. When you’re managing an organization and running a business, hiring people is simply one of the things you have to deal with and, frankly it’s one of the hardest and most difficult things to do, so people postpone it and let other things that are easier to do take priority. And soon, the job search goes from days, to weeks, to even months, almost unintentionally. But it is so darn rude and almost mean.

Here is the message. If you’re a hiring authority, put yourself in the shoes of the candidate. Treat the candidate the way you would want to be treated because this week, this month or next year you may be in their shoes.

How much of a problem is it to just simply pick up the phone and call a candidate and tell them where they stand and what’s going on?


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