Person vs Candidate

As I was preparing a candidate for their final interview, he closed the call with this statement:

 

“I feel like I’ve been treated like a person, not a candidate… thank you for that. It’s so rare and it really makes you guys stand out.”

 

This was music to my ears!

 

Riding high on my giddiness, I publicly posted a snippet of the above quote on Twitter and LinkedIn. Not more than 24 hours later, I had a slew of direct/private messages asking something along the lines of “how can I make this happen for me, as a candidate?”

 

I had to take pause on this because I failed to realize that few candidates realize that it’s not them, it’s us!!! This has nothing to do with what you (candidate) are (or aren’t) doing. The responsibility lies 100% on us, the Recruiter/Recruiting Team/Hiring Leader that you are working with. It’s our responsibility to reach out with updates when we have them – or don’t have them. It’s our responsibility to connect with you on a human level. It’s our responsibility to give you the respect that you deserve as a candidate.

 

Candidate experience can be two-fold.

 

On one hand, very much like a company’s culture, how a Recruiter approaches candidate experience can come from the top. How is the organization differentiating themselves in this fight for talent? How will candidates remember the company after the interview process is over? What will candidates tell their friends about the company, regardless of whether they receive an offer?

 

On the other hand, candidate experience can be very recruiter-driven. How well do I (recruiter) want to be remembered by you (candidate)?

 

I don’t know who to address this blog to, so I will address the two parties.

 

To candidates — You are not doing anything “wrong” when your experience is subpar. No excuses from us as recruiters. It’s not ok (in my book).

 

To recruiters / hiring leaders — Let’s follow the golden rule of recruiting… Treat candidates the way you want to be treated.

 

PS – Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

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The “Athlete”

What makes someone an “athlete”?

This question randomly came up in a recent conversation with a friend. When she responded, her answers were purely physical, “Someone strong, someone [muscularly] built”. Her definition of an “athlete” centered around physical capabilities.

Google the word “athlete” and you get a slew of dictionary-term definitions — a person who is trained or skilled in exercise, sports, or games requiring physical strength, agility or stamina. By this definition, I grew up — and am — an “athlete”. I played competitive water polo, ranked nationally as a swimmer, and continue to push my physical limits.

However, when my friend flipped the question back to me, I found I have completely different take on being an “athlete”. To me, being an athlete is about one’s mindset, not physical capabilities.

Being an athlete is:

  • Striving for constant improvement. Kaizen.
  • Knowing that there will be days/weeks/months that suck but pushing through it anyway
  • Knowing that setbacks are just that
  • Taking one step backwards to take two forward
  • Showing consistency and perseverance.

If you have ever done any hiring or recruiting, I’d be willing to bet you have been told to “hire the best athlete”. But, what does this mean?

“Hiring the best athlete” does not mean that you should go look for D1 football players, Boston Marathon runners, or the next Serena Williams. The underlying common trait that these world-class athletes possess, after the super-human genetics that bless them, is that they all have that mindset that sets their drive… their driving motivators.

When you’re told to “hire the best athlete”, hire the ones with the intangibles listed above.

… Then tell them to flex so hard that their sleeves fall off. 😉

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