It might be before my time, but I have heard tales of a time when finding a job was as simple as printing a stack of resumes, putting on your best navy suit, and pounding the pavement for places of employment that looked promising – and after a hard day’s work, you might have been lucky enough to come home with an interview lined up or even a new job. Wow, how times have changed!
I work for a company that provides solutions to other companies looking to gather pre-hire intelligence on their candidates in order to arrive at objective, informed hiring decisions, and we have a deep respect for the candidate experience and consider that perspective in every service and product we provide. The world of work has changed dramatically since the time described above. With never-ending increases in technology and information available at anytime, anywhere, and in speeds faster than ever imagined, the human element of “giving someone a job” is diminishing rapidly.
My point here is not to discourage innovation, or to even suggest a viable alternative solution. These capabilities exist to serve a purpose, and if used ethically and correctly, they most certainly do. However, if we try to empathize with the typical active job seeker, and also account for the reality of how most hiring is actually practiced, we arrive at a very sad place. And when compared to that nostalgic time mentioned above, we see a lack of humanity missing from a process that was once almost magical.
Think about work, and what it means to have a job or career. Sure it is a means to an end, but it also has the potential to fulfill a person’s sense of self-worth. It doesn’t matter if you eke out a living and spend all of your free time surfing in Half Moon Bay, or if you are a pediatric cardiologist who saves children’s lives so they can go on to live long, fulfilling lives, with jobs of their own.
At some point, we all had to apply for the job, and we all had someone on the other end give the job to us.
My message is not “stop posting online applications, administering pre-employment assessments, or completing reference checks, criminal background checks, or pre-employment drug screens”. But do take a moment to think about what your candidate might be going through, and put yourself in their shoes for a second before you pick up the phone for a phone interview. Because after all of these formal processes of screening out candidates who definitely would not fit your role or your organization, remember that the human being you’re about to call or meet with has been through quite an ordeal to arrive at this moment. And at the end of the day, we’re really just talking about giving someone a job!