The Risky Business of Searching for a Job
I recently heard a stand-up comedian make a joke about dating. They compared the experiences men have on Tinder dates versus the experiences women have. The comedian joked that when a man gets ready for a blind date, his biggest worry is it will be boring. When a woman prepares for a blind date, her biggest worry is a bit different. In her worst-case scenario, she may be in danger of physical harm.
This stand-up routine highlights how different the same experience can feel for two different parties who have different levels of power. In a way, the same logic applies to the job search.
From a hiring manager’s perspective, a bad interview is a waste of an hour. They’ll have to search for more candidates. All in all, it’s a bit of a letdown, but that’s all.
Now, think of the job seeker. They’ve put a lot of time into preparing for the interview. They’ve updated their resume and LinkedIn profile. Perhaps they’ve spent money hiring a professional to help them, or on a new suit, or on a fresh haircut.
Then, the job seeker sneaks out of their stable full-time job to meet the hiring manager. They make up a lie about being sick, because the hiring manager didn’t give enough notice for the job seeker to put in for a vacation day. The job seeker is searching in secret because their employer may see them as disloyal if they find out. In many states, this is grounds for termination — because in many states, employers can fire employees for no reason at all.
To recap: For a hiring manager, a bad interview is a waste of an hour. For a candidate, a bad interview can cost them their current job and future earnings. It’s a huge risk!
The talent market is tight right now, and many hiring managers are struggling to find the right candidates. But put yourself in the job seeker’s shoes. Consider their risk. Treat them the way you’d want to be treated. Respond to their emails in a timely and respectful way. Don’t have the all too common attitude that the job seeker is “lucky” to even have your attention. It’s a two-way street: The job seeker is evaluating you, too.
If you decide a candidate is not the right fit, continue to treat them with respect. Let them know your decision in a considerate, humane way. Treat them the way you’d want to be treated and you’ll probably see your talent pool increase as word spreads that your company is good to its candidates.
A version of this article originally appeared on Copeland Coaching.
Angela Copeland is a career coach and CEO at her firm, Copeland Coaching.