Do you remember the last time you applied for a job? Were you nervous? When you came into the office, were you greeted warmly or were you treated more like cattle, held in a waiting pen until it was your turn to be evaluated at auction? Was your experience ennobling or demeaning?
I hope that it was ennobling, but more often than not, the hiring process can lack humanity. In our frenzy to find the right candidate for our needs, we neglect the needs of the human right in front of us. Instead of recognizing that they are a soul with hopes, desires, dreams, and ambitions; we read a flat resume and ask standardized questions meant to evaluate how they measure up to our requirements.
Indeed, the system seems rigged to push us toward focusing solely on the needs of the organization/hiring manager, and we forget the needs of the candidate. Before we know it, they are an object to be evaluated, not a human to be esteemed.
Now even inside me, the cynical voice responds, “Isn’t that the point? If we care too much about the candidate won’t we make mistakes? Become soft?” In their book, The Outward Mindset, the Arbinger Institute suggests that “Seeing people as people rather than objects enables better thinking because such thinking is done in response to the truth: others really are people and not objects.”
Perhaps the very reason we get so many false positives in hiring is not that we allow humanity to creep in too much but too little. How many otherwise great candidates lose out on a job because they are “bad” interviewers? Or the opposite, how many “good” interviewers turn out to be flops? Is it possible that we are just not seeing the person across from us clearly?
So, the next time you engage with a candidate try on a mindset shift. Ask yourself, “What is this human going through? How can I be more sensitive to their needs? How can I learn more about their dreams and ambitions?” Yes, you will have to evaluate whether or not they can meet the companies needs. But can we also consider, if we, as an organization, can meet theirs?
Widening our gaze to include the dreams, hopes, needs, and goals of the human in front of us will give us a clearer view of who they are and how they might fit into our organization. This isn’t a recommendation to lower your standard, but instead to broaden your view. Because at the end of the day, this outward mindset doesn’t make you soft it makes you smart.
By Dan Ralphs
Dan is the founder of Dream Leadership Consulting and is one of the world’s foremost experts on unlocking the power of dreaming. Learn more at dreamleadershipconsulting.com.
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