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The Risky Business of Job Searching

Hiring managers should put themselves in the shoes of the candidate. – Courtesy photo / Flazingo Photos (CC BY-SA 2.0)

By Angela Copeland

I recently heard a stand-up comedian make a joke about dating. They compared the experiences that men have versus women when they go on a Tinder date. They joked that when a man gets ready for a blind date, his biggest worry is that it will be boring. He will have wasted an hour of his life, and perhaps some money.

When a woman prepares for a blind date, her biggest worry is a bit different. In her worst case scenario, she may be physically hurt during the date. Before going on the date, she makes sure to text her friends, to let them know where she is, in case she doesn’t return.

This stand-up routine is meant to be a joke, but it highlights how different an experience can feel when two parties perceive they have different levels of power. Job searching has a similar dynamic.

From the hiring manager’s perspective, a bad interview is a waste of an hour. They’re going to have to keep searching for candidates. It’s a letdown. All of these things are bad. But, think of the flip side of this coin. Think of the work that a job seeker has put into their search. Think of their risk level if something goes wrong.

They’ve put in a lot of time preparing for the interview. They’ve updated their resume and LinkedIn. Perhaps they’ve spent money hiring a professional to help them. They may have purchased a new suit, and spent money on a haircut.

Then, they sneak out of their stable full-time job to come to meet the hiring manager. They’ll make up a lie about being sick, because the company wants to meet them tomorrow and it’s too late to take a vacation day. They are trying to search in secret because if they’re caught searching, the company may view them as disloyal. And, in many states, companies can fire employees for no reason at all.

As a hiring manager, a bad interview is a waste of an hour. As a candidate, a bad interview can cost you your job and future earnings. It’s a huge risk!

Hiring managers, the job market is tight right now. You may be struggling to find the right talent for the job. It’s tough.

If you find yourself in this spot, put yourself in the shoes of the candidate. 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 an attitude that they’re lucky to get your time. Look at it like a two-way street and realize they’re evaluating you too.

If you decide they’re not the right fit, continue to treat the person with respect. Let them know your decision in a considerate, human way. Treat them the way you’d want to be treated and you’ll find that your options for candidates will increase.

Angela Copeland, a career coach and founder of Copeland Coaching, can be reached at copelandcoaching.com.

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