As a follower of Liz Ryan, I've read multiple articles on how to make the workplace more human. Thankfully I have a supportive manager who empowers me to try out new ideas. Here's a story of what happened when I tried a more human-centric recruiting approach.
I received an application from an individual for one of our open positions. To protect his identity, let's call him "Bob". After going through the initial screening methods and deciding to give him a chance, I extended an invitation for him to meet with one of the hiring managers on-site.
30 minutes later and while the hiring managers were interviewing other candidates, Bob still hasn't shown up. My manager suggested that I call to check up and while I contemplated about just letting it pass and reject Bob in our system, I made the decision to follow up.
When Bob picked up the phone, what I heard was the voice of panic. "I'm so so sorry I'm late, Allan. I input the wrong address number in the GPS and arrived at the wrong building. I'm lost!" After reassuring that things would be okay, I asked him where he was and guided him to our location.
It took a little bit of effort to help Bob feel relaxed since he was so flustered when he arrived. After calming him down and offering snacks and beverages, I went off to see if I could still connect him with a hiring manager. Because Bob was late, it threw off the interview schedules a bit, but I managed to find an open time slot for him to be interviewed.
After all the interviews were conducted that day, the feedback that I received was to move forward with the stronger candidates and unfortunately Bob wasn't one of them.
Now what surprised me about Bob is that he showed determination. He managed to schedule another open interview time slot for the next day using our appointment scheduler. In the message, he talked about one of our company core values (experimenting without fear of failure) and how he wanted to take the risk of seeing if he could have another shot in interviewing again.
I admired his tenacity, but after following up with the hiring manager again and getting another hiring manager's opinion, the decision was to still move forward with the other candidates.
It can be difficult to tell someone about not progressing to the next steps. Sending auto-rejection letters is a robotic pain-free way to do it, but after what Bob went through, he deserved a more personal response. I gave him a call instead and empathetically shared with him the decision.
A few days later, I received a mailed letter from Bob. I've debated whether or not to share it, but decided it would be more powerful to do so.
In the end, it takes more effort to bring a human approach in this relationship-driven business, but the positive impact you can have on others is worth it. What happened to Bob? We still keep in touch as he searches for the next step in his career. What's great is that Bob is now indirectly part of our team - he's become an advocate for the company.