We’ve heard many of the same words and phrases repeated over and over again this last year and a half. New normal. In these uncertain times. Social distancing. Unprecedented. Doomscrolling. The list goes on. But from this period of sustained upheaval, we’ve also seen that what worked in the “before times” might not serve us on the other side of the pandemic – and one concept turned practice that keeps coming up is empathy.
While not a wholly new idea, empathy in the workplace, and more specifically, in recruitment, remains foreign to many employers – and their employees. A recent Time magazine article explained, “Outside of the office, empathy means trying to understand and share the feelings or experiences of someone else. Empathy is different from sympathy, which is more one-directional: you feel sad for what someone else is going through, but you have little understanding of what it feels like. Because empathy is predicated on experience, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to cultivate. At best, it’s expanded sympathy; at worst, it’s trying to force connections between wildly different experiences.”
Reflecting on this, it’s clear that while experiences are apt to differ, there is overlap, and that’s especially true in today’s workforce – whether gainfully employed or looking for work. With this in mind, we see an opportunity to learn from this realization and improve our collective circumstances, starting with how we hire. Here’s how:
Rethinking hiring with empathy in mind doesn’t mean throwing everything out and starting over. It does mean taking a critical lens to how you engage candidates, what you expect of them, and what you provide in return. Let go of perfect and embrace humanity.
About the Author
Ellie is a UK born self-confessed recruitment geek and ex-agency recruiter who is passionate about allowing candidates to express individuality and letting the very best shine through.
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