The simple answer is “I hope so.”
However, when it comes to the wellbeing of other people, when we have such a pivotal role to play in a difficult period in their lives, hope is not a strategy.
Recruiters have to do better than “hope” that candidates will be coping with the pressures.
The transactional nature of (contingency) recruitment sometimes gives recruiters an emotional “get out of jail free card.” If a candidate is not integral to their search, then they do not feel a moral responsibility for them. “There are thousands of candidates out there like them, they are dealing with it somehow, so why should we help if we do not benefit from it?”
Now, please understand me correctly. I run a recruitment business that has just won Best Financial Services Recruiter at the 2018 Recruiter Awards. We would not do that if we took pity on each and every candidate that came our way. We are here to fill roles for our clients and I would like to think that we find the very best people for those roles.
However, it doesn’t mean that we can’t treat each and every person that comes our way with a decent dose of humanity. So many of them will be in a pretty bad place, and it would be wrong if we were to focus solely on our commercial goals.
We have always had a strong focus on diversity at LMA, standing up for those who may be at a disadvantage, but it is increasingly clear that mental health is adding an invisible layer of challenge into the lives of so many people.
Recruiters are there to guide people at pivotal moments in their careers, and it is our duty to recognise the signs and be compassionate if we think that someone could be struggling.
This is not always easy to do.
Candidates want to play a role for a recruiter or hiring manager. They want to seem strong and in control, when in actual fact their mental state might be anything but. While we are not trained psychologists, it doesn’t hurt to give someone the chance to share their feelings of vulnerability in a non-judgemental way. We want to understand our candidates and we will understand them best when certain barriers have been broken down a little.
If they understand that we care, they might share that little bit more.
We will never know how much of a difference that might make to someone, but we can be sure that it will make a difference. In the tsunami of mental health problems that confronts our society, maybe compassionate recruiters could do their best to help candidates ride out some of the emotional storms that accompany their job search?
Their lives are at stake. Who wouldn’t be frantically worried?
This topic is incredibly important and I would like every single recruiter and owner of recruitment firm to think about this one question…..
“What if your child were looking for a job? Or maybe your partner? What if they were genuinely struggling with their mental health? What sort of a difference could a compassionate recruiter make? A recruiter that asks the questions (and listens) because they care and not because they have to)?”
Yes. I know. Recruiters need to admit that we can make more of a difference here.