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  • thomasmele

Be Human: They're not just numbers

Updated: Aug 22

78 to 13 to 5 to 1



Over the past 7 days, I’ve been working on a special recruiting project for a client who’s a contractor.


78 people responded to our advertisement and submitted their resume.


13 people met the minimum requirements and received a follow up form to collect some additional information.


5 people sent a completed form to me.


1 person was interviewed by me over the phone.


That person was scheduled for an on-site interview with my client.

Executing this process felt different in the midst of COVID-19.

Five things stood out to me:

First, the number of applicants was lower than I expected. This is a technical office job and a good competitive wage for California. Given the current unemployment rate, what was holding people back? Fear? Uncertainty? Generous unemployment benefits?

Second, it was sad to see so many applicants come from the service industries, such as restaurants, retail and events. It struck me that these people had trained their whole lives to excel in their field and now the opportunity to work in their profession was gone.

Third, I felt very convicted that with each rejection, I needed to do it with as much dignity and encouragement as possible. That meant responding quickly and kindly to every applicant, sharing that we had reviewed their information and if they were not a good fit, to let them know so they could move on.

Fourth, I needed to keep in mind that even though these people may not be qualified for this job, perhaps I know someone else that could use their talents. Yes, it would take extra time and that effort is not billable, but it is being human.

Fifth and final thing, I was very encouraged by some of the emails I received from those we had rejected; while they were disappointed, they thanked me for getting back to them so quickly and actually wished me well! That too, is being human.

My key takeaway from this experience is that all our applicants are not just numbers to grind through--they are people, many who are scared and really hurting.

And even though it will take a little more time, it is important to be empathetic, kind and encouraging to everyone that may apply for a job, no matter how unqualified they may be for that position.


Are you recruiting and hiring now? Will you join me in committing to be a little more human?

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