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It is always in times of crisis that the best leaders emerge. Those who are known to mobilize their troops, close ranks behind them, and face the storm with courage, strength, and empathy. Mindfulness has become an essential behavior to face these unprecedented times and recruitment in the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a sharp turn. Now more than ever, our role as search professionals must focus on taking care of both our candidates and clients with a conscious approach. Knowing how to recruit with mindfulness is based on three essential principles: authenticity, openness, presence and connection.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, some searches have been postponed or canceled, but many others have moved forward as companies need to fill key roles that will help position them for current success and into the future. Here are two examples:
While executive search has carried on, obviously the current environment has meant our approach to candidates and their assessment must be adapted. In the age of lockdowns and telecommuting, candidates can be reached at very different times that work around their family’s schedule, whether it is nap time, later in the evening, or while they go for a walk. But rather than jumping straight into the typical interview questions, a mindful recruiter will begin by checking in with them, ask how their family is doing, and listen to their emotions, whether they are content, anxious, sad, or angry. In this exchange of empathy and listening, the recruiter is in a state of awareness. These real and trusted relationships that recruiters build with their candidates will serve them throughout their careers because we never forget those who truly cared about us when we needed them the most.
One common question we get asked these days is: “Are virtual interviews as valid and effective?” Given our access to technology and high level of connectivity, I would say for the most part, “yes.” Of course, we can’t rely as much on body language and don’t feel the same way behind a screen. But by increasing our level of empathetic listening and meeting the candidate in their environment (sometimes with a child popping up in the middle of the interview or the cat jumping on the keyboard), we can assess personality traits and derailment factors that are impossible in a traditional office interview. While post-COVID recruiting will surely bring a return to some more traditional processes, practicing full consciousness throughout a search will be here to stay.
The act of recruiting is all about building and managing relationships and utilizing that knowledge to make the best decisions for both the hiring manager and the candidate. If we want more conscious leaders, this inevitably requires processes that are based on the same values. Today, companies need individuals with a high level of emotional and relational intelligence to face transformations and embrace change especially as we come out on the other side of this pandemic. This will require both courage and humility to survive this period of crisis management and what then follows…