The Golden Rule of Hiring

By: Brian Harris
| October 28, 2020 |

I assume most people have heard of the golden rule: “treat others as you want to be treated”. Wikipedia refers to it as an ethic of reciprocity. It’s something I personally value and something Dogwood reflects on a regular basis. 

I’m not perfect – but I learn from my mistakes and I’m always willing to listen to other’s opinions even if I disagree. We all go through things and we try to take what we’ve learned from those experiences and be a better person. Sometimes those experiences are positives, others, not so much. 

Recently, I had someone reach out to me for a job. It’s become an everyday thing truthfully with many companies adapting to our current climate. I always take my time to review their resume and many times actually print them out and put them in a folder for upcoming positions. Our last hire actually came from this folder!

This time was a little different because I recognized the name. Many years ago I was wanting to move up and had applied at positions that I thought would help me gain additional experience. The person who emailed me their resume was one of those people I contacted for a position they had advertised all those years ago. I wasn’t chosen for an interview despite a personal recommendation from a long-time employee and a personal connection to the person with the open position. 

I’ll admit, my taste for vengeance was high. I pondered for a moment how I should reply now. Should I remind them how they ignored me? Do I just ignore them? 

In the end, I treated them like every other person out there looking for a job. A human. 

I let them know that we weren’t currently hiring but I would be glad to look over their resume and keep it on file for future openings. I actually spent the time reviewing the resume and printed it off for my folder in case I or someone else I know would be looking for someone like this candidate. 

Would it have been satisfying to just ignore them as they had me years before? Sure. But that’s not how I wanted to be treated then so I’m not going to treat someone like that now.

Even if we weren’t in the current job environment where many are searching for new opportunities, it’s still the right thing to do when dealing with candidates.

Using the Golden Rule when Hiring

In talking to our staff, many have shared nightmare situations of applying for past positions. I think that they’d all agree that our method, though not standard, really reflects who we are and that both us as a company and our candidates leave interviews more satisfied than most. 

So, what makes us different? Here are four tips that I use and have put in place for myself to use at Dogwood for applying the Golden Rule to hiring new staff:

  1. We answer emails. While calling a business owner shows initiative, it can also show you don’t respect my time. Sending an email is the appropriate way to contact because it allows me to get you an answer as I can.
  2. We tell the truth. If we don’t have an opening, we’ve found it’s ok to say that. If I have an opening I tell them what it’s for. We don’t assume because they have 10 years of experience and a master’s degree that they are overqualified. Their dream may have been to work in a small startup company and they are willing to take less pay to be in our type of environment. 
  3. We ask human-like questions in an interview. Seriously – some of the questions our employees have been asked in previous interviews with other companies are degrading and meant to just stump you. Our interviews tend to be more about who the person is and whether they can fit in our environment. We grab a coffee and chat over your resume. It’s a conversation and we both walk away feeling like we know each other better. 
  4. We maintain contact. If we choose to interview someone – we have a responsibility to let them know they weren’t chosen. It stinks having to tell someone they weren’t picked – it’s even worse to be waiting to hear from someone and not be contacted. The majority of responses have been appreciative of letting them know and asking for me to keep them in mind for future openings. 

Have you had the opportunity to stick it to someone yet you chose not to? What made you not take the vengeance path? Any other tips you could add from your previous job search experience? 

I would love to hear your story.

If you have an article that you’d like to see published on the Dogwood Journal, click here and submit your story!

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