My organization offer some unique positions that include free housing. “Debra,” who used to live here before moving out-of-state, wanted to relocate to the DC area after being laid off in North Carolina. Our live-in position would make that goal a reality. She was eager and motivated and it was clear she wanted the job very badly.
The problem was that despite some good experience and lots of great intentions, her interview did not go well for a variety of reasons that I won’t go into out of respect for her. It was clear she was not a good fit for the position. Meanwhile, we found another candidate, Tamara, who was a better match and accepted our offer.
Which meant I needed to call Debra.I procrastinated for half a day because calling her wouldn’t be fun. To say I was disappointing her is like saying that the sun is warm. I knew I was quashing her dream of moving home. I freely admit that I briefly entertained the notion of sending her an email, which would be so much easier and less painful!
On my end, at least. But probably not on hers.
Debra had driven eight hours overnight to interview with me. She’d thrown everything into it and given it her all. She’d invested so much in her application, and I knew the least I could do was pick up the phone and tell her the outcome myself, rather than hiding behind Outlook. To mix metaphors, I had man up and put on my big girl pants.
So I steeled myself and called her, and it was as painful as I expected. It sucked, as a matter of fact. Those ten minutes were a very raw, painful time in my workweek. At the same time, the very human discomfort actually grounded and centered me.
Because in Human Resources, H stands for human. We HR pros need to continuously return to that concept. When we lose that human connection, we are lost.
H is for human. If I ever forget that, if I ever sink to the place that I can callously make employment decisions without regard to impact on real people, it’s time to hang up my HR hat.
photo: this is a screenshot of the new Tshirt I just created and ordered from CustomInk.