How to Make Difficult Decisions with Empathy 

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Life is full of difficult decisions and a career in recruitment certainly provides no exception. As an organisation that maintains focus on specialist areas where we can maximise our positive impact, Talent Nation is often dealing with decisions that are particularly hard to make. Defining who we are and who we want to be has allowed us to develop a framework on how we can act empathetically and stay true to our values when it comes to the crunch.

A common dilemma we find ourselves in is deciding which organisations we can work with. We take pride in having strong moral and ethical standpoints and we look to engage with clients that reflect this in their own business and people as we do. It may also be that by recruiting the best person for the role they require, we will aid their sustainability journey by helping them to build impact from within their organisation.

There is a wonderful quote by Marie Poulin that says,

“You will be defined more by the clients you turn down than those you work with.”

This rings particularly true in the ‘for purpose’ space, as every role undertaken is done so with our B Corp certification commitments in mind. This means we must consider the environmental, social and economic impacts of our actions. It is unfortunately too easy in the recruitment industry and especially in a small business, to get weighed down by ‘short-termism’; in other words, making decisions based on the general short-term profits of a business. After all, there is a need to generate enough revenue to pay salaries, overheads, continue to do pro bono work and invest more into the progression of the business. While it can be stressful at times, it is important to have the ability to maintain a long-term view of profit which includes building a sustainable business with sustainable relationships and if need be, sacrificing the short-term comforts for long-term value.

A general framework we practice at Talent Nation emerged from our Managing Directors involvement with the Centre for Sustainability Leadership’s Future Leaders Program. We acknowledge the need to consider how we generate revenue for the business, but also reflect upon what positive interactions can take place between us, our clients and candidates. How the work we do affects our reputation is very important to us and we want to leave a lasting impact from the work we commit to for all the business’, the people involved and of course the planet.

As an industry that is all about people, it’s extremely valuable to be able to run a hiring process that is, at its core, human.

For us, this means having mutual respect and acting with empathy when dealing with candidates – putting ourselves in the shoes of those who will be affected by our decisions. If a candidate is not quite the right fit for our client then no one wins. When dealing with high impact and for-purpose roles, we are mindful of how we can maximise our efforts toward positive impact by placing someone with the skillset, cultural awareness and impressive history so they are fit to go above and beyond what is expected.

At Talent Nation, our core values underpin everything we do. We have had to walk away from taking on roles that compromise these values and this has taken much consideration and been particularly difficult for us. We are often having hard conversations with candidates who may have just missed the mark, as we try to support them through their disappointment. Overall, our goal is to communicate and have meaningful interactions whilst staying true to our values. Our mission, despite the industry’s hardships, is to make the recruitment process as positive as we can so that amazing possibilities are fulfilled for the good of our future planet.

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