We like to think of ourselves as individuals – unique. Unique in our experience. Unique in our decision making. Unique in the manner in which we affect the lives of those around us. We like to think that we have the strength and perseverance to overcome challenges. We try to convince ourselves that good things will happen if we just keep on keeping on. We celebrate wins, but we rarely discuss the losses.
We win medals for placing in events. We are awarded recognition for top performance. We are honored for the things we do that others find impressive or impactful. But, our lows are where we learn. We learn what not to do. We reflect upon what we could have done differently, or better. We learn not to make the same mistake twice.
The ebb and flow of life makes us feel like we are the only ones experiencing highs and lows, and our egos keep us from sharing our struggles unless, of course, we’re talking with our therapists.
We put on a good face when confronted with challenges. We remind ourselves to stay calm and to focus when facing adversity, but behind the facade we tremble. Behind the facade we question whether we are prepared; whether we are capable. Behind the facade we lack confidence. Behind the facade we think we are alone in our experiences.
I’ve been conducting interviews for a long time. Within the first 30 seconds, I can tell if a candidate prepared him or herself appropriately. It’s easy to spot a candidate whose arrogance got in the way. It’s easy to recognize a candidate who was distracted by other things – work, family and life responsibilities.
It’s easy to cast off candidates like this. It’s easy to assume that the candidate will not perform well in a new role. It’s easy to think the candidate didn’t find it important enough to prepare.
I’ve come to learn that there is a lot more going on behind the facade. Life is hard. We have bills to pay, kids to feed, and waiting rooms to wait in. We have elderly parents who we never thought we’d be responsible for. We have teacher conferences, meetings and groups that we support depending on us. Behind the facade there are stressors and on-going challenges.
The ability to manage through hardships; to get up day after day with the pressure of life, is a true measure of ability. Prognosticating success is not easy. Assessment and selection, phone and face to face interview participation, job observations, and video interviews are all great tools. There will, however, always be people who can be successful that are not selected. There will also always be candidates chosen for opportunities that will never be successful.
The best process still needs people, and people are still needed to manage, lead, develop, innovate and accomplish all that is necessary to make society function. It’s time to pull back the facade and to consider the individual, not just the vacancy he or she could fill.