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Humanity Around Human Resources

The pandemic disrupted everything we have come to know as a norm. On the surface, we see people wearing masks, having a chat while being meters apart and sanitizing everything they’re about to touch. About 3 years ago, society would’ve considered this to be borderline OCD or just someone who is a huge germaphobe. Fortunately, we progress as society and accepted the new norms in each our lives.

With that being said, the changes that happened around us isn’t just on a macro level but on the micro as well. Little did we know, we have come out of this pandemic as a different person than we were before it. Personalities change and new behaviors or patterns emerge. The question I would like to impose is have we as Human Resource professionals, change the way we interview or screen “quality” candidates?

Status quo dictates that hiring managers are always looking to hire based on merits; “How good is this candidate in handling X? How many years has this person done X? How driven is this candidate? What were their biggest achievements?” And of course, many others. Based on my experience, one of the toughest questions for any candidate to answer would be “Tell me more about yourself” or “What are your strength or weaknesses?”.

I have a theory, and this is strictly an observation; it is tough for most candidates to answer back then because a lot of us lack self-awareness. But after 18 months of being in lockdown and many of us working from home, people tend to spend more time with themselves; understanding themselves more, self-actualizing, and becoming more self-aware. I believe this question is no longer tough for most people to answer as they spent more time with themselves.

In my opinion, one of the toughest questions to answer now would be “Where do you see yourself in X number of years?” and the reason is very simple; people just find it hard to see the future since we are still living in a pandemic. And that is completely fine. What is not fine is when we as HR, put the standards of the old world into this new world and deem them as being “not driven enough”. The percentage of people who are unemployed drastically increased since the pandemic started and there are more people now who are doing freelancing or contract/project-based roles. Gone are the days when HR professionals would need to look for someone with a job as they are deemed “quality candidates” and labelling candidates that are “Looking out for a job” or “Just wants to make a living” as “desperate”.

We should be better at understanding each candidates’ background and stop filtering them based on the expectations of the old world. Practice empathy and form real human relationships. We have all done our best to survive the pandemic. Now, it is time for us to be better humans.

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