While there are lots of new jobs out there, getting hired can still feel extra frustrating these days. We get it! While you’re putting in a lot of effort to revamp your portfolio or resume, write cover letters and painstakingly dissect all of your communication with recruiters and hiring managers, it can be difficult to think about where empathy comes into play. Frustration has a way of taking over in these situations and negativity bias can lead us to believe we’re not being heard or given the time of day. Well, we’ve been hearing about increasingly long interview wait times, the absence of interview feedback, or the lack of communication around interview processes—and the very unfortunate fact is that these are sadly normal in the days of remote interviewing.
So rather than see you grow dismal or frustrated, we wanted to offer advice on how to utilize the benefits of empathy when it comes to applying for a job you truly want. Outside of typical questions about how you display empathy in the workplace, these are ways you can show without telling how empathetic you truly are:
1. Know that it's not all about you.
It can seem like you theoretically should be the center of attention during your own interview process, but recruiters and hiring managers are juggling much more than all of these interviews. They have full-time jobs, personal lives, vacations to take, and the occasional last-minute asks that demand all their energy. When you stop to think about it, you are but a small factor in their current day-to-day. Keep this in perspective while carrying on a dialogue about the job opportunity.
It can be hard to remember that interviews aren’t just about you and there are ways you can incorporate a more empathetic approach here, too. During interviews, are you asking questions of the interviewer, both about how they’re doing and how the job is affecting them? Showing you care about their day-to-day while also getting intel on what it’s like to work there is a mutually beneficial way to show empathy while learning about a potential job.
2. Envision what it's like in their shoes
No one’s job is easy—and especially not leaders of a company or their recruiters! Using your listening skills and observations about their body language, tone, and eye contact will help you notice topics that make them stressed, and, if you can, even help you read between the lines. Show a bit of kindness here and there. For example, if you’ve both been in meetings back to back and it’s now lunchtime, ask them if they’ve had a moment to themselves or need one. You’ll display you can imagine what it’s like while acknowledging the need to satisfy basic needs instead of plowing through work.
This sort of display of empathy is also important if you’re hoping to be hired to lead a team, too. If you can show that you care for others and put self-care first, it shows how you value the needs of others. In this way, you’re more likely to get noticed simply by being a good human.
3. Remember to show appreciation for their work
We’ve talked a bit about sending thank-you notes afterward, but another way to strengthen your empathy is through showing appreciation for their work and their time throughout the entire process. During interviews, it’s great to bring up the work you’ve admired of theirs. It shows you care about their quality of work, are in the know, and have an opportunity to understand how hard they work to achieve their personal bests. Outside of this overt appreciation during the interview, be patient and show gratitude for the attention you are receiving. While you’re waiting for responses, you will probably want to reach out to recruiters to understand the situation. Proceed while acknowledging that they’re busy. Ask questions but also reiterate that their response can come at any time they are free. Thank them once they respond, too. A little kindness can really go a long way and you’re more likely to stand out for your compassion, too.
TLDR; empathy goes a long way when you are able to remove your personal situation from the scenario. Simultaneously, your display of empathy makes you more likable, approachable and an ideal leader (even if you’re only managing yourself). The truth is, you will never know the whole story, so lead with compassion and the rest will follow.
If you’re trying to find your next gig at your dream company or are looking to speak with a recruiter, we can definitely help. Don’t hesitate to get in touch! We work with tons of companies who are always in need of top talent (aka, you).