After nearly a decade of supervising employees, interns, and volunteers I still love it. There is never a dull moment. In addition to being a supervisor, I am also a hiring manager. The hiring process entails my least favorite responsibility. Between recruiting, screening, interviewing, interviewing some more, checking references, and making offers the thing I like least is screening. Can you guess why? It’s because I am a fixer – very solution focused. A true macro social worker.
Macro social work activities benefit large groups of clients, or society in general, by introducing large scale positive change through systemic solutions. The screening process kicks my macro social work brain into overdrive – needs assessment, strategic planning, program implementation, capacity building, staff development, evaluation. I have received applications and resumes that are incomplete, poorly written, missing essential materials, and addressed to the wrong person. I have received resumes and applications from applicants with multiple degrees and professional degrees for positions that require only a bachelor’s degree. I have received resumes and applications from candidates who disclose very personal information that would be illegal for me to ask them on an interview. I am mentally and professionally bombarded with red flags before I ever contact candidates to conduct a telephone screening (step 1 in my process). The macro social worker in me doesn’t just want to fill an open position with the best candidate. The macro social worker in me wants to fix the systems that lead to these incidences – education, economic, judicial, etc. I want to address the class and opportunity disparities that show up on paper before I ever meet someone in person. I have to admit that when I am screening 200 resumes over a 30 day period it can be overwhelming. It can also be motivating.
I am committed to the development and sustainability of both companies and employees. I have been told on many occasions that I care too much or I am not like other hiring managers. There’s likely some truth there. I have conducted both telephone and in person interviews with candidates I knew I would not hire so that I could give them career and academic advice. I have sent recommendations by email to candidates instead of a standard rejection letter. I celebrate with candidates who have turned down my offer to accept a position with a company that better meets their personal and professional needs. It’s time consuming and I can’t do it as often as I would like, so I formed Packaged For Success to share my academic and career knowledge and experience with a wider audience. This is more than a marketable skill – career and organizational development are a part of my calling.
Oh, and many of those unqualified, over-qualified, and unsure candidates have become donors and volunteers and have also given me recommendations of qualified candidates and interns.
What is your least favorite part of the hiring process?
Contact me for assistance with recruiting, training, and retaining a strong workforce.
Nicki Sanders, The Packaged For Success Coach, is an Adjunct Professor with an extensive background in developing and managing internship programs. She is a skilled program manager, coach, trainer, and group facilitator who has packaged her Masters of Social Work degree and 20 years of work experience into Packaged For Success, a full service training and professional development company.
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