Karma’s great. But not the reason to follow your values.
I once found myself sat opposite the decision-maker for a significant project we were bidding for. He asked me if I remembered him.
To my shame, I didn’t.
To my pathetic sales skills, I told him I didn’t.
He told me that I’d interviewed him to work with us around 4 or so years prior. And that we didn’t proceed further.
You never know where karma goes.
We continued the pitch, but by this stage I knew we wouldn’t win. Not only did he not get the job, but I just admitted to him that I didn’t remember him from interview.
And “didn’t proceed further” was just one of those multi-use phrases that applied as much to my sales pitch as to his interview.
After we won that work (!!) and I got to know him better, he told me that actually that interview experience was a big part of the reason why he chose to work with us.
He said he’d grown a lot based on an interview and interview process which he described as feeling like a career development session. He also appreciated the feedback – whenever we could, I wanted candidates we didn’t hire to actually know why.
Also, flatteringly, he thought that if he wasn’t “good enough” to make the grade, then our team must be amazing.
(which incidentally, no false modesty, they were).
I encourage the companies I work with to build real feedback in for the candidates who don’t make it. And certainly to never play the “if you don’t hear from us, assume you were unsuccessful” game.
Telling people you’re going to be rude doesn’t make it any less rude.
I encourage it not because you never know where you might see them again – my experience was a low probability event. But because it’s just the right thing to do, and it reflects on the type of company and culture you’re building.
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