Simon Brew

Aug 4, 2017

If you're about to employ someone in a new job, let us tell you about a brilliant person called Stacy.

A very warm welcome to Geeks Vs Loneliness, our spot on the site where we try and chat about things that may be affecting you, or people you know. No miracle cures are offered here. Just a few hints, tips, ideas and bad jokes that one day may come of use.

This week? A little word about those taking on new employees.

I hadn’t planned to write anything like this, until I had a phone call with a recruiter in America at the end of last week. I’d given a refence for someone, and someone from the company concerned just wanted a quick phone chat to ask one or two questions. As they were paying the bill, I agreed.

What followed was a conversation that really took me aback, for a really good reason. I was speaking to what turned out to be a quite brilliant human being by the name of Stacy. We only nattered for five or ten minutes or so, even accounting for my waffletastic answers. But then she asked her final question.

“If we take this candidate on”, she said, “what in your view can we do to make sure they are happy here?”

I’ve paraphrased slightly, in part because I can’t remember the exact words. I just remember my usually entirely capable voicebox seizing up for a minute. I’ve given out lots of references over the years, most of which aren’t followed up. But even in the case of the ones that are, nobody has ever asked me a question like that. Or even something close to it.

The more I think about it, the more I think they should. Eventually, recovering my composure and winning professional demeanour, I asked Stacy about it. She seemed puzzled I was puzzled. “We went [Candidate] to be successful and happy here”, she told me. It seemed entirely natural to her to ask this question, and that thrilled me even more than being asked it.

Starting any job comes with some degree of nerves, or worry, or trepidation. I do wonder if the approach of Stacy might just offset that somewhat. Because flipping the coin, recruiting people isn’t easy, and few things cause more hassle, stress and unhappiness in a workplace than someone who’s not fitting in the right place, or isn’t suitable for the job. A simple question at the start of the process may just do something to mitigate that.

It might not of course, but nonetheless, I took Stacy through something I hope that Candidate X will find useful. I think the company in question is very lucky to have both of them. For in spite of my reference, Candidate X did indeed get the job.

Thank you, as always, for reading.