I think it is the point at which I become really confident about a candidate in an interview process and how excited they are about an opportunity. It is when the conversation with them starts to focus on culture and personality fit, future aspirations and growth. When they come away from the interview process and tell me that they feel like the interviewer "got them" - they understood what motivated them.
I finished a round of interviews with a candidate last week who told me that for them the interview process had been constructive, it had challenged them, increased their own self awareness, made them question themselves and their motivation. But, all carried out in a constructive way and with empathy. This was not an exercise in character assassination, no this was a exercise in getting below the surface, digging deep in to what drives that person and then offering valuable insights in to that.
The empathy - the ability to understand and share - comes with the feedback and open discussion about these drivers. And the power of this is in the impression it left with the candidate. Even in the interview process it has been made clear to them that the people they will work with, and report to, will proactively work to understand them.
This lays the foundation. From a position of being challenged, listened to and given feedback and insights they have a much clearer idea of the environment they will be walking in to.
The article I have shared builds on this idea, and I suppose picks up the story from the day the candidate starts. It discusses some of the ways in which leads can encourage an empathetic environment. I hope you find it as insightful as I did.
New research from Catalyst shows, “a clear path from senior leader and manager empathy to enhanced employee innovation and work engagement.” Empathetic leaders not only have more innovative, productive teams, but also are more likely to keep good employees. Thirty-three percent of women of color with less empathic senior leaders said they were thinking about leaving their organization, compared to 18 percent with highly empathic senior leaders.