Steve’s Job Search 2012: Empathy

(Steve’s seemingly never-ending series of what he learned in his last job search continues . . .)

On your job search, you’re dealing with people.  People like you one way or another.

I’ve always emphasized empathy towards people doing recruitment, but over the last year and over my job search I began to realize how often we don’t empathize with others in our job search.  What of the people in HR?  The people doing the interviews?  The people you’re talking to that you may be working with?  The poor folks applying that annoying online test?

They could use empathy too, just like anyone else.

I found that having more empathy for everyone in the job search was good for me as a person.  It’s so easy to view the search as a kind of hunt or challenge or gauntlet, when really it’s just a bunch of people like you.  Remember that, take the time to think how they feel, to relate, to understand.  You’ll save yourself a lot of bitterness, delusion, and being a jerk.

The job search – as inhuman as it can seem sometime – is all about people.

I think this increased empathy helped me a lot in the job search.  I got more interviews.  I felt more comfortable with people – and helped them feel more comfortable.  I understood their needs and helped communicate how I could fulfill them.  I had a better sense of what was really going on for recruiters, companies, and jobs.

Also, it was more relaxing.  When you remember people are people, it’s easier to work with them.

Oh and needless to say, i felt like I was being a better person.

Not sure you can feel empathy during all the chaos?  Take a moment to put yourself in the shoes of other people and ask how you can help them.  During an interview put yourself in the interviewer’s shoes and ask what they feel and what they want.  Relate to them as people.

You’ll be surprised to find how easy it is to understand them just by taking a moment.  That moment may get you the job, save your sanity, or both.

Empathy.  It makes you a better person and helps you find a job.

– Steven Savage

Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach for professional and potentially professional geeks, fans, and otaku. He can be reached at