Don’t Miss the Forest for the Trees

There’s a nice platitude for you, bet you’ve never heard that one before.

JK, we all know that one, it’s about being short-sighted. When all you can see is directly in front of your face, it’s difficult to gain a more global and wide-reaching perspective.

Recently at work, I experienced a small incident that caused me to think of this platitude and how it might be worth a revisit to all of us.

We had an open position where I work, and I was in charge of filling that position. I took out an ad and had a very large response, over 100 applicants. I was thrilled that so many qualified people were interested in our opening. Not having much turnover, it’s rare when a position opens up, and with today’s tight employment market, maintaining an open channel of communication with the applicants was a must.

Every applicant who emailed us directly with a resume and information first received an emailed response from us thanking him or her for their interest. The top candidates got phone calls and the best of those were invited for in person interviews. We had lots of great candidates, we chose the best one, gave her an offer, and she accepted the position. Hurrah!

Rather than leave the other qualified applicants hanging, wondering if they were still being considered for the job, we emailed a polite and respectful note that we have filled this position, and plan to keep their information on file for possible future positions.

Almost immediately, we received a response back from one of our top tier applicants. Short and sweet:

“Thanks for nothing.”

Wow, talk about short-sighted. Think I’m going to hang onto his information for future positions? You bet I will…only to make sure we remember not to invite him in for an interview!

With any new hires, sometimes they just don’t work out right away. The previous employer might make an attractive counter offer. The interview process might not have discerned some mismatched expectations. There might be a “vibe” disconnect. The person might not even show up on the first day. If any of those scenarios occurred, the first people we would contact are those who were top tier candidates.

But not this guy. Don’t be that guy.

And if you’re digging my forest analogy, listen to Rush sing about trees…

About the author

I am a third generation printer, and a second generation owner of Curry Printing. Ink (pms 185!) must run through my veins! As a "working owner," I am at Curry every day, working in and on my business. The old adage is true...if you love what you do, you'll never work a day in your life!

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