Being accused of Discrimination......
Quite a strong accusation which really really shook me to my core. And something I don’t brush off lightly, so when I received an email recently accusing me of this I was completely gobsmacked, then I felt defensive, and then I put myself in the shoes of the person accusing me of it. They must have felt either really desperate, sad or frustrated, maybe all three to accuse me. I took a big breath and did what most of us do…..I ‘Google’d it! And this is what I found:
1.the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex.
"victims of racial discrimination"
synonyms: prejudice, bias, bigotry, intolerance, narrow-mindedness, unfairness, inequity, favouritism, one-sidedness, partisanship; More
2. recognition and understanding of the difference between one thing and another.
"discrimination between right and wrong"
synonyms: differentiation, distinction, telling the difference
"the discrimination between right and wrong"
I then immediately called the candidate who unfortunately didn’t take my call, so I left a message apologising profusely, explaining that it was never my intention to make them feel like that, but quite simply, they didn’t have the experience that my client needed. I asked for them to call me back to discuss and they still haven’t. That was a couple of weeks ago.
So, it got me thinking, does the word “Discrimination” get used too frequently and too lightly? Because my goodness, being discriminated against is huge and the law is there to protect everybody, quite rightly so. During my career I have been treated badly professionally, experienced sexual harassment at work and also been bullied, however discriminated against, never. I take what I do seriously and spend more time than I’d like talking about age (see my previous blog about “Generation X”) so when I speak to a candidate about a job, what I really care about is a) can they do the job my client needs them to do? And b) will they fit in to the business? I do this with equal measure and I think it does sometimes make it more difficult to find that perfect candidate. Very rarely do I send over 5+ CV’s for a job, it’s usually 1 or 2. Many people underestimate the relationship I have with my clients as I do discuss candidates I have spoken to but not put forward. I don’t mention names, but I do say how many people have applied for jobs, how many I’ve rejected and a quick overview as to why. Then if they’re not receiving CV’s from me, they know I’m not sat on my backside twiddling my thumbs. They in return, tell me about candidates who have applied directly so there is total transparency if they get to an offer stage from someone who hasn’t come through me. So, when I reject a candidate for not having the right experience, when they then go to the company directly (or some would say behind my back!) and apply for the job, I find out. I will always validate my reasoning to my client and when speaking to the client I did say “I didn’t put them forward as they didn’t have the experience you need for this role, but I may have got it wrong & if you want to interview them, I will completely understand.”
What the client then decides to do, well that is their choice. I have simple processes I follow and collaborate with my clients for the best outcome and don’t waste the candidate or the clients time (or my own) where I don’t believe there to be a right fit. And I think this should be a lesson for all of us. The world we live in is scary, tough, hard and challenging. It is also brilliant, full of adventure and opportunity, however we should all look after each other a bit more. Words such as Discrimination or Bullying, words that are hugely emotive should be used in the right context so when someone actually experiences this first hand, the severity of it is not diluted and the right actions can then be taken to ensure the person experiencing it is given the full support they need.
So, returning to my example, the starting point of this blog… To accuse me of Discrimination for failure to get a candidate to interview stage with my client due to insufficient experience… I kindly ask your reconsideration and genuinely wish you every success for the future. .
Tel: 0115 972 6513