Yesterday evening, catching up with my wonderful friend Glenn Martin, I shared that I was meant to publish this newsletter but felt I had nothing to say. That I feel like all recruiters seem to care about is using AI (in the wrong places) and not the human experience, and frankly, I am unsure if my words even sink in.
Then I received the heartbreaking news that Robert had died. 💔
Rob has been my trainer twice a week for just 4 months, and yet I cannot stop crying. He parked his footprints on my heart. His love for his family was palpable, and he spoke highly of them all; my heart goes out to them all.
(Though this article may seem off-topic, humour me. He was a wonderful teacher, and I am sure he won’t mind me sharing this.)
In that short space of time, Rob reminded me of the strength and power I had before perimenopause ravaged my body. He flexed swiftly, pushed me perfectly and allowed me to show up exactly as I am.
During sessions, we discussed my writing of The Damage of Words: A Memoir of Healing Self-Hate and Gaining Self-Mastery. Hearing my excitement about writing reawakened his desire to write his book about fitness through each decade. As a 60-year-old, prostate cancer survivor, with over 45 years of experience in boxing and martial arts, it would have been epic.
Overnight, I’ve been kindly probing the depth of my sadness. Why am I feeling such loss for someone I have known for 4 months?
Suddenly I realised, Rob was the first person to see and accept me without masks.
Because I have spiritual gifts I’ve masked for years. Interestingly, it was my gorgeous friend Clair Bush calling me cautious, that first made me aware. It’s not surprising I mask, plenty of people don’t believe in the unseen or anything that cannot be proven by science, but masking is exhausting.
With Rob, I decided to be myself. It created this experience I quote from my memoir. “With Clair’s word ‘cautious’ in mind, I decided to be open with my new personal trainer and not hide my gifts. In a session, Rob mentioned his father; immediately, I felt his presence in the most glorious yellow. I randomly asked Rob what was special about daffodils, but it didn’t resonate. In the next session, I connected them to Marie Curie, and a lightbulb went off. Rob shared that his brother raised money for the charity and even ran a marathon dressed as a daffodil!”
Without judgment or doubt, Rob received what I said, though we were both surprised! His wonderful acceptance of me created a quick and easy bond, and we went on to discuss many more experiences of signs and synchronicity.
He left his footprints on my heart.
So why do I share any of this with my recruiter readers?
1. Because it got me thinking about who I may have impacted in a short period of time. Who would feel sad at my passing, even though they’d barely spent time with me? It drew me to two distinct experiences as a recruiter:
- Martin – who, in perhaps 3 hours of my time, his entire career trajectory changed, and who thanks me for it still.
- Niall – who probably in the same space of time, I persuaded a client to hire, which ended a gap that few (more fool them) were looking past. He also appreciates it still.
2. Because I see too many recruiters and talent acquisition pros wearing the masks of people-pleasing and perfectionism to hide self-worth issues, which will only lead to burnout. And if I can heal self-loathing, I believe anyone can. Masks are not sustainable. exhausting to uphold, and stop people from loving all of you.
3. Because in a really short amount of time, we – the people who hire people for other people – have an enormous impact on people’s lives and livelihoods. Though you may think it’s only the ones we interact with, it is also the people behind the application; people with hopes and dreams of working for your company or client.
4. Because closure matters! Rob’s death has reminded me how fragile life is, and I cannot believe that I won’t laugh with him again, which makes my heart ache for his family’s loss and grief. But thank goodness we have closure.
Please stop making excuses for treating people in your hiring process poorly because you’re too busy, too overloaded, or too something, to get back to people. Appreciate that you are one of the lucky ones in a job, and every single applicant or candidate deserves closure. They may be sad to hear it, but it is better than leaving 87% of candidates down or depressed.
The 2020s have been horrendous for recruiters and TA pros; hired and fired when in many cases, it should have been the CEOs or workforce planners losing their seats. But where the experience could have created empathy and kindness from those who have seen shite recruitment processes firsthand, I see too much evidence that it has not. So if anyone thinks their company could do better and needs help making that a reality in 2024, get in touch.
Not this week, though.
I’m going to give myself some time to feel the feels 💔 and appreciate my beautiful inner circle. 💛✨