Telling and Hearing Bad News is as Important as Good News

The other day I had to make a choice on a piece of communication.  I’ve written about the job of hiring someone and changing their life.  I had to deliver the news that a candidate was not going to receive an offer from our company.  I had several options in front of me; I could have our recruiting department contact them, I could send an email or I could make a call.  Technically there was a fourth; I could have ignored the whole thing and done nothing.  For me the fourth choice was not an option.

These candidates had interviewed for a total of around 10 hours in person and over the phone.  We had been in a courtship that had gone on for several months.  Each candidate had been courteous and timely with all their contact with us.  I tried to put myself in their shoes and I trusted that they would want to hear bad news for the sake of closure.  I felt I owed them the courage and the courtesy of an in person phone call.

I planned on sharing that I had bad news to share but I was glad we would connect.  I intended to tell them why we chose the candidate we did at a high level but to not draw out why we did not choose them as our hire.  I was however prepared at a high level to talk about what we didn’t find in them that we felt was essential for the position.  I even went so far as to prepared for how to end a call that ended up off the emotional deep end.  I didn’t spend too much time on that area though.

I had two calls to make to two individuals who I know had a great deal of hope.  Each of my calls went well, they were pleasant conversations with individuals who I felt a true connection with and with whom I spoke candidly and honestly.  I felt from their responses that my courage was appreciated.  One candidate was surprised I took the time to contact him and I felt sad about that expectation and even more convicted in my decision to make the calls.

Getting a new job and not being selected are both events that change a life.  As great as one is the other is the yang to that yin.  As the one responsible for one action I couldn’t help but ignore my responsibility to the other less pleasant option.  I hope that if I ever have a chance to work with either of these individuals in the future that my karma will come back to me positively.  I know I learned something about myself as well as about their character on the calls.

Take care and value there is a reason for every outcome that will eventually present itself if you look and listen for it.  Keep Calm and Carry On.