Wife Swap

I’ve been watching the show “Wife Swap” (there is also a US version) I really enjoy it because it looks at behaviour change. The idea is that two wives from very different families (in terms of values, beliefs and behaviour) swap homes for two weeks. The first week, the wife lives by the host family rules and the second week, the host family experience the wife’s rules.

Once you get past the tantrums, tirades and general trauma (it is reality TV after all) there are some very interesting messages in there. The outcome seems to be an epiphany on the part of each wife as they realise that there are aspects in their own lives that they could change. The experience of living with another family turns out to be an opportunity to hold the mirror up to themselves and their own behaviour.
Once back at their own home they generally introduce some change to their lives. So, the mother who was not spending a lot of time with her children decides to make some changes so that more time can be spent with the family. On the other side, the mother that was at home full time may investigate a part time job as a way to regain her life. In this way, the changes are based on the experiences from the swap.

I’ve decided that this idea can be applied to my own recent job hunting experience. I’m proposing a “Job Swap” where the applicant and the internal or external recruitment consultant swap roles to gain some insight into each other’s experiences.

Here is what I imagine the discoveries would be…

The recruitment consultant (who has spent time as the applicant)

1. Being an applicant is hard work!
2. Applicants are human beings and need to be treated with respect
3. Never lie to an applicant and never promise what you can’t deliver
4. Communicate constantly throughout the recruitment process
5. Offer jobs with enthusiasm, not concern
6. Never leave a phone message advising an applicant that they have been unsuccessful at interview
7. Take the time to provide meaningful feedback to the applicant

The applicant (who has spent time as the recruitment consultant)

1. Being a recruitment consultant is hard work!
2. It’s easy to forget that applicants are human beings rather than bodies to plug into roles
3. I’m often unsure of the length of the process – it’s easier to make promises and keep applicants happy even if we know we can’t deliver
4. We have several application processes at once and it is hard to keep track of them all
5. Just because I’m in recruitment doesn’t mean I am an expert at the people side of the process
6. It’s hard to let someone down and easier to leave a phone message
7. Once a recruitment process is complete, I’m ready to move onto the next one

It sounds a bit like the “War On People Versus Process” doesn’t it?

Here’s the thing, maybe you do need to swap homes and wives to see how other people live but you don’t need to swap jobs to understand what is important. If you follow three simple clues below when dealing with people in any business context you will always come out on top.

-treat people with respect and apply basic good manners to all interactions
-apply common sense to all your dealings
-never, ever let a process become more important that the people involved

Forget about swapping jobs – measure yourself against the clues.

How did you score?

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