Sometimes it feels like the standards by which we live our lives are shifting. Not so long ago, it would have been considered rude not to reply to someone’s email; they took the time to write to you after all. We assume that everyone understands that we are busy, and that they probably ignore the same amount of stuff that we do. Somehow being complicit together in this collective neglect makes it easier to participate.
It sadly seems than common courtesy isn’t so common after all.
With the rapid rise of technology, our interactions are becoming ever briefer and transactional. For a society of robots, this is ideal, but for living and breathing people, feeling that someone doesn’t have two seconds to acknowledge you doesn’t always feel great. I wish that we could see the humans behind the screens, but the barrier that technology erects is easy to hide behind.
For anyone in a service industry, this should be something at the top of their priority list – how can we remain ‘present’ and ‘courteous’ for our customers and clients? In an industry like recruitment, the ‘Computer says No’ mentality is reducing the hopes and dreams of another human to a few keywords and an automated rejection letter.
I prefer to choose another approach.
At Main-Board Executive Search, we believe that common courtesy should be a mainstay of our communications. We chose not to work at the volume end of the market, but even if we did, we would make every effort not to get sucked in to the ‘fire and forget’ communications strategy. Gratitude and mutual respect are the cement in any worthwhile relationship, and if you cannot find the time for courtesy, then your working life will be all the poorer for it.
Courtesy is most effective when you don’t need to give it. It is common that an executive might phone us for a chat about the market, and we always do our best to listen and help as much as we can, even if we don’t have an active role for them. Reciprocally, these people are happy to take our calls if we need their help in referring a suitable person for a role. Head-hunters aren’t always the easiest people to get to know if you are not involved in a search process with them, but it is my firm belief that we are not just there for our self-interest.
Being a courteous head-hunter means being there for everyone.
Giving people your time and attention isn’t always possible, but I believe that we have a duty to each other to try our best.