Today, I interviewed someone for a job as a conveyancer. He was perfect for the role. Well qualified, a good communicator, conscientious – yes, he had it all. Except this – he was working for a tiny competitor. If he came to work for us it would have done significant and possibly lasting damage to our competitor.
You might be thinking “So what!? That’s the competitor’s problem. Your job is to do what’s right for your business”. If that’s the case, I hear where you’re coming from. Having known where this guy worked before the interview that course of action was very much on my radar.
I could’ve sold him on the career prospects that he’d have working with us that he probably wouldn’t have where he was working. But I didn’t.
Instead I told him to go and talk to his boss. I told him to tell his boss where he wanted to take his career and how he wanted to develop as a person.
Two things happened.
First, the applicant seemed visibly relieved. You see he’d started his career with his current employer. He had a great relationship with his boss for whom he felt a deep sense of loyalty. Joining us would’ve damaged that relationship, probably permanently. Now, the pressure was off.
The other was that I sensed a feeling of deep satisfaction and pride for the stance I’d taken. Despite that I need what he had to offer I’d done the right thing by him and his boss.
My hope is that he’ll now go back to his boss and have that honest conversation. I hope that it will lead the boss to think about how their business can be bigger by supporting his employee to grow as a person.
But those are just hopes over which I have no control. What I know, though, is that I’ll always be able to look both him and his boss in the eye and know that I did the right thing by both of them. More than that, I know that I’ve acted in accord with my own values. Of that I’m proud.