Pre-pandemic interviews were tough enough—now, parents going through the process have to do so via Zoom with rascals at their feet, trying to remain focused and professional. Luckily, one HR VP’s story will give you a little bit of hope for the job search.
Carlie Bush, the VP of HR service delivery at Global Medical Response in Greenwood Village, Colorado, was interviewing a mom of a toddler who was supposed to be napping. The tot was fussing and asking for her mom, but the interviewee tried to ignore her to focus on Carlie. After a few minutes, Carlie told her it was OK to tend to the child, and she sensed instant relief from the mom.
“I proceeded to ask about the baby and even got to see her on camera. She was beautiful and just wanted to be up where the action was,” Carlie wrote on LinkedIn. “I told her I was happy to continue with the little one on her lap, and so that is what we did!”
The rest of the interview went well, and Carlie noted it was important to show this empathy for parent interviewees, though it had been a while since she herself had had small children. “I just felt like sharing this and reminding fellow leaders how important it is to recognize the struggles people are facing and do what we can to be understanding and accommodating. Small kindnesses make a world of difference to others!”
Carlie’s story shows how much working parents are struggling to hide amidst the pandemic. If there’s anything the past few months have taught us, it’s that working parents are great at pretending—pretending we’re focused on the task at hand, pretending our kids aren’t goofing off in the background of our shot—pretending everything is OK in our world.
It’s understanding hiring managers like Carlie that will make all the difference for working parents during this crisis. With surveys showing anywhere from a quarter to a third of parents are going to leave their jobs due to school closures this fall, keeping parents in the workforce is going to be up to flexible employers and hiring managers. If they don’t understand that this is working parents’ new reality, we’re going to see a ripple effect through the entire economy. So please, show some empathy—it’s the least you can do.