OVAL Blog 5: Commuting…

“It’s vital to understand where you may have gaps in your knowledge or experience and to surround yourself with a team that complements that.”

Dennis Muilenburg, CEO Boeing



The candidate was super motivated: his resume had led to a quick phone call from the client about whether they could speak to this candidate in the short term. And it doesn’t happen that fast at this company. So interest has undoubtedly been aroused. Logical, because his resume not only fits well with the vacancy, this candidate would also fit well within the team in terms of personality. He was at an essential point in his career, and he could turn left or right. This new challenge would be the turn to the right, the one that he most aspires to.

We had contact with him just before his interview took place. He set off with enthusiasm, determination and a healthy dose of self-confidence. Because a good friend of his worked at the same organisation, he had received “inside” information that had only made him more enthusiastic. Nothing could go wrong here. He had already sorted out on the right, and all he had to do was hold this conversation. “Cat in the cup,” he said.

The same afternoon we received the rejection from the HR manager via email: “We don’t think he was sitting at the table with the right intentions …”

Huh? Not much later, we had the candidate on the phone: “How did it go?”
“I don’t know very well, because the whole conversation was just about my commute …”
“Huh? Commuting? Tell!”
“At the start of the conversation, they asked me why I found the job so exciting. I have indicated that I find it a great challenge that the company faces, that I am familiar with the company’s products and that I am good at negotiating – what is needed for this position – and that I see excellent opportunities for the department to help because I understand where the pressure is. ”
“Nothing crazy about it, right?”
“No, I think so. And I said – as a joke – that it is also closer to home than where I now work. But I shouldn’t have said this, because then the whole conversation was only about commuting: Why I said that; why that was so important to me; whereas it is precisely such comments that are being taken seriously; what my objections are to travel ‘a lot’; what I would think if I also had to go abroad; whether I realized that the position was more than just commuter traffic; and so the HR manager went on until almost the time was up. ”
“But didn’t you try to move the conversation in a different direction?”
“Certainly, but he always came back to work! And that while it is only a difference of 10 kilometres and 8 minutes of travel time. Negligible so! ”

What a shame that commuting is being used as the reason for rejecting a candidate. So not everyone sees “the bigger picture”. There’s work to be done!

PS – the candidate has still turned right, but at another company that has looked at its qualities instead of its travel distance. The distance between home and work is just a bit bigger, but what does he feel like it! That way, every company gets the candidates it deserves. And vice versa.

Not everything is possible on LinkedIn. That is why this blog has been adjusted here and there because it’s all about the essence.