What Can HR Learn from the Life of Robin Williams?


Since the announcement of Williams’ untimely death, news and social media have been flooded with accounts of the kindness he exhibited over his lifetime. Robin’s willingness to go to bat for everyone -from his closest old friends, young co-stars, US troops, the homeless and random strangers he encountered – stands out in stark relief to today’s self-centered, narcissistic, celebrity pop-culture and anonymous online “social” interactions.

Living in the Bay Area, there have been countless stories of his down-to-earth accessibility to everyone from shop owners to car valets. Robin was willing to use his comedy, Patch Adams style, to put a smile on the faces of those around him, especially those who were in pain. While his body of work was genius, Robin Williams’ kind deeds and humanity will be as large a part of why he will remain one of the most
beloved and revered actors of all time.

So… how does Williams’ example provide a model for those in the Human Resources field?

As with many other business processes, recruitment has predominantly moved online. It is understandable that hiring managers, often inundated with floods of resumes, disregard common courtesies and niceties during the interview process. Candidates who go through rounds of phone and onsite interviews are routinely not called back or emailed when they are rejected from a job opportunity. Now, I am sure this is not you but…

A staggering 92% of candidates never hear back from interviewers.

Even a teenage break-up usually includes a text message. This kind of rudeness is shortsighted on several fronts:

1. Candidates might not be the right fit for this position, but they could be ideal for others
2. Candidates might not be the right fit but they can be ideal referrals for better fit candidates
3. Candidates may be customers who you risking alienating
4. Your HR process is a representation of your brand and rudeness diminishes your brand equity
5. Karma- it is best to be remembered as Robin Williams always will be for being polite and kind to
strangers to build up the asset of good will over the long term. You never know when you will be
on the other side of the fence!

Let’s start putting the “human” back into Human Resources with a simple closure email. Please contact
Randi at Accolo to learn how we can help.


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