Why should kindness be part of your hiring process?

opinion expressed by entrepreneur Contributors are yours.

Life is in constant flux. As people, we crave stability and certainty, and carefully draw road maps for the future – yet the universe has a way of throwing curveballs and circumventing our plans. For most of us, this uncertainty can be a major cause of stress and exhaustion and can have a negative impact on our mental health. It has never been more widely experienced in the last two and a half years as the COVID-19 pandemic ravaged the world and led to worldwide lockdowns, economic slowdown, family separation and tragic loss of life for many.

across Canada and the United States, approximately 1 person out of 5 will personally experience a mental health problem, and by the age of 40, approximately 50% of North Americans will have a mental illness. Environmental factors, such as meaningful employment, leisure activities, access to nature and community support, play an important role in our mental health, and many of these factors got out of the way during the pandemic.

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The impact of the pandemic on employment and mental health

While the recent Kovid-19 pandemic has affected all of us statistics has proved that the branches of the pandemic are more strongly felt by under-represented groups such as immigrants, indigenous peoples and poor socio-economic groups. The pandemic disproportionately affected these minority groups, as seen through mental health and employment opportunities.

Take immigrants for example. When they are looking for a job, many of them struggle through interviews because they often lack language or local culture knowledge. The pandemic introduced new variables to the process, including online interviews, lack of in-person connections, lost networking opportunities, and decreased in-person interactions. Changes to basic human interaction rules removed some of the constants that many job seekers had in the past. Each of these obstacles adds to their life experience and can potentially result in mental health problems.

The pandemic also disproportionately affected marginalized groups who are living at or below the poverty line. Many members of these groups have jobs in manual labor, many of whom were cut during the pandemic. And for those who switched to remote work, some didn’t have access to the technology needed to continue working effectively.

As the founder of ComIT, a non-profit charitable organization that provides free technical training to underrepresented minorities, I have over the years discussed the importance of providing marginalized groups with the first chance to start or resume their careers. talked about. I have seen their challenges and experienced some of them for the first time when I came to Canada from Argentina in 2015. I have become passionate about educating underrepresented groups and connecting them with organizations where they can grow and thrive.

Even before the pandemic, it was proven that systemic inequalities such as racism, poverty, discrimination and colonial violence can worsen mental health and symptoms of mental illness, especially if mental health support is difficult to access. During pandemics, these effects have been felt more strongly.

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What can we do to help?

I personally believe that one way to deal with the uncertainty of the world is to lighten everything up a bit. When we conduct interviews or meet with potential employees, it helps to remind ourselves to be mindful and respectful of interviewees. Understanding when an applicant is going through a stressful job search on top of their daily struggles can help us connect more with that person, which will also give us an edge in understanding whether they are a good fit for our team. Will be

Always remember that if an applicant has the technical skills you need and the ability and willingness to learn more, they can be good people on your team. Therefore, it is up to us to use our empathy and mindfulness to find the true gems that lie behind the issues many of us have. Sometimes it’s up to us to extend a helping hand.

Taking this stand can mean trying to get through our busy days to remember that everyone is trying their best and trying to bring empathy into every conversation. If we are looking for employees who will be a part of our team for a long time, emphasizing kindness is the first step in making that a reality. If we think of those around us as part of a community and emphasize kindness, we can help improve the post-pandemic world.