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The Importance of the Earthworm

Last weekend, doing my part as an avid recycler and composter in Seattle, I held my breath, opened my compost bin, and dumped the buffet of organic food remains into the void of the black, plastic container. Where I find the composting process fascinating - the heat, the magical transformation, the circle of life and the nutrient rich soil it creates for my small crop of plants on my small city lot, I find it equally disgusting, overrun with all sorts of creatures – spiders, rodents at times, and always, earthworms.

For me, worms conjure up images of filth, slime, backboneless vertebrates crawling around in their own goo. They take over my compost bin like an army of intestines, the rejects of the animal kingdom. They are a nuisance – and, they are important.

Everyone and every living thing play an important role in our ecosystem. Even the smallest of creatures can be the crucial link in our ability to grow crops, drink clean water, or simply stay alive. In the ecosystem of corporate culture, we all play important roles as well.

This week, I’ve had two coaching opportunities with candidates interviewing for positions through my company.

First Scenario :

A candidate I was interviewing for a test role. After 20 minutes on the phone, I decided he was my top candidate. His answers were concise, and well thought out, he was assertive without being aggressive. Towards the end of the call, I asked him when he would be available for an in-person interview. At that point, he began to tell me he preferred not to interview in person, that if the role was only contract, it shouldn’t require an in-person interview. I stopped him, and asked if I could offer him some feedback. I told him I loved everything he said in our conversation up to that point. I told him I would have stacked him as my #1 candidate, and tell the manager so, and that it would likely result in him getting the job as I was often asked for hiring recommendations from this particular company. I told him he had me – up until that last part. It was a major flag to me, and came across as impolite, uninterested, and inflexible. I didn’t sugarcoat it. I was curious to see what his explanation and reaction would be. Understandably, he had worked with several recruiters in the past, who would throw his resume against the wall, see if it stuck, and send him to interview for companies where he wasn’t a fit, just to see if it might work out. It was taking time away from his current job, and his boss was starting to notice. There were two things wrong with the candidate’s approach.

1.) He should have been honest and diplomatic, saying he was available for an in-person, but would prefer a phone screen first to be sure no one’s time was wasted.

2.) He disregarded me as an “interviewer” or “decision maker” and didn’t consider that a recruiter could have a seat at the table when it came to hiring.

Second Scenario:

A candidate had a final interview with the team. She was impolite to the receptionist when they couldn’t locate the hiring manager upon arrival. It demonstrated arrogance, rudeness, and inflexibility. The only feedback the manager provided me with, was “She interviewed great, but she was rude to our receptionist, so that’s a no.”

It’s not uncommon for hiring teams to ask the greeter, or receptionist, or recruiter what they think, and this can be the boost you need, or the nail in your coffin.

Everyone plays a role in a functioning ecosystem. Earthworms are responsible for mixing soil layers and incorporating organic matter into soil. They have been referred to as “natures ploughs.” Without them, our soil would be void of nutrients, forests wouldn’t regenerate, and dead matter would accumulate.

Understanding the importance of every living thing is key to any successful ecosystem.

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