Empathy: The Only Way to Win with Candidates and Employees

A conversation with Nate Smith, Found and CEO at Lever.

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About the episode

Interviewing isn’t The Hunger Games. The goal of interviewing is to hire, says this week’s guest Nate Smith. And yes, he agrees it’s somewhat ridiculous to point this out, but he believes he has to. The Founder and CEO of Lever says too many hiring managers, especially in tech, interview as though they were proctoring an exam. Too often, people look hard for evidence of how a candidate *won’t* fit, verus how they will. 

Empathy is the better way. At best, an interview is uncomfortable, says Nate, whose company does all it can to make the process feel more natural. Candidates can use keyboards, editors and languages with which they’re familiar. They can search Google.

That replicates how a candidate would go about their tasks at work. Nate asks, rhetorically: Don’t you want to know how a candidate will perform in your actual work setting?

“Look for every example, every bit of evidence, that this person would be amazing on the team,” says Nate. “And when you find that amazing person, it’s really important that, during the interview process, they’ve been falling in love with your company.”

By the time you extend the offer, then, they’ve already decided: Yes.

At Lever, empathy isn’t just a must for hiring. It pervades every part of the company’s culture. Listen in to find out empathy fosters trust, deepens relationships and attracts and retains exceptional talent.

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