Hiring Managers Versus Aretha Franklin

For those too young to know who Aretha Franklin is, she was one of the top recording artists in the 60's and 70's. One of her all time best selling records (i.e. CD, iTunes, digital recording, etc. in today's world) was a song called, “RESPECT.”

All Aretha wanted was, ” to give me just a little, just a little, R. E. S. P. E. C. T. when I come home.” (Author's comment, I think it was this song that taught most kids in the 60's how to spell “respect.”)

All most candidates want is, “to give me just a little, just a little, R. E .S. P. E.C. T. when I come in for an interview.”

Not a big request, considering it's “just a little” respect, not a lot.

Here is one simple example of, “just a little” respect.

I have asked thousands of candidates in over 25 years of recruiting, ‘How long did you wait in the lobby before the hiring manager came to greet you?” The average is between 10 and 15 minutes late. That is not respect.

Think about it for just a minute. The candidate leaves work early, drives for sometimes up to an hour, often in snow or rain, fights traffic, gets all dressed up and makes sure they arrive on-time. After all, what happens if the candidate is even a minute late? Now that is RESPECT for the hiring manager and their time.

But the hiring manager can't even walk down a clear hallway, in a perfectly air conditioned building, in casual business attire to meet the candidate on-time. This is NOT respect for all the candidate went through.

Simple question, “How long would you keep a multi-million dollar customer waiting in the lobby?” I bet they would get your respect.

Candidate's desire your respect as much as you desire theirs. If you want to hire top talent, respecting them from the first impression is absolutely critical.

Is your culture one that respects everyone? Is this respect practiced by everyone? Does everyone know, “how to” show the proper respect for anyone visiting your facilities? Does everyone treat candidates the way they want to be treated if they were the candidate? (CLICK HERE to get a free cultural assessment)

Granted, in today's market conditions, the candidates are more flexible. However, when the market changes to what it was two years ago candidates will walk out.

Respect should not be related to the economy. Consider bringing, “just a little, just a little R.E.S.P.E.C.T” to all candidates when they come in.

Retention of top talent is a critical issue for most companies. Top talent only have two choices, they either work for your company or your competitor's. (CLICK HERE if you would like a free retention check-up)


About the Author

Brad Remillard is a founding Partner of IMPACT Hiring Solutions, co-author of "You're NOT the Person I Hired", and "This is NOT the Position I Accepted". Brad is an award-winning international speaker, retained executive recruiter, and expert on hiring and retaining top talent, and executive job search.


  1. Melissa Vargas says:

    Good article…Many managers should read and heed…it would be REFRESHING to say the least.

  2. Bravo! A very important point that can’t be made too often. When unemployment rates are high, we all get lazy about this and then pay for it when the market tightens up and we lose key people.

  3. Tina Johnson says:

    GREAT article Brad!! Thanks for sharing! I can certainly relate to the music of the 60’s and the 70’s (My favorite to this day). I am going to share this article with my colleagues and friends. It will surely help remind us that in order to get R E S P E C T you certain have to give R E S P E C T. This applies in all aspects of our daily lives.

  4. After several good phone conversations and back and forth emails (resume rewordings and such) with a recruiter, he’d set up a time for us to go over some recs and just generally meet so we knew who each other were.

    20 minutes sitting in the lobby. I was retrieved by someone else. He didn’t show, they had no idea who I was or why I was there. The guy trying to cover for him sat me down, pulled up a 5 year old resume and proceeded to ask how things were going at a job I worked at in 2004.

    I thanked him for his time, explained that I understood his situation, told him to have the guy call me, and walked out.

    I never heard from them again.

    And people wonder why I have a “recruiter blacklist.”

  5. How true, I’ve declined further consideration for jobs based upon how I was treated (mistreated) during the interview process…such as telling the interviewee to step out of the room for 5 minutes and then not inviting them back in even if its just to say a proper goodbye or say when a decision will be made…in this job market it seems appropriate for some to leave their business etiquette skills behind!

  6. Great article, and I definitely agree with respect, but would say that’s a bare minimum. We try to remember that a candidate is a guest, and strive for hospitality as well. Even if you know the person is not a fit within the first five minutes, they are still a potential customer or at least the mother/father, sister/brother, daughter/son, etc of a potential customer or future candidate.

    However, the only caveat I have to put out there about your article is to be sure you ask your candidate how long they waited in the lobby AFTER the scheduled time. So many candidates show up 15-20 minutes early because they think that’s going to be valued by the hiring manager. However, in reality, the hiring manager is usually in back to back meetings, interviews etc, and they plan to meet with the candidate at the exact time of the interview. I find it very stressful to get a call from the receptionist letting me know a candidate is in the lobby waiting for me twenty minutes before I can possibly go out to greet them. Again, as we strive to treat our candidates as guests, I would encourage candidates to think of themselves as guests. While I’m not suggesting that arriving “fashionably late” would be a good plan, it would also not be appropriate to arrive for a dinner party at 6:30, if your host told you the time is 7:00pm.

  7. Tom Ransbottom says:

    I recently went on an interview that was scheduled for 9am, while waiting in the lobby for the VP, two other people showed up for interviews that were scheduled at 9:15 and 9:30. My interview did NOT start until after 9:30 and as I was walking up to the office I asked the receptionist how many people were being interview for 1 position and she advised me approximately 45. The icing on the cake was that the VP was from Japan and did not speak English. I spent approximately 5 minutes in the interview and got up and walked out.

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