Last year, Mike Julianelle, who writes on the blog Dad and Buried, made an observation in a post that went viral: "Every once in a while, there'll be a story in the news about a mom who left her kid at the park while she ran to a job interview, or a dad who slept on a McDonald's bench during his shift. They usually get vilified." Not only are parents who bring their kids to job interviews subject to public criticism, but they might also be facing a hiring manager who simply doesn't get it.
A CEO from San Francisco is hoping to change that. Monique Arrington—president of Arrington Case by Case, a boutique staffing and coaching business, and CEO and founder of the Candy Connection, a sweets company—recently shared her thoughts on the subject in a moving LinkedIn post:
"I hired someone who brought two kids to a interview once. I was interviewing a candidate for a security officer role. She came in my office with two kids. One child was in a stroller and another one on her hip. She told me she had no one to watch the kids so she had to bring them. Instead of me judging her situation, I told her I understood and started to interview her. It always amazes me what recruiters learn in interviews. I learned she was a single mom who was living in her car. I learned she was struggling to find work because she had no one to watch her kids. I also learned that she stayed in her last role for three years and was promoted in those three years each year. She was hardworking, articulate, and had a passion for security. I hired her on the spot. She cried, hugged me, and I took her out to lunch. I showed her all of the resources she could use for low income daycare and family shelters that helped with transitional housing. All she needed was a push in the right direction in order for her to thrive. She became a security supervisor in three months and was [one] of our best workers. She put her kids in income based daycare and moved into a family shelter. Sometimes we need to see past people's situations and see their potential. #hirebetter"
Illustration by Parents staff; Getty Images (1)
Commenters applauded Arrington's move. "Thank you for being an understanding and empathetic human and not judging your candidate in that moment!" wrote Jenna DeDominici. "I can only imagine that she felt compelled to do her best in her job knowing she had the support of her employers behind her."
A career specialist named Darron M. Collins-Bey shared, "Initial presentation does not always exemplify qualifications. Sometimes you have to forget the box to see what’s inside of it."
And a commenter named La' Toya P wrote, "Omg you are one of the few! I just wanna hug you! I've been that woman and have never been given the opportunity to build from that situation."
Arrington's important message resonated with so many people that her post currently boasts over 900 comments and over 17K reactions.
Given the multitude of challenges and uphill battles parents face in our society and economy—not to mention the gasp-worthy cost of child care—Arrington's plea is especially timely. We always say it takes a village to raise a child. Usually, that village brings to mind loved ones, neighbors, health care providers, etc. But bosses are included too. And the more they can follow Arrington's example, the better for us all.