In a world where you can be anything, be kind.
That’s why Robert Half recruiters Sophie Coomer and Dan Williams went the extra mile for a stellar job candidate who found herself homeless, helping her get back on her feet and back to work.
It started out like an everyday success.
“A client at a global security company needed a billing clerk for a project,” said Williams, Accountemps division director in Bristol, UK. “We found a great candidate, but she wasn’t an exact match in terms of skill set. We had faith in her ability and encouraged the client to take a chance on her.”
The client took that advice and, as anticipated, the candidate became integral to the project within three months. “She was a fast learner and started training others who were brought in,” Williams said. “She exceeded our expectations, and the feedback about her was amazing.”
Then, without a word, she stopped showing up to work. “She just dropped off the radar,” he said. “We called and texted her numerous times but got no response. She was extremely reliable, so it didn’t make sense.”
The recruiting team resorted to calling the candidate’s emergency contact. Her mother was able to reach her and asked her to call Robert Half, said Coomer, a staffing consultant on Williams’ team.
That call to Williams and Coomer turned into an hour-long conversation and brainstorming session. “Her explanation was that she hadn’t been feeling well, but we sensed there was more to it,” Coomer said. “Dan’s a good listener, and she opened up, admitting that because of domestic violence, she was homeless and living out of her car.”
After the call, Coomer researched nearby homeless shelters and found her temporary accommodations. “At that point, she had been sleeping in her car for about two weeks,” Coomer said. “When she finally had a roof overhead, she began to feel confident about going back to work.”
The client agreed to keep the job open until the candidate got back on her feet. “This client was very sympathetic and graciously dealt with the extra workload in the interim,” Williams said.
Coomer came up with the idea of putting together a “welcome back” package for the candidate. “We gathered some essentials and luxury items,” Coomer said. “It was a nice way to celebrate her return to work.”
In his eight years with Robert Half, Williams says he has never had a candidate who became homeless. “It was a shocking discovery, and my first thought was, ‘How can we rectify this?’ She was sleeping in her car. The nights were cold, and she was depressed. This story could easily have ended tragically.”
Coomer added, “If any candidate stopped showing up without telling us, we wouldn’t just assume they were irresponsible. We would go to the same lengths for them.”
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