Sourcing in Unexpected Places: Conversation With An Uber & Lyft Driver

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Jun 17, 2016
This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.

In May of 2016, I was fortunate enough to attend a #RecruitDC event in Washington DC. I had some very interesting experiences using Uber and Lyft. I had used Uber many times while traveling. This was my first time using Lyft. In the morning, I took the Marc train from Baltimore’s Penn Station to DC’s Union Station. As soon as I got off the train, I plugged in my details to the Uber app. My driver arrived within five minutes to get me and take me to George Washington University where #RecruitDC was being held.

My driver was warm and friendly. I proceeded to have a conversation with him. He asked me what I was doing in town. I told him I was attending a recruiting conference. He proceeded to tell me he was a Data Scientist and was looking for a better job. He was working part time with Uber to earn some extra income to give his family a better life. I asked him about his preferences (salary, location, type of job). I had been very silly, accidentally forgetting my business cards when I left home.  I didn’t have a card to give him so I wrote my email address on a piece of paper. I told him that if I didn’t have a job for him, I would find him one with another recruiter. I told him that we all know each other,

Within five minutes of leaving his car, I had his resumes on my iPad. I forwarded his resume to my business partner who was covering me while I was attending the conference. My business partner found him a job within our requirements. We spoke to him and got him submitted to our client. Our client is currently considering him for a role. I will continue to keep in touch with him and get him interviews until he finds the right fit.

At the end of the conference, I tried the Uber app and it was showing that there was a huge surcharge to use the app for a ride. I decided to download Lyft. I ordered the Lyft but my driver didn’t know DC and got lost trying to find me. It took her 20 minutes to find me. It was very hot outside and I was uncomfortable. She apologized, mentioning that this was her first time driving for Lyft and her first time driving in DC. She remarked that she was visiting her parents in Silver Spring, Maryland and decided to use the app to earn extra money for her nursing school tuition

I asked her about her anticipated graduation date. She told me that she had one more semester and would graduate in December. I gave her my contact information and told her to keep in touch. We primarily recruit technology candidates, however, lately we have received some medical roles and even nursing positions from new clients. I would be able to help her find a nursing job and I know a lot of recruiters who specialize in nurses.

Let’s take a step forward and examine why it is important to be seen as approachable and open as a recruiter. For a lot of companies, Talent Acquisition is a part of the HR department.  For other companies, it is a separate entity. HR departments are perceived as cold and not very friendly to work with. The Talent Acquisition department is not always viewed as partners with hiring managers and candidates. Third party recruiters have bad reputations in the market because a lot of them don’t take the time to make the candidate experience pleasant.

Take a moment to think about how recruiters can evolve from these negative perceptions. There is a lot that can be done differently. It is always going to be a work in progress. It will never be perfect. The first step is examining how approachable recruiters are with our candidates. Are we responsive to their questions and do we do our best to keep in touch with them? Do the people you are serving feel comfortable working with you?

Once, we are able to answer these questions, we can come up with improvements on our attitudes and processes. These questions revolve around the human competent and relationship building aspect of talent acquisition. We are so focused on the latest tools and automating our processes that we are slowly losing the human touch.

For example, you have presented a really great candidate that they had several interviews with your company and they were not selected. Most recruiters would have the ATS send the candidate an automated email letting them know they weren’t selected. It takes a few seconds to pick up the phone and let the candidate know that the company is going in another direction. A little extra care in the way we handle our candidates can go a long way in the terms of candidate experience. Bad Experiences tend to end up on Glassdoor and CareerBliss while good experience leads to the company being recommended to friends.

The message is clear in order to survive and evolve we have to be open. Never be afraid to talk to anyone. Never think of yourself as above anyone and never be afraid to help someone. Often we forget that there is a people element to recruiting. We have to have empathy for our fellow human beings and treat people well. You have to care about the people you are recruiting into your organization. There is a saying that you never know if you will be in the company of an angel or someone extremely important. You never know where your next candidate will be coming from. Make yourself referable.



Image credit:  Alexey Boldin /

This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.