I may be two years late, but I finally got around to watching The Help. For those who haven’t seen the 2011 award-winning film, it’s based on Kathryn Stockett’s novel by the same name. The Help takes viewers on the journey through a young journalist’s quest to write a book from the perspective of the maids, or the help. Set in the early 1960s, the film attempts to expose the racism faced by African American maids as they dedicate their careers to working for white families.
Now before I begin, it is important to note that this blog is not an attempt to undermine the role of race and racism in The Help. Rather, it is merely to provide an alternate look at one of the many messages viewers can take away from the film.
At the beginning of the film, viewers are given a look at the life of the help. We see that while the title of maid is assigned, their duties include so much more than that – cleaning, ensuring everything is in working order, caring for the family’s children, and catering to any request of their supervisors. We also learn early on that it is normal for these women to work for the same family for +20 years.
I’ll admit I haven’t seen the entire film yet (we’re finishing it in class next week). And much to my professor’s dismay, I couldn’t help but find myself finding myself thinking about the hiring lessons even within the first hour of the film. Perhaps the most notable was when Emma Stone’s character was reminiscing about her family’s former maid. While her firing is part of the plot line (which I won’t ruin for you), I think these women’s tenure is a testament to their dedication and love for the family.
You may be thinking, I’m hiring a technician or a sales person, this doesn’t have any relevance to my company, but keep reading. The Help is about employees who have dedicated their lives to their employer. They look upon their boss’s children as their own, and take care of the home just as they would if it were theirs. Wouldn’t it be nice to hire an employee who had that level of respect for your company and whom you know you could fully trust? Of course you can’t expect someone to work six days a week, especially for such meager wages as seen in the film, but it is certainly possible to find candidates willing to go above and beyond, just for the sake of the well-being of the company.
There are a few ways you can go about interviewing and hiring dedicated, trustworthy candidates. First, make sure your job description includes verbiage that suggests you’re seeking a candidate who embraces the above traits. For instance, we’re looking for a motivated, skilled individual who is willing to travel up to 50 percent of the time, and occasionally work late and/or weekends. Next, post the description to job boards relevant to the position and industry. For example, if you’re hiring a full-time, hourly truck driver, Snagajob.com is a great site to source candidates. When you do start to interview candidates, make sure to emphasize the importance of their willingness to fully apply themselves to the position. Once you’ve narrowed it down to the final few candidates, conduct a reference check. Their references will be able to either attest or dispute their claims that they are the type of person who is willing to occasionally go beyond the calls of the position.
Just imagine being able to go on vacation and not having to worry about your company. By hiring trustworthy and dedicated employees, you’ll be well on your way to entrusting them with your company’s wellbeing.