I know that a lot of people say – including me – that they don’t care what other people think of them. So what? Who cares? I”ll do what I want! Right? Is that you? But deep down, we all look for acceptance. Who doesn’t like being liked?

So, it’s always a little bit of a slap in the face when you hear that someone might not like you or that they think you do a crap job. Which is where I’m at right now. Kind of. A colleague shared with me recently that she had heard others talking about me and from that, she heard something to the effect of me being a little confusing – and maybe off putting as a result – because during the recruiting and interviewing process to join our company, I am like your BFF. You feel like you have a burgeoning relationship with me. We get to know each other pretty well. And then once you’re in the door and have been hired… it’s like crickets. The phone doesn’t ring anymore. Wham, bam, thank you ma’am.

Not that I become an ice queen toward anyone once they are in the door and hired. But the level of engagement I have with candidates is drastically different from what I have with an individual who goes from being candidate to an employee. This is true.

So my instant reaction to that “feedback”? It was a little bit of bewilderment. It’s not as if I hire folks and then become a complete stranger. And it’s not as if I ignore them outright and don’t speak to them ever again. And it’s not as if I’m even cold toward them once they join our company. I just cannot conceivably spend as much time and put as much into building a relationship with them once they become an employee.

And truth be told told, my immediate reaction was also that… it’s simply not my job to continue to be your BFF after you get hired. It is my job during the recruiting process to build a relationship with you, and woo you. I want you to get a feel for all the great reasons I think you should play casino online want to work with us – and all the great reasons I love where I work. So yes, I am in sell mode. I figuratively am batting my lashes at you and rolling out the red carpet. And in the process of selling, we will become friendly. It’s effective. And besides being effective, I also want to build some kind of relationship with you. I actually really like the people I recruit. I find the work you do to be interesting. I appreciate the smarts you bring to the table. And the kind of folks who are great fits for us culturally are likely the kind of people I’d actually be really happy to be friends with and grab a drink with.

If it weren’t for the fact that I’m an HR gal at the end of the day. And so the reality is that I can’t be your friend, like real friend. And while we can probably grab drinks together, we’ll likely never be the kind of friend I’m friends with outside of work. There’s that HR cone of silence that will never go away.

But immediate reactions aside, and aside from the fact I like to think that I really don’t care what people think about me, the feedback has still nagged at me for a few days now. I don’t love that there would be any kind of negative perception of me in my workplace. And I hate that it makes me feel like my job is so transactional. Recruit, hire, move on. Recruit, hire, move on. So how does a gal go about fixing a situation like this?

Putting myself out there more is part of it. I’m guilty of not being as present as I could be when it comes to office gatherings, after work outings and the like. And maybe I don’t stop as often as I could to have a conversation beyond just saying hello and asking how someone is doing. So I might start there. But if you were in my shoes, what would you do?

FOT Background Check

Jessica Lee
Jessica Lee is a VP of TA at Marriott International where she leads a team that enables the company to think big, broad and boldly about all things talent acquisition and in effect, keeps them relevant and ahead of the curve in how they attract and acquire top talent. Don't be fooled by that fancy pants title and description though, she's still an everyday HR gal in the trenches at the core. SPHR certified, a decade and a half into trench HR life... she can whip up a corrective action plan or source for your purple squirrel in a heartbeat. Talk to Jessica via EmailLinkedInTwitter or Facebook... See Jessica's riffs and rants on Fistful of Talent here...


  1. Hey J-Lee, I’ve been in your shoes. The more people you get to know at work within the role your’re in, the more challenging it becomes to stay closely engaged with each person. What I do to keep my recruiters engaged is to periodically invite them to meetings I have with my department or division leaders. I do this even if recruitment is not on the agenda. Typically, we’re talking about employees with performance issues. It’s good for my recruiters to be in front of the managers in another capacity, it allows them to hear what is really happening in the department and that may help them as they fill jobs in the future and it gives the recruiter a heads up to who might be exiting in the next 3-6 months so they can begin thinking about filling that opening. It’s also a way for me to have a back up in case of emergency because my recruiter has a good feel for what’s going on in the department.
    In addition to that, I’d suggest just being visible. Sometimes just the walk through the office saying hello to people will quench that thirst for them so that they feel you’re still giving the personal touch.
    Lastly, have you ever sat in on performance review discussions that management has when they look at the team as a whole? If not, it’s a great way to hear what’s going on. Then, when you hear of something that one of your hires is doing really well, it gives you the info you need to call them or go see them to congratulate them on that bill sale, creation of a new service, etc. Hope those ideas help. 🙂

  2. Steve says:

    If you really are as “cheap” as you say, then you’ll want to cultivate a robust internal candidate referral network. The people whom you’ve placed know other superstars like themselves. If you want them to risk sharing the cream of their network with you – don’t put them off once you’ve hired them.

  3. Nate Hall says:

    RBWA – Recruit by walking around. I think most would agree that some of the best candidates are from referrals. Spend a little time each day, each week or whatever you can afford just saying hello. After the pleasantries, shift back into sell mode and evangelize your companies referral program (if it exists).

  4. Leo says:

    I agree with Steve and Trish, we are missing out on great candidates if we don’t continue to network with new hires.
    What would people think if companies were to address linkedin within their orientation so Talent Acquisition can take advantage of their network?
    In addition, how can we trully describe our company’s culture to candidates if we ourselves are not experiencing it first hand? So… you won’t have to guess who will be the first to sign up for our company picnic 🙂
    Thanks J-Lee, Great Post.

  5. Thanks for the post, I enjoyed reading it. However, I could sense some kind of arrogance in your words. “If it weren’t for the fact that I’m an HR gal at the end of the day. And so the reality is that I can’t be your friend, like real friend. And while we can probably grab drinks together, we’ll likely never be the kind of friend I’m friends with outside of work. There’s that HR cone of silence that will never go away.”
    What does that mean? You admit you would likely get on pretty well with the people you hire, but still, you feel “superior” to them or something, because you’re in HR? If I was someone hired by you, I’d honestly be confused and annoyed by your behavior. Best friend one minute, strangers the next one? Who are you to treat people like that? I guess you’re in HR because you not only like your job, but because you love people and connecting with them. If you don’t, why are you in it then?

  6. puppetrecruiter says:

    this was an awesome laugh and a great silly way at making sure you’re not going down that road! i love the relationships created with the people that i hire – makes it so much easier to know the culture, know the teams, know what managers are looking for in the future – and oh yeah, great referrals for future opportunities. at the very least you have to keep your relationship for that! but for me? i have a ton of friends who are former candidates, made through the fact that we got along swimmingly in the interview process and they, like me, fit into the culture we were in!

  7. Bob Corlett says:

    I’m always impressed when you share something like this. I passed it along to my team as a reminder. We focus so much of our attention on giving great service thru the recruiting sequence, it’s easy to forget that our finish line – the hire – is just the starting line for the new employee. Sure there are lots of business reasons to stay in contact with great people, but not having the candidate feel like “meat in a seat” is crucial.

  8. One way our team recruiting team tries to continue to show our recruitees love once they’re in the door is new hire focus groups. It’s amazing how appreciated people feel when you take a formal approach to hearing out their questions and concerns. This is one way to eliminate that “wham, bam, thank you ma’am,” feeling.

  9. Pdluhy says:

    “Honey Badger Don’t Care, Honey Badger Don’t Give A —-, It Just Takes What It Wants” If it were your job to be bffs with every candidate you hire, you’d never have the time to get new blood.

  10. woah, woah! just getting back online after going away to get hitched. thanks for all the comments. really good suggestions.
    @fiona – to specifically address your comment… i’m sad/surprised it came off as arrogant in any way! but what i simply meant is that i still tread lightly as an HR person and draw my lines in the workplace. even with personal friends i’ve received to come work at my organization. not because i feel above folks in any way at all but because there is that HR cone of silence. and often times, we know too much. and it can be hard to separate. or at least that’s what i’ve always found. but if you have tips on how to navigate those waters, by all means please share!

  11. Ivan Hudson says:

    Jessica, it’s a 17-20min’ drive from where I live to North Pickenham.
    North Pickenham is also ‘where’ that very photograph was taken.

    Now I understand as to ‘why’ you’ve used that picture….
    …..but I guess you’re presumably unaware of the horror behind it ?

    (If you’re unaware, dial in ‘Russelheim Massacre’ into any search-page/engine or read ISBN-13: 978-0230341166 at your local library)

    Ten very young & healthy American aircrew who lived & flew from their North Pickenham base, inside “Wham, Bam, Thank You Ma’m”, were maimed, mutilated & beaten to death, precisely because of the very ‘thing’ in your photograph….
    (their very own ‘personalised’ B.24 Liberator)

    Cut to the chase & my suggestion is that you SHOULD choose another image to illustrate your point

    (as there are still family members & relatives, plus 8th A.F ‘Veterans’)


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