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 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?