As You Go

One of the biggest failures of the “candidate experience” dialogue is that the main point is usually lost on folks… treat people humanely. Process, products and/or people will not solve the “problem” if your core values are dark and/or meaningless. Hello, my name is Lipstick on a Pig, have we met?

Don't get me wrong. I think it’s good for the industry to talk about making the experience of looking for a job and/or finding great candidates: easier, more effective and/or more rewarding for all parties. But equally important to the experience one feels at the beginning of a relationship with a company (errrr brand) is the experience one feels when departing said brand. And, just like we talk about in the candidate experience literature… you know… about every “candidate” being a consumer, having a voice, an audience, etc. What are we doing to make those that leave our firms feel good about the time they spent with us?

Okay, I'll back up for a moment…

The other day I started thinking about alumni networks… my mind wandered across all sorts of groups… and then it dawned on me… what do The NFL and The ARMY have in common? They both have proud histories… check. They both have proud people that have served… check. And they both treat their respective alumnus like s#*t. Wait, surely I'm not saying that former NFL players and veterans are pissed at their respective organizations. Well, actually, yeah… I am saying that.

Don't let pride get in the way of reality. If you honestly think that veterans are treated fantastically… please make an appointment at a local VA hospital and then call me. S#*t is horrible. The way we collectively treat our veterans is total crap. From an NFL perspective, talk with any former player and you’ll get the same story… The League cares about you from draft day to your final play. That’s about it. They kinda care after that but only if it doesn't cost them a bunch of money.

I’m picking on The NFL and The ARMY because th

ey can handle it, but truthfully we’re all guilty of treating candidates as more important relationships than relationships with former employees. When we recruit someone… we're filled with the optimism of what might happen. When we part ways (voluntarily, involuntarily, etc.) we no longer share any optimism for that relationship. But we should! In fact, when we part ways is a fantastic opportunity to start over with that human being. We can't wait to see what all you do next AND here's how were going to support you along the way.

Pie in the sky, no… we should treat ALL relationships humanely.

How did we get here? Dunno but I’ll stab at it of course…

I think an inherent failure in hiring is that we don't think of the lifetime relationship we desire to have with really complex human beings. How do we want start our relationship (onboarding), continue our relationship (development), end our relationship (outplacement), start a new relationship, etc.? Typically, we get to the “natural” end of a working relationship and say pleasant things and maybe even “help” where we can. But, in reality, when you leave the village… you are GONE. You are shunned. Good luck out in the real world.

That entire mindset is short sighted and for all the reasons that dialogue about the candidate experience makes sense… so should dialogue about the “former employee experience”. I mean, why don't we leverage our former employees? Oh, I know why… because we treated them like shit when they wanted to leave OR when we forced them to leave, etc. Yeah, that's why. And, that's silly.

Here's advice I give people when they are excited about taking on a new gig… talk with former employees before you say yes… you'll get to know the real firm by talking with folks that actually lived behind the veil. The good, the bad and the really effing ugly.

So, as HR professionals, what are we doing to manage this aspect of our brand AND why aren't we talking more about this?


FOT Background Check

William Tincup
William is the President of RecruitingDaily. At the intersection of HR and technology, he’s a writer, speaker, advisor, consultant, investor, storyteller & teacher. He’s written over 200 HR articles, spoken at over 150 HR & recruiting conferences and he’s conducted over 1000 HR podcasts. William prides himself on being easy to find on The Internet, Google him and connect with him via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. Not up to speed in the social media game? Reach out via email. William serves on the Board of Advisors for Talentegy, Wellocity, GlitchPath, Talent Ninja, Universum Americas, Engagedly, Echovate, VibeCatch, Continu, Hyphen, Bevy, Happie, RolePoint, Causecast, Work4Labs, Talent Tech Labs, and SmartRecruiters. He was previously an advisor to PeopleMatter (sold to Snagajob Q2 2016), Good.Co (sold to StepStone Q1 2016), Smarterer (sold to Pluralsight Q4 2014) and a board member of Chequed (merged to create OutMatch Q3 2015). William is a graduate of the University of Alabama of Birmingham with a BA in Art History. He also earned an MA in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University.


  1. Graeme Creed says:

    I follow some of our ex employees on Linkedin and find it amazing the jobs they end up with. I then have to ask why did we not see the potential in this person………………why did they have to go somewhere else to shine.

  2. Steve Levy says:

    What else do the NFL and Army have in common? They develop and manage “transition” programs by committee. Read today that the US Ait Force is scrapping a $1B program (already with close to 50% overrun) to upgrade enterprise logistics platforms because it’ll take at least $1B more just to make it 1/4 viable. The initiative reached Failsafe because management has been…by committee ( What is missing is a single leader with authority across an entire span of control.

    Same with customer experience – it’s something that everyone knows is important but there’s no single cradle-to-grave Customer Experience Czar who can take names and kick ass if agreed upon performance goes south. I mean a CEC who covers internal and external customers; having a “the customer is always right” policy is useless if you’re treating potential future and current employees like crap.

    Shoot, a position such as this might even save HR…

  3. Steve Levy says:

    And…the language in the separation interview is almost always negative – by HR!

    HR: “So Tincup, what did you dislike most about working at FOT Inc.?”
    WT: “You’re head of HR, Kris Dunn, is a real a-hole.”
    HR: “Hmmm… [with a look on their face that says, ‘never heard that before’] So I’m guessing you won’t be interested in coming back here some time in the future.”
    WT: “*&^%$#$#@# you”

    Instead of the truly obvious better approach:

    HR: “So Tincup, what were the six best things about working at FOT: 3 about the job, 3 about the company?”
    WT: “Hmmm… [clearly was thrown for a loop by the question] maybe Dunn isn’t really an a-hole.”

    A positive customer experience is part attitude adjustment and part cultural adjustment. Of course changing for the better isn’t easy – who said HR was going to be easy?

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