The Artful Dodge: What HR thinks about HR is not what Everyone Else Thinks

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I am on a mission…

I want to find out what the regular employee and the regular jobseeker think about HR and job search.  While they are different individuals – the jobseeker vs. the employee – they still have to deal with the folks that work in human resources and recruiting.  There has been a lot of talk about the candidate experience and employment branding, but that talk comes from the insiders like HR/recruiting practitioners or from the influencers/thought leaders on the other side of the desk.  I want to hear from those who have to deal with HR and recruiters or that bullshit pretty name: talent acquisition specialist.  I hate to break it to everyone on my side of the desk that works in or serves the HR/recruiting space, but you aren’t thought of very highly or liked very much by the average Joe.  I intend to reveal the ugly, spotted under belly of what we do and take the kicks to the nether regions with stamina and hope that it can be fixed.

A Quick Story

I live in Laguna Beach.  It is a resident artists’ community and gorgeous, sleepy beach town where you need to slow down when you drive through and you better not drive drunk.  Every summer we are inundated with tourists – which we usually don’t mind, except for the crap that comes with most of these tourists:  trash, graffiti, recklessness and a lack of true appreciation for what the residents have built here.  I am sure that most resort towns/cities have to deal with and experience the same thing.

Earlier this summer, my son was in the outdoor eating area of our little Jack-in-the Box, one of only two fast food places allowed in our city.  A tucked and pinch-faced lady in a slick Suburban was in the drive-thru and as she was getting ready to ease out on to PCH, she threw her crumpled receipt out the window of her car.  This group of 16- and 17-year old boys watched this and in a moment of true courage, my son walked over picked up the receipt, held it up to the lady and said, “Are you kidding me?  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  Do live here?  Do you LIVE here?”  She stammered, “No, I don’t live here….” Then he proceeded to put the receipt in the nearby trash can and while telling her that this was his town, our town, and that non-residents are always trashing it because they leave and don’t care about the beauty of this place… His friends stood up behind him and celebrated his courage with layers of  “yeah” and “you said it”.  This adult woman was in tears by the time my 16-year old son was done telling her to not litter in Laguna.  Her reply, “You’re so mean…” as she sniffled and drove away.  Really?

I applauded his courage when he shared this story, as it addressed the residents’ frustrations with those just passing through, those benefiting from our work and our pride.  He tried to educate someone as to why it’s NOT ok to desecrate a place held sacred by many.  By the time Labor Day arrives, every resident, besides the merchants who need the tourists to survive all winter, are so happy to see them go because the majority do not contribute to our community – they degrade and takeaway from it.  Graffiti over beautiful murals, broken or stolen statures, litter on the beaches, heaping trash bins, and the never-ending lineup of drunken drivers each weekend kind of breaks the hearts of the folks who will spend fall and winter cleaning up after them and putting it back together…

The Correlation with HR

I couldn’t help but see that this must be how employees and jobseekers sometimes feel.  We don’t live in their space, we don’t deal with what they deal with – maybe some of them have at some point, in some place – but today?  Many of us who write or use or sell or buy HR technologies are not “dealing with HR” or are not dealing with our tenth job interview with NO follow-up.  It doesn’t matter how much we write about or award great candidate experience.  It does matter how much we celebrate great employment branding.  The truth is MOST jobseekers, MOST employees are not recipients of great employment branding and have never had a good candidate experience.  Never.  THAT, my friends is disgusting and a damn shame.

My Mission

Over the next several weeks, I will be gathering stories and listening to what those in the trenches have to say about an industry I love so much.  I am taking my blinders off and I will look deep into a place of rudeness, disregard, and bad advice.  I would LOVE to hear from anyone who has a story that needs to be told.  I can share it – I can tell it anonymously for you.  I want to fix a problem that has a dirty, old bandage on it.  Fluffy talk doesn’t fix anything — we need to rip the bandage off, pour some disinfectant on it and start over.  Sounds a little bit like the government, eh?  BUT I want to listen to the people and I want to hear their will. Help me out.  Share this post with your friends – everyone has a horrible HR or job search story. I WANT to hear it.  I WANT to tell it.  Let me.


by Rayanne Thorn





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  1. “The truth is MOST jobseekers, MOST employees are not recipients of great employment branding and have never had a good candidate experience. ” <<< That's because HR's customers ARE NOT employees or jobseekers, they are means to an end. Classic HR's customer is always the management of the company. Sad, but true. The more we can change this view, the better we can serve employees and candidates.

  2. And that, Dear Rob is why I wrote this post and why I am on a mission. HR and MANAGEMENT need to remember who their customer is. I am here to bring visibility to the load of crap we are passing off as the candidate experience and employment branding…

    I hope the stories pile in…

  3. Hi Jim–

    Thank you!
    You can help by sharing this post with anyone who has a story – I know there are plenty out there – and also–do you have a story yourself? An experience with HR as an employee or an experience with a recruiter or hiring manager as a jobseeker?

    The HR and Recruiting Industries fill themselves up with fantastic stories about how great they are – the service and influence they provide… I know that this is not the case with all employees and all jobseekers – as a matter of fact, I am guessing that experiences that fall into the “pro” category for either are a rare find and a serious minority.

    Thanks for the offer – would love to gather as many stories as I can…
    When we expose a problem is the only way to fix it…


  4. Many managers forget the point of “branding”, which is to create one, uniform and easliy identifiable face of the company to the public (both internal and external customers, as well as past/present/future customers). Having come from a retail management backgroung long before getting into HR, I can tell you that the “marketing brand” and the “HR brand” should be the same…and they DO effect each other greatly.

    As just one example — the job seeker follow up — too many managers want to interview tons of candidates, but no one wants to deal with the follow up of “sorry, we’re not moving forward with you.” They assume, “well, I didn’t call them back for a 2nd interview or a job offer, so they know we’ve moved on”…but the reality is that even if they weren’t the right candidate for the job, manager just pissed off 20 potential future customers (or potential furure employees) by not ending the conversation properly. Now, that rebuffed candidate could easily go home and tweet/FB/email 500 of their closest friends about what a terrible company we are…and that’s exactly what happens?! In retail, we understood this — every interviewing candidate is also a current and/or future potential customer. In the rest of the world, this seems to be an alien concept.

    This is just one little example of how “brand imaging” is effected by the HR process. And let’s face it, if you manage people in any capacity, HR should be a piece of everything you do…not just something that is delegated to the HR Mgr to handle.

    Page Bradham |
  5. Hi Rayanne

    Thought you might like a perspective from overseas.

    I live and work in Australia and I think there are a number of issues around recruitment, talent management, or call it what you will.

    Technology, whilst saving time takes out the personal touch. The ability to review a resume (CV) and go with gut feel. The ability to be able to talk to candidates. Yes, actually talk to them, because you never know who they are, or what they may offer, now and in the future. And most importantly, feedback.

    Applying for jobs and just getting an auto reply saying you didn’t pass the software’s assessment is not a good experience. Especially when you consider candidates are consumers as well.

    This is often forgotten.

    With regards recruiters, I wouldn’t trust 95% of them to help me to my car in the morning! The few are great. I have good friends that are recruiters and they do what they are being paid to do.

    Then there’s the rest. The lies, the never ending stories of woe, the failure to even return a call, and the fake vacancies. Now where does that fit in the moral standing of it all.

    The reality is that as job seekers we are bound by the rules of the recruiting company without any acceptance of the need for good old fashioned customer service.

    Now don’t get me started on that 🙂




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