HR burning bridges

It is amazing that we in HR constantly profess our strength in relationship building, but then proceed to demonstrate completely the opposite, on a regular basis.

Let me give you some simple examples.

Professional A, decides he wants to change jobs.  He doesn’t tell his boss, but instead makes applications elsewhere, secures his “dream” job, and then notifies his boss who is immensely surprised, and disappointed.  We all know that the interview part of an executive hiring process is typically 3-13 weeks, which means Professional A has been sneaking about, getting through that with no alert to his boss until the resignation is advised.  Just where is the consideration for the value of that relationship?

Professional B, decides she wants to change jobs.  A skilled interviewer be it at another company or agency, elicits the real motivations for the professional leaving their job, which include high levels of dissatisfaction in how they’re being managed by their boss and/or how they’re being treated by other stakeholders on a regular basis.  What does this say to the interviewer with regards to the professional’s success in having built quality relationships?

Professional C, decides she wants to change jobs.  As part of her interview answers, she regularly references (by name!) the people in her team and/or her business, who are poor performers and/or leaders.  In fact, she cannot speak well of anyone in the organisation.  What does this say to the interviewer with regards to the professional’s values on relationships?

Professional D, decides he wants to change jobs.  He does this with the reluctant blessing of his boss, and goes through various interview processes elsewhere adamant that he is going to move.  He secures multiple offers, but is then enticed to stay with his original employer.  What has this done to the relationship (and his reputation) with those potential employers who now view him as having wasted their time? 

Professional E is interviewing for a hire within her own team.  She cannot be bothered to give quality feedback (if any at all) to candidates; so what kind of relationship building skill is this?  Additionally, when the interviews are over, she openly mocks the failings of candidates with other members of her team.  What does this say to team members about the relationship values of this person?

I would suggest that if you’re going to claim a strength in relationship building, you’d better apply the skill all of the time, rather than just whilst you’re in your “day job”.   The HR community is surprisingly small.  You just don’t know who knows who.  And you never know when you're likely to need or want to be working with someone again.  Take care not to burn those proverbial bridges......