Use past employees to find your next hires!

When you are building your Talent Network it is important to understand what types of recruiting contacts should be part of your Network.  Recruiting contacts can include those collected in dual purpose job ads, through sourcing campaigns, applicants that enter your ATS, social recruiting followers and most importantly your current employees.  One group of recruiting contacts that is forgotten and outright dismissed by organizations is your past employees.


When employees move on to another organization, they often get lost in the shuffle or in the worst cases are outright separated from the organization.  However, when these former employees represent a tremendous opportunity for your Talent Network.  The question is how do you get them involved in your recruiting process and make sure they say nice things about your organization.

Here are a few ideas:


Be Nice:  When your current employees move on to what they consider a better opportunity or are let go, support them.  Make sure that you work with them to leave the organization fairly.  That includes passing on their current work, helping them with benefits and enabling your current employees to continue to interact with these employees.

Here’s an example: A company I used to work for had a wide round of layoffs.  As they let people go, they made everyone sign an agreement that said current employees couldn’t write recommendations for employees that were laid off.  That’s not the way to get former employees to say good things about your company.


Ask Permission:  As employees exit your organization include in your outboarding process the ability to provide you with an email address to contact them about recruiting opportunities.  Let them know that you will include them in your job distribution campaigns and will provide them with the internal referral reward for any contacts that you hire or to let them know about opportunities that they would fit their skill-set.


Keep in Touch: For every contact that opts in, make sure to keep in touch.  Whether it’s through email, LinkedIn Groups or alumni events, make sure to keep in touch with your Alumni network to foster good will and hopefully win the best employees back.


Just because your employees go on to another opportunity doesn’t mean you need to cut ties with them.  Their network of connections can provide a tremendous value to your organization in your recruitment marketing and employer branding campaigns.  However, this network can only provide value if you treat them well and keep connected with them.

Views: 102

Comment by Valentino Martinez on August 4, 2011 at 4:05am



While this is a good idea and does and would work with former employees who left an employer on good terms--the problem is, that would be a rather low percentage of former employees.  I'd guess its at or below 5% and most of those would be retirees...and some of those would now give a thumbs down due to companies messing with their pension, benefits, etc. 

In my experience--having worked in several industries; and having interfaced with many thousands of professionals over the past 40 years--my sense is that the majority of employees who leave companies, ESPECIALLY in the past twenty year, have not left willingly or on good terms.  Layoffs are the prime reason for this outcome.

So your mention of a having a friendly "outboarding process" does not minimize the fact that if you're being "outboarded" it's not by choice.  And Chris, if you have limited exposure to the experience of interfacing with employees who have been laid-off; out-placed; excessed; let go; or were "outboarded", particularly in the past couple of years--I would tread lightly on the concept of asking them to refer someone to a job opening, or even apply themselves.  Why?  Well, in the middle of explaining your good idea of leveraging ex-employees for the purposes stated--it's a good way to get punched in the neck because some laid-off employees would really be trying to take your head off with such an offer to "stay in-touch". 

Frankly, many are stunned that they were let go, in the first place.  And, secondly, their animosity is stoked by the conclusion that there were many others who should have been out-boarded and not them.  Could you imagine one of those retained employees calling on a former colleague—when the feeling is it should have been them that got the boot? 

The experience of being “outboarded” is traumatizing. And it lasts a lifetime.  I've given presentations to out-placed executives, and line staff, at DBM and Right Management counseling sessions, and found many still seething months after their departure.  In those session they’re allowed to vent…and do they ever.

So if you can track former happy campers, you have a shot at leveraging them to refer others, and even to say nice things about their former employer.  But tread lightly with the outboarded.

Comment by Chris Brablc on August 4, 2011 at 8:42am

Hi Valentino - I appreciate the frank comments.


I agree that the outboarding process will not be in good taste in asking for referrals during layoffs.  I worked for a company that experienced several rounds of layoffs and it was much like you stated.  Many of the employees being laid off were understandably mad and angry at the organization.  At these times, pushing this type of recruiting initiative would probably as you said "get you punched in the face."  The fact is it's not a pleasant experience and is hard to do and maintain goodwill as an organization.


Your stance that these programs should be focused on "happy campers" or employees that are moving on to another company themselves is a good point and definitely the point of the article.  These are the candidates that should be at the heart of your Talent Network.


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