Companies care so much about culture, employee engagement, internal comms, employer brand, employee experience, and I’m urging them to think about their potential employee and candidate experience.

You might be looking for amazing apprentices or grads, doing great school outreach but if you’ve treated their Mum, Dad, Aunt, Uncle, Godfather, Godmother, Cousin, Colleague, Friend or Friend’s Mum, Dad Aunt, Uncle, Godfather, Godmother, Cousin, Colleague, Friend badly the word will spread. We know the hashtag for candidate or customer experience #CX but I’d like to focus on potential employee experience hashtag #PEX and make it a thing.

Last week I had a coffee with an admired local business leader in Gloucester and he told me his betwixt and between jobs story. He talked about his old role and the fact he was so busy from morning to night, not having a moment to think about self-care, the crazy pandemic days when he was working flat out navigating the hourly and daily changes that were taking in his organisation and with many stakeholders.

When he was between roles, things moved to the other extreme:-

  • He had identity AND THEN lost it overnight
  • The phone didn’t stop ringing AND THEN it didn’t ring at all
  • He led a big team AND THEN was completely alone and isolated
  • He achieved massively every day AND THEN didn’t appear to accomplish very much
  • He had financial stability AND THEN switched to the loss of a regular income and the fear that comes with that.
  • He felt fine AND THEN felt feelings of shame.
  • A local hero AND THEN having to answer that super loaded question “And what do you do?”

Careers are central to our overall wellbeing, if you’re not enjoying what you do every day-that could be volunteering, caring, parenting or paid work, it leaks into other areas of your life. If you have something to look forward to every day you have twice the odds of thriving in your life overall.

Careers give us connection, purpose, positive feedback, structure and financial ability and they can also provide learning and growth, autonomy and control, recognition and appreciation, work / life balance, the ability to create a meaningful impact or legacy and a challenge.

So if you’re between roles, it’s really important you look after your mental and physical health during a job search and that you are valued and treated well.

If you’ve been through redundancy, lost a role, left your business or been given a demotion, your mental health might be challenged already.

And then, you need to search for a role. There’s a double stress whammy right there.

Apply for your own job!

Have you ever tried looking for a role? I challenge you! Put yourself in the shoes of 50+ overqualified job seeker.  I recommend every leader and manager, talent or hiring manager applies for their own role and see how it feels. It is quite a shocker.

Firstly, after sending in your CV, you might get asked to fill in an application form, as an applicant over 50, sometimes these forms can take hours, and does a client really need to know what O’Levels you had (yes O’Levels – GCSEs hadn’t been invented then and word doesn’t recognise the term). Filling in one of these forms makes you feel old and incompetent to start with, can you even remember those grades?  Nobody asked me for grades when I was applying for a big brand fmcg marketing role when I was in my mid 20s.

Days or weeks later you MIGHT get a ‘thanks but no thanks’ email but more often there’s no answer, no closure, so on your job search worksheet, it remains a ‘?’ rather than a no and moving it off the list and moving on. A lingering feeling of hope or possible rejection every time you look at the spreadsheet. It’s impossible to know.

Here’s some examples of those response emails. They seem so short and sweet compared to the hours of work I put into my applications.

“Thank you so much for expressing your interest in XXXXXXX and taking the time to apply for the role of XXXXXX.​

We are sorry to inform you that your application has not been successful on this occasion and will not be progressing to the next stage in our recruitment process.

We appreciate the time you’ve taken to consider XXXXXX and sincerely hope that you will continue to be a part of the extended XXXXX community.

Our careers website is frequently being updated with new roles, so please keep an eye out for some great new opportunities coming up.

Thanks again,​
XXXXX Talent Team​”


‘Thank you for submitting your application for the position of Talent Partner. Your application is queued for review and we will be in touch should your application be progressed to the next stage of the hiring process.

Best regards,
Hiring Team’

The first response isn’t bespoke but it is a polite response, the second is an automated application received job email, and I didn’t have a further response.

Imagine if you’ve had a bad day, or you’re feeling useless or having rejection and rejection again and again. It’s absolutely hideous, I have a portfolio career with lots of things going on and I’m searching for my next amazing assignment but I spent 3 hours of my life on a tailormade CV, a bespoke covering letter and I thought the role had my name written on it, so it’s painful when that “Thanks but no thanks” email comes in.

My client told me about an interview, the recruiter said he was perfect and the client couldn’t wait to see him. The interview went well, my client was really excited about hearing the result. He heard quicky he hadn’t got the role but there was no interview feedback to help fine tune his next interview performance. That’s just rude!

That’s a horrible scenario if you’re looking for a new role, how can you not take it personally? Sometimes you need some feedback and a conversation.

So all in all, job search in brutal, inhumane, endless and frankly rude isn’t it @Sheila Hooper?

I spoke to a digital expert and leader last week who is at the top of her game workwise, she spoke about so many of her ex-colleagues who are between roles now and companies are hiring but at a much lower level.

Come on businesses, wake up, this is an amazing opportunity to think outside of the job box: bring these stars into your team. Six months ago you wouldn’t have had a chance of hiring them. Think big and think about the future and bring overqualified people into your business. They add so much value, can see the big picture, have crystalised wisdom and are interim managers for which you would usually pay a premium, you can have resource when you need it.

I live in the Severn Valley and the picture above reminds me of one of my darkest times. The picture reminded me there was light at the end of the Severn Bridge (tunnels are too dark for me) and at the time it was an important thing to know and it’s a useful thing to remember when you’re on a job search.

So business, step up, it’s your time to change the status quo, hire more senior people on an interim basis, give them more flex and then they’ll be within budget and please think about jobshare, it’s a brilliant resourcing solution.

And please be kinder!

#betweenjobs #over50 #jobsearch #applyforyourownjob #jobhunt