“Who the hell do you think you are?”

That from an angry, deposed candidate who was irritated that the search firm was taking a deep dive into his background, including his dates of employment.

Termination date“People like you are making it impossible for people like me to find a job.”  For a serial offender with what I later learned was long and distinguished list of executive goofs, missteps and total screw ups, he probably has a valid point.

This begs the seemingly insignificant question:  When you get the sack or your job is eliminated, what date do you use for your final date of service, aka, your job tenure?

My advice to candidates is do not get too cute by half.

Your last day on the job should be the day you walk out, or are escorted out, of the building.  The only exception is if you have a written agreement stipulating a specific date of service.  Do not assume that the date on your last severance check is your end date of employment.  That might prove to be embarrassing.  And, trust me, it has caused more than one candidate to launch into a halting, uncomfortable explanation that greatly diminished his credibility.

The death toll — excuse me, the regrettable termination toll — for executives, many good, some not so hot, who struggle with the transformation of the healthcare business model, will be significant.  Do not let the details of your ouster/severance agreement trap you into a quagmire of uncomfortable explanations.

Consult a career transition pro before you are surprised.  Our Nancy Swain will be happy to help you navigate those waters.  There are many other excellent outplacement coaches that can help executives enter the startling world of unemployment.  Push to include that benefit in your severance package.

The job market is changing — rapidly.  Do not try to go it alone regardless of how successful you were in your last job.