The Best Recruiting Conference/Festival on the planet is coming to the U.S.!

I go to a lot of HR and TA conferences. All over the world. I’ve consistently said the top recruiting conference in the world is RecFest in the UK. Its outdoor summer festival meets business conference, and it’s magical! Well, I’ve got great news! RecFest US is coming to Nashville, TN, in September 2023!

Check this out:

I love RecFest, especially for a Talent Acquisition Team event. Beyond the great recruiting content and amazing speaker lineup, RecFest at its heart is a festival, so at the end of the day, you have live music, drinks, and food. Over the past three years, so many TA teams have been working overtime, so this could make a great team event to plan for.

Early Bird Tickets are on sale right now –

I hope to see you there! I’m planning on attending with so many other TA Influencers, thought leaders, and friends. I already know of a large number of enterprise-level TA leaders who are also attending with their teams! I can’t wait!

Here are some highlights from RecFest UK 2022 that I attended:

Do Your Employees Have Unrealistic Pay Raise Expectations? #HRFamous

On episode 112 of The HR Famous Podcast, long-time HR leaders (and friends) Jessica Lee, Madeline Laurano, and Tim Sackett come together to discuss what they’re hoping to learn in 2023, the extra burden placed on women in Executive level roles, and unrealistic hopes for pay increases. 

Listen below and be sure to subscribe, rate, and review (iTunes) and follow (Spotify)!

1:00 – JLee asks the crew what is one thing that they want to learn in 2023.  JLee has only ridden a bike a few times, and she wants to master riding a bike this year. Madeline’s goal is to get better at golfing. 

4:15 – Tim is taking his Jewish family to Israel this year. His youngest son, Cooper, is learning Hebrew at school, and Tim wants to learn some of that language. 

6:15 – JLee brings up an article from Fortune about women in C-Suite or Executive level positions and how they may have to pay a lot of money on childcare and household help. JLee asks Madeline if we are talking about this topic enough. 

8:50 – Madeline tells a story about her son, who had a female friend over. She told the kids she just needed to take some time to clean up and her son’s friend said to her, “don’t you have a cleaner?”. 

11:30 – Tim mentions how when his mom was starting her business, she hired Tim’s Grandma to come to clean the house while she worked. 

14:00 – Madeline thinks that there is more stigma around people hiring for childcare help than household help.

16:45 – Tim wonders how much of this is American culture vs. culture from all around the world. He mentions how shocked he was when he visited South Africa, and he saw how much help middle-class white families had for their everyday life. 

20:30 – Lesson of the day: parenting is not easy, and it’s nearly impossible to do it all by yourself! 

21:30 – Bloomberg reported on the unrealistic high hopes that employees have for pay hikes in the new year. JLee asks the crew if they are seeing this in the workplace. 

24:45 – Madeline notes how it still is an employee/candidate first market due to the number of jobs available. She does think that due to the layoffs happening across the workforce, the behavior of asking for raises may change. 

29:00 – JLee notes that any publicly traded company has to listen to its shareholders and what they think is best for the business. A big question for these companies is, “who are we in service to?”. 

31:30 – When can you stop saying Happy New Year? Madeline thinks she could go to 1/30, but Tim only gives it two weeks. 

America’s Greatest Threat is Lack of Labor!

America’s Greatest Threat? Lack of Hourly Workers!

I spoke to a group of upcoming high graduates yesterday, and it got me to thinking about the future. I don’t dump on young kids like most people do today. My feeling is we all sucked when we were young. We grew up. Got experienced. And we suck less. But we look at young people and we are shocked they suck at mostly everything. We. All. Did. When. We. Were. Young!

Businesses, big and small are desperate currently for workers. Low-skill, semi-skilled, people who have no skill but are willing to be trained. The hourly rate is anywhere between $12-22/hr. I’ve spoken to companies in every market and industry, many of whom will tell me they’ll hire as many people as they can find, they just can’t find anyone!

Now, I don’t want to get into all the reasons why organizations are struggling to find hourly workers. There are many, and it’s a complex situation that isn’t going away anytime soon. I want to focus on how not having enough hourly workers puts America at a competitive disadvantage in the world.

What Happens When America Can’t Hire Enough Workers?

First, organizations will do what it takes actually to hire talent. They increase wages and benefits, which initially seems like a big win for workers. Businesses will also raise prices to pay for those additional expenses. Say hello to inflation. The supply and demand dynamics of labor all happen fairly quickly.

Organizations will look to become more efficient and add technology that, in the long term, can be a better value than workers. Let’s be honest, this has been happening since the beginning of time, but in times of true pain in hiring, all this speeds up and happens faster than normal. Say hello to the robots!

Companies will offshore more more than they already do to countries with an abundance of hourly workers. China, Mexico, India, and various countries in Africa if they can get politically stable, will gain millions of jobs from organizations looking to sell their products in America. Say hello to more jobs leaving our shores. Also, as we’ve seen with the Pandemic, this will cause further issues with our supply chain in critical times.

What Should We Be Doing In America To Ensure We Have The Hourly Talent We Need?

Okay – I’ve got some ideas. Some you’ll agree with, some you’ll hate, but something has to change. American demographics are not changing. Our labor force is shrinking and we are getting older as a country. We have a crisis staring us in the face, and we are too divided to even see what’s really happening!

  1. Major investment into trades and apprenticeship programs at the high school and post-high school levels. Free College? Screw that. Rich folks can pay for college. Let’s have Free Trades and Apprenticeship programs. Let’s start these in Junior High and High School and continue their post-high school. Let’s have 22-year-old kids making $40-60K a year in skilled occupations.
  2. Blow up public education as we know it. It’s broken. Can we all admit to this? About 70% of kids are not college kids, but we force them down the path of college. Let’s have public education that promotes our best and brightest but also promotes kids who want to work with their hands, who want to work in the arts, etc. If we are the most powerful country on earth, why can’t we have multiple avenues for our kids, whether they are rich or poor?
  3. Encourage our children to once again be firefighters, police officers, home builders, big truck operators, cooks, delivery drivers, etc. Both boys and girls. I was struck when I was in Australia how many construction workers and road workers were female. You rarely see that in America. Our children should feel proud to have an occupation that is helping their community and others, but instead, we, as parents, talk down these occupations. Our children are constantly listening.
  4. Open the Mexican border. Uh oh, he didn’t just say that!? Yeah, you know who has millions of people who want the jobs that Americans don’t want? Mexico. If you don’t want to work that $15/hr job, step aside, there are people that do want those jobs. Plus, actually having a great labor force strengthens America! Would you rather have Mexican citizens come to America and make American products, or have American companies go to China and have the communist government of China make the products sent back to America and much of the profit goes to China or India, or somewhere else outside of America?
  5. Pay Equity laws limiting the spread of pay between the highest-paid executive and the lowest-paid employee. I’m not saying that entrepreneurs and executives don’t deserve great salaries for their efforts and their risks. They do. But should a CEO of a company make a $100M a year and the workers make $17/hr? That just seems a little bit out of line, right? Should a college football coach make $5M a year? It’s a stupid game. A game I love to watch, but come on! We’ve got a bit out of line with the haves and the have-nots.
  6. National Occupation Corp. What if every single American child upon graduating high school, put in one year of service into a select list of hourly occupations? Road workers, infrastructure projects, building affordable housing in their community, building parks, etc. Mormon kids do a two-year missionary to spread their word, and it doesn’t seem to harm them one bit, in fact, most would argue it actually helps them become better adults. Doing a national occupation corp would show some kids they actually love this type of work.
  7. End or fix programs that encourage workers not to work. We need people collecting unemployment to prove they can’t find a job. They can’t get work. Because, for the most part, it’s a lie! There is work everywhere! Our Unemployment Insurance system is broken and needs an overhaul.

How do you like those ideas!? A little GOP, a little Dem, a little socialism! If you’re a regular reader of the blog some of those ideas, coming from me, probably surprise you. This is how desperate I think this situation is! We are facing an economic meltdown in the future if we don’t fix this issue, that will make the great recession look like child’s play. America can not be without a great labor force, and right now, we are quickly trailing the rest of the world in the one thing we always hung our hard hat on.

ChatGPT 101 for HR and TA Pros!

n “Making HR Tech Easy,” work tech expert Tim Sackett, SHRM-SCP, makes complex HR technology understandable for all HR professionals, because having a high competency in HR technology is critical to moving your HR career forward.

It’s been really hard not to hear about Open.AI’s ChatGPT over the past couple of months. It seems like everyone has been talking about it since its recent release in 2022. But if you’re just now encountering it, ChatGPT is a conversational SaaS artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot that understands the intent of complex, specific questions and has the potential to produce human-quality responses. Yes, really human!

I say “potential” because it’s still learning. Although it’s already pretty good, and it gets better every minute as millions of people use it.

Why should you care about an AI chatbot that can answer questions like a human? Because it will most likely change work in both significant and minor ways in the near future, similar to what we saw during the first industrial revolution.

Are chatbots going to take our jobs? Well, if I’m honest, some jobs will be lost for sure, at least initially. But it will also create new jobs, many of which we don’t even know yet. Again, similar to the first industrial revolution.

Will ChatGPT Take HR Jobs?

ChatGPT can…

Click here to read the rest of this article on the SHRM website. 

Utilizing your PTO get 40 days off per year! Yes you can!

We all know of that one co-worker that just finds a way to take advantage of every possible benefit to the fullest extent possible! These are the folks who, when on a work trip, will find a way to use every single penny of that per diem! “Hey, can I get a $3.27 gift card added to my dinner bill?”

Well, I think I found one of those folks who cracked the code on PTO! Take a look:

@johnsfinancetips Here is how you can take 40 days off with only 15 vacation days. If you had 19 vacation days, you could take up to 47 days off. Also, do you take all your vacation days every year? #pto #vacation #paidleave #work #vaca #timeoff #personalfinance ♬ original sound – John Liang

So, there’s some creative PTO math in this video for sure, but I love it. Of course, how he’s doing this by also adding in paid holidays and weekend days with his PTO, which I hate to tell a young millennial that workers have been doing this since the advent of paid time off, but he’s so excited I don’t want to burst his little bubble.

I wonder what he could do if he added in his “work from home” days! OMG! He would have like 400 days off a year!

What is your favorite PTO trick? Hit me in the comments!

Can you freelance your HR shop? #HRFamous

On episode 111 of The HR Famous Podcast, long-time HR leaders (and friends) Jessica Lee, Madeline Laurano, and Tim Sackett come together to discuss 2022 and give their thoughts about this year in HR and talent. 

Listen below and be sure to subscribe, rate, and review (iTunes) and follow (Spotify)!

1:00 – Tim asks the crew what their favorite TV show, movie, or book from 2022 was. Madeline is a big Euphoria fan, JLee loved Ted Lasso, and Tim couldn’t choose one (House of Dragon, Peaky Blinders. 2022 was a great year for TV!

8:00 – The crew name some of their favorites (Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow is Madeline’s). Tim loves Talent by Tyler Cowen. 

10:00 – JLee tried to get Cowen to come speak at a Marriott event and she found that he isn’t too fond of HR folks. She wants to dig in with him and see his real feelings about people who work in HR. 

12:00 – It’s time for the HR and talent year in review! JLee mentions the transition from The Great Resignation into Quiet Quitting. She found that we can get worked up over things that end up not being as noteworthy in the long run. 

14:00 – Tim tried to make “The Big Regret” happened but it never took off…

16:50 – Tim thinks that the HR and talent community needs someone that we can trust for facts and information. He shouts out Roy from SHRM for his journalism work. 

19:00 – Madeline brings up how the biggest topic that isn’t being discussed in HR is the rise of freelancing within the job market. She notes that by 2030, 50% of an organization’s workforce will be freelancers. 

24:00 – Tim says that he thinks there has been a de-emphasis on DEI in 2022. Madeline thinks that within the HR technology space, DEI wasn’t the hot topic of the year. JLee notes that in 2020 there were so many topics culturally that forced the conversations around DEI to be at the forefront. 

26:00 – As we look ahead to 2023, Tim asks the team what points of emphasis he sees coming to the head. Madeline thinks the skills conversation has surprised her in its prominence. She thinks it’s the topic that everyone is obsessed with. 

28:00 – Tim asks JLee where they are at Marriott with skills. She thinks that organizations can be intimidated by the topic and that people are over contemplating where to get started. 

31:30 – JLee’s focus for 2023 is AI and how it will affect content creation.

3 Things You Can Start Today and Be Instantly Better at Recruiting!

You’re not as effective as you could be right now! Do you know why? If you’re like me, you might start blaming some things: your tech, your boss, your company, your co-workers, etc. It’s easy to blame others for our inefficiencies. It’s incredibly difficult to own it and fix it!

I’ve got some fixes! Heck, I wrote an entire book called “The Talent Fix!” What I’ve found as I work with talent acquisition departments and TA leaders from all over is that most of us fall into some traps around inefficiencies. So, today, I want to give you three things you can start doing that will increase your capacity immediately:

1. Give Your Candidates a Gift! 

We, as TA pros, waste more time dealing with candidates we’ll never hire and try and tell ourselves we are doing this for ‘candidate experience.’ Do you know what sucks as a candidate? Being led on by a company that will never hire you! Stop doing this! If you know you won’t hire a candidate, let them down fast but professionally.

“Look, Charlie, I’m going to level with you. I don’t see you as a fit for our culture/position/organization. This doesn’t say anything about you. It says a lot about us and how we are looking for something very specific. Thank you for your time and professionalism. We will not be moving forward with you.”

This is short and sweet, and 99% of candidates will get the “gift” of being able to move on and find the job and the company that does want their unique gifts they have to offer. This isn’t being mean to a candidate or providing a poor candidate experience. This is helping them and saving you time by not having to deal with this candidate continuing to contact you thinking they have a shot. They don’t.

2. Don’t Get Stuck in the Middle!

I don’t set up interviews with hiring managers for candidates. What I’ve found is the majority of hiring managers and candidates find it annoying that I’m stuck in the middle when two adults just need a quick thirty-second conversation to figure out how to align their schedules! Or, maybe even use technology to do this!

We like to think setting up interviews provides great ‘service’ for hiring managers, but it doesn’t. It’s a really inefficient process to drag in multiple parties to something very simple. Any hiring manager, who is marginally effective at their job, will be able to see this if you have a simple conversation to explain the process inefficiencies.

3. Stop Starting from Scratch! 

Here’s how we go about filling most new job openings. The hiring manager informs us they need to hire. We get the job description and information. We post the job everywhere. We wait for candidates to apply. We screen applicants. We pass these on to the hiring manager and await further instructions.

Every. Time. We. Do. This.

Add one additional step to this process before you post the job. Go into your ATS database and send a quick mass email to each candidate in the database that meets the requirements of the job (if you have the tech, also send a quick text message!). We spend an enormous amount of resources building our ATS database, then we ignore it when it’s filled with candidates who have applied and said, “I love you! I want to come work for you!”

Our first step to finding talent starts in our own database, not out in the wild to see what ‘fresh’ meat is looking like today. If your ATS sucks at search, there are many new technologies on the market labeled as “talent rediscovery” that will reach into your database and do this for you.

So, there are three. The reality is, if you really dig into how you’re doing what you do, you can probably come up with a hundred improvements to make your recruiting more efficient! The key is to look at your processes, not as the one who built it and owns it, but always through the lens of constant improvement.

I don’t have a set recruiting process in my shop. I have a process I’m constantly testing to make better. We try stuff. If it works, we keep it. If it doesn’t, we end that test and try something else. The most effective recruiting shops in the world are effective not because they have the best process but because they continually improve their process!

Mailbag: Should I round up my 2.95 GPA to 3.0 on my resume?

I had a question come in this week that I wanted to address publicly because it’s one of those strange norms we’ve allowed to go on for too long. Here are the details:

  • A newly graduated college student has a GPA of 2.95.
  • This person’s parents are telling them no one will hire them because their GPA is under 3.0, and they should just round it up to 3.0
  • This new grad does not want to get caught in a lie.
  • This new grad worked almost full time to pay their living expenses while going to college and has major loans for the vast majority of tuition costs.

What should this person do? My advice:

First, your parents are dumb. You are right. You do not want to get caught in a lie, even one as small as “rounding” 2.95 to 3.0. Second, at 2.95 or 3.0, major brands and companies that are seriously concerned with GPA aren’t going to hire you anyway. They are hiring grads with 4.0 and 3.95s.

The better thing would be to add a few words to your resume directly after your 2.95 GPA. Something like this:

BA Basket Weaving, State College, 2022, GPA 2.95 (I worked 30+ hours per week while holding down a full-time credit load to pay for my own living expenses and took loans out to pay for my tuition).

Yo! I might put that on after my GPA, even if my parents paid for my expenses because it’s so desired by companies! I mean, if you really want to add some lies to your resume!

Most hiring managers will kill to have new grads who have a high work ethic and grinded their way through school. What I find is most new grads don’t want to use this fact to their advantage on their resume.

Who do you think a hiring manager wants to hire? A grad with a 3.3 GPA where Mom and Dad paid for most of their expenses or a grad with a 2,95 GPA where the individual found a way to make it through college on their own? 100% of hiring managers will hire the 2.95 over the 3.3! 100%!

Show the grind! Don’t be embarrassed you couldn’t drink your way through school on your parent’s AMEX card. Be proud you ate Ramen and rode a bike to class! The world needs more people who found a way to do it without a lot of help.

Underperformance is not an employee problem, it’s a leadership problem!

So much conversation around remote workers underperforming, or at least some corporate leadership believes remote workers are underperforming. They might be right. They might be wrong. The reality is this has little to do with remote employees!

What would you do, as a corporate leader, if your on-premise employees were underperforming? Would you send them to work at home?

Sounds stupid to say that out loud, doesn’t it?

Underperformance by any worker, regardless of where they are, is a function of the leader responsible, not doing something about it. You could fire a worker who is underperforming. You could work with that employee and give them extra training and tools. You might give them a mentor. You might adjust their goals and ask them to do extra work to make up for underperformance. You can do so many things that can actually impact performance.

Moving their location of work might actually have an impact on their performance. This is true. But as a primary step, it’s a silly strategy.

Here’s an idea!

Instead of telling remote employees they must return to work because you “believe” they are underperforming, what if we told our leaders it’s your job to ensure the performance of your team? If your team doesn’t meet the agreed-upon goals, we will fire you.

To help you, as a leader, get the best performance out of your team, we are going to give you leadership training and make sure you and your team have the tools they need to perform. If a remote employee isn’t performing to the standards that were set, we will deal with that individual underperforming employee.

I think you’ll find some people will perform up to the level you know equals good performance. You will also find you made some hires of people who are incapable of meeting the performance you need for the resources you are spending on them. You will also find that some remote employees, while they really like being remote, don’t have the personality capable of being effective in a remote environment. You will also find some employees who actually perform better when working remotely.

Here’s the thing!

Great employee performance is very individual in how it is obtained. Great leaders will recognize this and find the best recipe for each individual to perform their best. I have three sons. My first son, I could yell it and push, and he would try harder just to show me up. My second son would literally shut down if I tried to parent him the same way I did my oldest. My third, he just managed me.

Working remotely is great for those people who can perform well working remotely. Some can. Some can’t. Most will fall into the middle and probably perform similarly regardless of where they are sitting.

The problem we have right now is we no longer manage performance. We have a bunch of snowflake bosses who believe if they manage performance, people will quit. Yes, some will. Thankfully! Otherwise, you’ll have to fire them. But, most will actually perform well because most people you hire actually want to be successful.

You see, performance, when done correctly, is about both the company and the employee finding success. I find most employees want to be successful, and if you design your goals correctly, that will make the company successful. I have no desire to work with people who don’t want personal success, regardless of where they work.

What’s Your Favorite Layoff Tech?

Yeah, this isn’t something we like to talk about! We love talking about technology that helps our employees be better employees or technology that helps us find better and more talent. But the technology that helps us get rid of people, well, that seems a bit depressing, right?

In 2022 there have been public debates about what a recession is. We haven’t had one since the Great Recession of 2008-2009, so there is a very large part of our workforce that has never seen a downturn in the economy. We are on the precipice of an economic downturn, and companies will be laying off workers. Are you ready? How will you handle this? Spreadsheets?

Offboarding will be a major buzzword in 2023!

God bless the marketing pros who try and make termination software sound sexy! We don’t call it firing software or a termination process, we now call it “offboarding”.

At the HR Technology Conference this past year, I was a judge of the startup competition Pitchfest and one technology that was pitched was Onward HR. They actually did a great job and I really liked their pitch, but they were going up against a bunch of software that “helped” employees, not help you offboard them. Not fair to them, they had real HR software, helping solve a real HR and employee problem. A lot of the software pitched sounded positive and sexy, but it was mostly vapor. Onward had real HR stuff!

Big HCM software and payroll software will tell you they also do offboarding, but honestly, what they really do is basically just help you with the process. True offboarding should be about how do we humanely help our employees transition out of the company and quickly become re-employed. But also, a giant part of offboarding is ensuring those same employees actually might want to come back and work for us again at some point.

You see, layoffs, are an inexact science. Most organizations are bad at it because we don’t practice layoffs. We practice hiring. We practice developing employees. We practice performance management. We do not practice layoffs, so we mostly suck at layoffs. Quite frankly, I’ve never met a leader who wants to be good at layoffs!

That means the technology can help. For the most part, layoffs run like this:

  • We make the decision of how many heads we need to cut.
  • We then ask managers of people to make decisions of who specifically.
  • We then try to find a way to let people know where everyone will basically know at the same time (this almost always fails and is terrible).
  • We then try and move on and forget it all happened.

The problem with the last step is we basically move on from those departing employees, and those employees feel that, and it becomes very personal. We try not to keep a connection with previous employees. Then, two years from now, you try and launch an alumni recruiting campaign because you’re growing again and can’t figure out why so many previous employees hate you.

What is my advice for your upcoming layoffs?

Be better. Treat people like humans. I mean treat people like humans you will once again in the future want to have a positive lastly relationship with!