What’s Your Beauty Premium at Your Remote Job?

If you know me, you know I love talking about beauty and attractiveness and the impact it has on work! We like to think that how you look has nothing to do with how you perform. Ugly people are told that from birth! “It doesn’t matter how you look, Timmy. You can still be great!”

Academically, that actually does prove out very well, in study after study. In fact, it’s kind of the opposite, and it might be the biggest thing no one talks about at work. This week the newest beauty study hit the street titled, “Student beauty and grades under in-person and remote teaching.”

Okay, I know you’re saying this says student, not employ, so it doesn’t count! Bare with me…

First, this is a legit study, not some vendor survey thing. This was done by a legit PhD at a legit university.

What does the study say?

  1. Both men and women have a beauty premium in terms of their performance. This means, that more beautiful you are in a university class, the more likely you are to be graded higher. (This is real!)
  2. With in-person classes, the beauty premium is the same for men and women. Basically, pretty boys and girls equally get an advantage in grading.
  3. With remote classes, the beauty premium only works for men!

Why does this matter to remote work?

If we know there is a beauty premium in human behavior when judging the performance of students, how hard is it really for us to believe our supervisors and managers also don’t have a beauty premium when it comes to determining work performance? I would argue that there is very little difference between the two judging activities.

This means as many of our jobs switch to remote, we now have an issue with women having their performance judged harsher than men when working in a remote environment because they will no longer get any beauty premium. Again, this only works with beautiful people. The ugly ones were already getting judged more harshly.

We love to believe that remote work favors females for a number of reasons. Saving time on the commute, easier to arrange care for kids and those they might be responsible for, etc. But now we have this issue!

The work beauty premium is real, and it’s not!

The beauty premium is measurable and has been proven in a number of studies. When judging people, we find it more difficult to judge pretty people harshly but easier to beat down ugly people. It’s not real because it’s totally an unconscious bias that even when we know it’s a problem, we ignore it and keep promoting pretty people over maybe higher performing people who aren’t as pretty.

I just find all of this so fascinating! Two-fold, one in that I’m not what any study would find as traditionally “beautiful” from the male standpoint, and that over a long period of time, centuries, genetically, this actually plays out across all cultures. While one culture might like light skin, tall, slender, and those people will have a beauty premium. Another culture might prefer dark, short, chubby people, and that beauty premium plays itself out.

I just need to find the one culture that likes gingers!

What is your CEOs #1 Priority in Talent Acquisition? I bet it’s different than yours!

If we could all just be on the same page with most things, life would be considerably easier. I work with a lot of Talent Acquisition and HR leaders who are new to the role, and one of the things I try to advise them on is ensuring the c-suite knows exactly what their plan is, and to make sure it’s also the c-suite’s plan!

I find rarely the two are on the same page about what’s most important and it’s the major reason most HR and TA leaders fail in their role. Nothing to do with functional expertise, and everything to do with misalignment of priorities!

The Conference Board recently did a survey with 750 c-suite executives about this very topic, and here are the results:

Is Promoting Your Hybrid Work Model Your #1 Priority in Talent Acquisition!?

No, it’s not!

Now, moving more quickly in your process to get people hired and onboard definitely might be. Adding automation and technology that will definitely help will be high on your list. Having a more efficient recruiting process would also be very high. So, not completely a misalignment, but #1 seems completely off-base!

I wonder how many heads of TA or HR would have promoting our Hybrid Work Model as their #1 priority right now? I doubt it would be a ton. My guess is filling jobs and doing all those things underneath #1 would be much higher, and promoting hybrid would be way down the list.

What should you do with this information?

It’s a great reminder that throughout the year, we should be setting up some one-on-one time with our individual c-suite leaders to ensure their priorities around talent and our priorities around talent align. If they don’t, we need to make sure we have those discussions and leave the room on the same page moving forward!

Too many of us assume we are on the same page without verifying. I find that these discussions are usually the most valuable you’ll have, and just like our business priorities, we have to do frequent check-ins to ensure those priorities aren’t changing.

What is your #1 priority in Talent Acquisition right now? Hit me in the comments.

Talent Acquisition Trends with Friends! ATSs are buying ATSs and the Jobs Report!

Last week I sat down with two of the best in the business when it comes to TA knowledge, my partner in crime on HR Famous, Madeline Laurano, and our good friend, Kyle Lagunas. Jobvite acquired best-of-breed ATS Lever after acquiring a whole bunch of other great TA technologies over the past two years. This now gives Jobvite/Employ three ATSs under their umbrella of products!

TA Tech Trends with Friends!

The best part of this is this is exactly how we talk shop when we are together sharing drinks at some conference! The three of us will all be out at The HR Technology Conference on September 13-16. Come join us!

Would You Hire a Reality TV Star to Work at Your Company? #HRFamous


102 – Hiring TV Stars and Ghosting

On episode 102 of The HR Famous Podcast, long-time HR leaders (and friends) Madeline Laurano, Jessica Lee, and Tim Sackett come together to discuss hiring reality TV stars, ghosting of new hires, and if ghosting in the dating world is seeping into the work world. 

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

1:30 – JLee asks the crew what they’ve been watching recently. Madeline tried watching Ozark again because she wasn’t into it the first time.

3:15 – Now for the trash TV! Madeline and JLee are watching The Ultimatum and are loving it. 

7:45 – JLee is really curious about what the people on reality TV shows do in their real lives. She asks the crew if being on a reality show disqualifies them from being hired for a job. 

11:30 – Tim is concerned about retention because he assumes this type of person is just waiting for the next big show to come around. 

15:00 – Tim mentions that this is similar to star college athletes that may not be good enough to go pro. He says that those who stay local may have that past celebrity status. 

16:45 – JLee found an article in The Wall Street Journal about the rise of ghosting with new hires. Madeline mentions that she thinks we’re going to see this for a bit longer but may pass when or if a recession hits. 

21:30 – Tim got killed on Twitter for talking about the importance of a 2-week notice. He says that ghosting your employer will follow you. 

25:00 – Tim demoed a new preboarding software that gives a buddy to a new hire to hopefully retain the new employees at your organization. 

28:00 – Madeline wonders if mental health is playing a factor with new hires not showing up for onboarding, especially with the heightened struggles of the last two years. 

32:00 – The article discusses how a younger generation is used to ghosting in the dating world, and it could be seeping into the work world. JLee wonders if they’re grasping this extrapolation. 

E101 – Female Breadwinners: Do you bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan?!

On episode 101 of The HR Famous Podcast, long-time HR leaders (and friends) Madeline Laurano, Jessica Lee, and Tim Sackett come together to discuss paper straws, female breadwinners, and how people react when a husband cooks more for his family than his wife.

DisruptHR Lansing 2.0 Call for Speakers is Open – Event Date – Sept 28th!

I’m hosting DisruptHR Lansing 2.0 on September 28th at the Lansing Brewing Company in downtown Lansing.

What is DisruptHR Lansing?

DisruptHR events are held in over 150 cities worldwide. It’s a two-hour event with 12-14 speakers, and each speaker only talks for 5-minutes! Big ideas in a short time brought to you in a unique format. Each speaker gets 20 slides, each slide automatically moves every 15 seconds, and the math tells me that’s 5 minutes! It’s HR Nerd Super Fun!

This year we are excited to be partnering with the Greater Lansing SHRM chapter for this event. We expect a sell-out as seating is limited to around 150 – you can get your tickets now to save your spot:

Each ticket comes with drinks and appetizers. There will also be some exciting raffle prizes, like Coach bags and much more!

Here is a link to the DisruptHR Lansing 1.0 talks from 2021! It was a very fun night!

Call for Speakers is Open!

We need speakers for this event!

Why should you speak at DisruptHR Lansing?

  • Great opportunity to do some professional speaking in front of a supportive audience!
  • Each speaker gets a professionally produced video they can use to market themselves!
  • It’s one of the most challenging talks you’ll ever do as a speaker!

We look to provide an inclusive and diverse set of speakers on all topics around HR, people, and leadership. I’m specifically looking to add some GenZ (18-26-year-old) speakers to the agenda this year. So, if you know of anyone – have them apply! We also love the Millennials, GenX, and Boomers as well! It’s just really hard to find GenZ speakers in HR!

DisruptHR Lansing is only successful if we have great volunteer speakers! It’s a great environment to try out speaking of an idea you’re passionate about!

Sponsors!

If you’re interested in sponsoring this event, please contact me directly at sackett.tim@hrutech.com for sponsorship details. Each sponsor will get a table at the event, a full list of attendees, and be able to give out raffle prizes.

The 1 Thing You Have to Do to Fall In Love With Your Job!

Do you know what it felt like the last time you fell in love?

I mean, real love?

The kind of love where you talk 42 times per day, in between text and Facebook messages, and feel physical pain from being apart? Ok, maybe for some, it’s been a while, and you didn’t have the texts or Facebook!  But, you remember those times when you really didn’t think about anything else or even imagine not seeing the other person the next day, hell, the next hour. Falling “in” love is one of the best parts of love; it doesn’t last that long, and you never get it back.

I hear people all the time say, “I love my job,” and I never used to pay much attention; in fact, I’ve said it myself.  The reality is that I don’t love my job. I mean, I like it a whole lot, but I love my wife, I love my kids, and I love Diet Mt. Dew at 7 am on a Monday morning. The important things in life!  But my job?  I’m not sure about that one.  As an HR Pro, I’m supposed to work to get my employees to “love” their jobs.  Love.

Want to know the difference between like and love? The next time your significant other tells you, “I love you!” just say in return, “Yeah, I like you as well!” Then get ready for an argument!

Let me go all Dr. Phil on you for a second. Do you know why most relationships fail? No, it’s not cheating. No, it’s not the drugs and/or alcohol. No, it’s not money. No, it’s not that he stops caring. No, it’s not your parents. Ok, stop it. I’ll just tell you!

Relationships fail because expectations aren’t met.  It seems logical knowing what we know about how people fall in love and lose their minds.  Once that calms down, the real work begins.  So, if you expect love to be the love of the first 4-6 months of a relationship, you’re going to be disappointed a whole bunch over and over.

Jobs aren’t much different.

You get a new job, and it’s usually really good!  People listen to your opinion. You seem smarter. Hell, you seem better looking (primarily because people are sick of looking at their older co-workers). Everything seems better in a new job.  Then you have your one-year anniversary, and you come to find out you’re just like the other idiots you’re working with.

This is when falling in love with your job really begins. When you know about all the stuff, the company hid in the closet. The past employees they think are better and smarter than you, the good old days when they made more money, etc.  Now is when you have to put some work into making it work.

I see people all the time moving around to different employers and never seeming to be satisfied.  They’re searching. Not for a better job or a better company. They’re searching for that feeling that will last.  But it never will, not without them working for it.

The best love has to be worked for. Passion is easy and fleeting. Love is hard to sustain and has to be worked on, but it can last forever.

Tim Talks – Are you worried about layoffs?

If you’re a close follower of mass media, we are currently being led to believe that the world is coming undone, and everyone is losing their job. That’s not really the case, so let’s dig into some reasons why that is…

Enjoy your day. Enjoy your weekend. Keep hiring great talent that produces excellent work, and your world will be a much better place!

Backdoor Job Searches Work Better Than Front-door Applies!

This might seem rather obvious, but it’s not. I have people reach out to me frequently looking for a job. Most out-of-college job searchers are only doing front-door applications/applying online. The more experienced you get, you are probably doing a little backdoor work, but honestly, even with experienced professionals, I’m shocked at how much time they spend on job boards applying for jobs with zero success.

There was a great Twitter thread recently by a hedge fund professional answering the age-old question about how do you get a job in a hedge fund? Here’s a link to the thread

Brett gets way more detailed in his thread about the process, and he also gives two different scenarios of how people can get in – one traditional A-school education and one B-school grinder. I’m taking some creative liberty with his concept to talk about Front Door applying for a job and Back Door networking for a job!

Talent Acquisition Spends 99% of Their Time on the Front Door Process!

I’m not sure this is a problem. It’s more of a philosophy. TA/HR are true believers in the process. Build a great process that is repeatable and equal for everyone. There’s a ton of merit in that philosophy. It’s hard to argue with the righteousness of that philosophy.

Repeatable. Equitable. Fair. (Even though that’s in theory, not, in reality, we control what we control)

In many organizations, there are as many positions filled via the back door as the front door. I like to tell the kids this is called “networking.” It’s how LinkedIn was built. And before LinkedIn, it’s how most business and job filling got done, at a high level. The lower down the pay scale, the more front door work is needed. As you rise up the pay scale, the more the back door process comes into play. But, this isn’t just about how we fill executive roles. Mid-level and entry-level professional roles get filled in this way a lot.

The question really is, what’s more valuable?

If you’re an applicant and if you’re an organization?

It seems like both parties are served better in the back door process if you have the network, and therein lies the problem. Not all people have the same networks. If you graduate from a great school, you have a better network than someone who didn’t. If you have professional parents who have a long history and network in the market and industry you want to get into, your network will be more helpful than someone who didn’t have those advantages.

Getting hired through the back door isn’t wrong for organizations, though. Many will tell you it is, but in so many ways, this networking uncovers high performers much more efficiently. The problem truly lies in nepotism when hiring managers don’t hire for high performance but only for relationships. But throwing the baby out with the bath water doesn’t make sense either.

The Reality of How People Get Hired That Isn’t Going to Change.

Most people will get hired by their network. Everyone has a network. Every network is different. I can’t get you hired at Apple, I don’t have a good network in that world. But I can get you hired by a lot of companies! I can get you hired if you’re a teacher, but I can get you hired if you’re in HR or TA. My network is robust, but it’s specific.

I will never discount anyone who uses their network to get hired. That’s just intelligent. You use what you have to be as successful as you can be. If you got the job you don’t deserve from your network, it will play itself out in the end when you fail. People like to think this isn’t true. “Tim! My boss’s nephew is horrible, and he got promoted!” Yep, that might happen, but 99% of the time, it doesn’t play out that way in reality.

I have had CEOs I’ve worked with in my career come to me and demand I hire one of their relatives. “Put Timmy in this job. Period.” What did I do? I put Timmy in the job. If Timmy worked out, it is what it is. Timmy has to deal with that. If Timmy failed, I went directly to the CEO, and we had that conversation, and 100% of the time, they supported me in getting rid of Timmy!

Hate the game, but if you fight the game, you’ll lose. Front door hiring is inefficient and doesn’t have a better success rate than back door hiring. So, you can hate it, but you look foolish to your executives who know the reality.

The LinkedIn Content we Love to hate and Love to love!

It started out a couple of years ago as “Broetry” a writing trend where mostly men did what I like to call “Hustle Porn” on LinkedIn. Some wannabe tech dude leaning on the hood of an expensive sports car telling you to work as hard as him and you can get the fancy sports car as well.

Mostly young, attractive, social media influencer types have quickly turned hustle porn/broetry into something I’m sure we even have a name for yet! Maybe it’s “Empathy Porn” or “Positive Porn” I’m sure one of these folks will come up with a great title! This LinkedIn viral content has a definite flavor and structure to it. It’s so similar in its style that it’s actually funny once you’re able to identify it.

Whatever it is, it’s not professional content, which I think the vast majority of folks come to LinkedIn for, but you also can’t argue the successful viral nature of this type of content! It’s so popular you start to question why people actually come to LinkedIn! Are we sure it’s a professional networking site?!

This isn’t a LinkedIn bashing post. I love LinkedIn. I use it every day. I don’t like this new type of viral LinkedIn content that basically delivers zero value to anyone except the creator, whom I’m guessing is at a level of narcissism that is incomprehensible!

What does the LinkedIn Algorithm love in a piece of content?

  1. Positive. Maybe overly positive.
  2. A certain structure to how it’s written (see example below).
  3. A selfie and it helps if you’re ridiculously attractive and show some skin, but not too much skin.
  4. Some emoji bullet points towards the bottom.

These posts are getting hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of interactions in some cases! Thousands of comments.

Will all of this interaction and comments, you must think, “Tim, you’re just a hater. These people must be sharing some amazingly valuable content!” No. They mostly share personal stories, most I’m sure are made up, that has a narrative of overcoming and succeeding, lifting yourself up and succeeding. Failing and then succeeding, etc.

One of the best I’ve seen at creating this content is Cat Philip. Most likely, you’ve seen her content as the LinkedIn Algo loves Cat! Why? Well, she’s a young twenty-something who’s just trying to make it in the business world as a woman, but people keep judging her, but she’s not going to allow that to stop her! I mean, at least that’s pretty much every post, along with a selfie!

Cat Philip from LinkedIn (these are all actual LI post pics)

No judgment. Cat is killing it on LinkedIn. Her business is social media, and she’s good at it. It’s just not the content I thought I would ever see on LinkedIn. She is far from the only one, there are now millions of LinkedIn users doing this content in different ways, but the structure is almost always the same! I saw a Dad do one on his young daughter and her struggle, same exact format, same viral spin with the algorithm.

Another commonality of these viral positive porn posts is that almost always, they are done by someone in the “business.” The business of making or wanting to make viral content. Some sort of marketing person, influencer, speaker, author, bullshit life coach, someone selling essential oils, etc. It’s not about truly selling the “story” it’s about selling themselves. And it’s really effective if you want to make a viral post!

Can a normal person create a LinkedIn Viral post?

Yes! Because I made one up, and it worked!

Part 1
Part 2

So, this post was up for less than 24 hours, and I deleted it because I had so many friends in real life who know me who were making such nice, awesome comments about me as a person! And it was all fake! I didn’t want to embarrass anyone, I was just testing the algorithm!

I mean, a Homeless Puppy with One-eye! You can’t make that up! Well, yes. Yes, you can make it up, actually!

What did I learn about my little LinkedIn Viral Algorithm Test?

  1. Many people have figured out how to get the LinkedIn Algorithm to pick up their post.
  2. My own post wasn’t as popular but still strong because I didn’t make it personal enough about myself with a puppy. Also, because I’m a middle-aged, average-looking dude. Very attractive people have an easier time going viral, which is why I chose a cute puppy!
  3. It’s wrapped in “positivity” and “overcoming the struggle,” but that’s not what it’s really about.
  4. The format is fairly easy to follow, and it tends to work better from mobile, but you can create the post on word/Google docs and copy and paste it.
  5. If your audience knows you, I mean truly knows you, there will be a lot of favorable reactions since they believe what you’re putting on LinkedIn. And honestly, many of these folks believe their own bullshit. That’s very similar to the hustle porn culture.
  6. For some odd reason, the algorithm loves emoji bullet points 2/3s of the way down your post.
  7. I think LinkedIn as a platform is worse for this type of viral content.

I was speaking at an HR conference, and I was telling some people this story and how I created it. Across the board, 100% of people all immediately recognized the content I was describing, and all didn’t like it. But, many also admitted to interacting with this type of content because we all actually love a positive, uplifting story! We also love when people bare their souls, even if it is a bit weird to do in a professional setting.

I get frustrated because really great professional content gets lost in this type of algorithm environment. People I follow and respect share some great stuff, and instead, the algorithm feeds me homeless one-eyed puppies because everyone else, apparently, wants homeless puppies!

FWIW – to the audience who interacted with my test and thought I was some amazing person, I apologize! I mean, I am amazing, but I’m not a homeless one-eyed puppy amazing!

7 Things a Tech Startup Can Teach You About Your Own Success!

My buddy John Hill works for Techstars as the VP of Network. Go connect with him, he’s completely an awesome guy who will sit down and have a beer with you and talk about how to change the world for hours!  Last week he got to meet the latest crop of Techstar startups and came away motivated with some great learnings.

Here are John’s takeaways from the newest Techstar startups:

1. Nothing beats hustle. Nothing.

2. The world is full of good ideas, but only a few will execute them.

3. Relational capital is vital.

4. Networks matter. Surround yourself with those who can help you.

5. There are some wicked smart people in the world.

6. To build a great company, you need help with funding, talent, and connections to business/industry to scale and the understanding of how to navigate each.

7. Suspend disbelief!

I’m drawn to each of the seven for different reasons, but #2 jumps out because I witness this on a daily basis. There are two kinds of people in the world: those who execute and those who talk about executing. Hire those who execute. Understand that they are rare, and you should overpay for this ‘skill.’

Do you notice nowhere on his list does he talk about failure. John is a motherfucking doer! He gets shit done. Techstars will only take a chance on startups led by people who will execute. John talks about ways to succeed, not about just throwing caution to the wind and failing. The reality is most will fail. Setting yourself up for success is key.

I love that he ends his list with “Suspend disbelief.” The world is a critic. Those who make it big have that special combination of John’s list. Great idea, ability to execute, the right network to make it happen, super smart, etc. What they also have is true belief! At the end of the day, you have to believe 1000% of your idea is going to work. No part of you even questions that it won’t.

If it didn’t work, you would be destroyed because your belief was so strong that you never saw it coming when it failed. That’s how most great ideas actually make it. You find a combination of all of these things and you put money and resources behind it.

These seven learnings aren’t about how to make a startup successful. These are how you make anything successful that you’re working on.