The Top Recruiters Never Get Surprised! #Recruiting101

If there is one thing I could give a new Recruiting Pro it would be this simple advice. No matter how prepared you think you are, you really only need to prepare yourself, for one thing, being surprised.

You don’t really get judged on your daily stuff.  Let’s face it, 99.9% of the time that goes off without a hitch.  You get judged on how you handle surprises.

Surprises make and break great Recruiting Pro careers.

There’s really only one way to prepare for surprises.  You need to expect that a surprise will always happen. That one interview you desperately want, who calls to cancel with ‘car trouble’, the candidate who backs out of the offer after signing the paperwork.  Talk about it, plan for it, and basically come to grips that it will happen.  Then it will happen, and you’ll be the only one not surprised by it.

The best Recruiting Pros I’ve worked with had this one common trait, they were unshakeable when surprised.

Almost like they expected it.

The Dance We Call Work.

I read a statistic the other day that said on average a person works about 6 hours per day, Monday through Friday. The number of hours worked per day has actually decreased during the pandemic. It’s interesting because when you ask people how many hours per day they work almost all would say at least 8, or more.

But, do we really “work” eight hours per day?

Prior to the Pandemic when most people went into an office, you definitely “worked” at least eight hours most days. Or at least you were present in your office environment for eight hours. How much work you actually did during that time varies widely!

The Pandemic hits and people work remotely and we begin to hear a different narrative around work. The conversation switches from “hours” to what actually got done. Let me be clear, this should have always been the conversation, but culturally we still have so much “asses in seats” management going on it was tough to break through.

When people started “working” remotely they began to have the flexibility to integrate all of their life at one time. No longer did you have to shut down one part of your life to go to work. You could now seamlessly start a load of laundry on the way to fill up your cup of coffee and still make it back in time for the beginning of your sales Zoom meeting. It all just kind of made sense, for those who could do it.

All of this now makes “The Dance” we do in the office seem a bit silly!

I’ve always been a giant fan of set solid productivity goals and if someone hits those goals, I could care less if it takes them 10 hours a week or 60 hours a week. You make life decisions on how you work at the office, at home, etc. If you are super productive and kick out your job in 32 hours a week, but still get paid a full salary, you’re winning the game! If it takes you 50 or 60 hours a week to complete your job, you need some development to help you, or to find a new job/career!

You show up at the office at 8 am, dink around a bit, catch up with co-worker-friends on what happened in the 12-16 hours since you saw them last, do some stuff until lunch, do some more stuff, wait until 5 pm, then run off to do life stuff. Rinse, lather, repeat. The Dance is never-ending.

But something cool happened during the Pandemic and now everyone wants to dance a different dance! It’s not that everyone wants remote. If you say that out loud, just know I’m judging your intelligence! Everyone doesn’t want to work full remote. A lot of people love working with others and seeing them face-to-face, many on a daily basis! You might not like your co-workers, company, job, etc., but actually, most people do.

The New Work Dance is really about finding ways to add in some flexibility.

A little bit goes a long way! “Yeah, but Tim, our jobs don’t allow flexibility! We open the doors at 7 am and customers start coming and we need our workers there!” Yep, I get that. You can’t have someone make coffee at home for customers who come to your location to buy coffee! But that doesn’t mean you can treat your employees like adults and allow for some flexibility.

Let me share an example. I have a friend who manages a retail chain. She’s a really good manager. A single mom who works her tail off to make ends meet. Her child is starting to play sports and on Saturday mornings for an hour, she wanted to go watch him. She was told she couldn’t have every Saturday off, so she would have to miss some games. She said I don’t want to take off every Saturday. I’ll come in, open up, run over to the game, run back, and the other workers said they’ll cover for me. Adults working out a solution.

What happened? You know! Nope, you can’t do that, because if we allow you, then everyone will want to start doing stuff like that!

Yes!!! They will, and if it works out, fine, that’s okay! Adults being adults, making adult decisions and solutions. Let them Dance! Find ways to give them a bit of flexibility in a mostly inflexible world. They’ll be happier, perform better, feel good about working for you, etc.

Will it always work out? No. Real-world, some folks will take advantage of the situation and those are the people you don’t want working for you. But, we have to change the dance. We have to find more dances that work for more people. We will not find one for everyone, but we can find more.

My hope is the Pandemic taught us one thing. This dance we call work is a fraud. 8 hours, 40 hours, whatever it is, it’s not about time, it’s about results, it’s about getting a job done well. I want to hire people who think about how to get the job done well in less time verse hiring people who want to show up and dance for forty hours a week.

How Realistic Is It for Your Entire Company to Take Collective PTO? #SummerShutDown #HRFamous

On episode 70 of The HR Famous Podcast, longtime HR leaders (and friends) Tim SackettKris Dunn, and Jessica Lee come together to discuss the 2021 Summer Olympics, the concept of collective time off and entire companies shutting down, and the lack of women returning to the workforce.

Listen (click this link if you don’t see the player) and be sure to subscribe, rate, and review (Apple Podcasts) and follow (Spotify)

Show Highlights

2:30 – The Olympics are here! Tim’s wife is Olympic-obsessed and watches anything and everything.

4:00 – KD’s favorite Olympic sports are men’s basketball and the decathlon. He loves seeing some bigger dudes struggling with the run at the very end. Tim is a swimming and track-and-field fan.

6:45 – JLee is more of a winter Olympics fan, but she loves watching archery during the summer. She loves watching the Koreans kick butt in archery at the Olympics.

9:00 – To help combat burnout, companies have started to implement the concept of “collective time off,” where the entire company shuts down. Bumble recently decided to give their entire staff a week off at the same time.

11:00 – KD is skeptical of the concept — calling it Privilege — since a lot of companies cannot afford to let all of their employees take off a day like that.

14:00 – JLee mentions that at her company, Marriott, they cannot afford to give every employee time off since they are a 24/7 operation and that opens them up to controversy and criticism.

17:20 – JLee asks Tim if this can be used as a recruiting tactic. When he was working at Applebee’s, he found himself working an HR job on Black Friday even though there was nothing to do. Then they got a new CEO that changed the mindset not to treat everyone the same.

22:45 – There has been some more data released recently about women in the workforce. JLee mentions how it might not be an option for some women to return to the workforce now. Tim recently found a data point that said there are 2 million people that still have not returned to the workforce.

27:45 – KD thinks this isn’t an issue that HR can fix on its own. It can be a lot of work, but it can be very worthwhile since it’s one of the biggest untapped segments out there.

30:00 – JLee remembers seeing two moms that job-shared and thinking how progressive and seamless it was.

32:00 – Tim mentions how his brother-in-law is a teacher and only took home $10-15k a year after paying for childcare.

TransfoRM Recruitment Marketing Conference! Sign Up Today!

The World’s largest Recruitment Marketing Conference is Back for 2021! You can sign up for free here using the code “TIMTRANSFORM” to join TransfoRM 2021! The conference will be held on August 5th, coming to you live from DETROIT!

For the 5th year, I”ll be the Emcee for this event, and I’ll also be bringing you the 4th edition of my popular walk & talk series “Recruitment Marketing Bootcamp” and in this episode, I’ll be discussing AI in Recruitment.

TransfoRM is such a unique conference that has been breaking barriers since it was started five years ago, and it has created a community of some of the greatest Recruitment Marketing Professionals in the world. The interaction is tremendous, and I wish more conferences would take note of what TransfoRM does! It’s fast, fun, and informational. No back-to-back, one-hour sessions – sessions that are short and sweet, get to the point, and make us smarter!

Who else will be joining me for TransfoRM 2021 Virtual?

  • Torin Ellis – my friend and who I believe is the top Diversity Recruitment Strategist in the world, will be dropping his amazing knowledge on us!
  • Debbie Tuel – The Chief Joy Officer and the Queen of the Joy Roadshows for Symphony Talent
  • Chad Sowash and Joel Cheeseman – From the popular HR Tech podcast Chad and Cheese
  • Julie Sowash – Amazing disability advocate and star of the podcast Crazy and the King
  • Roopesh Nair – the CEO of Symphony, and one of the smartest dudes you’ll ever hear from in Recruiting!
  • Advent Health will bring you Talent Attraction Strategies you haven’t thought of!

What else? TransfoRM 2022 will be coming back LIVE and if you register using my code “TIMTRANSFORM” you will get $500 off the live event also, for next year, on top of getting into the virtual 2021 conference for FREE!

Even if you can’t make the live event on August 5th, sign up and you can get the content sent to you afterward so you don’t miss a minute of great ideas and motivation!

This Is How Your Work Culture Forms!

There’s nothing I really need to add to this. Hugh MacLeod, the brilliant artist at Gaping Void, has an awesome knack for saying so much with his work. I love their work. Turns out, design matters when building culture. So, brilliant.

We love to believe that culture starts at the top with this great visionary leader, but our reality is most of us will never work for a visionary leader. Most of us will work with mere mortals who everyday struggle to keep it all together, just like us.

Our culture is not decided by one person and then disseminated down to the rest. It’s decided by all of us through shared experiences, failures, successes, and love.

Recruiting is Not Marketing Nor Sales!

We love, I love, to say Recruiting is Marketing! I love Recruitment Marketing and the technology behind it, I think it’s brilliant! Recruiting is also not sales!

Why is Recruiting neither Marketing nor Sales?

What’s the core function of marketing and sales? To welcome as many people as possible into your funnel so that all of those people will buy your product or service, or give to your charity, etc.

In Recruitment, we are in the Rejection business!

Can you imagine you walk into a Cadillac dealership? You saw the commercial for the new SUV, you decide you want that SUV. You saw the billboard for that same car, heard the radio commercial, heck you even saw an Ad on Facebook, it’s almost like they’re listening to your brain! You’ve got a pocket full of hundred dollar bills and you walk into the dealership because today you’re driving away in that brand new, beautiful Cadillac SUV!

DealerNo!

MeUm, what?! 

DealerNo, we aren’t selling you that new Cadillac SUV, you’re not a Cadillac “Man”! 

MeA what!? 

DealerYeah, sorry, you don’t get a Cadillac today, we’re saving those for only certain people! 

It’s funny because we know this would never happen! I could walk into the dealership holding a severed head and the first words out of the salesman’s mouth would be “the trunk on our new sedan could hold a hundred of those heads!”

Recruiting isn’t Marketing or Sales, because true Marketing and Sales are in the business of ‘All’, not one. No one really gets rejected in marketing and sales if you have the means. In Recruiting, you could fit every single thing the organization is requesting and you will still get rejected. Recruiting is in the Rejection business, not the sales and marketing business!

If we/recruiting are in the Sales and Marketing business, we are in a really sick and twisted business! Hey, “Everyone” come and apply to our jobs, because I get really excited when I get to turn you down and say “no”! So, let’s not kid ourselves. Our business is about Rejection. Hey, come on over here and let me tell you what’s wrong with you, and then I’ll make the decision if we want you to be a part of our team or not.

Marketing campaigns sometimes try to fake like they’re being exclusive. “Only ‘you are being invited to buy this new SUV! You’ll be the first to own it! No one else!” Until next week when everyone will own it and actually have a better color than you. That’s not true rejection for those who don’t get it first, it’s just a game we play to increase demand.

So, why does this manner? 

If we know we are actually in the Rejection business, and we are, we/recruiters have to have an empathy level that is off the charts if we want to survive. Let me get this straight, you want me to talk as many people as possible into loving our company, then you want me to reject 99.9% of them? Yes!

To be able to do that and not drink yourself to sleep every night takes a really high ego or an endless supply of empathy towards all those great people who just wanted you to pick them, but your organization picked someone else, but they left it on your desk to share the bad news!

This is probably the main reason so many candidates never get dispositioned. We can all just crush only so many souls in a day! It’s easier to ghost candidates than to crush their dreams!

Rejection business is a hard, hard business to be in. Sales and Marketing are easy. Can you imagine how easy your life would be if you were able to give everyone the job!?

Should we be talking politics at work? Is there a benefit to doing that? #HRFamous

In episode 69 of The HR Famous Podcast, longtime HR leaders (and friends) Tim SackettKris Dunn, and Jessica Lee come together to discuss Shopify’s CEO laying a smackdown on workplace politics and how hiring in the post-Covid era is the risky age of the “quick quit.”

Listen (click this link if you don’t see the player) and be sure to subscribe, rate, and review (Apple Podcasts) and follow (Spotify)

Show Highlights

2:00 – KD (our resident book expert) mentions the book Edge City about suburban areas that become their own cities when they get enough leasable commercial real estate.

5:20 – KD asks the crew what they wear on the Fourth of July. Tim and his family wear the Old Navy flag t-shirts every year.

8:30 – Tim and his wife went to D.C. for the 4th when his wife was pregnant for the first time, and they were not prepared for the madness!

9:30: KD is seeing so much fast churn in the hiring world right now due to the tight job market and heavy hiring right now.

12:30 – JLee is really fascinated by the metrics of a “quick-quit” or a “quick-churn.” She mentions that it’s really important when her company is opening new hotels.

15:30 – Tim mentions how HR treats new employees so roughly and if they’re seasoned employees. This can ruin new hires and make them want to leave.

18:40 – JLee says that onboarding shouldn’t be treated as one person’s job, just like company culture. Everyone plays a role, and everyone needs to be all in.

22:00 – Tim says that a piece of the onboarding issue is relationship-based. Good recruiters can do this well because they are good at building that relationship.

25:00 – Everyone’s favorite topic:politics in the workplace! KD brings up the Canadian company Shopify. Their CEO made a statement saying that the company is not a family but it is a great team. The statement was made to try and tamp down divisiveness on politics within their teams. KD notes that the CEO is left-leaning, had enough of activist employees, and that his guidance was epic.

29:30 – Tim speaks about how if he’s working with someone who is good at their job and giving him what he needs from a team perspective, that’s all that matters to him. He doesn’t have to be friends with everyone he works with.

32:00 – Jessica commends the statement for discussing how there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach for how a company can approach politics and social issues, and everyone will do it for how it fits their culture.

Why do managers hold on to bad hires for so long?

I’ve been very public about my philosophy on hiring. I do not hire to fire. In no way do I hire someone thinking “I can’t wait until the day I fire them!”, I don’t think any of us really think that!

I hire someone believing that with the right training, development, and support, they will be wildly successful! I own at least half of that equation, the person I hire owns the other half. Many times it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

The problem with my philosophy is “Sunk Cost”.

Sunk cost is an accounting philosophy that means a cost that has already been incurred and cannot be recovered. So, you’ve already sourced, recruited, and trained an employee. You’ve gone beyond training working to develop them. All those costs are now spent.

BUT – because you’ve ‘invested’ those costs into an employee, you are less likely to let them go believing you are more likely to get a return on those costs. In reality, there is absolutely zero evidence that shows you’ll get any return for future investment into that employee, but we really struggle to give up on them based on what we’ve already spent.

This is super common in the management of people resources!

Well, I’ve already dropped $50K into Tim, I guess another $10K isn’t that bad. When in reality that $10K is actually way better spent on another employee, and you fire Timmy!

I’ve known about Sunk Cost for a long time, but now there is actually scientific evidence to back up the fact we should be firing failing employees sooner:

“Sunk costs are irrecoverable investments that should not influence decisions, because decisions should be made on the basis of expected future consequences. Both human and nonhuman animals can show sensitivity to sunk costs, but reports from across species are inconsistent. In a temporal context, a sensitivity to sunk costs arises when an individual resists ending an activity, even if it seems unproductive, because of the time already invested. In two parallel foraging tasks that we designed, we found that mice, rats, and humans show similar sensitivities to sunk costs in their decision-making. Unexpectedly, sensitivity to time invested accrued only after an initial decision had been made. These findings suggest that sensitivity to temporal sunk costs lies in a vulnerability distinct from deliberation processes and that this distinction is present across species.”

This scientific study showed both humans and rats basically do the exact same thing. If we feel we have already invested a ton of resources in a task, we are more likely to continue pursuing this task even when all the evidence to that point has only shown failure!

This is Poor Performing Employee Management 101!

-You hire an employee.

-The employee gets trained and should have the skills to perform the job.

-The employee doesn’t perform the job, so you give more resources to help get them up to speed.

-The employee still doesn’t perform.

-The manager decides not to terminate the employee, but to continue to give more resources and chances.

Why do we do this?

You hired 3 employees before the failing employee and all three completed training and did the job successfully. We know the process works. So why do we not fire the employee?

Sensitivity to Sunk Cost. We are as dumb as rats when it comes to investing our own resources into failing employees. We act the exact same way!

It has nothing to do with the employee and our desire to give everyone a fair shot (I don’t hire to fire). It has everything to do with our own internal drive of not wanting to lose, what we feel we’ve already invested, even when all the data tells us future investment is akin to burning a pile of cash.

So, don’t hire to fire, but also don’t be as dumb as a rat and not fire someone who shows you they can’t and won’t do the job you hired them to do!

The Newest Red Flag In Hiring!

I’m trained as an HR pro to pick up on ‘red flags’ in interviewing, in employee behavior, potential turnover risks, etc. Sometimes those red flags are really obvious.  I tease my staff all the time, but missing time on Mondays and Fridays, unexcused time, is a red flag.  It says something about how you feel about work, that you want to extend your weekend. It’s subtle, but in my experience, it doesn’t play out well.

My new red flag in hiring is Positivity.

First, I’ll admit to you that I’m mostly a positive person.  My normal gauge is set to “things will probably work out in the end”.  I try to be realistic, without thinking the sky is going to fall when something doesn’t go my way.  Life has been pretty good to me. My glass is over half full, and when it’s not, I believe I can find a way to fill it back up.

What I don’t buy is the people who are so positive they seem to be telling themselves they’re positive.  I tend to believe if you’re positive, you don’t need to say your outlook is positive, people will hear it and see it in your daily interactions.  Those are the people you get drawn to. They are truly positive people who enjoy the life they’ve created for themselves.

There is another kind of positive person.  This is the person who needs to keep reminding themselves and anyone around them they’re positive. This positive scares me. This positive is a red flag for me.  This type of positive makes me believe you are actually fairly negative but trying to turn yourself into positive.

Now, I don’t necessarily think that’s bad, someone wanting to change from negative to positive.  I applaud the effort. I also know that most people are hardwired to lean one way.  It’s your personality, and that’s really hard to change long term.

My friend Kris Dunn, author of The 9 Faces of HR, loves to ask applicants about what work experience in their life they enjoyed the most, and which one did they dislike the most. Each tells you something about the person.  A truly positive person will have a hard time finding a place they truly disliked, but they’ll speak a ton about what they really liked. A truly negative person will do the opposite. They’ll go on and on about what they dislike, but move on quickly with their answer about what they like.

Basically, you can fake positivity, and it’s common amongst candidates.  The problem is, you can’t fake it for long, and even if they can fake it, fake positivity can get downright annoying!

I think it’s important to remember that the opposite of Positive Thinking isn’t Negative Thinking. It’s Possible Thinking. I want to hire people who are realistic about what is possible. Blind positivity doesn’t last and usually leads to a big fall.  I don’t need drama in my work environment.

Who would have ever thought that positivity would be a hiring red flag!

2.9 million Americans have been unemployed for at least a year! Why?

When I saw this number released this week, I was shocked. This month that number increased by almost 250,000! The 2.9M number represents 29% of all unemployed workers. I found myself asking, Why and How? How can someone who wants to work be unemployed for one year?

Being someone who is in the business of hiring people my gut reaction wants to say, “well, these people must not really want to work!” But that’s a cop-out and mostly ignorant way to think about it. The truth is, there are 2.9 million reasons why 2.9 million people remain unemployed for a year or more!

If we could easily go to each of these 2.9 million people who have been unemployed for at least a year I think we would start to hear some common reasons:

  • Pandemic related reasons: They have medical issues that make it very dangerous for them to return to the type of work there were doing prior, and possibly they are also concerned over an experimental vaccine that could protect them, or even that the pandemic shuttered the work they do, and it still has not come back. Childcare issues do to normal school and after-school programs not running as usual.
  • Pivot Reasons: We talk about “Reskilling” all the time but we don’t truly talk about the logistics of truly reskilling yourself. I was employed as an “X” and because of whatever reasons I left the workforce to reskill because I now want to be a “Y”. Maybe this was of their own doing, maybe this was pandemic related, etc. Some probably are unemployed because they lost their job and decided to go back to school.
  • Executive Positions: There is a lot of data around how long it takes someone to find a job the higher up in a company or your salary is. At a VP level for large organizations, on average it takes six to twelve months for people to find their next position after a job loss, at that same level. This is simply do to the fact that very few of those positions come up, so there’s a waiting game that takes place.
  • Retirement: For a number of reasons I made the decision to retire, but because it’s to my benefit to not actually retire, and claim unemployment, I now get this soft landing going into retirement by taking advantage of extended unemployment benefits, etc.
  • Stimulus and Extended Unemployment Benefits: Let’s not be naive and act like this doesn’t have an impact as well. It does, but probably not to the extent that most people believe. If I can make more money not working than working, well many people will decide to ride that out as long as possible. Some would even find that you know after doing this for 6-9 months, maybe our family can actually live on one income for a while, etc.
  • Habitual poor performers: Have you ever noticed that some folks just aren’t good at working, any job, ever! For whatever reasons, these folks just are not wired to work. They constantly get fired, and eventually it’s really hard for them to get a job. Could be cognitive issues, mental health issues, drug and alcohol issues, etc.

What I know is having 2.9 million workers out of the workforce for a year, is a problem for US companies. We need those individuals, or at least we need those within the 2.9 million capable of working, to return to the workforce in whatever capacity they can!

The unemployment rate currently sits at 5.9% that is still rather high as compared to early 2019, but actually not very high historically. Those of us in HR and TA figure that once you get below 5% unemployment, you have slim pickings when it comes to talent, for many of the reasons listed above. Within that 5% or less, many of those folks just don’t want to work, or can’t work, in the jobs we have open.

Currently within the US today we have one open job for every unemployed worker, but as we all know, those jobs are not aligned in a way that we can fill those jobs with those who are unemployed.

If you are one of those folks who have been unemployed for a year or more, I would love to hear your reason and see if it aligns with mine above. Hit me in the comments!