I Hate Sumser’s Top 25 Lists

Let me get something very clear – I really do hate the Top 25 Lists on HR Examiner.  I hate them because I’m not #1 on any of the lists  – ok, let’s be honest – I’m actually not even #25 on any of the lists.  Let’s be more honest, I don’t think I’m in the top 100 – I scored 2!  The top person Dean DaCosta scored 153!  In HR Performance Management speak that is like saying Dean is your “A” player and Tim is the owner’s crackhead son you are force to keep on payroll.   Don’t get me wrong – I don’t know Dean – I’m sure he’s wonderful and knows a ton about recruiting and talent.   Number 2 on the list is Matt Charney – someone I do know and respect.  Matt knows a ton about our industry – he scored 24 out of 25 on recruiting (for the record I scored “0” – as in zero and as in everybody knows more about recruiting than I – even those on the list who actually have never recruited and aren’t in the recruiting industry) – I think even Matt would admit based on his 24 – I should at least have gotten a point or two…or 25.  Matt works for Monster.com, one of the major advertisers on HR Examiner’s website – having him #1 would have sent up red flags – having him #2 makes it totally legitimate.

I consider myself a confident person – especially when it comes to most things HR and Recruiting.  Do I think I’m the best and should be #1?  Well, yes, I do – but for arguments sake, do I know there are better HR and Talent Pros out there than me? – well, yes – I guess, that’s hard to admit, but logically I know it’s true.

It’s true because there are fantastic people around the country that I reach out to on a daily, weekly and monthly basis – and sometimes a few of these people actually show up on one of Sumser’s lists.  Being in the social media/HR/Talent deal for the past 3 years you run into a lot of people.  There are a number of frauds that lurk around this playground.  There are number of frauds who show up on these lists – which is one more reason I hate these lists.  (so now for the record – I hate the lists now because I’m not on them and the frauds)

I hate the lists because so many people read them and comment on them and send out congratulations about them – like it’s a big deal – which it would be if I was #1, but I’m not, so stop trying to make these a big deal!   I hate these lists because people use them to promote themselves for branding purposes on their resumes – “I was voted the #7 most influential Recruiting professional by such and such” – and to many folks are too stupid or lazy to do some real background checking to see how substantial that claim really is.  (So, now for the record I hate the lists because I’m not on them, frauds, too many people pay attention to them, congratulations messages on my social stream and branding)

I hate these lists because there just doesn’t seem to be enough correlation between what they say they are measuring (i.e., Influence in Recruiting) and then a list of actual people who influence recruiting.  Some great pros – no doubt on the list – but for recruiting?  Steve Boese – a friend of mind and fellow FOTer – probably the single best source of HR Technology knowledge in the world – not the US – the world.  Recruiting/Talent/Sourcing/Staffing/Talent Acquisition?  Not the first person I think of in those respects.  I reach out to Steve frequently for stuff – but not usually stuff on recruiting – he’s a genius – should be on a number of lists – but this wouldn’t be the first list I would choose for him.   What about the true recruiting genius’s in our industry: Glenn Cathey, Chris Hoyt, Jim Stroud – how can they not be on this lists? In fact how can they not be in the Top 5 of this list?!  Arguably, these 3 guys know and influence more in recruiting than the Top 25 listed combined.

So, for the record I hate Sumser’s lists because: I’m not one them, frauds, too many people pay attention to them, congratulations, using it to brand yourself, notable missing industry leaders – but mainly because I’m not #1.


33 thoughts on “I Hate Sumser’s Top 25 Lists

  1. A few years ago I wrote a post about the “sumser’s SEO Generating List” – I regenerate it several times a year.. – Is it really Influence, or just a Typical Load of Industry B.S? http://bit.ly/acTBAh
    This post which has generated thousands of hits on Hirecentrix was mostly ignored by the “popular group”; Why? I reflected on much of what was said here – Ironically, even if one isn’t on That particular List, one still has to be on another “special” list to be considered a “voice” in this industry? Experience, tenure, and ability Not included?
    Anyways – I recently posed the following question on facebook – What does Peter Pan, Cinderalla, Snow White have in common with many on the list of top HR influencers ? They share about the same amount of Practical experience in H.R.. Seriously, when is there going to be a list of 25 People who influence H.R and ALL 25 Will actually have HR experience and knowledge? – Lots of truth in it –
    Yet sadly, we see more and more people be offended of the List, get their name on the list, and Suddenly the List is Amazing.. and they love to even support the list even more, by advertising it proudly on their websites..
    Hmm, no wonder the one thing that aggrevates so many in our industry just won’t go away..

    Oh, and Sumser, he never was in H.R or even practiced Recruiting.. How did he become so “influential” himself?

  2. Right the ____ on!! Most of these guys have their heads and noses so far up each others ass anyway… they live in a theoretical world & Sumser is their swami. It’s really pretty pathetic when you think about it. Good for you dude!

  3. All I can say is congrats to everyone on the list for their 15 minutes of fame, you now have to continue to prove you have game.

    I am not one to point the finger, I do not like people that are negative on others, warranted or not. I like to be positive and move on. Tim this was a great article and you are a great recruitment thinker as are a ton of other great people I follow and interact with. That is really what is important and to be valued.

  4. Loved the rant 🙂

    The list is auto-generated using HRMarketer’s “SocialEars” tool – so I guess they have to improve the tool, hopefully in time for the next list

    One more thing, this is not a world-wide list too. It only shows up people tweeting and blogging in the English language. So relying on these “supposed influencers” would be a very risky strategy for a global HR/Recruiting vendor

  5. Tim,

    You have now unlocked the secret to being on the list. If you blog about not being on the list, you will most assuredly be on the next list. I did this a year or so ago and suddenly starting appearing on the lists.

    Just you wait and see. . .


  6. Ha! I’m not an HR professional, but I can definitely understand the sentiment being in the social media industry. Lists like this make me want to throw things – I see so-called social media experts heralded everyday for doing nothing more than talking to other social media experts about social media. Drives me nuts! I feel the same way about Klout.

  7. When i saw that list i laughed so hard i choked. I just blasted the top guy on the list because he slams tweets in the activity stream on another website. So many that a bunch of them have to be deleted to keep the clutter out of the activity stream. I made the comment that i would not follow anybody who made a career out of posting tweets in activity streams. He explained that he was branding himself. Can this get any dumber or any more ridiculous. Some of the top 25 from the past few years who blogged and tweeted and commented their way to something due to volume of noise have left the industry after a few short years. Why? They were supposed recruiters who didn’t make any placements. They should have done seminars on influence while the numbers thought they had some. How about a list of people who used to be but starved out. Social media influence indeed.

  8. You’re right, Tim, I would admit if my recruiting knowledge ranks a 24, yours ranks about 170, but I’m pretty sure after watching the social conversation unfold over the last couple of years, influence has nothing to do with expertise, nor can it be measured.

    In this case, the inclusion of qualitative data to build this list doesn’t necessarily reflect the ability to influence anything other than an algorithm – which as seemingly as arbitrary as the concept it purportedly measures.

    That said, John once wrote an article asking why Laurie Reuttimann isn’t at the top of every influencer list. I feel the same way about you, Mr. Sackett.

    I’ll be the first to admit that when it comes to these influencer lists, it’s a club and I’m Groucho Marx…I’m not sure I trust any influencer list that would have me as a member.

    But any list without Tim Sackett, and you’re right. There are strange things afoot at the Circle K.


  9. Ahhh, I love a good rant. Especially when they’re well written and fun to read.

    I am actually catching up with John today since we played ‘conference tag’ all year.

    I’m not a huge fan of lists for anything except getting to know more about some of the people on them and learning how others might find people in our industry. Well, most of the lists I’ve seen so far anyhow.

    Having said that, it’s hit and miss with these things. There are some *really* smart folks that make the list – and there are some people that you just wonder how they even survive in our industry.

    Grain of salt, brother. Grain of salt.

  10. tim, I’m on the list and you’re right, Glenn, Chris, and Jim all know more about recruiting that I do. What I find interesting/fascinating/weird about the list is that it is essentially auto-generated. I tweet a lot and thus I’m on the list. Go figure.

  11. Cup –

    I think the anger stems from being a redheaded step child my whole life – but that only came out after years of therapy! We can get into more detail on DriveThru later this month.

  12. I was gonna make a top 25 HR Academics on Twitter, but I don’t think it goes that high. So, I’ll just proclaim myself #1 on that list.

  13. To Sumser’s credit – he definitely knows how to create a buzz amongst us lame ass HR people who have nothing to talk about all day! Throw a list up and watch everyone run around and discredit and take credit. It’s fun to watch – he get’s awesome traffic – high traffic leads to more ad revenue – everyone wins.

    It’s a brilliant sustainable formula really! (see how I suck up in hopes of still one day getting myself on a f’ing list!)

  14. Brilliant post that hits the nail right on the read. As I read the list, I mostly just stared with a bemused look and wondering what was in the water pipe as it was made. I can honestly say that most of that 25 does little to influence me beyond demonstrating how far people will go to collect accolades to fill the void of self-importance.

  15. Right on Tim.

    I wonder if other professions have the same type of thing: A guy everyone knows (of) that comes up with a list of people loosely related to a buzzword or two associated with the profession – which those not on the list then discuss…….

    A large percentage of the list are not involved in recruiting in any fashion.

    So – this list has no merit.

  16. While I don’t care about the lists one way or another; I did take considerable notice that there were a substantial number of people on the list that simply have little-to-nothing to do with recruiting or the innovation of that space.

    So really, perhaps it would just be better worded HR Community Influencers?

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