How often should you get a promotion?

How often do you think you should get a promotion?

According to Ian Siegel, CEO of ZipRecruiter, you should aim for a promotion about every three years. Do you agree?

Siegel thinks if you’re not moving up within three years, there might be an issue. Imagine you start working at 22, right out of college. Your first job could be an HR Generalist. By 25, you might move up to Senior HR Generalist, then HR Manager by 28, Senior HR Manager by 31, HR Director by 34, Senior HR Director by 37, and Vice President of HR by 41.

When I look back on my own career, I had a goal to become a Vice President by 35. I’ve mentioned this before. I achieved it at 38, but then I realized titles aren’t as important as I thought.

They vary a lot depending on the company size. Becoming a VP in a small company with 250 people is very different from becoming a VP in a big company with 25,000 employees.

Titles often don’t mean much outside your own company. For example, being a VP with just a couple of direct reports is not the same as managing a large team. So, focus more on your responsibilities and the impact you make rather than just the title.

For big companies, Siegel’s three-year promotion idea can work if you meet certain conditions. You need to be ambitious, willing to relocate, have special skills or education, be open to learning different parts of the business, and be good at workplace politics. Just showing up and doing your job isn’t enough for a promotion. You need to show your value and your desire to grow.

There are a few ways to move up faster. Make sure your boss knows you want to advance and are willing to help them succeed too. Create your own development plan and get your boss to support it. Remember, it’s your responsibility to follow through on this plan. Be patient and strategic; sometimes promotions come quickly, sometimes they take longer. Avoid jumping to a new company just for a title because that can (and usually will) backfire.

Promotions aren’t just about time in a role but about positioning yourself well. Focus on your growth, communicate your goals, and be patient. Sure job titles can open doors, but your skills and contributions are what really matter in the end.

Hiring your first employee is a big deal!

Do you remember your first hire? It’s normal to have felt nervous because you definitely didn’t want to make a mistake. You wanted your first hire to be amazing!

All of our new recruiters and hiring managers face the same issues when hiring for the first time. They’re not quite sure what to do. It’s kind of like bringing your first baby home from the hospital. Remember that? You get to the lobby with your baby in the car seat, and you’re waiting for someone to stop you like “Are you sure you’re ready for this?” They might as well put a sticky note on your forehead that says Hey I’m new to this!

That’s exactly how our managers feel when they hire for the first time. You’re letting me make this decision? Are you sure?

To help out, I’ve put together a list of the Top 7 Rookie Hiring Mistakes to avoid. Here they are:

  1. Letting HR Control the Process
    This is your hire. You’ll probably be working with this person every day, so get involved from the start. Don’t just sit back and let HR handle everything.
  2. Looking for the Perfect Candidate
    No one is perfect, not even you. Find someone who can do the job well and fit into your team, rather than holding out for perfection.
  3. Hiring Someone Just Like You
    You might think someone like you would be great, but it’s often better to hire someone who complements your skills and brings something different to the team.
  4. Moving Too Slowly
    If you find a great candidate, don’t wait too long to make an offer. Good candidates are often snapped up quickly by other companies.
  5. Taking Too Long to Fire a Bad Hire
    First-time managers often think they can fix a bad hire. Don’t drag it out—if it’s not working, let them go quickly.
  6. Thinking Recruiting Isn’t Your Job
    As a manager, finding the right people is part of your job. Take ownership of the hiring process and work with HR, but remember that you know your team’s needs best.
  7. Worrying About Leadership Judging You
    Leadership isn’t going to judge you on one hire. They look at your overall hiring track record. One mistake won’t define you, so don’t stress too much about it.

What do you think? What are some of the biggest hiring mistakes you see new hiring managers making? Share your thoughts in the comments!

It’s Really Hard to Judge People—Or Is It?

Welcome back to Re-Run Friday! This post was originally posted in June 2020.

It’s Really Hard to Judge People!

I was out walking with my wife recently (that’s what middle-aged suburban people do, we walk, it makes us feel like we are less lazy and it gets us away from the kids so we can talk grown-up) and she made this statement in a perfectly innocent way:

“It’s really hard to judge people.”

She said this to ‘me’!  I start laughing.  She realized what she said and started laughing.

It’s actually really, really easy to judge people!  I’m in HR and Recruiting, I’ve made a career out of judging people.

A candidate comes in with a tattoo on their face and immediately we think: prison, drugs, poor decision making, etc. We instantly judge. It’s not that a face-tattoo candidate can’t surprise us and be engaging and brilliant, etc. But before we even get to that point, we judge. I know, I know, you don’t judge, it’s just me. Sorry for lumping you in with ‘me’!

What my wife was saying was correct. It’s really hard to judge someone based on how little we actually know them.

People judge me all the time on my poor grammar skills.  I actually met a woman recently at a conference who said she knew me, used to read my stuff, but stopped because of my poor grammar in my writing.  We got to spend some time talking and she said she would begin reading again, that she had judged me too harshly, and because I made errors in my writing assumed I wasn’t that intelligent.

I told her she was actually correct, I’m not intelligent, but that I have consciously not fixed my errors in writing (clearly at this point I could have hired an editor!). The errors are my face tattoo.

If you can’t see beyond my errors, we probably won’t be friends.  I’m not ‘writing errors, poor grammar guy”.  If you judge me like that, you’re missing out on some cool stuff and ideas I write about.

As a hiring manager and HR Pro, if you can’t see beyond someone’s errors, you’re woefully inept at your job.  We all have ‘opportunities’ but apparently, if you’re a candidate you don’t, you have to be perfect.  I run into hiring managers and HR Pros who will constantly tell me, “we’re selective”, “we’re picky”, etc.

No, you’re not. What you are is unclear about what and who it is that is successful in your environment.  No one working for you now is perfect. So, why do you look for perfection in a candidate? Because it’s natural to judge against your internal norm.

The problem with selection isn’t that it is too hard to judge, the problem is that it’s way too easy to judge. The next time you sit down in front of a candidate try and determine what you’ve already judged them on. It’s a fun exercise. Before they even say a word. Have the hiring managers interviewing them send you their judgments before the interview.

We all do it.  Then, flip the script, and have your hiring managers show up for an interview ‘blind’. No resume beforehand, just them and a candidate face-to-face. It’s fun to see how they react and what they ask them without a resume, and how they judge them after.  It’s so easy to judge, and those judgments shape our decision-making, even before we know it!

Can Your Team Handle It?

Ever heard of Capacity Modeling?

It’s all about figuring out how much work your organization can handle to meet the changing demands for its products or services. When it comes to recruiting, it’s about determining how much hiring your team can manage to meet the company’s talent needs.

Imagine this: Your talent acquisition team is working hard every day, making progress bit by bit, but just barely keeping up. Then, one day, the CEO walks into your office and says, “We need to hire 300 more employees in the next 12 months because of a new investment. Can we do it?” A smart talent acquisition leader would say, “Let’s see if we can.” Unfortunately, many would quickly agree without knowing if it’s possible. That’s where things can go wrong.

If you don’t know your team’s capacity, promising to hire that many people is risky. If it already feels like you’re at your limit, adding 300 more hires might seem impossible. Capacity Modeling helps you give a well-informed answer.

You could show your CEO something like this: “We’re currently at 87% capacity. The best practice is to be at 85% so we have some flexibility for unexpected needs. If we need to hire 300 more people, we’ll exceed our capacity, so we’ll need more time and resources.”

This approach lets you have a straightforward, data-based conversation with your CEO. It shows your value and prevents you from making promises you can’t keep. While it might seem complicated, Capacity Modeling is doable and very useful. It helps you understand how much hiring your team can handle, plan better, allocate resources wisely, and set realistic hiring goals. Have you used it or tried it? Let me know in the comments!

Does Office Temp Affect Men and Women Differently?

A new study shows that men and women actually perform at different levels depending on the temperature of their environment. Can you guess which gender does better in hot or cold temperatures?

The married man in me had to guess!

My wife loves to sleep with the bedroom ice-cold! Many nights, the pup and I have huddled together for warmth, not sure if we’d not make it through the night. The next day’s headline could be, “Woman Finally Has a Peaceful Night’s Sleep While Husband and Dog Freeze!” Just kidding! Kind of.

So, I thought women would perform better in cold temperatures. Turns out, I was wrong! Here’s what the study found:

“Female students generally did better on math and verbal tests when the room was warmer. They gave more correct answers and just more answers overall. Male students did better in cooler rooms, giving fewer correct answers in warmer settings. Interestingly, temperature didn’t seem to affect logic test performance for either gender.”

So, men and women really are different when it comes to temperature!

But this makes us wonder, how do we find the right temperature for our office when both men and women are working together?

I’ve worked in places where the facilities team had one set temperature, no matter what. No space heaters, no fans allowed (because of energy use duh), so you’d see people wearing coats or blankets at their desks, or others in tank tops because it was so hot!

The truth is, we all have a temperature that helps us do our best work. When we think about making our employees comfortable and productive, it’s up to us to help them find the right temperature. This isn’t just being picky—it’s science! If we want high performance and happy workers, the temperature they work in matters.

So, what temperature do you work best in? Have you even noticed? Let me know in the comments.

Extra Credit Matters!

Remember back in school when a tough test knocked you off your feet? The best part was always the extra credit opportunities the teacher offered to help boost that low grade. Deep down, they probably felt bad for you.

Extra credit was a lifesaver!

But here’s the thing: you never got extra credit just for showing up to class.

Why? Because extra credit is for those who go above and beyond. You don’t earn it by just doing what’s expected; you have to do something extra!

At work, you can get stuck in a cycle where employees expect extra credit simply for showing up—and surprisingly, many companies give it to them! Your employees are doing their basic job, and yet they expect to be rewarded for it. This is common in places with weak leadership.

The problem comes from not clearly defining what’s expected and what deserves extra recognition. Once you make this clear, giving extra credit becomes fun and fair.

Don’t get me wrong—I love rewarding employees! While not everyone looks for extra credit, those who do should know exactly what it takes to earn it and what they’ll get for their extra effort.

This is called performance management. Good performance management means clearly setting job expectations and recognizing the extra efforts that deserve rewards. By setting these standards, you create a place where employees are motivated to excel and know that extra effort leads to extra rewards.

So, make extra credit a part of your performance management plan. Clearly explain what going above and beyond looks like, and reward those who do. This way, your employees will know how to shine, leading to a more motivated and high-performing team.

The Stuff They Leave Behind

One of the most unexpected parts of someone leaving a company is finding the stuff they leave behind in their desks. Obviously the situation isn’t great, but the things you discover can be pretty interesting.

I once had to pack up the desk of a guy who got fired for poor performance, and I found an almost full bottle of vodka. That was a surprise! Probably explained his work issues. Besides the rare finds, you usually get a lot of pens, staplers, tape dispensers, and office supplies. What else am I missing?!

Food is another common thing left behind. From microwavable soups to candy and chips, departing employees almost always leave their snacks. Instead of being thrown away, these items quickly disappear once put in the break room, snatched up by hungry coworkers in no time.

Business books are often left behind too. Titles like “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” and “Good to Great” stay on the shelves, suggesting they weren’t quite as life-changing as hoped. My own office has a bookshelf full of such books, now more for decoration than actual use. I also have textbooks from my HR master’s program that I’ll likely never open again.

The stuff left behind often gives clues about why someone was let go, especially if they were fired. Things like crossword puzzle books, magazines, video game consoles, and workout bands show exactly how the employee spent their work hours, not working. These items give a peek into their daily routines and distractions.

Half-used calendars are another common thing people don’t take with them. I could make a display of past employees with their old cat and muscle car calendars, complete with motivational quotes from every month. These items reflect the personal tastes and quirks of their previous owners.

But out of all the things left behind, the stories are the best. You can really tell how much someone impacted the office by the stories people tell about them long after they’re gone. If coworkers still talk about you at lunch or office parties a year later, it shows you left a mark. Good or bad.

Tech Still Won’t Fix Bad HR

Hello Re-Run Friday again! This blog post was originally from May 2018.

Does This Sweater Make Me Look Fat?

I’ve got a bit of a problem.

I love buying new clothes, jackets, and shoes. You see, I’m kind of built like a fire hydrant. Picture a fire hydrant in your mind right now. Not very sexy is it!

So, I compensate, not by eating a great diet and working out constantly! Hell, no! That’s really hard work. I compensate by buying more clothes that I think will make me look skinnier than I really am!

Do you do this?

We do this in HR and Talent Acquisition all the time!

Just replace ‘clothes’ with ‘technology’. Yeah, we suck at HR, so instead of going out and fixing our foundational issues, let’s go buy a new pretty technology to cover up all of this fat, err incompetence!

Yeah, baby, with this new shiny technology no one will ever suspect we really suck as bad as we do!

The new stuff we buy screws with our heads. Every new shirt and sports coat I buy, I look at myself, and go “oh yeah! you’re going to look so awesome when you wear this!” Then I get on stage and someone tags me in a picture and I want to starve myself for a year!

Buying new stuff to make us look better than we are is the biggest lie we tell ourselves, ever.

So, before you go buy that new technology to fix all of your problems of why you suck at HR or TA, you have to know one truth. That truth is technology doesn’t fix why you suck. If you suck, great technology will make you suck faster. Bad technology will still make you suck, you just won’t be as fast as sucking!

Just like clothes won’t make me skinnier, new technology won’t make your function perform better.

You all are sleeping on!

One of the biggest developments in HR technology in the last decade was the advent of high-volume hiring technology. I’m a huge fan of this technology because it seems obvious, yet traditional ATSs and large HCM recruiting modules never went down this path to develop something for hiring low-skill/no-skill workers. The expectation was that these hourly workers would jump through the same hoops we make salaried workers jump through, and they’d like it.

The leader in this space is When they launched using machine learning with their chat-to-apply and on-demand interview scheduling, it was groundbreaking. For the first time, we actually had technology built specifically for low-skill/no-skill hiring that was fast, efficient, and reduced cost per hire. It was a technology that seemingly allowed everyone an equal chance, or at least many more, to make it through the hiring pipeline than we saw from traditional hiring practices.

While they still use conversational AI automation for hiring, they have also launched their next-gen generative AI chat, which literally blew me away. Paradox is way out in front when it comes to using generative AI in a safe, ethical way that delivers an advanced candidate experience. Paradox found an architecture that I think will blow most legal teams away in terms of how it protects both the brand and the candidate.

Here’s the thing: you don’t really even know what Paradox is today!

Paradox has quickly evolved into a full-feature hiring suite for all of your hiring, not just high-volume hiring. Don’t get me wrong, it still kicks ass on high-volume hiring. Here’s all that they have right now:

  • Conversational Career Site
  • Conversational CRM
  • Conversational ATS
  • Contextual Q&A
  • Video Interviewing
  • Conversational Interview Scheduling
  • Conversational Events (Career Fairs, Campus, etc.)
  • Employee Chat Assistant (think hourly worker has an HR need during a shift or after hours)
  • They also have fully built-out integrations with Workday, SAP, and Oracle.

I hesitate to call Paradox an ATS because they’ve taken what we thought an ATS or hiring process was and completely flipped it upside down. In this new world of AI, Paradox has discovered a new way, dare I say a better way, to hire people. The companies I know who are using it are seeing measurable positive results, and the candidate experience is also very high.

It’s like we’ve had this wheel in hiring for decades. Everyone had a wheel. The wheel worked fine. It was way better to have a wheel than not have a wheel. Then Paradox came around and said we can reinvent the wheel! And they actually did it. They built a better mousetrap.

I spoke to a Fortune 200 TA leader recently who said this about Paradox: “Tim, it just works!” When was the last time you were able to say that about your hiring technology?

I recommend Paradox so much that I tease I should be on their sales team, but that’s how much I think what they are doing is the right thing. If I were running an enterprise TA function, I would buy and implement Paradox. In fact, I wouldn’t even take the job unless I had assurances I could do that. They are a game changer for our industry, and everyone else is currently playing catch-up.

So, what are the negatives?

I see two for TA leaders:

1. It’s expensive. They can charge a lot because it works. From the shops using it, I know the ROI is high. You probably need to make 1,000+ hires a year to even consider using them to get the value.

2. To get full maximum value it will supplant your ATS or Recruiting module, and that can be a hard sell to your CFO, CIO, and CHRO. But it’s worth the fight.

In ten years of covering TA Technology, I’ve never found a better, more complete hiring tool. I don’t know what else to tell you.

Go demo and give them the discount code: “Tim’s a Fanboy”! Just kidding, they didn’t give me a code.

Remote Work killed Work!

Okay, Zoom, Teams, Google Meet, BlueJeans (remember that one!?), etc. all killed work!

According to a recent study by Microsoft, which knows everything we do at work because it has access to every one of our calendars, our meetings have increased 300% since 2020!!

300% is not a small number!!

Why? We think if you’re working remotely, the only way to prove you’re working is by having more meetings. It turns out we suck at understanding how to measure work and performance. We always have, but this is just one giant data point to show how bad we suck at measuring work!

So, no matter where you work – remote, on-prem, hybrid- we all sit around and have meetings to ensure we are all working. The definition of insanity is what?

Stop f*cking having meetings!!

I know that is easier said than done. Too many people in organizations define their existence by meetings. We are addicted to meeting culture. If we don’t have a real work product to show people what we are doing, we must give them some “meeting product.”

Here’s how you stop “meeting culture”:

1. Never allow anyone to schedule one-hour meetings. Make a rule. It has to be under an hour or over an hour, but it can’t be one hour. (Just test it—you’ll be shocked at what happens!)

2. The agenda for every meeting must be sent out 24 hours before the meeting, or it will be automatically canceled. The agenda must clearly state the purpose of the meeting and its outcomes.

3. Have AI record every single meeting and save those recordings. When people are recorded, they tend to f*ck around less and get to the point.

4. Post a list on your public intranet or email out a scoreboard showing who schedules the most weekly and monthly meetings. No one will want to be #1 on that list!

This is just a cure for a symptom, I know.

In reality, we have an issue with measuring productivity and the success of each role for those who work. We need to establish clear measures of success, in every role, and then find out where people can be most successful. This is not about remote, or hybrid, or in-office. This is about being more productive and successful in our roles.

Collaboration is key for so many organizations and functions to succeed. When people went out to work in various environments, we defaulted to meetings to continue collaboration. We still need to collaborate. But it shouldn’t always be on video. Pick up a phone and talk to someone. Find a time when you can meet in person over a coffee. Are these still meetings? Maybe. However, a little more one-on-one time in different mediums can replace a lot of video team meetings that waste too much time.

Okay, you clicked on the post because you thought I was going to bash remote work, and you just can’t have that happen! It’s not about remote. It’s about our ability to develop measures of success and then trust those measures and our people to do their work. Having more meetings is not making us more successful.