Periods in the Workplace #HRFamous #PeriodPolicy

Yeah! This is the content you come to TimSackett.com for! Periods! Who better to give you the down-low of periods at work than an aging white dude! Okay, I’ve brought along two females with decades of period experience!

Episode 99 – Periods In The Workplace

On episode 99 of The HR Famous Podcast, long-time HR leaders (and friends) Madeline Laurano, Jessica Lee, and Tim Sackett come together to discuss our new co-host, mailing lists, and periods in the workplace!

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

2:00 – We have a new co-host! We’re excited to welcome Madeline Laurano to the HR Famous family. 

4:15 – Madeline is an analyst on TA and HR tech. She’s been in the game for 20 years and started her firm, Aptitude Research 7 years ago. 

6:20 – Do any of us remember the days of blogger vs. analyst? The good ole days. 

9:30 – JLee gets upset when she makes a “new friend” and then all of a sudden, she’s on their mailing list. 

10:30 – JLee asks the crew if they check who unsubscribes from their mailing list. Madeline gets an email every time someone removes themselves from her mailing list. 

14:30 – The lost episode is unfortunately lost for good 🙁 

16:00 – JLee references the lost episode which was centered around an older man writing into a help column asking what to do when their younger female co-workers talk about their periods in the workplace. 

19:00 – JLee’s first reaction to the period PTO is that women are more productive so they’ll make up for their time off but then, she started to think about women being treated differently and other logistical issues. 

20:30 – Madeline mentions a company in Sweden that asked their female employees to track their menstrual cycle in an Excel spreadsheet. 

24:30 – JLee found a Wikipedia page for menstrual leave

27:30 – Tim mentions how a lot of these benefits stem from paid family leave and how other countries are really passing the US with their family leave benefits. 

28:45 – Madeline ran a study at her firm and they found that only 11% of participants were comfortable talking about childcare at work. 

32:00 – Madeline mentions how when she was nursing, she had to pump in a dark utility closet where she had to bring a flashlight in to see. 

36:00 – Tim mentions that in his 30-year HR career, he has never had a period-related issue with a high-performing female. 

The Baby Bonus Program You Never Knew You Needed!

In HR and Talent Acquisition, we tend to be in crisis mode constantly. We are some of the best firefighters are organization has! Our functions tend, by their very nature, to be short-termed focused. This month, this quarter, this year. Rarely are we able to think and plan further than twelve months ahead.

The problem is, currently and in the future, we (the U.S. and pretty much every industrialized country on the planet) are not making enough humans! In the U.S., we are early Japan. This means our birth rate has dipped below the replacement rate. Japan has been facing this crisis for decades; we are just starting down this path.

Why does this matter?

  1. If we can’t replace our humans, we have a shrinking workforce, and it’s very hard to grow.
  2. If we aren’t going to grow enough humans, we have to find another path to get more humans, and that’s immigration, and in the U.S., we have been awful at immigration.
  3. If we can’t get real humans, we have to build robots. The problem is, why robots will come faster than humans, it still takes time, and robots can’t effectively replace humans in most roles.

What is the solution?

This might sound a bit controversial, it’s definitely out of the norm, but HR needs to build a policy that encourages our employees to have babies!!

“Wait, what?! You want us to encourage our employees to have s…”

Okay, hear me out! Japan knew it had an issue decades ago and did nothing to address it, believing nature would take its course. But it didn’t! We have the opportunity to reward and compensate our employees for growing our next employees!

In the U.S., historically, we’ve also sucked at parental leave policies, and we’ve held parenthood against workers for promotion. Having kids, for the most part, has been a negative to your career. We need to change that! We need to make it a reward and benefit to your career. Like, imagine if Mark and Mary had seven kids! They both should be promoted immediately to Vice Presidents or Chief Growing Officers or something!

I’m only saying that half-joking! We are in a crisis and to get out of a crisis takes bold moves.

The hard part of encouraging our employees to procreate is that HR has spent its entire existence trying to stop our employees from doing this very thing! Now I’m asking you to become the Chief Baby Officer.

Um, are there other solutions?

Yes, but America tends to hate both of these options, traditionally.

The first option is to completely revamp our immigration policy and allow in millions of immigrants in both skilled/educated backgrounds and non-skilled/labor backgrounds. Traditionally, both political parties are against this because of the belief immigrants take jobs away from current citizens. Labor Unions hate this. Conservatives hate this. It’s usually a political non-starter.

The UK recently made a major change to their immigration policy because, like the U.S., they are facing a similar human challenge, and we should all take note because it’s an amazing policy. Basically, it allows professionals to come in with a Visa before getting a job, as long as they can prove they can pay their own way. This works because one of the biggest hurdles in U.S. immigration policy is we force an immigrant to have a job before they can enter, and for most U.S. employers, that just doesn’t work from a timing perspective.

The second option is more automation and robots. This is another one that labor unions tend to fight because it takes jobs away from humans. Unfortunately, this one is moving forward because we just don’t have enough workers, and even unions can’t produce more unions. More and more, we’ll see automation take the place of traditional roles we are used to seeing humans in. Cashiers, order takers, warehouse workers, truck drivers, etc. This is scary for many but a necessity for employers looking to run their day-to-day operations.

You might think that encouraging your employees to have babies is a very out-of-the-box idea, but in HR, we need to start thinking more long-term about how we’ll manage our workforce. If you believe your company will be around twenty years from now, a part of our job, strategically, should be thinking about this workforce concept.

Greenhouse Adds Sourcing Automation to ATS #Open22

I’m out at Greenhouse Open this week, and Greenhouse made a major product announcement adding Sourcing Automation to their core ATS solution. What the heck does that even mean?

From the press release:

Introducing Sourcing Automation: a new outbound sourcing solution that helps users find, reach and engage top talent quickly and effectively – all with Greenhouse. Sourcing Automation improves email deliverability, scales outreach through personalized and automated campaigns and gives hiring teams the insights they need to become sourcing experts – and turn more candidates into hires.

What does it all mean?

So, isn’t this just Interstellar, the CRM they purchased, finally just launching? A little bit, but to call this “CRM” is a misnomer. CRM in the recruiting space is really designed for large enterprise TA teams that have a team that can run the CRM and gets the value out of it. Greenhouse’s Sourcing Automation is more marketing automation designed for individual recruiters to use daily.

Does this replace HireEZ and Seekout?

No, this is more of a complementary product. How so? Sourcing Automation isn’t a sourcing engine like HireEZ and Seekout are. You use those tools to find the talent you can’t find anywhere else. Sourcing Automation makes it way easier for you to actually connect with those people, plus easily add in candidates from your own database to connect with as well. The reality is one of the biggest challenges we face as recruiters is connecting with candidates as fast as we can, at scale, and this type of automation allows individual recruiters to do that effectively and efficiently.

Do your recruiters need this?

The short answer, in today’s world, yes.

Long answer, it depends on how you want to recruit. If I’m totally honest, way too much of the recruiting we do is a simple post and pray, inbound candidate processing. If that’s what your recruiting is, and that’s what you want to continue to do, save your money. This product is not for you. If you want to give your team a tool to do more outbound recruiting and add capacity to your ability to recruit more candidates quickly, then this product is worth a look and a demo.

I don’t say that in jest. The reality is some of us aren’t in a position to do outbound recruiting for a number of reasons. We are all on various levels of our recruiting maturity, so it really depends on where you are at and where you want to take talent strategy. Sourcing Automation is an amazing tech, but like any tech, you must use it to get the value out of it.

It’s well worth your time to dig into Greenhouse’s sourcing automation product and compare it to full-blown CRM recruiting tech and understand what sourcing automation is and isn’t. I think you’ll find that Sourcing Automation is a tool your recruiters can use every day in their day-to-day outreach and connection.

Are you a people-first company? #Open22

I’m in NYC this week for the annual Greenhouse Open. Greenhouse is a best-in-class ATS with over 7,000 customers, and this is their annual user conference. So, a whole bunch of recruiters and recruiting leaders nerding out on recruiting stuff! Meaning a perfect place for me!

Greenhouse has a philosophy that they are the perfect hiring engine for organizations that consider themselves “People-First”. What does that mean? That’s the big question because every company I know, or at least every executive I know, would claim to be People-First. But, what I know is very few actually are people-first.

Daniel Chait, the co-founder of Greenhouse laid out what he considers people-first. The hallmarks of people-first companies:

  • Organizations that invest in tools that allow employees to be their best selves.
  • Organizations that work to improve collaboration amongst employees, cultivate belonging, and increase fairness.
  • Organizations that really care about culture, values, DEI&B, and allyship.
  • Organizations that care deeply about recruiting talent because the only way you lead and stay competitive is through great talent.

The hard part about being people-first, because I will tell you right now, every single one of your executives will read the list above and go, “yeah, that’s us!” is just that. They, being an executive, believe you are people-first, but as move down the food chain, it begins to feel less and less like people first.

I think about my own company and go, “yeah, we are people-first!” but I know for a fact that the feeling of individuals is very different based on a lot of variables. Great performers vs. low performers. New employees vs. experienced employees. Higher paid vs. lower paid. Etc.

That is the difficulty of being a people-first company. It’s the difficulty with the concept of belonging. It is super hard to make every single person in your company feel like they belong every day. You can do all the right stuff, and one day, one employee with a certain mindset, comes in the hears the wrong thing, and all of a sudden, they don’t feel like they belong. Does that not make you a people-first organization?

I think what Daniel is saying is that you espouse to do all the hallmarks the best you can today, and you keep trying to improve. Part of having a great culture and a great hiring process is finding a diverse and inclusive set of employees who match your culture. The feeling of belonging is critical to your hiring process and selection, as much as the environment you will ask them to work in.

Why is a recruiting software company talking about people-first? Because what they have discovered over the past ten years of being in business is you can sell software to anyone, but if they don’t share your same values and beliefs, it probably doesn’t work out very well for either party! Your tech isn’t just lines of code. It was built on a philosophy and continues to be developed and improved by a certain philosophy. A true partnership with your technology comes when your philosophies align.

Check out the Greenhouse Open this week virtually if you can!

What do 2022 Grads want in a job?! @iCIMS

iCIMS released their 2022 Class of Covid-19 report, which is an annual report on recent college grad expectations around jobs and careers! Some very interesting findings that can help you and your organization better understand Gen Z.

So, what do the kids want?!

  • Entry-level applicants have high expectations for “securing the bag.” Recent grads expect an average salary of more than $70,000, while employers expect to pay entry-level candidates just under $53,000. When it comes to getting paid, one in five recent grads expects cryptocurrency as a compensation option. 
  • The gender pay gap continues to negatively influence females’ expectations. Female recent grads expect to earn $10,000 less a year than their male counterparts. For the past seven years that iCIMS has commissioned this research, females consistently expect to make less money in their first job than males.
  • An unprofessional interview appearance could cost candidates the job. Recent grads say dress codes are out, as more than one-third (37%) believe what they wear to work shouldn’t matter. However, hiring pros say that appearing unprofessional is the top reason that entry-level candidates are not hired. Whether taking a virtual interview in a bedroom or an in-person interview in a boardroom, a professional appearance is required to ace an interview and land the job. 
  • Recent grads pass the loyalty test. While entry-level workers have developed a reputation for job-hopping, the overwhelming majority (91%) say they care how long they stay with an employer and nearly 70% see themselves staying with an employer long-term.
  • They work to live instead of living to work. Gen Zers are loyal, but their well-being wins. Nearly half (49%) say a full-time job is “just a job” and they prioritize their personal passions. Many Gen Zers (48%) say they don’t need to work nine to five to be successful in their career.
  • Mental health matters. Two in three recent grads expect their employer to support their mental health and participate in open conversations about it. They also must personally align with a company’s mission and core values when applying for a job. 
  • Virtual reality isn’t just for gamers. Approximately a third of recent grads would be comfortable working in a virtual reality (VR) environment, such as the metaverse. But, other generations of workers aren’t ready for that, as only 13% of older generations report they’d like to spend their days in a VR workplace.

You can download the full report here!

Does this align with what you were thinking?

It seems like every single year I review this report, there is misalignment on what new grads believe they will earn and what they will actually learn, so I’ve come to expect this result now. I used to blame higher ed for not setting these expectations better. Now, I just think it’s dumb kids believing dumb things. We all thought we were worth more than we were!

Again, I totally get those young people who believe that how you dress has nothing to do with your ability to do a job. They are correct! But, first impressions and landing the job you want, appearance still matters to those selecting. So, you can fight the establishment on this, but the establishment will win!

Interestingly, I was expecting more around remote vs. hybrid vs on-premise. Most recent studies I’ve seen by Gen Z have the majority wanting on-prem experiences!

What’s the best question to ask a job candidate?

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Just kidding, that question sucks!

One of my favorites to follow, Tyler Cowen, has a weekly column over at Bloomberg, and his article this week was “The Best Question to Ask a Job Applicant.” Now, put it into a context that Tyler is an Economist by trade and an Academic, so he doesn’t do a ton of hiring.

So, what’s Tyler’s question?

“What are the open tabs in your browser right now?”

It’s not bad, but it does scream ten years ago Silicon Valley tech startup question! Plus, it also assumes either this interview is remote, and you are doing it via Zoom, and you have tabs open, or you let the person bring their laptop to the interview, and they have open tabs.

The belief is your open tabs speak to your interests. You leave something open because you haven’t finished with it yet, or you want to dive in a bit deeper. Knowing your interests, in Tyler’s belief, must then correlate to you being either a good or bad hire. There actually isn’t any correlation, which speaks to how dumb interview questions can be!

I took a look at my own open tabs and here’s what I had today:

  • Theater tickets in London (I’m taking a trip this summer and will see a show with my wife)
  • Investment site (yeah, all of our 401Ks are in the toilet!)
  • PR Site for news on a recruiting tech company (I got to keep up on the latest)
  • LinkedIn (It’s open all day, every day)
  • Tweetdeck (same as LinkedIn)
  • WordPress (how the hell do you think I wrote this!)
  • Rhone (active wear clothing site, I need new golf shorts)

So, yeah, I guess it does speak to my passions and interests!

What is my favorite interview question?

I like to find out how passionate people are about their work. So, I love to ask a question that gets to the heart of that, which isn’t that dissimilar to Tyler’s question above. Here is mine:

“Tell me how you develop and educate yourself in your current position and industry? What resources do you use? How much time do you dedicate?”

I hire recruiters. I will often sit in front of a recruiter who will say something like, “I Love Recruiting!” “Recruiting is my life!” I’m like, sweet! Tell me more. And I ask the question above.

The vast majority of the time, I find their “love” of recruiting is complete bullsh*t. Their love is that they actually show up and do the job, but not much else. I want people who are passionate and self-educate. They could say things like, I joined a recruiting community online, and I frequently read and add tips to help others. I write recruiting articles on LinkedIn. I purchased a recruiting training program on my own, and I’m learning Boolean. Etc.

People who are passionate about their work won’t necessarily be successful, but there is more likelihood they will be. Can you be good at your job and do none of this? Yes, but it’s not often, and it’s most likely not sustainable.

Why is Walmart Struggling to Find $200K/Year Store Managers?

6.68% of Americans make $200,000 a year or more. Of course, that almost 7% is definitely centered around certain areas. States like California, New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, etc., have a much larger percentage than the average. States like Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, most of the Midwest, etc., are under the average.

The Wall Street Journal had an article this week about how Walmart is struggling to fill their store manager jobs. Specifically, their General Manager job, the number one job in a Walmart store, which pays around $200,000 per year.

You would think with so few people making $200,000 a year, Walmart would have smart, ambitious folks knocking down their doors for a chance to make $200,000 per year!

But they don’t. Why?

First, most organizations tend to promote from within. Walmart is similar to this, but reality eventually hits the ceiling. An average Walmart store probably does a revenue of $50-100 million per year. The net income of those locations probably runs around $3-5M per year. There are roughly 350 employees in a Walmart store. Running a single Walmart store is like running a mid-sized enterprise business! Most SMBs in the country have a revenue well under $1M.

This means that Walmart can most likely train an hourly store employee to become a department manager, but to become a General Manager, they are looking for some formal business education. You have to run a giant P&L. You have major risk factors. You need real leadership skills. In many towns, “the Walmart” is probably the biggest business in town!

College kids, on average, don’t want to leave State U for a $65,000 a year job as a Manager in Training at Walmart. It’s not something you go back to the homecoming football game and brag about. Your friends took that $50k per year job with the tech firm in town as an entry-level, you make more, but they look down on you.

I know some folks are reading this and thinking, “So! You make more! You will continue to make more! You run are in line to run a giant business! You f’ing cares what others think!” Young adults do. Young adults care what other people think. If I’m frank, and I usually am, we all care what others think!

What would I do if I was at Walmart?

I love this game. It was the basis of my entire book! What would Timmy do if he ran your shop!

#1 – Stop trying to hire or require any form of formal education. Yes, you need smart folks, so give cognitive assessments. Find smart people who can learn quickly, who also have some “hustle” and “grind” to them. You probably have a ton of folks already working for you that you won’t consider. You also have to look at talent pools we tend to discount, most notably, in this case, 50 years and older, retired military commanders, etc. Walmart wants to solve this by talking new college grads into these jobs, I’d be talking failed executives into these jobs! Big salary. Big team. Big job. College grads don’t want that, your Dad does, and a retired military leader who is used to leading hundreds of soldiers does. Also, your Dad will work 60 hours a week and think it’s normal. A new grad will work a solid 40 and think it’s North Korea.

#2 – Build the Manager School. If a great GM in a Walmart environment makes them $3-5M a year, there are margin dollars to build more great GMs! Part in-person instruction. Part on the job training. Part virtual instruction. All the way in on fully engaging non-stop. Send them to manager boot camp. Make it exclusive. Bring in big-time celebrity speakers around leadership and performance. Do graduation with a gold watch.

#3 – Make it so lucrative they won’t want to leave. $200K is really nice, but you need some other stuff. You need to make folks say, “F! You!” To their friends that don’t think Walmart is cool enough. What is that? I don’t stock options. Partner programs on profit sharing. Company SUV.

Here’s what I know. The profit difference between Walmart’s worse GM store and their best GM store is so big it would make you blush. It’s millions of dollars. So, making sure you hire, train, develop, and take care of the great ones is priority number one. Building the talent pipeline to successful GMs would be the job of a team of people that included great recruiting leaders, brand and marketing leaders, and technology and data leaders.

I’m not saying this is an easy job. It’s enormously difficult and complicated. But, it’s doable. The problem is, that every organization thinks the solution to their problem is new college grads. They can help, but it’s only one sliver of the full pie that is needed.

Would You Pay A Referral Bonus Specifically For A Black Employee?

I know a ton of HR Pros right now who have been charged by their organizations to go out and “Diversify” their workforce.  By “Diversify”, I’m not talking about diversity of thought, but recruiting a more diverse workforce in terms of ethnic, gender, and racial diversity.

Clearly, by bringing in more individuals from underrepresented groups in your workforce, you’ll expand the “thought diversification”, but for those HR Pros in the trenches and sitting in conference rooms with executives behind closed doors, diversification of thought isn’t the issue being discussed.

So, I have some assumptions I want to put forth before I go any further:

1. Referred employees make the best hires. (Workforce studies frequently list employee referrals as the highest quality hires across all industries and positions)

2. ERPs (Employee Referral Programs) are the major tool used to get employee referrals by HR Pros.

3. A diverse workforce will perform better in most circumstances than I homogeneous workforce will.

4. Diversity departments, if you’re lucky enough, or big enough, to have one in your organization, traditionally tend to do a weak job at “recruiting” diversity candidates (there more concerned about getting the Cinco De Mayo Taco Bar scheduled, etc.)

Now, keeping in mind the above assumptions, what do you think is the best way to recruit diverse candidates to your organization?

I’ve yet to find a company willing to go as far as to “Pay More” for a black engineer referral vs. a white engineer referral. Can you imagine how that would play out in your organization!?  But behind the scenes in the HR Departments across the world, this exact thing is happening in a number of ways.

First, what is your cost of hiring diverse candidates versus non-diverse candidates? Do you even measure that? Why not?  I’ll tell you why, is very hard to justify why you are paying two, three, and even four times more for a diverse candidate, with the same skill sets, versus a non-diverse candidate in most technical and medical recruiting environments.  Second, how many diversity recruitment events do you go to versus non-specific diversity recruitment events?  In organizations that are really pushing diversification of the workforce, I find that this figure is usually 2 to 1.

So, you will easily spend more resources for your organization to become more diversified, but you won’t reward your employees for helping you to reach your goals?  I find this somewhat ironic. You will pay Joe, one of your best engineers, $2000 for any referral, but you are unwilling to pay him $4000 for referring his black engineer friends from his former company.

Yet, you’ll go out and spend $50,000 attending diversity recruiting job fairs and events all over the country trying to get the same person.  When you know the best investment of your resources would be to put up a poster in your hallways saying “Wanted Black Engineers $4000 Reward!”.

Here’s why you don’t do this.

Most organizations do a terrible job at communicating the importance of having a diverse workforce, and that to get to an ideal state, sometimes it means the organization might have to hire a female, an Asian, an African American, or a Hispanic, over a similarly qualified white male to ensure the organization is reaching their highest potential.

Workgroup performance by diversity is easily measured and reported to employees, to demonstrate diversity successes, but we rarely do it, to help us explain why we do what we are doing in talent selection.  What do we need to do? Stop treating our employees like they won’t get it, start educating them beyond the politically correct version of Diversity and start educating them on the performance increases we get with diversity.  Then it might not seem so unheard of to pay more to an employee for referring a diverse candidate!

So, you take pride in your diversity hiring efforts, but you’re just unwilling to properly reward for it…

Is Hiring a Privilege?

Have you seen the cracks? Most haven’t. The number of jobs open continues to climb, the unemployment numbers continue to drop, and it seems like, from a business perspective, we are in good times!

Ford laid off 500 designers. Netflix, Carvana, Peloton, Wells Fargo, and Meta all announced layoffs in 2022, so far, as well as many more tech companies. Some of this, are tech companies getting right with their financials. They have been fat and happy for a long time and spending money like drunken sailors.

Uber’s CEO came out this past week and said that they should be treating hiring like a privilege.

What does that mean? It means, we aren’t going to freeze hiring or do a layoff, but only if you get your shit together and stop hiring anyone who can walk and chew gum at the same time. It means, that if you hire someone, you better make damn sure they are performing and adding value.

It means the soft, nice, cuddly leadership teams of the pandemic are starting to feel and see the cracks in the economy and they are getting ready. They are getting ready for some tough times ahead if some things don’t change fairly quickly. Like lower inflation. Wage growth slows. War stops. Pandemic supply chain issues ease up.

Turns out, eventually, all that VC money that is getting burned like a giant pile of leaves in your front yard in the fall is sustainable in a down economy! Some folks have been writing checks their asses can’t cash!

Is hiring, really, a privilege?

Coming from a white guy, finally, a concept I know more than anyone else about, PRIVILEGE! YES! It was only a matter of time until this came full circle and I could use my expertise on this subject! Let me tell you about some hiring privilege!

Hiring is a privilege and if you don’t treat it as such, someone will take it away from you.

The most expensive resource for most organizations is human capital. If you are talented enough to be tabbed to be a leader that gets to hire by your organization, there will be no more important part of your job, ever, for you to do well on. That doesn’t mean you can’t make hiring misses, everyone does, but you have to take this responsibility at the highest level professionally.

I believe that your number one responsibility as a leader, in any function or capacity, is to increase the talent in your organization. You do that through hiring and developing the talent that reports to you. You do that by retaining your talent and increasing your employee’s lifetime value.

Hiring is a privilege at the highest level within all organizations. There are no throw-away hires. Each one counts, each one makes a difference, either positively or negatively, there is no middle ground in hiring.

Do Recruiters Still Need To Make Phone Calls?

Recently, I was on a webinar, and in my presentation, I harped on the talent acquisition pros and leaders on the webcast on why 100% of us are not using texting as a primary first form of contact with candidates. The data is in. Texting works! It works better than email by a mile, but still, less than 50% in the room are texting candidates.

After I was done a great TA pro contacted me and said, “Tim, shouldn’t recruiters be calling candidates!” I fell in love! Why, yes, fine, sir they should always be calling candidates! But, let’s not forsake other tools that are working at a high level. We know people, in general, respond to texts at a much higher rate than email and phone calls.

You see a text and within seconds you read it, and you respond to it at more than double the rate of email or voicemail. In talent acquisition, we are in LOVE with email, even when it doesn’t work.

In 2011, I wrote this post below – funny enough, it’s still relevant today (except now I think we need to add in more texting with those phone calls!)

Do we (recruiters) still need to make telephone calls?

I mean really it’s 2011 – we have text messaging, emails, Facebook, Twitter, etc. – hasn’t the telephone just become obsolete?  Does anyone actually use their cell phones to make actual phone calls anymore?

The New York Times had an article: Don’t Call Me, I Won’t Call You, in which they delve into the concept of whether the act of making a phone call has jumped the shark or not.  From the article:

“I remember when I was growing up, the rule was, ‘Don’t call anyone after 10 p.m.,’ ” Mr. Adler said. “Now the rule is, ‘Don’t call anyone. Ever.’ ”

Phone calls are rude. Intrusive. Awkward. “Thank you for noticing something that millions of people have failed to notice since the invention of the telephone until just now,” Judith Martin, a k a Miss Manners, said by way of opening our phone conversation. “I’ve been hammering away at this for decades. The telephone has a very rude propensity to interrupt people…

Even at work, where people once managed to look busy by wearing a headset or constantly parrying calls back and forth via a harried assistant, the offices are silent. The reasons are multifold. Nobody has assistants anymore to handle telecommunications. And in today’s nearly door-free workplaces, unless everyone is on the phone, calls are disruptive and, in a tight warren of cubicles, distressingly public. Does anyone want to hear me detail to the dentist the havoc six-year molars have wreaked on my daughter?

“When I walk around the office, nobody is on the phone,” said Jonathan Burnham, senior vice president, and publisher at HarperCollins. The nature of the rare business call has also changed. “Phone calls used to be everything: serious, light, heavy, funny,” Mr. Burnham said. “But now they tend to be things that are very focused. And almost everyone e-mails first and asks, ‘Is it O.K. if I call?’ ”

Sound Familiar?

Now I could easily turn this into a generational issue because for one it’s easy to do, but this isn’t a GenX vs. GenY issue.  This is a basic communication issue.  An understanding of what we do in our industry issue.  Whether your third party or corporate recruitment, we do the same thing, we search and find talent.  There are two basic ways to screen potential talent for fit for your organization: 1. Meet them in Person (no one would argue that this is the best way, but boy it’s expensive if you are using it as your first-line screen); 2. Meet them over the phone (done in some form or another by 99.9% of recruiters).

There really isn’t any way around this issue, we recruit, we make telephone calls.  If you don’t like to make telephone calls, if you believe what the New York Times article believes, you shouldn’t recruit.  It’s not an indictment on you, this just isn’t your gig.

Recruiters like to talk to people, to question people, to find out more about people, not a career, best done by email and text messaging. We need to talk live to others. That’s how we go to work. Doesn’t matter if you’re 21 or 6. It’s how to deliver great talent to our hiring managers.

So, here’s a tip, if you’re in recruitment and you don’t like making phone calls get, out of recruitment, you will not be successful.  If your first choice of contacting someone isn’t picking up the phone and calling them, instead of sending them an email, when you have their phone number, get out of recruitment. If you’re thinking you want to recruit, and you don’t like making phone calls take another path.

Recruiters make phone calls, that’s what we do.