Are you measuring the Intelligence of your candidates? You should be!

Hire for Smarts. Train for Skill. It doesn’t sound right, does it?

The old adage is “Hire for attitude, train for skill”. The reality is, we probably have done this wrong for a long time. We hire for attitude, thinking we can train the person to do what we need if they just have the right attitude. Then Timmy turns out to be dumb and we can’t train him to do anything!

Lazlo at Google tried to tell us this, but we didn’t really listen in his “Work Rules” book. Scientist have been trying to tell us for years as well, that if you don’t have the ability to watch someone actually do the job you need them to do, the best bet across the board is to hire the smartest person you can, that actually wants to do the job you have available.

Smart + Desire to do the job = a pretty good bet on a hire. 

A new study just out doubles down on this concept that hiring smart people will actually give you an employee who is also more cooperative:

Our experimental method creates two groups of subjects who have different levels of certain traits, such as higher or lower levels of Intelligence, Conscientiousness, and Agreeableness, but who are very similar otherwise. Intelligence has a large and positive long-run effect on cooperative behavior…Note that agreeable people do cooperate more at first, but they don’t have the strategic ability and consistency of the higher IQ individuals in these games.  Conscientiousness has multiple features, one of which is caution, and that deters cooperation, since the cautious are afraid of being taken advantage of.  So, at least in these settings, high IQ really is the better predictor of cooperativeness, especially over longer-term horizons.

The great thing about intelligence is it has nothing to do with actual educational success. A person can be a high school drop out, but still, be intelligent. You might also see a number of bachelor degreed individuals who test fairly low on intelligence. So, whether you are hiring for a low-skill job, or a high-skilled job, intelligence is a fairly good predictor in hiring, as compared to things like personality.

I would love to see a large organization, someone who does thousands of hires per year, actually measure the intelligence of those who term from their employment! We haven’t seen this, because of the obvious difficulty of getting a past employee to take an intelligence test, but I think the right organization/research partner could make this happen. I theorize that when taking a look at performance and tenure, you would see lower intelligent employees performing lower and having less tenure than those employees who have higher intelligence.

Cognitive assessments are actually fairly cheap and quick, and some organizations are using gamification to measure cognitive ability of applicants as an application pre-screener currently.

I have a bias against personality profiles. I think they are mostly witchcraft and sorcery. In my career, I just haven’t seen them consistently predict better hires during the interview screening process across all levels and kinds of candidates. So, I know I have that bias. On the other hand, I’ve seen cognitive ability raise the level of an organization when used consistently over time.

What do you think?

It’s International Women’s Day! Is Your CEO Female? #ReferHer #BalanceForBetter #IWD2019

6% of CEOs in the S&P 100 are female. 50.8% of the population is female.

I’m not super at math, but that seems like a disconnect, right?

Today is International Women’s Day and a young lady (Tatiana Hollander-Ho) reached out to me this week. She’s an entry level marketing pro for The Ladders, 2018 grad from NYU and she said, “Hey, you have a passion around women in the workplace and I want to get this #ReferHer going and make a difference. Can you help?” (FYI – go connect with her – she’s going to be a great one in our industry!)

I can do what I do, which is write about and socialize it and support it! #ReferHer is an awesome idea. We need to refer more women to leadership positions, period.

I’m not one of these dudes who just goes out and flies the female flag because it’s the politically correct thing to do. I’m also not one that buys into the bullshit studies that say “Female CEOs return better financial returns!” – those are bad studies with flawed data – you can’t run a regression on companies run by women and the financial performance and call that good data.

There might be a correlation, but there is absolutely no causation. If you believe in those studies, you also believe in the study that says if your name is Mike and you’re over six foot and you are the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, you will have higher financial returns than anyone else, not named Mike. Those two studies say the exact same thing.

That’s the problem, right!? You see it, right!? You can’t just throw out garbage and expect smart people not to get it and just blindly support females. The opposite actually happens. Smart people see that and go, that’s not what that says, so now I don’t buy any of it. Smart people – both women and men.

I’ve worked for great women. Strong women who are great leaders. These women, in my opinion, had many traits that most of the male leaders I’ve worked for didn’t have. In most cases, these traits made them leaders employees wanted to follow, not forced to follow.

We have this awful bias that says white dudes over six feet make better leaders. It’s literally been drilled into us for 100 years. Look at the Presidents all the way up to Obama and after. White dudes over six foot have nothing buy stature. We are betting that the trait of stature is the most important thing for running a high functioning organization. It’s insanity, right?

The reality is we can solve this. We can. Not overnight, but little by little.

It starts with flooding your leadership ranks with women. That means we have to give opportunities to women to move into leadership in ways we haven’t before. We have to develop Women Leadership Councils in our organizations who can tap on the shoulders of female employees and invite them in and mentor them into leadership roles. We have to purposeful about doing this. It won’t happen organically, we’ve been waiting for a hundred years for it to happen organically.

So, how do you start?

It’s super simple!

Step 1 – Tell your c-suite you are starting a Women’s Leadership Council in your organization and you need their support. 100% will give their support because if they don’t the backlash would be tremendous.

Step 2– Be inclusive, not exclusive. If a woman in your organization shows any sign of potential leadership you pull them into your council.

Step 3– Focus on hard leadership skills, not soft skills. Give them the inside information around how the company makes money or doesn’t make money. Show them how to budget and write a budget. Teach them how to performance manage. Show them how to balance themselves for great success. Show them how to support each other in this drive upward.

Step 4 – Make your C-suite come, present, participate, and watch. They need to see your smart females in action.

Step 5 – Draft your high potential leader internal mobility charts and scoreboard it publicly within the c-suite. Tell them the minimum goal is 50/50. Show it to them monthly.

Step 6 – Make female leadership goals/hires part of your c-suite annual bonus. At least 30%.

It can be done. This isn’t hard. But it has to be purposeful.

Check out LinkedIn’s Gender Insights Report as well it’s loaded with great information on helping solve this problem!

@SHRM Making a Stand for Hiring Candidates with Criminal Record!

When it comes to hiring bias in America we HATE hiring 3 types of candidates:

  • Old People
  • Fat People
  • People with a Criminal Record

SHRM decided to try and make an impact and help those with past criminal records get hired with their new initiative called: Getting Talent Back to Work. 

GTBW is an initiative launched by SHRM to get employers to join in and take a pledge that their organizations will work to put people with criminal records back into their hiring pools. Koch Industries, a multi-billion dollar corporations with over 120,000 employees was SHRM’s launch partner, which drew some eyre from some of the HR blogging community.

When I first heard of the program, and HR blogging blow back, the first thing came to mind was the quote:

Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows” by William Shakespeare from the Tempest

There are millions of American workers right now who are miserable because they have a record and we will not allow them to pay their debt to society.

This was the same language used by Torin Ellis and Julie Sowash on their entertaining podcast Crazy and The King. Where Julie was really upset by the Koch relationship because of their conservative political stance, and Torin saw it a little less so, which I thought brought great balance to this discussion. Not blind at all to what is going on, but also hopeful and realistic to how difficult this issue really is to change.

So, what do I think about all this?

Making change is messy business. Getting people with criminal records real jobs isn’t something we’ve done really well in our society. 1/3 of Americans have some sort of criminal record and we can’t just throw all of these people away. We have to start truly believing that a debt paid, is actually paid.

Johnny Taylor has a giant association to lead. Some of those SHRM members are ultra liberal. Some are ultra conservative. Some are socialist. Some are religious zealots. Some are atheist. While some HR bloggers hate him for allowing Koch Industries to be apart of this program, I find this view to be exclusive and not inclusive of all.

Odds are there are as many people who love that SHRM has Koch Industry as a partner, as there are people who hate that SHRM has Koch Industries as a partner (with 300,000+ members the stats will play out like America in general). By the way, SHRM also has over 500 other organizations that have stepped up and taken the Pledge! Which is what this is really all about!

Like the ex-criminals we are trying to help get them back to work, why is it we believe that Koch Industries can’t help in this situation? We all have things in our life, in our past, that some wouldn’t agree with, and things that people would love, no matter our political persuasion.

Our reality is almost every organization is or has probably done some crap we all can’t agree on, but they probably are smaller, or keep a lower profile, or believe in what you believe in, so we give them a pass.

I have many friends who lean very heavily liberal. Also, some ultra-conservative. Also, some socialist, and Libetarian, and who knows what else! I don’t agree with their politics and they don’t agree with my moderate politics, yet we can work together to help others and solve problems. It’s not all or nothing. That’s not how our country works. If my neighbor views the world differently than I, I don’t watch his home burn down with him in it, I run in and save him.

We are intelligent beasts that have the ability to separate one ideology from another, and while we won’t always agree it doesn’t mean we can’t find value in one another. We are HR! We own D&I. We need to stop making Inclusion, exclusive to one belief and not all beliefs.

So, kudos for SHRM in launching this initiative in getting organizations to really dig into this issue of hiring people with previous criminal records who have paid their debt to society. Kudos to each and every company that has taken the pledge to help these people who desperately need it.

I encourage you to go take a look at the site and decide if taking this pledge is right for your organization!

The Non-Smoker Smoke Break!

Let’s break down some math on the amount of time smokers take, paid, in smoke breaks daily: 

An average smoker smokes 15 cigarettes per day. I’m going to assume that when awake the smoker smokes about 1 cigarette per hour, so that’s 40 cigarettes per week smoked at work.  It takes about 5 minutes to smoke a cigarette. 

I’m going to assume that it takes probably 5 minutes round trip to get to your designated smoking area, 5 minutes to smoke your cigarette, so 10 minutes per break. I’ll say a good worker only smokes 6 cigarettes on the clock, so 60 minutes per day, one hour, paid to smoke. 5 hours per week paid, to smoke, 255 hours per year to smoke.

Is everyone following me? 

255 hours of paid smoke breaks – or basically taking an in-office vacation for roughly 6 1/2 week per year, on top of their actual away-from-office vacation time. 

So, what I’m trying to get to is how can we/HR build in non-smoker smoke breaks!? We know HR won’t do that! Can you imagine an official policy to take breaks not to smoke!? Does anyone have an official Smoke Break policy in today’s world? 

Here’s my idea: 

  1. If you don’t smoke and you have a co-worker that does smoke, just go out with them every single time they smoke. In fact, get a group of people to go with them and build and strengthen relationships, just don’t try to breath too much! 
  2. Petition to get paid 12.5% more than someone who smokes, because that’s basically how much more your working than the average smoker. 
  3. Take a two-hour lunch break and when HR tells you that you can’t do that, take them into a conference room and run them through the math on a white board! 

I don’t understand smoke breaks. It’s kind of like sexual harassment. For the longest time we thought it was completely normal for a boss to sleep with his secretary and now we know it’s very wrong! 

I’ll be honest. I feel the same way about how it became the norm to offer free coffee at work. No one has every offered me free diet Mt. Dew at work! (I take that back, my friend Jim D’Amico did at Celenese when I went to visit!) 

So, we let people go take smoke breaks, paid, and it’s somehow completely fine. 5 hours per week, paid. Completely fine, to actually for real not do work. Just stand outside and slowly kill yourself and you get paid for it! How great is work!? 

Let’s face it, I’m not actually mad at smokers, I’m super jealous! I can’t tell you how hard it is for me not to start smoking knowing all the great benefits you get! I’ve actually tried hanging outside with smokers, but because I was in HR, and didn’t smoke, I think they thought I was trying to get them in trouble or spying on them. I wasn’t, I just wanted all that free time off! 

I’ve been thinking about starting that meditation, mindfulness crap. That might work. I could just randomly stop working, sit down in the middle of the hall all criss-cross-applesauce and just put on some headphones and close my eyes. Make people walk around me and my mindfulness break! 

I wonder what HR would do? “Hey, Tim, we’re not paying you to relax, get your butt back to work! Now, if you want to get all jacked up on nicotine, that’s fine, get off the floor and go light one up!” 

Your EEOC Job Posting Statements are Hurting Your Diversity Hiring!

Employers discriminate in hiring. This is a fact. It’s been a fact for generations. It’s the main reason anti-discrimination statements show up on job postings. That and it’s the law for Public employers and Government contractors who are required to have these statements. Many private employers use these as well to show they don’t discriminate in hiring.

For fifty years we’ve seen these statements on job descriptions and job advertisements. Recently, two Economists from the University of Chicago did a study looking at the impact of candidate behavior when these statements are added to a job posting and their findings were shocking!

In their study, the two economists posted advertisements for an administrative assistant job in ten large American cities. Of the 2,300 applicants who expressed interest, half were given a standard job description and the other half were given a description with an equal-opportunity statement promising that “all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to sex, colour, age or any other protected characteristics”.

 

For racial minorities, those who received the pro-diversity statement were 30% less likely to apply for the job—and the effect appeared to be worse in cities with white majorities (see chart). In a follow-up survey, the prospective applicants said the statement prompted worries that they would be token diversity hires.

30% Less Likely To Apply!!! 

What the what?!?!

This isn’t a study that was done decades ago. This was done in the past twelve months!

So, what should we do? 

One thing the study found that had a positive impact on increasing diversity application is to show your senior executives, including your CEO, talk in a ‘real’ transparent way on the impact that diversity has on your organization.

No, not some overly-produced puff piece about how we are all part of the same rainbow. Include video on your career site with your CEO telling stories about how D&I isn’t just a marketing tactic, but how it’s really impacted the organization in a positive way.

Have diverse employees ask the CEO question that gets to the heart of where D&I is in your organization. Don’t be afraid about keeping this conversation open and maybe a bit uncomfortable. The more real, the more candidates will understand that you’re really trying to make a difference.

If you really want to make sure you’re not missing great minority applicants who are skipping even applying to you, embed these videos right into your job postings!

Don’t think that when you put an “EEOC” statement at the end of your job posting is letting a diverse candidate pool know you’re a great place for them to work. They don’t buy it! You have to be better than that!

The One Bias We All Agree On!

At this point, we’ve been educated enough to know we all have biases. The reason for our biases is different for each of us. We’ve gotten to a point in our society where we judge each other’s biases on a scale of “this is a bias, but its not really a bad bias” to “you’re an awful person because of your bias!”

If you won’t hire someone based on the color of their skin,  then well you’re an awful human being with a really awful bias.

If you won’t hire someone based on the fact they went to the University of Michigan, well, then, you’re just smart! 😉 But still a pretty stupid bias!

This continuum of biases game we play is somewhat comical.

Some new research has come out, though, on a bias we can all finally agree on! No matter what skin color you are, black, white, some combination in between, we agree on this. No matter what religion, what socio-economic background you come from, your religion, your political beliefs, whether or not you actually believe Star Wars or Star Trek is better, we all agree that Fat People are bad.

Um, what!?!

Yeah, Americans can’t stand obese people!

We don’t want to hire them, and when we do, we pay them less and give them the worse jobs.

All of which is fairly comical as well, since most Americans are overweight! 74.1% of Americans are overweight! You see the continuum thing again, right?!

“Oh, God, that dude is giant! Yuck! You know he won’t work! I’m just so happy I’m not ‘that’ fat!” Come down, Sparky! It’s not like you’re winning any Crossfit challenges, either!

It’s gotten so bad in America we hate fat people more than smokers! Secondhand smoke actually kills people. Mikey eating his eighth donut of the day is only killing himself!

Okay, I know you think all of this sounds insensitive. I’m not a skinny dude. I’m built like a fire hydrant, and that’s never good. It is, so I can prove a point. A bias is a bias. There shouldn’t be this continuum of what biases are ‘okay’ and what biases are ‘bad’.  The point being if you find yourself or your hiring managers rating biases, you’ve got a problem.

We hate on obese people because we believe it’s a personal choice, not a disease or a condition, something they control. “Yeah, Mikey is just lazy and has no self-control!” The reality is, like drug addicts, food is no different for many, many people. You like cocaine, Mikey likes donuts, you’re both filling a hole.

There are some companies in super-low unemployment markets right now who are actually hiring candidates who test positive for opioids and then paying to put them through treatment and guaranteeing them a job upon completion. Do you think you would do something similar for a candidate that is obese? Hey, Mikey, we’ve got a program, we want to see you healthy before you start work, go through it and we’ll guarantee you a job.

What do you think?