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.

Ditch “In Transition” if You Want to Land Your Next Job!

Be honest—what’s your first thought when you see “In Transition” on someone’s resume, cover letter, or LinkedIn profile? Share your thoughts in the comments!

If you’re like me, the reaction isn’t positive. If it’s not working in your favor, it’s time to remove it from your profiles!

When I see “In Transition,” I wonder, “Why are you in transition? Is something wrong?” No one aspires to be in transition. While career transitions can be positive, the term often carries negative weight.

Why does “In Transition” have such a negative vibe? To me, it suggests uncertainty—you’re not clear about what you want. Instead of being “in transition,” you should focus on clearly stating your goals and the direction you’re heading.

Why You Might Be “In Transition” and Seeking a New Job:

  • Retirement from your previous role (often viewed negatively due to age bias)
  • Switching careers entirely (potentially positive if you’re willing to start at an entry-level position)
  • Fired from your last job
  • Laid off or company closed down
  • Owned a business that has since ended
  • Took a personal leave of absence (for reasons like FMLA, further education, child-rearing, or caring for an aging parent)

The challenge is finding a term that doesn’t immediately raise red flags for TA pros and hiring managers. While there’s no perfect phrase, honesty framed positively can go a long way.

Here are some suggestions to replace “In Transition”:

  • “I resigned from my last position because…”
  • “Retired from my previous role and now seeking opportunities to contribute my skills in…”
  • “Took time off for [specific reason], and now looking to…”
  • “Laid off from my last job due to [specific reason]…” (Be truthful, as savvy TA professionals can verify this.)
  • “Started and ran my own business, which [insert outcome]. Now, I’m excited to leverage my entrepreneurial skills to help your organization in…”

What do you think? Does the term “In Transition” make you wary of a candidate?

Oops, I Did It Again: The Big Regret

Welcome back to Re-Run Friday – this post originally ran in April 2022!

The Big Regret! How’s that new job treating you?

When 4-5 million people per month change jobs, mostly for more money, there are going to be some consequences! Turns out, the grass isn’t always greener when you get more green!

A Muse survey, reported in the WSJ, recently found out that nearly 75% of workers who’ve changed jobs recently have regretted it, and 50% of those would try and get their old job back! That’s a lot! But it’s not surprising.

The biggest stressors we have in life are having kids, buying a house, and changing jobs. We tend to make bad decisions when stressed, and when you have 4-5 million people per month making that decision, well, that’s a lot of bad decisions!

What will we learn from the Big Regret?!

1. Money isn’t everything, but once you get more of it, it’s hard to go back to the old money level.

2. The old job and the old boss didn’t really suck, and the stuff we thought sucked at the old job, suck at the new job as well. It’s called “work” for a reason.

3. The power of someone paying attention to us and making us feel pretty is the most powerful force on the planet. Never underestimate it.

4. You can go back to your old job, but it will be different. It’s like going back to your ex. You are both a bit smarter and a bit more cautious now. There are some scars. Same people, same company, same job, but it’s not the same. Doesn’t make it bad, but you can’t expect it to be the same.

5. You can’t really judge a job until a couple of things happen: 1. You actually know how to do the job fully; 2. Co-workers stop seeing you as the newbie. In every case, that timeline is different. Be patient and do the job before you judge it.

6. If you find that you have an asshole boss at every job you work, the asshole might be you, not the boss.

7. In the future, when we have more jobs than available workers, let’s not act surprised when people start changing jobs. It’s happened in every similar economic cycle in the modern world. It’s called opportunity. Don’t confuse that with the world has changed.

What should you do if you hate your new Great Resignation Job?

  • Take some time to really determine what you hate. Was that different from the old job? Was it the same? Will it be that way at the next job? Too many folks don’t know what they hate and they just keep selecting the same jobs they hate time and time again, but with a new pay rate and new address.
  • Some of us immediately want to return back to our old job. That might work, it might not. A psychological thing happens to so many managers once you leave them. It’s like you broke up with them and now you want to run back to that comfort. You’ll find many have no interest, and it has nothing to do with your value and performance, and everything to do with them feeling like you’ll hurt them again.
  • Try and find something you like to do, but call it “work”. This is different than the B.S. you’re told about work doing something you love and you’ll never work another day in your life! I’m no life coach, but that crap doesn’t work. You call it “work” even if you love it, because one day you’ll show up to do what you thought you loved and find out its work, and you’ll be depressed and broken. You don’t love work. You love your family and your God and puppies. You work to put yourself in a position to be able to do what you love. If you’re super lucky, every once in a while those two things will overlap.

Improving Diversity in Your Engineering Team

Struggling to diversify your technical hires? You’re not alone if most of these hires are men, but by now you probably know the value of having diverse teams. So, how can you attract and keep more female and minority engineers? It’s tough, but doable!

Many of our clients quietly express interest in hiring female or minority engineers. Some HR folks worry about appearing discriminatory, but actively seeking diversity is not only smart but legal too. Look at Etsy – they boosted female engineering hires by 500%. It’s not about the numbers alone; it’s about meaningful change. Etsy revamped their interview process to be fairer to women, resulting in more female engineers joining them.

Here are three practical steps you can take:

  1. Publicly Commit to Diversity: Don’t keep it a secret. Let everyone know you’re actively seeking to hire women and minorities – add it to your marketing, careers page, all of the above. Transparency matters.
  2. Maintain Standards: Don’t lower the bar for just diversity’s sake. Stick to your hiring standards while actively seeking diverse talent. They’re out there!
  3. Involve Female Leaders in Hiring: Representation counts. Have female leaders lead the hiring process for engineering roles. They can bring valuable insights and help attract top female talent.

Remember, fostering diversity takes time and effort. Start small, but start now. Your engineering team’s future depends on it!

Lessons from Past Jobs I’ve Had

When I started college, HR wasn’t even on my radar. Was it on yours?

Here’s how it unfolded for me:

I got a degree in elementary education with dreams of shaping young minds. Teaching seemed like a fulfilling path, with the perks of summers off and being one of the few guys among a sea of female teachers. I was sold.

After a bit in education, I transitioned into sales and recruiting. I liked to talk – so these worked well for me. But, luckily, from here I stumbled into HR through a client who mentored me into it.

Here are five skills from those earlier jobs that helped me in HR:

  1. Confidence: Teaching taught me the importance of confidence. Kids are like sharks (kinda) – they can sense fear. Similarly, in HR, confidence is crucial when dealing with constant questioning and crazy situations.
  2. Positive Attitude: Positivity was my mantra in sales, and it serves me well in HR too. No one likes a negative Nancy. HR is often associated with negativity and maintaining a sunny outlook can make all the difference.
  3. Proactivity: Instead of waiting for problems to arise, I learned the value of being proactive. This way of thinking has been really helpful in HR. It’s all about being proactive and getting ahead of problems before they become big issues.
  4. Humility: Balancing confidence with humility is a fine line. In teaching, not keeping promises hurts your credibility. With the kids, with peers, everyone. Similarly, in HR, being humble builds trust and reliability, which are important for good relationships in the organization.
  5. Persuasion: Whether convincing students or candidates, persuasion is a skill I honed in previous roles. In HR, the ability to sell ideas and projects is paramount, whether it’s advocating for a new initiative or garnering support for organizational change.

These skills have not only helped me excel in HR but have also empowered me to effectively advocate for the tools and technology necessary to drive organizational success.

That’s my journey. What about yours? Which skills from your past experiences have proven indispensable in your HR career?

Don’t Just Wait to Be Discovered

As a recruiter, we’re always on the lookout for talent. Whether we’re at work, running errands, or enjoying time off, we are constantly searching for people with the right skills and drive.

But, I’m here to tell you, opportunities won’t just land in your lap. If you’re waiting for someone to find you, you could be waiting forever.

Because recruiters don’t stumble upon talent by accident. They look for people who are actively showing what they can do. Every single day. It’s like trick-or-treating – we only go where there’s a light on.

Too often, I meet people who want a new job but aren’t doing anything about it. They’re afraid to let their current employer know they’re looking. But that’s not the best way to get noticed.

Instead of waiting around, get involved. Connect with others in your industry and community. Let people know what you’re looking for.

Even in today’s job market, there are plenty of opportunities out there. But you have to put yourself out there to find them.

So stop waiting to be discovered – go out and make it happen. Success isn’t luck; it’s hard work.

The Real Game-Changers

I can’t stand hiring managers who don’t want to hire moms because they might need to stay home with a sick kid or take an early lunch to catch their fourth-graders play. Both men and women managers have told me they’re not into hiring moms. It doesn’t sit right with me.

Why? I grew up with a single mom. I remember her choosing where to shop based on how many times she’d bounced a check there. I’d hand back stuff at the checkout ’cause they wouldn’t take her check, and we only had enough cash for a few items.

My mom started her own business, paid her mortgage, and raised two kids. It wasn’t perfect, but we made it. Those experiences shape a kid for life. It makes you appreciate what you have when you know you can live with much less.  My mom became hugely successful after I got out of college and my kids only know her as the grandma that has so much.  I can’t even describe to them the struggle, they have no concept.

The moms I bring in are some of the toughest workers on my team.  They come to work, which for many is a refuge of quiet and clean, and do work that is usually less hard than the other jobs they still have to perform that day and night.  They rarely complain, and usually are much better at putting issues into perspective and not freak out.

When I have a rough day, I try to remember that most of my day is done, but theirs won’t be until they hit the pillow. Old people and moms are the most disrespected of the working class. I swear by that. They are the most underutilized workers of our generation. A woman takes a few years off to raise a kid and somehow she’s now worthless and has no skills.

I don’t even want to write this post because I feel like I’m giving away a recipe to a secret sauce.  All these national recruiting companies are hiring the youngest, prettiest college grads they can find to work for them, and they mostly fail in the recruiting industry. Moms find this industry rather easy as comparable to what they are used to doing.

The real recruiting secret? Moms. They’re the main ingredient that makes it work.

Here’s an idea, just do the job you were hired for

Every day, people get worked up over stuff they can’t control. Everyone’s telling you to be this or that, depending on the latest trend or generation.

I’ve stopped listening to people who don’t know my job or haven’t been in the field for ages. Instead, I talk to my employees – the young, the old, and everyone in between. They all matter because they all contribute to moving the organization forward.

I don’t care about what others think; I focus on what my employees are telling me. Their problems are personal, from daycare and student loans to health scares. Forget the big world issues; help them with the close ones first.

Your employees are individuals with their own problems, and millennials aren’t college kids anymore. The newbies might have different labels, but they’re still young people with their own issues.

At the end of the day, employees want to succeed. Helping them be successful is my top priority as a leader. Success is personal, so I figure out how to tie it to the organization’s goals.

We keep letting others tell us how to do our jobs. I’m sticking to doing the job I was hired for because, frankly, no one knows it better than me. Maybe we should all just focus on doing the job we were hired for.

Ping pong and Taco Tuesday won’t save you!

Check out this previous blog from 2017 – it’s like the Yoda of employee retention. You don’t need to keep everyone! Crazy, right? Does this still hit the mark? Share your quick take!

You Don’t Actually Have To Retain Everyone!

In 2017, and beyond, employee retention will become a huge focus. Some could argue that employee retention is always an important issue, but during major recessions, it becomes less of a stress for sure. With shifting employee demographics, retention will be a hot item over the next few years as we see more and more of the baby boom generation leave the workforce, and we do not have enough young skilled workers entering the workforce to replace those leaving.

Here’s a dirty little secret, though:

“You don’t actually have to work to retain every one of your employees!”

Why? Because most of your employees won’t leave. We like to tell ourselves that every employee can leave, and by the law of the land (at least for now under the Trump administration), they actually can, but statistics clearly show that most don’t leave.

The average retention rate across all industries is about 85%, year over year. That means 85 out of 100 employees will probably not leave you. You are really worrying about 10-15% of employees. Ironically, it’s about 10-15% of your top-performing employees that make the most difference in your company.

First, we have to solve one problem you have. Your ‘retention’ strategy is flawed and is pushing good employees out the door, the ones you want to keep!

Here’s why:

  1. You’re smart and send out a retention survey to find out from all of your employees what they want to be retained. You’re like 99% of organizations.
  2. The results of that survey tell you what the majority of your employees want to be retained. Things like ping pong, hot yoga, 27 smoke breaks a day, free tacos on Tuesday, etc.
  3. You implement a variety of the desired retention ‘fixes’! Yay!!!
  4. Your retention number actually stays the same, or maybe even gets worse.

WTF!?!?!?

Remember what I said above? You shouldn’t be concerned with about 85% of your employees who will never leave. They are not going anywhere! You shouldn’t be surveying all of your employees, you should be surveying only your best employees, those you are desperate to keep!

What you’ll find is that the 10-15% of highly valued employees you want to retain, what they want to be retained is very different from what the hoard wants to be retained! They’ll want a clear career path, performance-based compensation, more talented co-workers, better work tools, etc. They couldn’t give a shit about ping pong and Taco Tuesday.

Great HR isn’t working to make everyone equal. Great HR is working to make your organization better than your competition. That happens by having noticeably better talent. You get that kind of talent by listening to those employees who are noticeably better, not those who complain about the color of your new carpet.

What would this create?  It creates a high performing organization that attracts high-performing employees. Most organizations won’t do this because they believe they need to work to retain all of their employees. “We’re all high performing, Tim!” No, you’re not. Once you get that idea out of your head, you can do some really cool, industry changing stuff!

The Career of a Mediocre Recruiter

Shoutout to Aerotek for being the pioneers in figuring out how long it takes for someone to realize they’re not cut out for recruiting – usually around 9-14 months in the game. Whether you’ve barely dipped your toes in Talent Acquisition for 13 minutes or have been in the field for a while, you’ve likely come across tons of resumes that tell a familiar story.

Just having some recruiting experience, especially in IT or Technical stuff, can keep you in the game for a good ten years or more, even if you’re not the best at it. As the President of a recruiting firm, and someone who has run corporate TA shops for years, I’ve seen these candidates pop up regularly:

  1. They kick off their recruiting journey fresh out of college, working at a big agency sweatshop for 9-12 months. They leave, citing issues with the management style, but truth is, they couldn’t meet their goals. Cut them some slack – those sweatshops are tough.
  2. Next, they usually move to another agency or a small corporate gig, lasting less than 9 months. Same old story – couldn’t hack it the first time, and it’s not likely to change now!
  3. If they’re playing smart, they jump ship from the second gig to a big corporate role with tons of recruiters, buying them about 24 months before being exposed as a recruiting flop. In these big places, it’s more about posting and praying than actual recruiting, so they can survive a bit longer.
  4. Eventually, the big organizations catch on that they’re not bringing much to the table. But armed with the big corporate name on their resume, they snag a senior recruiter role with another big firm. The big secret is, they have no secrets, and neither did the last big org they worked for. Once the fake secrets run out, it’s time to start scouting for a recruiting manager gig in about 18 months.
  5. They grab the first recruiting manager job they can find at a mid-sized firm, with high expectations because of their big company experience. Spoiler alert – they’re out the door in 9 months.
  6. Back to the agency world they go! Bouncing around, bragging about their ‘contacts’ at big companies, they’ve hit the 8-10 year mark in their recruiting career, and they’re just not cutting it.

If they’re lucky as a mediocre recruiter, they might land a gig with a college or university, or something. These places are like havens for subpar recruiters. No pressure to do anything valuable – just show up, get a paycheck, and follow the process. It’s never their fault, and moving too fast isn’t on the agenda!

The best recruiters don’t move around because they’re so valuable the organizations they work for won’t let them leave! If you’re crappy, people are hoping you leave! Please take your crappy recruiting skills to our competition!