Can someone make a Recruiting Degree happen?

Ever wondered why colleges don’t offer a degree in recruiting? With plenty of human resources programs around, it’s always surprised me that there’s no focus on recruiting and talent acquisition.

Typically, folks in recruiting come from programs like Communications, Business Administration/Marketing, Liberal Arts (not known for job prospects), Sports Management, or Human Resources. These degrees open doors to a field where newbie recruiters can earn $40,000 to $50,000 in their first year, and the top ones make six figures.

Imagine a Bachelor’s degree in Recruiting, with classes designed to prepare students for the real deal.

Timmy’s Proposed Bachelor’s in Recruiting Classes:

  1. Recruiting 101 – History of Recruiting
  2. Recruiting 102 – Recruiting Processes and Procedures
  3. Recruiting 103 – Recruiting Communication and Marketing
  4. Recruiting 104 – Sourcing
  5. Recruiting 105 – Negotiation, Offers, and Recruiting Finance
  6. Recruiting 106 – 100 Ways to Connect with People – #1 is the Phone!
  7. Recruiting 107 – Writing Job Descriptions like a Marketer
  8. Recruiting 201 – Employment Branding
  9. Recruiting 202 – Candidate Experience
  10. Recruiting 203 – Recruiting Technology
  11. Recruiting 204 – Advanced Sourcing
  12. Recruiting 205 – Specialty Recruitment
  13. Recruiting 206 – Recruiting Analytics
  14. Recruiting 207 – The Law & Candidates
  15. Recruiting 301 – Senior Project – solving real-life recruiting problems in real-world companies

So, if colleges had a Recruiting degree, would employers hire those grads? Definitely. Employers would dig hiring folks with targeted recruiting skills.

What do you think? Any other cool ones you’d throw in? I think the potential for creating practical content in a Recruiting degree is huge.

The Truth About Job Hopping

Ever thought about whether job hopping is a wise career move? If you’re old-fashioned like me, you probably concluded it wasn’t. But hold on – playing devil’s advocate here! Let me remind you of a Fast Company article I shared a while back. It claims that job hopping can actually enhance learning, performance, and loyalty. Wait, what?! Do Talent Acquisition leaders worldwide really believe in this concept?

Let’s break it down.

According to the article, switching jobs every three years is key for developing quick job-getting skills and ensuring career stability. But not everyone agrees. (It’s me, hi, I’m the problem! It’s me!)

The truth is, that hiring managers often see job hoppers as a red flag. It might signal a lack of commitment or trouble sticking to a role. While some job hopping could be due to a bad company fit, relocation, etc, repeating the same pattern might make them question your decision-making.

Now, some of you might be thinking, “But Timmy, there’s more money in job hopping!” Well, let me not be the first to tell you, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side, right?

Looking back on my own experience, I hopped jobs early in my career, chasing an executive title. In hindsight, not my smartest move, maybe even my dumbest. Job hopping, as the article suggests, isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution.

Here’s the deal: Avoid job hopping. For every person that it helps, it will hurt ten others. Most hiring managers don’t like seeing a resume filled with short stints, raising doubts about your stability.

So, stuck in the job hopper cycle? How do you make it look better?

Bundle your projects under one consulting job, creating the illusion of a cohesive work history. Many IT folks are doing this as contingent workers, handling multiple projects under a single brand. It’s not perfect, but it makes your resume look better.

Job hopping isn’t the career move it’s made out to be. If your career feels stuck, make a change strategically. Most careers don’t stall in just 2-3 years.

Lessons from Curveballs

This holiday season, I’m stepping away from my usual writing to bring you some of the top-read posts from 2023. Enjoy!

The Ball Will Always Find You!

There is a baseball metaphor about the ball finding you. Basically, if you are unprepared or you are scared, that’s precisely when the ball will find you! The moment you least want the ball to come to you is when the ball is hit at you. I’ve heard coaches say this statement my entire life being around baseball.

Life works like this as well.

The one time when you go into the office, and you’re not really prepared for your job or function is the day you’ll be called into an emergency meeting with the CEO! The one question you don’t prepare to be asked will be the one that will be asked.

So, how do you prepare yourself for being unprepared?

1. Acknowledge it when it comes.

So often, we want to try and fake our way through something we weren’t prepared for, but it shows. We aren’t really fooling anyone but ourselves. So, acknowledge it. You know, that’s a great question you asked. I’m not prepared to answer that at this moment, but let me do some research and come back to you with a thorough answer.

2. Redirect the conversation to what you do know.

This isn’t perfect because a savvy executive will come back to the original question, but 60% of the time, it works every time! “That’s a great question. What I focused on were these factors, which, in my estimation, is what we need. I believe…”

3. Answer another question like you’re answering their question.

This is risky, but politicians use this tactic all the time, and it mostly works because the person asking the question is sure you answered their question or not, and they don’t want to sound dumb by asking it again, thinking you answered it! Tim, can you give me some insight into how much we’ll be over budget in TA by the end of the year? “Sure, first, it’s amazing the progress we’ve made. At the beginning of the year, we had no idea we’d be 75% over our planned hiring, and the team has been amazing in reaching that goal. In the second half of the year, we see hiring beginning to slow, and we are anticipating that in Q1 of 2024, we’ll be back up to normal.” Then you just shut up or ask if anyone else has any other questions! Bonus points if you actually go back at them during your answer with some verbal ques like, “You understand, right?” Of course, they’ll be nodding yes! At that point, they will never follow up with another question!

4. Bluff.

Answer the question, even though you don’t really know the answer, and hope and pray they also don’t know the answer! I’ve seen way too many people in my career try and look like a fool. I find that very few executives ask a question they don’t have some semblance of an answer to already. They are just checking to see if you’re on your game and have the answer. So, I do not recommend bluffing. This is usually a low-performer behavior that is probably getting fired soon anyway, and they’re desperate!

5. Open the conversation up to the broader audience or the person who asked the question.

This strategy works really well if you have a strong relationship and trust with the person or people you’re speaking with. In this tactic, you basically acknowledge you don’t know but come back and see if anyone knows or has a strong opinion. You are still driving the conversation and asking questions, which puts you in an authority position, so you don’t look weak by not knowing the answer to the question being asked. “That’s a great question. I actually don’t know the answer, but I’m wondering if anyone else in the room does. Or does anyone have a feeling on what this might look like?” At this point, you could offer up an educated guess as to what you believe it to be if no one else has anything and agree to come back with some more specific information.

Professionally, the ball is going to find you whether you are ready for it or not. We all hope that we will be prepared and ready, but that’s not always the case. Your next reaction is critical to how others will end up viewing you. The more confident you are in your ability and performance, the easier it is to say you just don’t know. Unfortunately, so many times throughout our careers, we get caught off guard, and it might be during a time when our confidence isn’t super high, and that opens us up to trying to make something up on the fly and opening ourselves up to being viewed as a fool.

Posted on  by Tim Sackett

Zoo-Zapped Dreams

Once upon a time, I had my heart set on being a teacher. All through my early twenties, that was the future I saw for myself. But then reality kicked in when I dove into teaching and realized it wasn’t the act of teaching that didn’t fit; it was the political chaos within the public education setup. One incident made it obvious.

There was this amazing exhibit at the local museum, perfectly syncing with my lesson plan by chance. I thought, “What luck! The kids would love this.” So, I proposed ditching our routine zoo visit for this exhibit.

“Can’t do that,” my principal said. “It had to be approved a year in advance, but you can do it next year.” “It won’t be here next year; it’s a traveling exhibit, only available this year,” I explained. “Sorry, won’t happen,” she replied. “What if I got parents to do this after school or on a weekend, and it wouldn’t cost anything?” I pleaded. “Nope, can’t let you do it. Don’t waste your energy on this,” she could see my rising frustration with something that made no sense. Guess where we ended up? The zoo. Same old tour, the same old caged animals, and the same lack of engagement.

Right then, it hit me hard—this system cared more about following rigid rules than genuinely educating kids. My dream of being an educator got a reality check.

But hold on, my dream didn’t vanish; it shifted. See, many think an unrealized dream equals failure. Nope. It’s about adapting when life throws a curveball.

The real grind isn’t just the pursuit; it’s in reimagining when things hit a dead-end. Time for a pivot!

We glamorize chasing a dream endlessly, but the truth is, sometimes dreams need an adjustment. And that’s okay. It’s not defeat; it’s evolution.

Let’s embrace the idea that dreams are adjustable. It’s about celebrating the courage to pivot, not just the pursuit. Chase your dreams fiercely, but know it’s equally admirable to adjust them when life asks you to. Adjustments don’t belittle dreams; they shape them, making the journey all the more vibrant.

A Christmas Present for Your CEO

This holiday season, you’ve got the chance to make your CEO’s Christmas wish list come true. It’s time to give them the gift of insights into what they really want from their HR and Talent Acquisition teams.

I created a short survey designed just for CEOs, all about what they wish HR and TA would do more of or start doing. It’s all about improvements, tech stuff, and making magic happen within your organization. They get to rate your HR team’s current performance, spot areas for improvement, and even prioritize the issues they care about most. Psst, CEOs, your secrets are safe with us – this survey is anonymous.

Spread the Joy

So, spread some holiday cheer and share this survey link with your CEO or hook me up with their email.

As HR pros, you have the power to make some serious magic happen. By getting your CEO involved in this survey, you’re not just boosting your own game but helping us all understand what makes CEOs tick across different industries!

I’m making this holiday season all about shaping killer HR strategies. Are you with me? Share the link with your CEO and let’s sprinkle some HR magic together!

Love vs. Victory

With Christmas approaching and New Year’s following shortly, it often seems like everyone’s just gliding through these final days. You know what tends to happen at year-end, right? People start assessing their lives and careers. It’s the classic: “2023 was rough. What am I doing with my life? 2024 is my year! I need a job I love!”

I run a recruiting agency, but my focus isn’t on “love”; it’s on clinching victories and having success. It’s a battleground of winners and losers. Tracking down the top-notch talent usually means they’re already working elsewhere when you spot them. You’ve got to win them over.

When you snag remarkable talent, it’s a win for one organization and a loss for another. It’s a straightforward win-lose situation.

Being an outstanding recruiter is all about a drive to win. Sure, loving this game (and I’m one of those who does) is great, but it’s not the make-or-break factor for success. What matters is the hunger for victory.

The best recruitment firms are consistently on the winning side. They rack up wins at a rate that overshadows their losses, like Stephen Curry hitting threes. Losing should sting, and winning should feel like that unforgettable first kiss.

Love isn’t what decides winning or losing. Some of the toughest rivals I’ve encountered weren’t crazy about what they were doing well; they were just determined to win.

Too often as recruiting leaders we feel we need to find people who love recruiting. All leaders fall into this trap, trying to get their teams to fall in love with the work they do. The belief that ‘love’ will drive great performance. Which might work, but getting someone to ‘love’ work, is really hard, and rare.

Getting someone who only wants to win, that’s much easier to find and feed.

I’m not in the love business; it’s messy and emotional. I’m in the business of winning. It’s clear-cut – it’s either a win or a loss.

The Role of HR as Coaches

There’s an article by Atul Gawande in The New Yorker discussing the importance of “Coaching.” Gawande, a writer and surgeon, talked about coaches as not just teachers but as observers, judges, and guides. From the article:

The concept of a coach is slippery. Coaches are not teachers, but they teach. They’re not your boss—in professional tennis, golf, and skating, the athlete hires and fires the coach—but they can be bossy. They don’t even have to be good at the sport. The famous Olympic gymnastics coach Bela Karolyi couldn’t do a split if his life depended on it. Mainly, they observe, they judge, and they guide.

Gawande, A. (2011, October 3). Personal Best. The New Yorker.

In my HR role, I’ve always believed that HR can act as coaches across our organizations. But there’s often pushback, like “You can’t coach me in Marketing, Operations, or Accounting.” Exactly—I’m not here to teach you those things; I hired you for that. Building a coaching culture starts with hiring people open to being coached.

More from the article:

Good coaches know how to break down performance into its critical individual components. In sports, coaches focus on mechanics, conditioning, and strategy, and have ways to break each of those down, in turn. The U.C.L.A. basketball coach John Wooden, at the first squad meeting each season, even had his players practice putting their socks on. He demonstrated just how to do it: he carefully rolled each sock over his toes, up his foot, around the heel, and pulled it up snug, then went back to his toes and smoothed out the material along the sock’s length, making sure there were no wrinkles or creases. He had two purposes in doing this. First, wrinkles cause blisters. Blisters cost games. Second, he wanted his players to learn how crucial seemingly trivial details could be. “Details create success” was the creed of a coach who won ten N.C.A.A. men’s basketball championships.

Gawande, A. (2011, October 3). Personal Best. The New Yorker.

In working with adult professionals, coaching isn’t about teaching new stuff but helping them analyze and improve what they already do well. Instead of fixating on weaknesses, HR can help make employees’ strengths even stronger.

Coaching has become popular lately, with various types like leadership or life coaching. But coaching for professionals is less common. I believe in HR professionals acting as more hands-on coaches, working daily to improve skills that directly impact the business, not focusing on personal challenges.

One big challenge for HR transitioning into coaching roles is that many employees lack self-awareness, just like us! A great coach helps someone see things in themselves they didn’t notice before.

If HR can build this self-awareness in organizations, it could lead to some amazing changes.

The Best Job Titles of 2022!

At least a couple of times a year, I share something from my friend, Rob Kelly, over at OnGig, and this was something he and his team put together earlier this year.

100+ Creative & Funny Job Titles by Department & Position

I think we are all a bit of job title whores, in a sense! I mean, if you’re a “director,” you really want to be a “vice president.” If you’re a VP, you want to be a “chief of something.” And on and on it goes. A manager wants to be a senior manager. A “typist I” wants to be a “typist II”. We love our titles!

My buddy Kris Dunn let me choose my own title when I first started writing over at Fistful of Talent, and I chose “Chief Storyteller.” Then I started writing a lot and showed up at a conference, and they had my title as “President of FOT,” and that to this day, gets KD all up in arms!

I think we should allow people just to choose whatever title they want to call themselves. I mean, if Karen wants to talk to the manager, make yourself the manager!

Here are my favorite titles from Ongig’s list:

Ambassador of Buzz (Corporate Communications Associate) – didn’t Rod make Jerry his “Ambassador of Quan”? If you know, you know!

Colon Lover (Copywriter) – I like big butts, and I can not lie. Oh wait, I’m terrible at grammar, wrong colon!

Collector of Business Cards (Business Development Rep) – I haven’t had business cards for like five years, and when someone asks me for one, I just take out my phone and Google my name!

VP of ABC (“Always Be Closing”) (VP of Sales Team) – it’s not a list without a Glengarry reference!

Head of Customer Wow (Head of Customer Service) – I love a “Wow” experience!

Vibe Manager & Head of all things Awesome (Head of HR) – Hell to the yeah! You feel me?!

C3PO – Chief Power Plugs & Patches Officer (CTO) – Stop it! Perfect title.

Chief People-Herder ( Community Manager) – These cats aren’t going to herd themselves! This also works for HR leaders.

Digital Overlord (Web Site Manager) – Anything with “overlord” is a winner!

Head of PR and Other Fun Stuff (PR Director) – good. Head of Fun Stuff – better.

Lead Enabler (Assistant) – There’s so much truth in this title, I felt it in my soul.

Captain Underappreciated (Office Manager) – This one made me remember the Captain Underwear books my boys read growing up!

Chief Cheerleader (CEO) – I think every single one of us needs our own Cheerleader. None better than your CEO!

Dr. No (CFO) – If I had a dime for every time…

Master of Coin (CFO) – Game of Thrones, anyone?

King of Sneakers – this might be my new title for the world!

Master of Disaster (Crisis Manager) – It’s funny! Until it’s not.

Out-of-Work Officer – And one for the sign of the times.

I get why we have titles. I get organizational dynamics. I spent the first half of my career title chasing. I got to be 35 years old, and I wasn’t a VP, and I thought I had failed. Then I finally got the VP title and realized the title meant nothing because it was really about what responsibility you have.

I’ve met managers who had the ultimate responsibility to change their company and their world. I’ve met chiefs that couldn’t change the size of the computer screen on their desk.

People won’t admit that titles matter to them. They act like it doesn’t matter. It only doesn’t matter to those who can choose their own title! For 99% of the world, titles are very important to our personal psyche. Titles give confidence and status to those who need that. Don’t ever discount the importance of a title for someone else. We can do that for ourselves, but not others!

What is your favorite job title you’ve seen or had? Hit me in the comments.

Career Advice My Mom Gave Me

My mom passed away a couple of years ago, but I’m constantly reminded of advice she gave, or more accurately, things she told me, but at the time, I probably blew off as stuff your parents tell you that you believe they have no idea about! Sound right, parents!?

I had someone come into our office recently to interview. Right before this person came in, I was driving into our parking lot, and it struck me that every single vehicle in the parking lot was newer and clean. A bunch of nice-looking cars! How stupid is it to notice something like that?

That’s when I remembered my Mom telling me that when you go on an interview, pay attention to the cars in the parking lot. She said you want to work at a company where the employees drive nice cars because that means they pay well. If there are a bunch of junkers and a few nice ones, only a few people are getting paid well!

And there it is, Mom’s advice that I thought was stupid at the time it was given, and all of a sudden, it was pretty accurate!

I’ve given out a lot of career advice over the years. Some are probably based on my own experience, and some were given to me by all those mentors in my life (parents, grandparents, respected leaders, and peers).

Here is some of my favorite career advice:

Don’t chase titles. Chase responsibility. I chased titles, and I missed out on some great career outcomes by not being patient enough. All along, I had the responsibility I wanted, and that should have been enough.

Culture always wins. We think as leaders, we can just come into any company and make the culture our own. You can’t. You can make the culture something new, but it will be a mix of the old and what you bring to it. It will not be just yours entirely.

Find ways to stand up for your trusted advisors publicly, and never break that trust, privately. Professionally, you are the measure of your circle of trust. You will have times when you can demonstrate that trust both publicly and privately. Make sure you do both as often as you can.

Don’t be a disgruntled employee, ever. If you are underpaid or underappreciated, just leave. Being disgruntled will follow you in ways you don’t even know. Being a strong employee that leaves to pursue other employment will not follow you.

Hire people who are so talented they scare the sh*t out of you. I want to be surrounded by people who should have my job. That’s how I will continue to push myself to be better and actually create the greatest outcomes for all involved. I’m scared because they are so good, they will take my job unless I get better! One of my mentors once asked me, before she hired me, “Are you better than me?” The only way she could hire me was if I said, “Yes.”

What is the best career advice you have been given by someone close to you that, at the time, you might not have agreed with, but over time you’ve come to appreciate?

Hit me in the comments!

The 1 Thing You Have to Do to Fall In Love With Your Job!

Do you know what it felt like the last time you fell in love?

I mean, real love?

The kind of love where you talk 42 times per day, in between text and Facebook messages, and feel physical pain from being apart? Ok, maybe for some, it’s been a while, and you didn’t have the texts or Facebook!  But, you remember those times when you really didn’t think about anything else or even imagine not seeing the other person the next day, hell, the next hour. Falling “in” love is one of the best parts of love; it doesn’t last that long, and you never get it back.

I hear people all the time say, “I love my job,” and I never used to pay much attention; in fact, I’ve said it myself.  The reality is that I don’t love my job. I mean, I like it a whole lot, but I love my wife, I love my kids, and I love Diet Mt. Dew at 7 am on a Monday morning. The important things in life!  But my job?  I’m not sure about that one.  As an HR Pro, I’m supposed to work to get my employees to “love” their jobs.  Love.

Want to know the difference between like and love? The next time your significant other tells you, “I love you!” just say in return, “Yeah, I like you as well!” Then get ready for an argument!

Let me go all Dr. Phil on you for a second. Do you know why most relationships fail? No, it’s not cheating. No, it’s not the drugs and/or alcohol. No, it’s not money. No, it’s not that he stops caring. No, it’s not your parents. Ok, stop it. I’ll just tell you!

Relationships fail because expectations aren’t met.  It seems logical knowing what we know about how people fall in love and lose their minds.  Once that calms down, the real work begins.  So, if you expect love to be the love of the first 4-6 months of a relationship, you’re going to be disappointed a whole bunch over and over.

Jobs aren’t much different.

You get a new job, and it’s usually really good!  People listen to your opinion. You seem smarter. Hell, you seem better looking (primarily because people are sick of looking at their older co-workers). Everything seems better in a new job.  Then you have your one-year anniversary, and you come to find out you’re just like the other idiots you’re working with.

This is when falling in love with your job really begins. When you know about all the stuff, the company hid in the closet. The past employees they think are better and smarter than you, the good old days when they made more money, etc.  Now is when you have to put some work into making it work.

I see people all the time moving around to different employers and never seeming to be satisfied.  They’re searching. Not for a better job or a better company. They’re searching for that feeling that will last.  But it never will, not without them working for it.

The best love has to be worked for. Passion is easy and fleeting. Love is hard to sustain and has to be worked on, but it can last forever.