4 Great Things About Your 401K Taking a Dump!

The stock market is in the crapper and everyone’s 401K took a hit that will take years to recover, so how can any of this be great!?!

Oh, just give me a minute to explain…

Yeah, it sucks! I mean panic in the streets sucks, I just lost my retirement condo in Boca sucks! I’m trying to make light of a bad financial situation. Oh wait, I kind of am.

The reality is we all put ourselves in this situation. We gambled. We put our money into mutual funds and 401Ks and other investment vehicles and we loved watching them gain money for the last ten years! Since the great recession, the S&P 500 has tripled! If you got in early, you’ve seen your entire retirement increase substantially from where it was.

Good news, bad news. It sucks we are all taking this hit, but we’ve had a great ride up! Plus, it will ride up again, for those who have a few years. For those who don’t, I’m very sorry, truly. It’s a great lesson for us all that as we get close to retirement, get the vast majority of your money out of the market and into much more conservative investments.

So, what about this nightmare do I think is great?

1. GenX lives! It’s too late for the Baby Boomers, they’re out. The Millennials thought they were on the cusp of taking over, well sorry, kids, Daddy isn’t leaving just yet! Thanks to the market fall, Gen X is here to stay for another decade and the Millennials looking to take over as leaders are just going to have to sit back and relax.

2. Retirement is Boring! I know you wanted to retire. It seems so great sitting around Florida watching your friends get older, sicker, and eventually die. Look, you get one run around this rock, why just stop, let’s keep this thing going! There isn’t one part of me that is looking forward to retirement. What am I going to do, sit home and watch crappy CBS cop shows? Nope, apparently, I’ll be getting a second job to help pay for the food bill with all my Gen Z kids at home that can’t find jobs.

3. Being Poor is a Great Diet Plan. Do you know no one has ever written a diet book about not having money and how it reduces your caloric intake? It seems like someone would have ‘scientifically’ picked up on that. Ugh, I lost most of my retirement in the stock market, now I have to stop going out for the nice 3,000 calorie dinners at the Applebee’s! America is way fat! LIKE WAAAAYYY FAT! We all need a diet. To feel a bit hungry again. We’ll all be tougher for it!

4. I’m buying great companies at a super discount! I’m a conservative gambler. I only like winning! Do you know how you win? Buy great, profitable companies, at 50% off and double your money in a shorter period of time! Now is not the time to be gun shy. This will be one of the top 2 or 3 buying opportunities in the history of the market!

I know, there is a portion of folks who will read this and think, “Tim’s an asshole!” How can he say this!?! He has no empathy! (Editor’s Note: Tim is an asshole.)

We all choose to react to tragedy in different ways. This sucks. This sucks for me and my family. This sucks for my business. This sucks for you. We can all agree on that. I also need to move on. To move forward. We did that after the great recession and we were stronger for it. We’ll do that again.

Also, Gen X Lives!

Can I be Completely Honest With You?

“Can I be completely honest with you?” is a phrase usually followed by some sh*t you don’t want to hear.  We talk about this concept a bunch in HR.  We need to tell our employees the truth about their performance.  We work to coach managers of people on how to deliver this message appropriately.  We develop complete training sessions and bring in ‘professional’ communicators to help us out on the exact phraseology we want to use.  All so we can be ‘honest’ with our employees.

Can I be completely honest with you?

No one wants you to be honest with them.

Employees want you to tell them this:

1. We like having you work here.

2. You’re doing a good job.

3.  You are better than most of the other employees we have.

4. We see great things coming from your development, and you’re on target for promotion.

5. Here is your annual increase.

Now, that might actually be ‘honest’ feedback for about 5% of your employees.  That means you will be saying a different version of honesty to the other 95% that won’t like you being completely honest.

That is why talent management is really hard.  No piece of software will help you with this one fact.  Most people don’t like honesty.  The cool part of this is that most managers don’t like to be honest. It’s uncomfortable. It causes conflict.  Most people aren’t comfortable telling someone else that they have some issues that need to be addressed, and most people don’t take that feedback appropriately.  You tell an employee they have ‘room for improvement’ and they instantly believe you told them they suck and they’re about to be fired.

So, as managers, we aren’t completely honest.  We tend to work around the truth.  The truth is we all have things we need to get better at, and it sucks to hear it out loud.  If someone tells you they welcome this feedback, they’re lying to you and themselves.  Those are usually the people who lose it the most when they are told the truth.  People who tell you they want honest feedback will believe you’re going to tell them ‘honestly’ they’re a rock star.  When you say something less than ‘rock star’ they implode.

So, what’s the honest solution to this?

Say nothing.  Set really good metrics. Metrics that show if a person is performing or not.  Make sure everyone understands those metrics.  Then, when the employee wants feedback, set down the metrics in front of them, and shut up.  Don’t be the first to talk.  The employee will give you some honest feedback if you wait.  Which will open the door to agree or disagree? Otherwise, you’re just working on subjective.  Subjective and honest don’t go well together.

But, you knew that. I really like having you stop by and read this.  You do a great job at your job. You’re certainly better than all those other readers who stop by and read this.  I’m sure you’re on your way up!

The Truly Absurd Power of a Bad Idea!

Have you ever been caught in a downward vortex of a truly crappy idea that at some point you wondered to yourself, “how the heck did we get here!?”

I like to think I’m the kryptonite of bad ideas in my organization. It’s part of my personality of being a bit unfiltered in my thoughts and ideas. If I think something is a bad idea, I’m probably going to say something. Or at least, I hope I will say something.

Why don’t we stop bad ideas in organizations?

  1. We never want to tell someone their idea is bad. We say things like, “there are no bad ideas!” Of course, there are bad ideas! That’s just a dumb statement. There are ideas that can ruin your company and your career. If some idiot opening shares a bad idea, it should be up to us as peers to point this out and help them out.
  2. The person sharing the idea is in a power position. This one is hard. Well, Tina is the boss! I don’t like her idea, but we have to go along with her or else it will probably look bad and she’ll make sure she crushes my career. This is the worst! If you’re a leader, you need to find someone who will tell you the truth about your stupid ideas.
  3. We all know it’s a bad idea but we’ve got so much already invested we need to make it work. Ugh! My grandmother would call this, “throwing good money after bad”. Well, we’ve come this far, we have to make it work. The best organizations know when to call it quits on a bad idea, take the loss, and begin a new in a better direction.

So, bad ideas grow and prosper basically because we don’t want to hurt feelings or hurt our own careers.

I do think there are some strategies we can use to help get us out of a bad idea. Some things that will allow us to protect our relationships and our careers, and put us on a better path.

If I think of the times that I saw someone’s bad idea blow up in their face, it happened because it was done publicly. If we have the ability to sit down privately with the individual and talk through it, I usually find that together we can create something better, and change a bad idea into something that will work, and it saves face for all involved.

In terms of people in the position of power who have bad ideas, I like, again, speaking to them in private, but also using data and competitive data to try and influence their decision in another direction. I’ve also used a strategy that is a bit risky, but it’s going over their head in a way that seems like you weren’t doing it on purpose. Like, “Oh, I want to share this data with the entire company because I found it so fascinating and thought others would have interest!” Data that shows we should be doing something else, in hopes, it sparks an idea for someone to change.

The reality is bad ideas happen every day in our organizations and it’s up to us to help create a culture where we reward stopping bad ideas. Where we respect each other so highly we are confronting bad ideas as a way to help that person’s career, not point out their failure. If we can get to that point, we put ourselves in a position to take the power out of bad ideas!

Recruiting Facts: People Actually Like It When You Want Them…

If I hear one more person tell me that candidates don’t like phone calls, I’m going to shove a phone up your…

I’m not the smartest cat, but I know a couple of things.  Here are a few things I know:

1. You can’t taste the difference of well Gin and high-end Gin after 4 Gin and Tonics.

2. French Fries, Onion rings and Tator Tots taste great fried and taste awful baked.

3. Great tasting chocolate is the reason women can be single. (okay, I stole that one from my wife!)

4. Candidates with car trouble are lying.

5. People like to be told that you want them for a job! It’s flattering. It makes them feel important. It makes them feel valued. They love to listen to what you have to say, regardless of how satisfied they are in their job.

If I called you right now with a job that was something you have always wanted, guess what would happen?  You would call me back. You would call me back almost instantly. You would run out to your car, telling the receptionist on the way out you have an urgent personal call, to hear what I have to say.

Those people. Those thought leaders. Those idiots, who are telling you candidates don’t like phone calls are LIARS!

Why are they lying to you? Here is why I think they are probably lying to you:

1. They are lazy and hope the internet will solve all of their problems.

2. They are hoping to talk the world into believing you never have to make a phone call to get a job.

3. They are scared.

I did a survey where I asked 100 people, mostly millennials, (all potential candidates, since all people are potential candidates) if I called you with your “Dream Job”, would you either pick up my call or call me back?  Would you like to know the results?

100 out of 100 said they would pick up my call or call me back! 100%!

Recruiters who say candidates don’t like phone calls are not recruiters, they’re administrative professionals. Pay them accordingly.

Are you a “People Person”?

I was listening to an executive the other day talk about what he needed in an employee. Of course, there were the job skills and competencies, formal education was one, and then that magical phrase came, “Oh, and the candidates better be a ‘people person’!”

A People Person.

What the living hell does that even mean?

A People Person: A person who enjoys and is particularly good at interacting with others. 

Oh, so like a normal person who isn’t an asshole?

The skill of being “A People Person” might be the most over-valued skill of all time. And not because it’s not important, not one wants you to hire an asshole, but because have you ever met someone who when asked said, “You know, I’m just not A People Person!” No! You haven’t! Everyone, from the beginning of time, says they are A People Person!

The reality is, we ask for it because we know the truth, most people don’t enjoy interacting with others. We put up with idiots we run into every day, some of us are better at than others, no profession really does better than another.

In HR, we like to say, “We the People Person People”, but I find it’s actually the opposite. Most HR pros I run into might have the worst People Person skills, but they are paid to do a job, so put on the act fairly well. Once in a while, you find that true kind soul who seems, almost naively, to get along with everyone. “Oh that Mark, he’s a stinker, but you know he once opened a door for me, he’s good people!” Those people might be only real people persons in the world.

I’ve been labeled A People Person in my career. The reality is I’m an inch deep and a mile wide in terms of my interest, so I just have a skill of finding those few things I have in common with people I meet, so conversation comes easy for me when I meet new people. But, I dislike people at the same rate as others. I would consider myself as much of an asshole as most people, I might just hide it better at the right times.

Maybe that’s the true real skill of A People Person. Not being an asshole at the wrong time. Or at least limiting those times you’re an asshole.

Here’s the thing: The next time you hear someone say or ask for A People Person, just smile and chuckle a bit on the inside, because what they are really saying is “I just want someone who isn’t that much of an asshole” but saying “A People Person” sounds so much more professional!

 

The One Fix for Talent Acquisition You’re Too Afraid to Implement!

There’s a ton of reasons we are afraid of stuff. I was never scared of the dark, but for some stupid reasons, I’m scared of bees. I know that I’m not going to die from a bee. I’ve been stung. It hurts, you get over it. Yet, I hate when a bee is buzzing around me!

I think most people are afraid to be ‘found out’ professionally. To have it discovered that we aren’t as good as we think we are. Every function has hickeys. Things we really don’t want others in the company to see or know about. They aren’t career-ending things, still, they are things we aren’t proud of.

In talent acquisition, we lose great talent at points in our recruiting process. It happens way more than it should, for a number of reasons. If you were to truly dig into the exact reason why each person was lost, it wouldn’t be something most TA departments would be proud of.

What this is really saying is that talent acquisition isn’t giving this information to the hiring manager, or more likely, your hiring managers don’t believe the B.S. you’re selling them on the reasons why!

The majority of TA departments, when asked why a good candidate is lost during the process will come up with candidate problem reasons. The candidate backed out, it was too far to drive. They got an offer from another company and couldn’t wait. It wasn’t the position they truly wanted. Etc.

All of which might be legitimate, but we forget, many times the hiring managers get a different side.  Usually, hiring managers know people, who know people, etc. and the ‘real’ reason will get back to them. It then becomes, “well, Mark was getting the run around from your TA team about his plane ticket costing too much, and he felt like it just wasn’t worth dealing with this at this level”, or “the Recruiter took three days to call Mary back to schedule the interview time and by then she decided to take the other offer”.

The reality is, the majority of TA leaders don’t want to know the ‘real’ reason because it reflects poorly on their team, and on them. That doesn’t feel good! Uncovering the brutal truth is painful and many times embarrassing.

Want to fix your TA department? Find out why candidates truly left your hiring process. If that’s your focus, you’ll quickly have your priorities of what to fix, change, and improve upon.

How do you do this? First, you don’t allow your recruiting team to ask the question. The answers you’ll get back will be ‘massaged’ to make TA look great and make the hiring managers look bad, or at the very least blame anyone else except yourself. Third-party this out, or find a neutral party within the organization that can make these inquiries and report back the results. This is key.

The best leaders want to know the truth. Not their version of the truth, but the real truth. Unfortunately, the truth might be the scariest thing you’ll ever face.

The Best of 2019: The Reason You’re Being Ghosted After an Interview!

I’m on a holiday break. Boys are home, we’re going on a trip. So, I’ve put together a Best of 2019 post list for you to enjoy. I’ll be back after the holidays with new stuff and some cool announcements for 2020! 

Dear Timmy,

I recently applied for a position that I’m perfect for! A recruiter from the company contacted me and scheduled me for an interview with the manager. I went, the interview was a little over an hour and it went great! I immediately followed up with an email to the recruiter and the manager thanking them, but since then I’ve heard nothing and it’s been weeks. I’ve sent follow-up emails to both the recruiter and the manager and I’ve gotten no reply.

What should I do? Why do companies do this to candidates? I would rather they just tell me they aren’t interested than have them say nothing at all!

The Ghost Candidate

************************************************************

Dear Ghost,

There are a number of reasons that recruiters and hiring managers ghost candidates and none of them are good! Here’s a short-list of some of these reasons:

– They hated you and hope you go away when they ghost you because conflict is uncomfortable.

– They like you, but not as much as another candidate they’re trying to talk into the job, but want to leave you on the back burner, but they’re idiots and don’t know how to do this properly.

– They decided to promote someone internally and they don’t care about candidate experience enough to tell you they went another direction.

– They have a completely broken recruitment process and might still be going through it believing you’re just as happy as a pig in shi…

– They think they communicated to you electronically to bug off through their ATS, but they haven’t audited the process to know this isn’t working.

– The recruiter got fired and no one picked up the process.

I would love to tell you that ghosting candidates are a rare thing, but it’s not! It happens all the time! There is never a reason to ghost a candidate, ever! Sometimes I believe candidates get ghosted by recruiters because hiring managers don’t give feedback, but that still isn’t an excuse I would accept, at least tell the candidate that!

Look, I’ve ghosted people. At conference cocktail parties, I’ve been known to ghost my way right back up to my room and go to sleep! When it comes to candidates, I don’t ghost! I would rather tell them the truth so they don’t keep coming back around unless I want them to come back around.

I think most recruiters ghost candidates because they’re over their heads in the amount of work they have, and they mean to get back to people, but just don’t have the time. When you’re in the firefighting mode you tend to only communicate with the candidates you want, not the ones you don’t. Is this good practice? Heck, no! But when you’re fighting fires, you do what you have to do to stay alive.

What would I do, if I was you? 

Here are a few ideas to try if you really want to know the truth:

1. Send a handwritten letter to the CEO of the company briefly explaining your experience and what outcome you would like.

2. Go on Twitter and in 140 characters send a shot across the bow! “XYZ Co. I interviewed 2 weeks ago and still haven’t heard anything! Can you help me!?” (Will work on Facebook as well!)

3. Write a post about your experience on LinkedIn and tag the recruiter and the recruiter’s boss.

4. Take the hint and go find a company that truly values you and your talent! If the organization and this manager treat candidates like this, imagine how you’ll be treated as an employee?

The 12 Steps to Recovery for Being a Passionate Asshole!

I wrote a post titled, “The 5 Things HR Leaders Need to Know About Developing Employees“. In that post I had a paragraph:

When I was young in my career, I was very ‘passionate’. That’s what I liked calling it – passionate.  I think the leaders I worked with called it, “career derailer”.  It took a lot for me to understand what I thought was a strength, was really a major weakness.  Some people never will gain this insight.  They’ll continue to believe they’re just passionate when in reality they’re really just an asshole.

I then had a reader send me a message and basically said, “This is me!” And I was like, “That was me too!” And then we kissed. Okay, we didn’t kiss, but it’s great to find another like yourself in the wild!

The reality is, I’m a recovering Passionate Asshole.

What’s a “Passionate Asshole” are asking yourself? Here’s my definition –

“A passionate asshole is a person who feels like they are more about the success of the company than anyone else. I mean everyone else. They care more than everyone! And because we care so much, we treat people poorly who we feel don’t care as much as us!”

Passionate assholes truly believe in every part of their being they’re great employees. You will not be able to tell us any differently. They are usually high performing in their jobs, which also justifies even more that they care more. But, in all of this, they leave a wake of bad feelings and come across like your everyday basic asshole.

You know at least one of these people. They’re usually younger in the 24-35-year-old range. Too early in their career to have had some major setbacks and high confidence in their abilities.

Here are the 12 Steps of Recovery for Passionate Assholes:

Step 1: Realization that your an Asshole, not the best employee ever hired in the history of the universe. This realization doesn’t actually fix the passionate asshole, but without it, you have no chance.

Step 2: You understand that while being a passionate asshole feels great, this isn’t going to further your career and get you to your ultimate goal.

Step 3: Professionally they have knocked down in a major way. I was fired. Not because I was doing the job, but because I was leaving a wake of bodies and destruction in the path of doing my job. You don’t have to be fired, demotion might also work, but usually, it’s getting canned.

Step 4: Some you truly respect needs to tell you you’re not a good employee, but an asshole, during a time you’re actually listening.

Step 5: Find a leader and organization that will embrace you for who you’re trying to become, knowing who you truly are. You don’t go from Passionate Asshole to model employee overnight! It’s not a light switch.

Step 6: Time. This is a progression. You begin to realize some of your passionate asshole triggers. You begin to use your powers for good and not to blow people up who you feel aren’t worthy of oxygen. Baby steps. One day at a time.

Step 7: You stop making bad career moves based on the passionate asshole beast inside of you, telling you moving to the ‘next’ role is really the solution to what you’re feeling.

Step 8: We make a list of people we’ve destroyed while being passionate assholes. Yes, even the people you don’t like!

Step 9: Reach out to the people you’ve destroyed and make amends. Many of these people have ended up being my best professional contacts now late in life. Turns out, adults are actually pretty good a forgiving and want to establish relationships with people who are honest and have self-insight.

Step 10: We are able to tell people we’re sorry for being a passionate asshole when find ourselves being a passionate asshole, and not also seeing the passion within them and what they also bring to the organization is a value to not only us but to the organization as a whole.

Step 11: You begin to reflect, instead of reacting as a first response. Passionate assholes love to react quickly! We’re passionate, we’re ready at all times, so our initial thought is not to think, but react decisively. You’ve reached step 11 when your first thought is to no longer react like a crazy person!

Step 12: You begin to reach out to other passionate assholes and help them realize how they’re destroying their careers and don’t even know it. You begin mentoring.

I know I’ll never stop being a Passionate Asshole. It’s a personality flaw, and even when you change, you never fully change. But, I now understand when I’m being that person, can usually stop myself mid-passionate asshole blow up, and realize there are better ways to communicate and act.

 

 

College Students: Are you adding your side-hustle to your resume!?

I got killed a few weeks ago by some trolls on Twitter over posting this tweet:

I get that many people need to work side hustles to make ends meet in today’s world. I wasn’t talking about these folks working their butts off to make ends meet. I myself work side hustles.

In today’s #outrage culture, this tweet was seen as insensitive by some folks who spend way too much time on Twitter and not enough time on their professional role! Also, I’m clearly not Gary Vaynerchuk, the king of hustle porn, who could tweet this exact tweet and get 5 million likes before the end of the day!

Turns out, Recruiters are now encouraging college students to put their side hustles on their resume and profiles. Why? Because employers actually really like candidates who aren’t afraid to work! It’s the #1 thing that executives tell me when we talk about their pain points around hiring. “Tim, we just need people who want to work!”

So, what are the top side hustles you should be adding onto your resume and profiles? The folks at The Knowledge Academy did a survey and found these were the most popular:

  • 85% of US recruiters recommend those college students who buy items from garage sales and then sell them online for a higher price, to include it on their resume/job applications
  • 67% of US recruiters believe college students that create/modify products to sell online, should have it on their resume/job applications
  • 60% of US recruiters think college students who offer photography services for hire, encourage stating it on their resume/job applications

I really think as a candidate, any skill you believe adds to your overall value as an employee should be something you add to your resume and/or profile, but just know that some HR/Talent/Hiring Managers will look at this in different ways. If you’re an engineer and you’re also driving for a ride share service, you probably need to explain why the full-time gig isn’t enough. “I’m also supplementing my income with weekend and evening ride share to help pay off my student loans quicker!”

The survey found that –52% of recruiters feel companies who know an employee has a growing ‘side hustle’ should take an active approach to support them (i.e. offering flexible working hours). Um, what!? So, Mary is our accountant and we love her, but she also has a growing cupcake business on the side and I should give her time off to go do that and not fulfill her duties in a full-time role? I’m not sure I 100% can buy into this philosophy from a business standpoint!

I would probably go back to that employee and ask them if they started their own business, like this side hustle, and had to hire folks, who then wanted to not work their ‘real’ job, but put more time and effort towards their own thing, how would that sit with them? I already know the answer. They want and need workers who are committed and get their jobs done like everyone else.

It’s definitely a different world we live in. Side hustles become full-time hustles for so many folks. I definitely see this when someone is working a full-time gig that they hate, and a side hustle that they love. Like Gary V would say, you need to then adjust your lifestyle to fit your side hustle, and not your full-time gig if that’s what you desire to do. What you can’t do is think just because you love petting puppies, doesn’t mean you can do it full-time without giving up some stuff. It’s hard to make those Tesla payments on a puppy petter salary!

Can we stop using the phrase “Top Talent”!?

Rant warning! Proceed with caution! 
First off the vast majority of us wouldn’t know top talent for a specific position if it came up and slapped us in the face. What we know are people/candidates that are actually open to listening to what we have open right now.
“Pipelining top talent” makes you sound like a psychopath! You truly have no idea who is the most talented person in your market for a certain position. Absolutely no idea! And every technology that says they can tell you who is the most talented is lying to you, they can just tell you who is probably more talented amongst a group of known candidates.
But somehow you believe you not only have one “top talented” person but now you have a complete pipeline of top talent? Shut up! You look like an idiot! What you have is a list of people who might work for your position, but you truly have no idea if they’re ax murders or super talented in the skill set they’re telling you they have.
Hopefully, you get lucky and make a good hire that will produce good work. Every once in a while we hit the jackpot and find a person who truly seems better than the rest we have on the team. But we only hire “top talent” is the biggest lie we currently tell ourselves in talent acquisition!
We don’t actually go out and hire “top” talent. We go out and look for people who can do the job we have open at the time we have it open, who are also open to our average pay, average benefits, average leadership, average culture, and location. Let’s not kid ourselves, about 80% of us are average, so are slightly better, some are slightly worse.
“Top Talent”… Give me a freaking break!
“Hire Sally she’s Top Talent!” “Hire Jimmy he’s Top Talent!” Do you know who’s not top talent? The person using the phrase “Top Talent”!?
I love it when I see an agency have some stupid 4 part process or plan or dumb little 4 P’s of how we hire the Top Talent in the industry. Psychopaths! They aren’t doing anything but posting jobs and hitting their databases to find out who might actually be open to taking the interview. Top Talent? How about “might show up for the interview” talent!
“No, Tim! We use the 4 P’s, it’s a proven process to uncover top talent!” What are the 4 P’s? It doesn’t matter! Because it’s all B.S., made up to make you believe there’s some secret sauce. The secret sauce is they picked up the phone and called people instead of waiting around for someone who’s out of work to find your opening and apply.
“You can use our A.I. driven technology that uncovers and delivers right to your inbox the “Top Talent” your company is searching for!”  It reaches out to everyone, finds out who is interested, finds out who meets your qualifications, and sends them to you. Top Talent? Or warm body talent? They both mean the same thing.
Okay – I’m done. Not really, but I have some “top talent” I need to go searching for…