5 Tell-Tale Signs Not to Make That Offer!

If I have learned anything at all in my HR/Recruiting career it’s that everyone has an opinion on what makes a good hire. If you ask 100 people to give you one thing they focus on when deciding between candidates, you’ll get 100 different answers!

I’ve got some of my own. They might be slightly different than yours, but I know mine will work!  So, if you want to make some better selections, take note my young Padawans:

1. Crinkled up money. Male or female if you pull money out of your pocket or purse and it’s crinkled up, you’ll be a bad hire!  There is something fundamentally wrong with people who can’t keep their cash straight. The challenge you have is how do you get a candidate to show you this? Ask to copy their driver’s license or something like that!

2. Males with more selfies on their Instagram, than all other photos. I don’t even have to explain this (also, don’t go do a count on my IG!).

3. Slow walkers.  If you don’t have some pep in your step, at least for the interview, you’re going to be a drag as an employee.

4. My Last Employer was so Awesome! Yeah, that’s great, we aren’t them. Let’s put a little focus back on what we got going on right here, sparky. Putting too much emphasis on a job you love during the interview is annoying. We get it. It was a good gig. You f’d it up and can’t let go. Now we’ll have to listen about it for the next nine months until we fire you.

5. Complaining or being Rude to waitstaff.  I like taking candidates to lunch or dinner, just to see how they treat other people. I want servant leaders, not assholes, working for me. The meal interview is a great selection tool to weed out bad people.

What are your signs not to make an offer?  Share in the comments!

This One Factor is Reducing Your Diversity Hiring by 30%!

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!

Talent Acquisition is NOT Marketing. Here’s why!

We love, I love, to say Recruiting is Marketing! I love Recruitment Marketing and the technology behind it, I think it’s brilliant! Recruiting is also not sales!

Why is Recruiting neither Marketing nor Sales?

What’s the core function of marketing and sales? To welcome as many people as possible into your funnel so that all of those people will buy your product or service, or give to your charity, etc.

In Recruitment we in the Rejection business!

Can you imagine you walk into a Cadillac dealership? You saw the commercial for the new SUV, you decide you want that SUV. You saw the billboard for that same car, heard the radio commercial, heck you even saw an Ad on Facebook, it’s almost like they’re listening to your brain! You’ve got a pocket full of hundred dollar bills and you walk into the dealership because today you’re driving away in that brand new, beautiful Cadillac SUV!

DealerNo!

MeUm, what?! 

DealerNo, we aren’t selling you that new Cadillac SUV, you’re not a Cadillac “Man”! 

MeA what!? 

DealerYeah, sorry, you don’t get a Cadillac today, we’re saving those for only certain people! 

It’s funny because we know this would never happen! I could walk into the dealership holding a severed head and the first words out of the salesman’s mouth would be “the trunk on our new sedan could hold a hundred of those heads!”

Recruiting isn’t Marketing or Sales, because true Marketing and Sales is in the business of ‘All’, not one. No one really gets rejected in marketing and sales if you have the means. In Recruiting, you could fit every single thing the organization is requesting and you will still get rejected. Recruiting is in the Rejection business, not the sales and marketing business!

If we/recruiting are in the Sales and Marketing business, we are in a really sick and twisted business! Hey, “Everyone” come and apply to our jobs, because I get really excited when I get to turn you down and say “no”! So, let’s not kid ourselves. Our business is about Rejection. Hey, come on over here and let me tell you what’s wrong with you, and then I’ll make the decision if we want you to be a part of our team or not.

Marketing campaigns sometimes try to fake like they’re being exclusive. “Only ‘you’ are being invited to buy this new SUV! You’ll be the first to own it! No one else!” Until next week when everyone will own it and actually have a better color than you. That’s not true rejection for those who don’t get it first, it’s just a game we play to increase demand.

So, why does this manner? 

If we know we are actually in the Rejection business, and we are, we/recruiters have to have an empathy level that is off the charts if we want to survive. Let me get this straight, you want me to talk as many people as possible into loving our company, then you want me to reject 99.9% of them? Yes!

To be able to do that and not drink yourself to sleep every night takes a really high ego or an endless supply of empathy towards all those great people who just wanted you to pick them, but your organization picked someone else, but they left it on your desk to share the bad news!

This is probably the main reason so many candidates never get dispositioned. We can all just crush only so many souls in a day! It’s easier to ghost candidates than to crush their dreams!

The rejection business is a hard, hard business to be in. Sales and Marketing are easy. Can you imagine how easy your life would be if you were able to give everyone the job!

Advice for Landing a Job from a CEO (who never hires…)

I get it, you’re the CEO of a sexy brand so all the media companies want to interview you, but when you give advice out that your HR and TA leaders would never give, you’re basically just spewing B.S.!

Pulled directly from the headlines of CNBC, 1-800-Flowers CEO (wait, is that a sexy brand!?), Chris McCann, has to hire 10,000 seasonal workers for the upcoming holiday season to fill the rush of orders they anticipate:

“The ambitious hiring plans will fill part- and full-time roles in production, gift assembly, customer service and distribution and fulfillment center operations. Openings are primarily in-person jobs on worksites throughout Illinois, Ohio and Oregon. Some work-from-home positions, particularly those in customer service, are available.

Here, McCann shares his best tips for getting hired in a seasonal role right now.”

Are you ready for these great tips!?! Here you go:

  1. Arrive at your interview ready to uphold safety guidelines due to COVID
  2. Have a flexible schedule
  3. Express interest in overtime
  4. Tell 1-800-Flowers who want to return to work seasonally, next season
  5. Tell 1-800-Flowers your desire to stay on permanently after your seasonal job.

Okay, not awful, but here is what, I believe, the head of TA for 1-800-Flowers would actually give as advice to someone, right now, looking to work as a seasonal employee for $13.50/hr:

  1. Show up for the interview
  2. Don’t show up drunk or high
  3. Don’t throw up on the person interviewing
  4. Don’t lick anyone during the interview
  5. Show up on your first day

Hiring seasonal workers, especially right now during a pandemic is hard work! It’s almost impossible in the best of circumstances, Chris McCann is so far removed from hiring a seasonal worker he has lost all touch with reality!

First, these are seasonal jobs, McCann himself said only about 5% will make it to the big leagues of a full-time offer after the seasonal job is done. So, let’s not give out a ton of hope, because you just end up with thousands of pissed off people after the seasonal job is done! HR and TA hiring for seasonal spend most of the interview validating that the applicant actually knows and understands this job is going to end in 3 months!

Second, seasonal hiring is warm body, show up hiring. Calm down, Chris, on making a great first impression. When you’re trying to hire 10,000 people at low wages for three months, if you show up, you get the job!

Third, Chris McCann, did Undercover Boss, which tells you a few things. One, he acted like an hourly worker for a TV show, so he thinks he knows what it’s like to be an hourly worker in his environment. Two, he actually wanted to go on a TV show versus running his business. Some CEOs just like media attention.

Here’s what we all should know at this point. The larger the company, the less the CEO actually knows about the reality of hiring. Once that CEO is working for an organization that has more than 500 employees, there’s a good chance they haven’t hired an hourly worker in years. So, thanks for the advice, Chris, but you’re not helping your HR and TA team fill jobs!

How Perfect is your Perfect Hire?

There’s a concept known as the “Perfect Premium”. Basically, we over evaluate the value of “perfect” versus almost perfect. What do I mean?

Let me give an example that we are all familiar with, standardized college admission testing, ACT/SAT. A perfect ACT score is 36. If someone scores a 36 on the ACT, they’ll get a full ride, academic scholarship to some college.

If someone gets a 35 on their ACT test, one point lower than perfect, they might get a full-ride scholarship to a college, but that is no guarantee. We assume 35 is that much lower than a 36. Now, what about comparing an ACT score of 35 to a score of 34? Well, in that case, we assume those two scores a virtually the same! Smart, but not perfect!

We do this with employment assessments as well.

We assume the person who scores the highest on the test is the best one, and the people who scored less are really that close. Let’s say you have an assessment that scores 0 to 100. You have three candidates that score 100, 94, and 91. We will almost always assume that the 100 is by far the better hire than the 94 or 91.

If you tell your hiring manager they can’t have the 100 score because that person dropped out for some reason, they won’t really care if you choose the 94 or 91. To them, those are the same, but that 100! She was the magical unicorn!

We exaggerate the distance between the perfect and the near-perfect by an exponential amount from those who near-perfect to almost near-perfect. 

Why does this matter?

Because the reality is, those who are perfect, and those who are near-perfect, are virtually the same when it comes to potential performance. Whether you hire the perfect scoring candidate or the one who is near perfect, you are basically getting the same person, but your mind will lie to tell you and tell you that you’re not!

Your perfect hire might actually be perfect! But, your near-perfect hire might also be perfect!

Also, for those thinking, “Tim probably just got 35 on this ACT and now he’s trying to make us believe he’s as smart as the kids who got 36!” Ha! you’re wrong! I got a 32, and I’m still way smarter than those try-hards who got 36! Or am I…

What if we only hired based on job interest? A Job Lottery!

I heard about a very cool way that some schools are beginning to select student governments. Think about how the normal student government is selected. Some student government advisor, usually the school’s government teacher, makes an announcement for student government elections. Any student interested can throw their name into the hat, and start campaigning.

Then, reality hits.

The most popular girl decides she wants to run, and then the star quarterback decides he will also run, and the drum major of the student marching band puts her name in, it becomes a whos-who of the student body, all looking to butter-up their college applications. If you’re not popular or have a built-in voting base (school marching bands have a way of swinging elections if they elect in mass), you have zero shot at getting elected.

Now, if we changed from elections to a lottery system, every single person who has an interest in being a part of the student government now has an equal chance of being a part of the student government. Do you like this idea or not? (Listen to Gladwell’s podcast to see how this really plays out, it’s fascinating!) 

Most people’s initial reaction is not positive about a lottery. We want to have our vote. Our say! A lottery seems random. The very worst person might win the lottery and then we are stuck! Truth be told, we are awful at selection! We are bad at selecting politicians. We are bad at selecting employees. Humans are just bad at knowing what’s best for them.

Think about how we select our President. If we had used a lottery to select the President all these years, half of the U.S. Presidents would have been female! A good portion would have been African American, way before Obama! We probably would have had a Hispanic President!

What Hundred.org found is that selecting student governments via lottery actually has produced a ton of leaders that school teachers/administrators, and students didn’t even realize could be great. We never gave them a chance, and they lived ‘down’ to our expectations. But, when chosen via lottery, they rose to the occasion. Also, just because we ‘elected’ the Prom Queen to be Student Class President, doesn’t mean they’ll be good, in fact, just as many that are good, suck!

Now, let’s take this in another direction. What would happen if we did a “Hiring Lottery”? Instead of going through all the interviews and such, we just have people show interest, and then we pull a name out of a hat? Do you think it would work?

Let’s add one thing. What if we had AI go through each person who showed interest and made sure they met our qualifications to do the job? Would you have buy-in then? We had 100 applicants who meet the criteria of the job, we spin the ping pong balls and pick one, and Welcome to ACME Inc., Mary! You won the job lottery!

What do you think Mary’s chances of being successful are? 50/50? Lazlo Bock, in Work Rules, says Google was only 1% better than 50/50 in their selection, so it would seem like 50/50 would be a really strong success rate for your hires!

I have a strong belief that with many of our roles, especially those that are low-skill, no-skill jobs, a hiring lottery would actually be considerably more efficient and eliminate all bias, and would probably produce more applicants for organizations. Also, when considering lower-skilled jobs, “job interest” might be the most important criteria to consider!

Could it work in skilled professions? I think it would probably work exactly the same, it’s just a harder sell to executives since they have skills and want to desperately believe those skills matter over someone with similar skills!

Tell me what you think! Would you be willing to hire via a Job Lottery!?

What Is Your 3 Minute Interview Monologue? This is mine!

Right now, with high unemployment and seemingly endless competition for jobs, nailing your interview is critical! Almost every failed interview can be traced back to the first three minutes. Experts will tell you the first ten seconds, but these are the same experts who have never interviewed or haven’t interviewed in the past twenty years. The reality is a little longer, but not much.

An interview doesn’t really start until you’re asked to open your mouth. And, not the small talk crap that you do while people get settled and wait for Jenny to get her coffee and find your resume.

When you get asked that first question, “So, tell us a little about yourself.” Bam! It’s on. Start the clock, you have 180 seconds to show them why they should hire you.

Here’s what I would say:

“I was raised by 6 women. My grandmother is the matriarch of our family. I was raised by a single mom, who had four sisters, my aunts, and my sister was the first grandchild born into the family. As you can imagine, I was dressed-up a lot! The women in my life love to laugh and I have always had a stage with them to make this happen. 

The other thing it taught me was to cook, sew, and iron. All of which I do to this day. My wife is a baker, but I’m the cook. Mending and ironing fall in my chore bucket around the house.

The real thing it taught me was the value of women in the world. I did my master’s thesis on women and leadership. My mother started her own company in 1979 when no women started companies. Not only that, but she also started a company in a male-dominated technical field.  I was nine years old, and she would pay me ten cents to stuff envelopes for her. We would sit on her bed and she made calls to candidates, and I would stuff envelopes with the volume off on the TV.

Living with a single mom, who started a business during a recession was a challenge. I learned the value of work and started my first real job the day I turned sixteen. I paid my own way through college, my parents who could afford to help, but believed I would get more out of college if I found a way to pay for it on my own. I did. In hindsight, I’m glad they taught me this lesson. It was hard but worth it.

All of these experiences have helped shape my leadership style. I set high expectations but work hard to ensure people have the right tools and knowledge to be successful. I hold people accountable for what we agree are our goals. I believe hard work leads to success, and in business when you are successful you have way more fun! 

What else would you like to know about me?”

That’s it. I shut up and wait for a response.

What did I tell them in my three minutes?

I told them my story.  People don’t hire your resume, they hire your story.

If you want to get hired, you need to craft your story. A real story. A story people want to listen to. A story people will remember when it comes time to decide whom to hire.

Once you craft that story, sit down with as many people as possible, and tell them that story. You need to perfect it. You need to be able to “perform” that story in the interview so that it’s 100% natural. Pro tip: try and get people that don’t like you very much to listen to your story and give you feedback. They’ll still be nice, but you’ll get more honest feedback from them, then your fans.

You have 3 minutes! How are you going to use that time?

Is it okay to be biased for underrepresented communities in hiring?

I’m a big podcast listener. It’s one of the reasons we started HR Famous because we loved the format! One of my favorite podcasts to listen to is The Prof G Show with Scott Galloway.

If you aren’t familiar with Scott Galloway he’s a New York University professor of marketing and hugely popular. He’s a liberal and rails openly against Trump and also his own industry, Higher Education. I’m a moderate and he’s so freaking smart, I could care less about his political leanings, I just get smarter listening to him.

Besides being a professor, he has started and exited a few technology companies, sits on boards, has school-aged kids, and talks a ton about the stock market.

On a recent pod, Elitism: Money vs. Influence, he gave his top 3 attributes the top-performing employees of the companies that he has started. These are:

  1. Most likely Female. “First they were female. If they were male I couldn’t say this but it’s okay because as long as you are biased for underrepresented communities your okay, but we try and ignore that…” (42:03 in the pod)
  2. Graduate from a world-class university. Ivy League, Penn, Michigan, Stanford, Berkley, Vanderbilt, etc. “Better schools matter…more applicants…start with better core human capital…better screening.”
  3. Athletes are very successful. They understand teamwork, discipline, they can endure and push themselves harder. “Someone who can finish an Ironman isn’t lazy”, says Galloway.

So, Professor of NYU, former business owner, and thought leader says it’s okay to be biased in selection.

I’m not sure I agree we should ever be biased in our hiring selection practices, but Galloway points out a reality in our culture. As long as we aren’t biased towards the majority, we will look the other way and ignore it.

What Galloway is saying is not different than how the vast majority of hiring managers are making their final selections. They take a look at past and current performance and they make some educated inferences about what those top performers have in common. Based on this knowledge, it will shape their hiring selection. Does this, or could this, lead to bias? Yes.

Does it make it wrong?

That’s the big sticky question, isn’t it?

We want to say, no, it’s fine, continue to hire the females if those are your best performers. But, just because your current females are your best performers doesn’t mean they’ll be your best moving forward, or that maybe one of the males will be even a better performer.

Flip the scenario.

Galloway now tells us that one of the three attributes for high performance is they are “male”. Do we have a problem with this now? Most likely, you do have a problem with it based on hiring equity issues, broadly, but it’s hard to say specifically since maybe this organization doesn’t have gender equity issues.

Want to know what Inclusion is difficult when it comes to organizational dynamics? It’s because what Galloway laid out is exactly what every organization lays out. The difference is, it isn’t always friendly to the underrepresented community.

Like I said, regardless of your feelings on this one subject, Galloway’s podcast is money! It’s on my must-listen to pods each week.

Give me your thoughts on this in the comments?

Do you pay a larger employee referral bonus for Black Engineers?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s why you don’t do this.

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

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

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