It’s Actually Easy to Hire the Greatest Talent! Here’s How!

If you had the best technology, the best recruiting talent, best assessment science, great hiring managers who were visionaries, charismatic, and engaged, if you led the market in total compensation and had amazing perks, then hiring the greatest talent in the world is simple.

The formula is simple. 

The hard part of hiring is doing it at scale when you don’t have all those advantages. 

General Motors is playing catch up with Tesla. Is Tesla better than GM? Hard question to answer because Tesla is making a fraction of the cars per year that GM is making. It’s actually way easier to make an expensive low volume automobile than to make a million competitively priced automobiles per year. Tesla sells to a tiny fraction of the world, the elite of the elite. GM sells to the masses and provides automobiles that way more people can afford. 

Building a hiring process for the masses is difficult.

You now bring in competition, and at that level, candidates have more choices, brands are harder to differentiate, etc. You now have to do “other” stuff to get candidates to accept your offer. Being the best, paying the most, having the best tools and products, and the best leaders make it super easy to hire the best.

So, what’s the use of even trying to hire great talent if we aren’t the best?

That’s the right question!

First, it’s easy to hire the greatest talent, but we f*ck it up constantly because we actually suck at knowing who the greatest talent is! We are actually exceptional at picking good talent that we really like. But we suck at actually knowing who’s the best and then hiring them.

This means, if you become exceptional at knowing who is the best, you can actually pick off some really great talent, because those with all the power, all the resources, get cocky. They don’t do all the work they could. Often they assume someone is the best, without really doing the work. There’s this weird corporate psychological thing that happens. Basically, the thought process is, “if I’m here, I must be great, so if I find someone who’s like me or better than me, they also must be great”.

The problem is, just because you work for an outlier brand has no correlation to the fact you’re great. You may be great, or you may have just won the job lottery.

So, what did we learn?

Hiring great talent is super easy. But, it’s also not.

Want a Smarter Workforce? Hire More Gay Dudes!

Okay, before the entire LGBTQ community becomes unglued for me saying “dudes” and not every segment of the LGBTQ community, you have to understand the study we’ll dig into below! In this study, gay men stood out as extremely high academic achievers over every other part of society, gay or straight, and other genders.

From the Washington Post:

In new research made possible by questions recently added to U.S. household surveys, I found that gay men achieve stunning success across every level of higher education. This accomplishment comes even as men’s overall college completion rates have fallen further behind women’s for every generation born since the 1960s.

I found, for example, that about 52 percent of gay men, age 25 or older in the United States have a bachelor’s degree. For context, about 36 percent of U.S. adults 25 or older have a bachelor’s; this ranks the United States ninth in the world in college completion. If America’s gay men, however, formed their own country, it would be the world’s most highly educated by far.

Organizations are constantly searching for the “silver bullet” when it comes to talent. Every so often some research comes along and says, “Hey, over here, we found a silver bullet!” The ironic part of this silver bullet is I think most organizations will ignore it, even though it’s fairly straightforward and clear. Why? Normal bias, primarily, that gay people of all genders have faced when it comes to hiring.

Why are Gay men off the charts when it comes to achieving academic success?

This is where it gets interesting because the reasons can be somewhat subjective, but they actually feel accurate. If you’re a gay boy growing up in America, in public school, you are in for a tough life of bullying. You can’t control that. What can you control? You can control how well you do in school.

Who do teachers love? Kids who care about what they are teaching and do well. Gay kids who aren’t widely accepted by their straight classmates, find a higher level of acceptance from teachers, especially when they are high performers. So, I can control the asshole bullies, but I can control how much I study. It’s a unique form of resilience to be sure. “I became smart and worked super hard at school because that was my avenue of acceptance within public education.”

And, as it turns out, doing well academically in high school, leads to more opportunity in college where gay kids find even more acceptance in a predominately liberal higher education system. The flywheel keeps turning, and the gay smart kids, become even smarter gay young men, who then move into the corporate world as high achievers.

But, now these intelligent, high-performing gay men, also have a community of their own who can support and care for each other in a professional capacity. Recommendations for jobs and promotions, inside information on projects, sharing of creative ideas, etc. The “Old Boy” network, becomes the “Not So Old Gay Boy Network”. Don’t hate, you taught them the system!

Just because you’re smart and gay doesn’t stop bias.

It’s still far easier in our world to be a straight white man than a super-smart gay white man, for the most part. The interesting part of the study was that gay men of all ethnicities have shown this academic prowess. It’s not just a white male thing, it’s a brown male thing, a black male thing. Turns out, gay men of all colors, achieve higher levels of academic success, leading to higher levels of professional success.

It pains me that gay kids have to deal with bullies in school. That any kid has to deal with bullies is awful, but when you’re “different” than the majority of your peer group, it can be especially cruel. I love that on average gay boys have found an outlet in academics because that will lead to way more good outcomes than bad.

I’ll go back to this one quote that I think is very powerful: If America’s gay men formed their own country it would be the most highly educated country in the world! In. The. World. I’m also guessing that would be a pretty amazing country to live in.

Finally! Elon Musk Weighs In on America’s Birth Rate Crisis!

Say what you want about Elon Musk, he tends to be years ahead of the curve around what the world will want and need. I get it, he’s a polarizing figure, people either love him or hate him. I don’t own a Tesla, and I don’t really have the pull to want one, but I get the fascination. I get the fascination with building a company around private space travel, and he just recently said he could care less about electric cars because he now wants to build “real” robots like the ones Will Smith fought in iRobot!

BTW, I totally want my own Tesla Robot. The friend that will always be there for you and I would get the algorithm where they never try to give me life advice, just support my craziness! Also, my “Tesbot” will have an English accent, because I’m a dumb American and I really like that accent.

Elon’s robot idea came partly because of a real-world problem he faces, and truly all of us are facing at this moment, around talent shortages. He needs workers to build EVs and Rocketships. For a dude that doesn’t put limits on what is possible, it seems almost impossible to hire great, productive workers, who enjoy that type of work. So, let’s build robots!

Elon came out recently to clarify the real problem we have in America, really most industrialized countrys’, in that our birth rate is a major economic problem no one is paying attention to:

He went on to talk about world population estimates, etc., and the trends we are on are not positive when we truly look way out into the future. The problem is, in almost every country, our political systems are not built to address the future, they are built to address the next election cycle.

If you voted for Trump in the last election, you probably believe we have a “major” problem at our border to the south with immigrants flooding into our country. Honestly, we should be hoping immigrants are flooding into this country because we need them to work in all the jobs that Americans are refusing to work in!

We do have an immigration problem! The problem is, we don’t allow enough immigrants to come into our country and work legally, pay taxes, and be a part of this great experiment we call America. I’m not a liberal. I’m a raging moderate who sees what is really going on in businesses across America! We need more workers! Or, as Elon believes, more robots…

What are potential solutions for our birth rate crisis?

1. Pay people to have more babies.

You know, stuff like paid family leave and tax incentives to have more children, great education and paid daycare, etc. Let’s make it easy for families to have great families. Right now, in America, having kids is a wealth deterrent for people.

2. Massively expand immigration.

This is not a scarcity problem. Immigrants are not taking jobs away from Americans. We have way more jobs than we have Americans! Plus, immigrants now have more options than coming to America, since there are about 20 other countries with worse birth rate issues than we have. We are now in competition for immigrant talent, skilled and unskilled, and we have half our population who still are being told by politicians that immigrants are bad.

3. Help Elon build his robots!

Honestly, because of our birth rate crisis, if Elon doesn’t get there first, someone else will. We have already seen so many jobs get eaten up by automation and robotics and it’s not stopping, it’s accelerating. Self-driving semi-trucks. Touch screens to order your Big Mac. Self-checkout lanes at the grocery store. Etc. The problem is, robots are only good at certain things, and we still need humans for a lot. Unless Elon figures out my Tesbot and then look out! Timmy is going on vacation!

Talent Hoarding is Real! And it’s getting worse…

Talent hoarding has been around since the beginning of time. If you were good at hunting and gathering, some bigger stronger caveman was going to keep you around and not let some other cavemen lure you away!

In today’s world, talent hoarding begins when a manager doesn’t identify someone who works for them as promotable when they most likely are. The organization uses its leaders to understand who is ready for that next-level position. Certain managers, tend not to openly report they have such a candidate in their group, so they can keep that talent performing for them. This makes their life easier.

But, let’s not just blame these managers of people. There’s another organizational design issue that causes talent hoarding. Manager performance, and often parts of their compensation, are based on “team performance”. That being the case, it’s to a manager’s advantage, and the team’s advantage to keep talent. Almost no organizations incentive managers to promote people off their team into other parts of the organization.

There was a study just released in 2022, appropriately titled, “Talent Hoarding in Organizations” that showed that:

“Temporary reductions of talent hoarding increase worker’s applications for promotions by 123%. Marginal applicants, who would not have applied in the presence of talent hoarding, are three times as likely as average applicants to land a promotion.”

What the study determined, was that if you did not have any barrier to letting someone apply for promotion, your way more likely to be promoted! Things like you must first have your manager sign-off on your readiness, or things like having managers put names forward, etc.

Organizationally, we know also that talent hoarding often pushes talent to leave. Basically, if you aren’t going to promote me, I’ll use the free market to get a promotion somewhere else. In a talent market, as we have right now, that is happening at a massive scale. We see organizations implementing new internal mobility strategies to help counteract this, but it’s barely making a dent still, primarily because most of these strategies still rely on some sort of manager performance metric to allow someone to move internally.

Can we eliminate or reduce talent hoarding?

Short answer, yes. The longer answer, it’s hard!

First, we are talking about centuries of institutional dynamics at play. Generation after generation of leaders were raised under this framework. Thus, we have major change management issues to conquer.

Second, we would need to eliminate the negative side, or at least counteract the negative side of team promotion, with a positive side for the manager and team. This is the “coaching tree” analogy. Great coaches hire assistants and teach them how to be great coaches and those coaches go on to peer level roles. When you talk about the greatest sports coaches of all time, one major factor is their coaching tree. How many other coaches did they create? And, how good were those coaches?

If we can find a way to reward, and not punish, managers for promoting talent within the organization, which is greater than the reward for keeping great talent, we will have a much better chance at stopping talent hoarding. That is difficult. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of an organization that has figured out the value of the theoretical “coaching tree” for a manager. Meaning, if I promote someone off my team, what is that worth to me, as the manager?

It’s a hard question to answer because it’s very specific to position and organization. If I’m at Apple and I “grow” a new Engineering Manager, from a Software Engineer, that I’ve mentored, there is considerable value in that happening! If I’m managing a fast food restaurant and mentor an hourly worker into a salaried manager, that is less valuable, by dollar amount, but still very valuable to the organization.

The reality is, you have no shot if you don’t try and answer that value equation!

You can have some success, by just eliminating all barriers to promotion and allowing anyone to apply. You will still have some that won’t, as managers will still have formal and informal influence over those that work for them. So, it’s not perfect. But, you’ll get more, than by asking your managers alone.

Also, just eliminating barriers could create a gender issue as we know through many studies men or more willing to apply to jobs they aren’t qualified for than women, so barrier elimination will most likely get you more male applicants, who you will promote, leaving more women behind. We actually need our leaders to help us identify and promote our great female next-level hires.

When talent is scarce, like it is now, talent hoarding will be worse. Talent hoarding is bad for your culture and it’s bad for your talent. And it’s happening right now in your organization.

You Do NOT Have a Short-term Recruiting Problem!

I’ve been trying to preach this for what seems like forever, but we tend to be so short-term focused in almost every business process and decision we make in the modern world. How can we make a profit today, F the future!

Your current recruiting issue is not a short-term problem that eventually will just go away on its own. Also, your current recruiting problem has nothing to do with the “Great Resignation”. That was a made-up term by a professor trying to explain a short-term issue we were currently facing, amongst a much larger long-term problem.

The “Great Resignation” is simple economics. We have more jobs than people looking for jobs, so workers have “buying” power. Other companies will pay me more for the same work or give me a promotion with my lessor skills because they have no other options. Straightforward supply and demand economics.

We are already seeing the “economics” of this situation play itself out with higher inflation driven by wage growth and we’ll see more and more adjustments made by organizations to figure it out. Most likely that involves technology replacing parts of jobs, adding human capacity through technology, etc. Organizations can only eat so much in wages before they’ll find a “better” way to skin the cat.

Our problem IS and will continue to be, we have a shrinking workforce that we are doing absolutely nothing to turn that demographic fact around.

Peter Shanosky, wrote a good piece on our aging issue:

The median age in the United States is currently 38.1 years old — a number that reflects a consistent rise in recent years, but not too terrible. That number has been moving up about .15 per year as our largest generation, the oft-discussed boomers, age…

In our professions, then, we would expect to see a median age of around 38. Naturally, that’s not the case, specifically when you get into some of the trades or other professions that aren’t necessarily glamourous. Still, these jobs are essential to our everyday lives. We should not ignore them.

So how far off are they? Well, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we’ve got some wide discrepancies. Looking at just a few:

· Real estate agents: 49.1 years old

· Automotive mechanics: 47.4 years old

· Facilities managers: 50.1 years old

· Bus/Shuttle drivers: 55.6 years old

· Housekeeping/Janitorial: 50.1 years old

· Home health aides: 47.2 years old

· Electrical trades: 46.8 years old

Yikes. There were plenty of professions even older than that, but I picked these for a reason — there’s little barrier to entry. You don’t need a $200,000 piece of paper, and they’re located across the country. You don’t need to live in a growing metropolitan area to have any of these jobs. In other words, based on ease of access, they should be younger. But they’re not.

Why aren’t younger people moving into these roles?

Basically, we have a problem with younger generations not actually wanting to work. There are probably a million reasons, social media, NFTs, influencers, Bitcoin, Meme stocks, etc. If you are 18-30 in today’s world, you are inundated with examples, constantly, of how you can be rich, by not really working, and it all looks so easy!

The problem is, we can’t rely on GenX and young Baby Boomers to keep building our shit! Eventually, they’ll be dead and you’ll be sitting there wondering why the fucking lights won’t come on so you can film your next TikTok video about how to make a million dollars trading make-believe money. Turns out, we need folks willing to get their hands dirty from time to time.

The obvious solution is to increase immigration and create a constant pipeline of workers who want to come to America and actually work. Turns out, regardless of want mass media is trying to get us to believe, millions of immigrants still want to come to America! We actually have jobs that pay money and benefits and overtime and provide training, simply if you have a work ethic! Isn’t that a crazy concept!?

I don’t want young people to think this is all their problem, it’s not! Your parents own a portion of this as well. Someone should have made you work when you were younger. Mow a lawn, babysit, work the fryer at McDonald’s when you were 16, but they were doing pretty good and you were basically not annoying them with your face in your phone, so you didn’t get the opportunity to value work. I think older Millennials, GenX, and Baby Boomers all worked when they were 16 for two main reasons: 1. Our parents refused to give us anything, so we needed money if we wanted something. 2. Our parents couldn’t stand watching us sit around and do nothing, so we were forced to leave the house.

All of this rant about how young people suck, still isn’t the problem!

We aren’t having enough babies!

Probably starts with we aren’t having enough sex, but that’s another post.

Turns out, babies and puppies are a god damn lot of work, and if you don’t like work…well, it’s kind of comes around full circle!

There are 3 ways this will be fixed, and I do believe it will be:

  1. More Immigrants, like millions and millions more. (BTW – every industrialized, rich country is in the same boat as the US, we just really such at immigration)
  2. More automation and technology to replace workers. (Already happening, get used to it happening a lot more)
  3. More babies! Won’t happen anytime soon, and I would guess we might never be able to turn that around.

Or, you and your organization can just believe this great resignation thing will play itself out and we’ll all be back to normal by summer. Have fun with that!

And P.S. – Get off my lawn!

Exploding Job Offers!

I had a question the other day from an executive outside of HR and Talent. A C-suite type who was frustrated by the lack of hires his “HR” team was making. My first question was, does HR hire for you, or do you have a recruiting or talent acquisition team? He didn’t know. Problem number one.

This guy wanted my opinion, well, he really wanted my agreement if I’m honest, to something he was forcing his HR team to do with job offers. You see, they had many job offers turned down to accept another job offer. Basically, almost all candidates we have are interviewing at multiple places, and these are technically skilled candidates, in IT, engineering, etc.

His plan was to start offering expiring job offers so that the candidate would be forced to accept their offer at risk of losing it!

Brilliant, right!? He asked me…

Here’s my exact reply:

“So, in an employment market where the unemployment rate is around 1% for technical candidates, you feel the best strategy is to force someone to make a decision to come to work for you? Also, who says that they won’t just accept your offer, continue in the process while waiting on other offers to come, and eventually just leave you high and dry? Also, do you really want to start off an employment relationship with someone who felt forced to take your offer?”

His response:

“Well, the hell should we do?”

The Problem with Exploding Job Offers

  1. Expiring job offers only work on candidates who are lower end of the value chain, or have no other vaiable offers to choose from. The best talent, won’t even consider you if you pull that strategy.
  2. If you aren’t a “unicorn” brand (Google, Apple, etc.) you have no shot at getting good talent to accept your exploding job offer.
  3. While it might in theory “end” your hiring process faster, you have a higher chance of a late no-show/decline that puts your team even farther behind in hiring. Especially, if they went back to your other viable candidates and told them they were silver medalist.

What’s a better way? Because it’s not unheard of in today’s world where we put some timing around job offers. The reality is, we can’t wait forever. So, the real question is, how long should we give someone to consider our offer before we have to pull it back?

I like to use this as a great way to find out what I’m up against. Let the candidate tell you a time, and then negotiate it down if you don’t feel like it’s appropriate. First, when I make an offer, I expect a full acceptance the moment I make it! What?! But, you just said…! Yeah, I don’t like exploding job offers, but I also work as a recruiter who has already pre-closed the candidate and knocked out all the objections, so when I make the offer, the candidate and I have already agreed, if I get X, Y, and Z, you’re answer is “Yes”, correct?

That doesn’t mean it works every time!

In the case where the candidate, legitimately needs some time, I give them some time, but also I need reasons to go back to the hiring manager with. Why do you need the time? Are there other offers you are waiting on? What would make you take those other offers over ours? Again, keep closing, with demanding an answer. Changing jobs is one of the top three most stressful things a person does. These decisions don’t come lightly, and we need to respect that.

Offering Exploding Job offers is old advice that has turned into bad advice, similar to not accepting a counter-offer from your employer. Job negotiation has changed a lot over the last few decades, some of the traditional things we did in the past just don’t work anymore.

What is the perfect Diversity mix for your company?

This is a question I think many executives and HR and TA leaders struggle with. SHRM hasn’t come out and given guidance. ATAP has not told us at what levels we should be at with our diversity mix. So, how do we come up with this answer?

Seems like we should probably be roughly 50/50 when it comes to male and female employees. Again, that’s a broad figure, because your customer base probably makes a difference. If you’re selling products and services mostly women buy, you probably want more women on your team.

The more difficult mix to figure is when it comes to race. Should we be 50/50 when it comes to race in our hiring? Apple has taken it on the chin the last few years because of their demographic employee mix, and even as of this week, are still catching criticism for having only 1/3 of their leadership team is female, and only 17% of their entire team being black and Hispanic. 55% of Apple’s tech employees are white, 77% are male.

So, what should your diversity mix be?

The most recent demographics of race in America show this:

  • 61.3% are white
  • 17.8% are Hispanic/Latino
  • 13.3 are black
  • 4.8% Asian

Some other interesting facts about American race demographics:

  • 55% of black Americans live in the south
  • White Americans are the majority in every region
  • 79% of the Midwest is white Americans
  • The West is the most overall diverse part of America (where 46% of the American Asian population live, 42% of Hispanic/Latino, 48% of American Indian, 37% of multi-race)

So, what does this all mean when it comes to hiring a more diverse workforce? 

If 61.3% of the American population is white, is it realistic for Apple to hire a 50/50 mix of diversity across its workforce? I go back to my master’s research project when looking at female hiring in leadership. What you find in most service-oriented, retail, restaurants, etc. organizations are more male leaders than female leaders, but more female employees than male employees.

What I found was as organizations with a higher population of female employees hired a higher density of male employees as leaders, they were actually pulling from a smaller and smaller pool of talent. Meaning, organizations that don’t match the overall demographics of their employee base have the tendency to hire weaker leadership talent when they hire from a minority of their employee base, once those ratios are met.

In this case, if you have 70% female employees and 30% male, but you have 70% male leaders and only 30% female leaders, every single additional male you hire is statistically more likely to be a weaker leader than hiring from your female employee population for that position.

Makes sense, right!

If this example of females in leadership is true, it gives you a guide for your entire organization in what your mixes should be across your organization. If you have 60% of white employees and 50%, female. Your leadership team should be 60% of female leaders.

But!

What about special skill sets and demographics?

These throws are demographics off. What if your employee population is 18% black, but you can’t find 18% of the black employees you need in a certain skill set? This happened in a large health system I worked for when it came to nursing hiring. Within our market, we only had 7% of the nursing population that was black, and we struggled to get above that percentage in our overall population.

Apple runs into this same concept when it comes to hiring technical employees because more of the Asian and Indian population have the skill sets they need, so they can’t meet the overall demographics of their employee population, without incurring great cost in attracting the population they would need from other parts of the country to California.

Also, many organizations’ leaders will say instead of looking at the employee base we have, let’s match the demographic makeup of the markets where our organizations work. At that point, you are looking at market demographics to match your employee demographics. Again, this can be difficult based on the skill sets you need to hire.

If I’m Apple, I think the one demographic that is way out of whack for them is female hiring. 50% of their customers are female. 77% of its employees are male, but only 33% of its leadership is female. It would seem to make demographic sense that 50% of Apple’s leadership team should be female.

Thoughts? This is a really difficult problem for so many organizations, and I see organizations attempting to get more ‘diverse’ in skin color without really knowing what that means in terms of raw numbers and percentages.

What are you using in your own shops?

The New Normal in Hiring Isn’t New!

In January 2020 the US unemployment rate was under 4%. Historically low and trending downward. The pandemic hit and it immediately went up, but most of that was in a few targeted industries. The current unemployment rate is 4.8% and trending downward.

By the end of the third quarter of 2019, most organizations were desperate for talent. I would take calls from CEOs who would say that if I found a hundred workers for them tomorrow they would hire all 100. The Pandemic made us forget how bad hiring was prior to the pandemic!

The New Normal in Hiring is just like the Old Normal in Hiring!

In 2017-early 2020 organizations were already talking about what they would need to do to attract talent. It was about competitive wages, perks, even some conversations about remote work and variable schedules. Since we had centuries of in-office work, most organizations focused on making the office a more fun place to hang out. Free food, drinks, ping pong tables, cool spaces to work in, etc.

In Q3 of 2021, organizations are talking about how to attract and retain talent in almost the exact same way, except now more organizations are trying to add in remote and flexible work options. Don’t think work has changed or morphed into something “new”, it hasn’t, it’s still “work” and organizations will still find ways to get the talent they need to complete the work.

The pandemic was an organizational behavior black swan event.

We panicked. We had to find ways to keep people working and organizations going, even though we couldn’t be by each other. So, we did what we had to do. A few organizations actually found super high success, because of the pandemic and the dynamics it created. Most survived. Some didn’t.

Organizationally, we mostly just imitated what others were doing. Oh, you sent your folks home?! Okay, we need to do that. Oh, you have your folks come in on different shits to maintain a safe distance, we need to do that too. Oh, you make your folks wear masks when they are customer-facing, ditto…

We build processes and organizations around averages and what we could be given optimal circumstances. Things like hurricanes, pandemics, political unrest, throw historic averages all over the board, and organizationally this is extremely hard to plan for and deal with.

The Old-New Normal of Hiring.

We lost over a million moms out of the workforce. We lost close to 3 million close to retirement workers out of the workforce. We were already trending demographically in a negative worker replacement (meaning, we don’t make enough babies to replace the older people dying). These aren’t short-term issues, these are long-term issues that we saw coming in 2018 and 2019, and then we forgot!

We forgot we were already in a talent crisis, and the pandemic made this crisis much worse.

History has put us here before. After World War II it was super hard to find workers. Organizations pulled out all the stops to find talent. Things like:

  • Apprenticeship programs (Build your own talent)
  • Moving to markets with more talent
  • Paying higher wages
  • Creating immigration programs to get workers from other countries
  • Developing more automation to supplement worker shortage
  • Creating better working conditions and environments
  • Poach talent from our competitors
  • Create attractive perks
  • Charging higher prices to afford all of the above

What are organizations going to do today? More of the same but the 2021 version.

Technology has taken us a long way, so we have new ideas and ways of working we didn’t have in prior generations, but the concepts are exactly the same. Exactly.

There is no magic bucket of employees. Well, wait there is, but no one seems super excited about bringing in workers from other countries who want to find their American dream by working in an Amazon warehouse or making coffee at a Starbucks. It’s really the only untapped resource we have left when it comes to talent. I’m sure there are millions of Mexican, Haitian, Venezuelan, etc. immigrants who would love to work in the jobs our own American citizens have no desire to work in. My guess is they would happily pay taxes as well to have the resources we have as Americans.

Another option also could be some version of Peace Corp but for American kids graduating high school, that they have to work two years in industry before going onto college. American Worker Corp could be like a peace-time-style draft to the military, but not to the military. Little Timmy is going to work the customer service counter at Walmart and get paid, then he hopes to go on to State U and get his degree in management! I for one think every kid should have a real job before going to college.

We do not have a new problem! We have an old problem that we ignored and it became our most recent problem. We could easily blame our politicians for this short-term focus and thinking, but every one of us who works in business also owns this. Every one of us that works in education also owns this. We all saw it coming, but we were waiting for someone else to fix it. Now, we all have to fix it.

6 Signs You Shouldn’t 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! Especially with today’s difficult hiring event where we are pushed to hire any warm body, don’t!

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

1. They only have bad things to say about former employers. Notice I didn’t say “employer” singular, because we all can have a bad, toxic work choice we’ve made. Once it gets to multiple, you now own that, turns out you’re bad at knowing what’s good for you! Plus, there is a high correlation between hiring a candidate that bad mouth their former employer and that eventually they’ll be bad-mouthing you as well!

2. 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!

3. Slow walkers.  If you don’t have some pep in your step, at least for the interview, you’re going to be dud as an employee. Of course, if the person has a disability, ignore this point!

4. My Last Employer was so Awesome! Yeah, that’s great, we aren’t them. Let’s put a little focus back to 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 front-desk and/or 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. Basically, if you feel comfortable in an interview treating anyone bad, you’re a bad person.

6. Any communication issue where they aren’t apologetic. “Yeah, I know you contacted me five times about the interview, but like, the new game came out and I was like busy and stuff.” Hard no! I don’t need you to respond immediately, but at least have some awareness of the moment! Before you lose your shit, this is for both candidates and recruiters! If a recruiter is bad at communicating with a candidate they should be apologetic as well. Common civility is a bare minimum for an offer!

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

Supply and Demand are Undefeated!

Why can’t you find talent?! Why are your workers resigning at all-time highs? Why can’t I buy the car I want? Why does my local supermarket keep running out of diet Mt. Dew in the 16 oz bottles!?

The law of supply and demand is undefeated in the history of the world! That’s why!

When there is a feeling of equilibrium in the talent market, meaning we seem to have enough workers and enough jobs, but not crazy on either side, our world works fairly well. For sure, there are outliers, but all of those have a real business answer to why you’re an outlier. Right now, it seems like no one has a real business answer to why everyone is an outlier!

That’s because there isn’t one answer. Well, I take that back, there is, and it’s fairly simple, but your executives don’t want to hear it, we have more demand than supply of talent.

I find it super ironic that really smart executives won’t hear this when it comes to talent, but will go into every single board meeting and using different words tell their boards the reason they can’t sell enough products or services is because of supply and demand. But, when asked about talent, they truly believe TA/HR has a magic machine they can keep filling up with more candidates and employees that is never-ending!

There. Is. No. Magic. Employee. Machine!

By the way, everyone is to blame for this supply and demand issue. It’s not people who work. It’s the entire system failure that causes supply chain issues. What are these failures:

  • We are crappy at educating kids for future jobs. We take way to long to react to what our world needs for skills, from a public and private education standpoint.
  • Those that have the money are unwilling to properly incentize people for their labor and efforts.
  • Those who buy products and services are unwilling to pay more for all the crap we want.
  • Employers are unwilling to invest what is needed to grow their own talent and then do all they need to do to ensure they retain that talent.
  • We have a government that is basically incapable of doing anything besides work to get voted in again. Rinse. Repeat. Do nothing of consequence.

Gawd! That seems pessimistic, right!?

But, I don’t think so, because every single one of those bullet points we can control as a society, which is why we are all complicit in this problem!

This is not a complex problem. This is simply a supply and demand problem. Create more supply and bring back some equilibrium and everything will be back to normal. I have no fear that this won’t happen because supply and demand are undefeated!