Career Roulette

BookofOdds.com has a piece titled Hey Kids, Choose Your Career that breaks down the chances of your kid (or any kid, really) landing in a particular job. on consideration for both of them. As you can imagine the article gives some of the fun careers first, like the odds my kid will be a:

  • Surgeon: 1 in 2,872
  • Pro Athlete: 1 in 9,684
  • Fashion Model: 1 in 81,440
  • Firefighter: 1 in 452
  • Elementary Teacher: 1 in 87

Because you know, we all thought we were going to be one of those when we grew up!

When I did a career test in high school, it didn’t tell me I’d end up in HR. It gave me my top 3 choices, which were kind of weird: 1. Teacher; 2. Floral Designer; 3. Sales. No idea how “Floral Designer” got in there, but I still love gardening. HR wasn’t even on the list.

Thinking about my sons, realistically, they’re most likely to end up in:

  • Administrative Role: 1 in 5
  • Sales: 1 in 9
  • Food Service: 1 in 11
  • Healthcare: 1 in 19
  • Education: 1 in 16

But what about HR?

Human Resources: 1 in 656.9

The odds for Human Resources (HR) at 1 in 656.9 shows how jobs can be all over the place, and your career journey can be a bit of a rollercoaster. Even if we’ve got certain ideas about what we want for our kids, the job market can throw some curveballs. Landing an HR job isn’t something you’d bet on every day, but it’s a cool reminder that surprises can pop up in unexpected places when it comes to careers. So, while we might have some thoughts about where our kids will end up, the job scene has a way of keeping us on our toes with its own surprises.

Burning a Hire

If you’re a fan of baseball, you know there’s this cool thing in the game where a pitcher throws a ‘burn’ pitch to set up another one. It’s not about scoring a point but getting ready for a better play down the line.

Ever thought about doing that in HR? Ever burned a hire?

In big companies, sometimes you have to burn hires to make a point or get your hiring managers on board. I remember when we brought in this fancy pre-employment test, and the managers hated it. They didn’t trust the science behind it. Good assessments only work if everyone believes they’re worth it in the end.

I let the managers hire people they liked, even when the test said they might not work out. It was a gamble, but I wanted to show the value of the tools we were using. I wouldn’t keep doing it, but sometimes you need to prove your point for the greater good.

I’ve also burned hires with executive referrals. Top-level folks sometimes want to get jobs for their family, and most of the time, these hires don’t work out. But fighting against it isn’t smart, so you burn a hire.

Not many HR people openly admit to burning hires, but behind closed doors, we know it happens. Sometimes, the small battles aren’t as crucial as the bigger internal war, so you let certain hires go through even when you’d normally stop them.

This doesn’t make you bad at HR; it’s just being strategic. Like the pitcher, you’re setting yourself up for success by burning a hire here and there.

Reject Like a Pro

Getting turned down for a job sucks, but how you handle it can impact how people see your company. A while ago, I applied for an executive gig, and 18 months later (emphasis on this), I got a snail mail rejection letter. No communication for 18 months – then a rejection. Now that’s a solid candidate experience, right!?

That experience got me thinking about the dos and don’ts of rejection letters. Here’s the lowdown:

Dos:

  1. Send signed letters to folks you talked to personally – phone calls, meetings, or internal referrals. And don’t wait 18 months.
  2. Write rejection letters that match your company vibe.
  3. If someone’s a definite no, shoot them the rejection letter. For maybes, keep them in the loop.
  4. Use the ATS for mass rejection emails when there’s been zero personal contact.

Don’ts:

  1. Don’t send a letter to everyone who applies. When someone applies, include a message in your recruitment process, letting them know that only those selected for interviews are considered part of the process. This means we’ll communicate directly with those individuals. Others, thanks for applying – please consider other positions that match your experience and background.
  2. Avoid saying someone else was more qualified – you can’t know for sure. Focus on the one who fits your current needs.
  3. Ditch the promise of keeping resumes for the future. Be straight – if they want another shot, tell them to reapply and maybe network a bit.

In the end, rejection letters should leave people thinking, “Okay, I applied once, and I’d do it again. Maybe even support or buy from this company.” It’s not easy, but doable.

For real feedback on your rejection game, give a few rejected candidates a call. They’re usually cool with sharing their thoughts on the process.

Why You Should Recruit from Competitors

Is it cool to hire from your competitors? This usually gets mixed responses. If you ask 100 Talent Acquisition Pros, half might say it’s a no-go due to agreements not to poach from each other – a common practice in the corporate world.

Infamous legal dramas, like the Silicon Valley case, highlight the downsides of these secret pacts. Between 2005 and 2009, tech giants allegedly avoided recruiting each other’s people, causing lower wages and less job mobility. The lawsuit claims this left workers in the dark about better-paying opportunities.

Surprisingly, openly declaring an agreement not to recruit from competitors is not just ethically weird – it’s illegal. Yes, you heard that right. While it’s tempting to dodge the hiring treadmill in a competitive market, there are smarter ways to deal with it.

One approach is to invest in better pay, engagement, and talent development. DUH! Smart companies know it’s crucial to pay at or above market rates to keep their team happy. Instead of reacting to high turnover with higher wages, these companies stay ahead by regularly adjusting compensation to retain top talent.

Choosing between paying upfront or dealing with turnover costs is a classic business challenge. Reactive companies end up paying more on the back end due to turnover and higher wages. On the flip side, proactive organizations invest upfront in talent development, keeping a competitive edge by promoting from within and having visionary leaders.

I would actually love to see legislation that makes it illegal if you’re a corporate recruiter and you don’t make cold calls to recruit! You saying you’re a ‘Recruiter’ but you don’t recruit! That’s the real criminal activity going on!

A Referral Revolution

HR Rockstars! Guess what’s coming your way on Jan 31? I’m teaming up with Scott Sinatra, CEO and Co-Founder of Bountiful, to spill the beans on turning your good old referrals into a competitive advantage.

Now, I get it. Referral management might not be everyone’s cup of coffee. But we’ve got your back. Worried that referrals lead to cookie-cutter teams? Yep, got your back there too. Here’s a little secret from Scott: 90+% of you aren’t using any tech wizardry to manage a source that’s dishing out 20-50% of your hires. Let’s change that, shall we?

In this webinar, we’ll cover:

  • How to build, automate, and scale a referral program (because who needs extra headaches?)
  • Tackling the common challenges organizations face when rolling out a referral program – and trust me, we’ve seen them all.
  • Scaling your referral program externally, so you can tap into talent from anywhere on the map.
  • and More!

Ready to up your referral game in 2024? Register now at https://bit.ly/3TPoiiJ and I’ll see you there!

The 2 Key Criteria

If you’re looking for a new job, it feels like every move, every past action, and even future potential is under intense scrutiny. But one of my favorite studies (an oldie but a goodie) from a Harvard professor reveals that when it comes down to it, job seekers are primarily judged on two critical factors. That’s it – just two.

In a study spanning over 15 years, Harvard Business School professor Amy Cuddy revealed what shapes initial impressions. She unveils the core inquiries individuals subconsciously ask upon meeting someone for the first time:

  1. Can I trust this individual?
  2. Can I respect this individual?

Trust and respect. These are the immediate judgments following the lightning-fast assessment of one’s appearance. But once you start talking, they start checking how believable you are and the background that earns their respect. It’s often based more on the person making the judgment than on your actual attributes. Unfair? Absolutely.

So, how can you tip the scales in your favor?

  1. Adapt your energy to match that of your interviewer. Harmonizing your demeanor with theirs can bridge gaps in compatibility. If your energy doesn’t match, they might wonder if you’re a good fit for the team.
  2. Research your interviewer beforehand. Understanding their background and weaving connections during the interview fosters trust and respect.
  3. Be interesting. Share a short, engaging story that connects and grabs attention.

Remember, an interview is not an examination; it’s a conversation with strangers. Sometimes the chemistry clicks, and sometimes it doesn’t. If you find yourself disliking the interviewers, chances are the job might not be the right fit either. Trust your instincts.

A Christmas Present for Your CEO

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

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

Spread the Joy

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

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

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

Reality check! Your candidate experience is probably fine

Here’s the deal about candidate experience: it’s often pitched like it’s some tangible product, but truth be told, it’s not.

We’ve got these big shots in the industry telling us otherwise. They thrive on advising companies spooked about the fallout from a candidate having a bad experience. But let’s face it, that story’s made up. Sounds necessary, but it’s not.

Here’s how Candidate Experience probably came to be:

  1. Imagine this scenario: an exec’s relative applies for a job online. The system does its thing, rejects the unsuitable candidate, and sends the usual ‘Thanks, but no thanks.’ But here’s the twist!
  2. The exec learns that their bright relative got zero interaction or even a shot at an interview. Cue the family drama.
  3. To save face, the exec lays into the Talent Acquisition head about the treatment of candidates.

And voila! Candidate Experience drama unfolds—all because a relative got snubbed.

The exec, not wanting it to seem personal, drums up other reasons, and everyone just follows suit. “Treat candidates like our customers! Turn them into fans of our brand! Treat them better than ourselves; it’s a talent edge!” We start buying into this spiel, thinking our methods stink. But the fear that a sour candidate will boycott our products? It’s blown out of proportion. Only a tiny fraction think this way—just par for the course in Talent Acquisition.

For most Talent Acquisition leaders, what we’re doing is just fine. We treat candidates like regular humans, communicate whether they fit or not, and it works. Yeah, some of us might have some wonky processes, but we don’t have any huge issues. The biggest fib in HR? Making Candidate Experience out to be a big deal. Candidates aren’t asking for much—they just want to know we received their application and our thoughts on their fit. Treat them like people: a simple ‘thanks, but no thanks’ or ‘we’re interested, here’s what’s next’ does the trick. Be communicative.

It’s not brain surgery; it doesn’t need a ton of time or cash. You don’t have a real problem. I get it, everyone’s telling you otherwise, so it feels real. But trust me, it’s not!

Unlocking Talent Gold: Embracing Hiring Veterans

In HR and talent acquisition, we’re always on the hunt for the ultimate hiring solution. We’re willing to explore almost anything that promises better talent for our organizations. So, it perplexes me that most organizations overlook a massive talent pool – veterans. Let’s dive into why hiring veterans is a game-changer:

Teamwork – The military hones teamwork skills like no other. While a lot of companies find it hard to get their teams to work together, veterans are all about teamwork.

Following & Giving Directions – HR pros always have the best stories of employees struggling with basic instructions. Leadership training discussions are recurrent, focusing on the need for clear direction. Veterans bring an ability to both follow and give concise directives—a skill set sorely needed in organizations.

Pressure Handling and Deadline Management – When someone’s life or safety is at risk, you learn how to work under extreme pressure, which probably pales in comparison to much of the pressure we put on ourselves and our employees in normal work situations.  Regardless, having individuals who can not only handle pressure but thrive under pressure, are skills our organizations need.

Planning and Organization – Military training instills impeccable planning and organizational skills, an area where many employees struggle. Hiring managers often stress the importance of being organized, and veterans are really good at it.

Flexibility and Adaptability – Change is a constant in organizations, and managing it consumes resources. However, veterans excel in adapting to change, drawing from a background where constant adaptation was the norm. Their ability to navigate change smoothly is a skill that organizations desperately need.

So, why the struggle in hiring veterans? It’s not about the veterans but about HR professionals stuck in a rigid mindset. We’ve cultivated a culture fixated on matching every single qualification in a job description, missing out on the potential of great individuals. It’s time to shift from instant gratification to investing in training and nurturing talent within our organizations.

While we are at it, let’s dispel some myths around veterans:

  1. Misconception: Military service is for troublemakers or those not smart enough for college. Reality: For many the military is a strategic choice, not due to a lack of intelligence or options.
  2. Misconception: Veterans are rigid and only understand top-down management. Reality: Today’s veterans are well-versed in soft skills leadership, adaptable to various management styles.
  3. Misconception: There’s no time or resources to train veterans. Reality: Not true – plus haven’t you already had that position open for 6 months? The fact is, this is an organizational choice and you as an HR Pro have the influence to change it. There are many resources out there for organizations to train returning veterans.

We have great men and women who make a personal choice to keep this country great.  As employers and American citizens, we owe these men and women a chance. At HRU Tech, 28.6% of our new hires in 2020 were Veterans. Grab this free eBook, crafted to elevate your Veteran recruitment approach to new heights. They deserve a shot, and this resource can help to make that happen.

Picking a New Head Coach, err, Leader When the Chips are Down!

Go Green! If you know me, you know I bleed green, and my Spartans are taking one on the chin with their football head coach recently. I’m not going to get into the Mel Tucker situation specifically; that’s a nightmare, and this is a PG-13 blog!

Tuck Leavin’

I had such high expectations, but if I’m honest with myself, the warning signs were there from the beginning:

  • He got an amazing running back in Kenneth Walker out of the transfer portal his first year that covered up a lot of ills in the program.
  • Our defense was awful and getting worse, and he’s a defensive coach.
  • Attention to detail was non-existent, and that starts at the top.
  • We got played in giving him a contract that he shouldn’t have gotten because we were not negotiating from a position of strength.

What do you need to turn around a bad situation?

Back to our regularly scheduled programming! The Tuck situation is very similar to any organization that needs to replace a bad leader or a broken turnaround situation. Everything seems bleak.

Here’s what you need:

1. A leader with off-the-charts attention to detail and high rules. Most organizations are broken because people have been allowed to do broken things. That has to stop, immediately, and that only happens with a leader whose attention to detail is off the charts. Annoyingly so!

2. Every single ill and missed step has to be called out and corrected. This is where and when we open our kimonos and let everything show. Organizations don’t get broken in one day. They get broken over time because we allow little things go that turn into big things. That stops today.

3. A leader who can rally people to a vision and one that embraces the bottom. Very few leaders are good at digging out. We love to say it’s hard being a leader on top because it’s hard to keep you there. That’s mostly bullshit. Ask any leader what’s more challenging: a turnaround or staying on top. 100% will tell you it’s a turnaround.

4. A leader who understands how to develop talent. When you’re at the bottom, you are not going to get the best talent. You’re going to get talent that was overlooked. You’re going to get talent that has some hickies. You need to be someone who loves developing talent. That thrives on developing talent.

5. Probably a leader that has something to prove. This can be a new leader or a leader who fell down and is looking to prove they belong back on top, but your chances of success are better if that leader has a chip on their shoulder.

When you take a look at those five attributes, you see why it’s so hard to find leaders capable of turning around a failing organization. Most leaders hired into these roles have a little risk they bring with them. Ailing organizations don’t get first-round leader picks!