Getting Your Hiring Managers to Stop Sucking! (Video)

I was out in San Francisco a few weeks back at SmartRecruiter’s Hiring Success conference. The theme of my talk was about this often strained relationship that HR and Talent Acquisition has with our hiring managers!

For the most part, Hiring Managers tend to Suck! And I dig into why do they suck so much, and how can we get them to stop Sucking!

Check it out!

Want to get your hiring managers to stop sucking? Send me a note and I’ll come do a Hiring Manager Intervention at your company!

You supply the Antibacterial gel and mask, and I am there!

The Cancer of Speaking Up!

There was a post on TLNT by Tim Kuppler titled Society is Holding Organizations and Leaders Accountable for Their Culture. Go read it, it’s really good. I agree with so much of what Tim wrote in the piece.

There is one concept though that I’m beginning to question. Kuppler wants to believe that we have a problem in our society and that problem is people are afraid to speak up to their leadership.

About a decade ago I would have 100% agreed with him. In fact, I probably spent more time in training sessions working with leaders on how to get employees to open up, than any other single thing in my HR career a decade ago!

In 2018, we do not have a problem with employees speaking up. In fact, it’s a full-blown Cancer! Yes, I want employees to speak up when they have something of value to add to the conversation, or if they or another employee are being wronged. No, I don’t want to hear your idiot opinions that have nothing to do with anything we have going on to make us better!

I get it. Everyone should have a voice! We are in a time when people have the right to speak up.

Just because you have the right, doesn’t mean you should open your dumb mouth! You have employees in non-leadership positions who should open their mouth and add to the conversation. And, you have employees who make you dumber when they open their mouths.

Your company isn’t a democracy. Turns out businesses don’t run well as democracies. When everyone has a say, we tend to get very cautious and very vanilla, and no innovation happens, as we try to take into account every single opinion. The business gets pulled to the middle. “Middle” is not a good position for businesses.

The challenge we have as leaders and HR pros is not giving everyone a voice. It’s finding the best and brightest in our organizations, regardless of race, gender, etc., and making sure ‘those’ people have a voice.

The fastest way to failure is to listen to everyone and take into account every opinion. That isn’t helpful. Having the foresight to understand there are really great voices beyond your leadership team could be your greatest insight of all, but understand it’s not everyone.

In a representative government, you want all voices to come through. In business, you want the voices to come through that can actually make a positive difference. Unfortunately, that isn’t everyone who works for you.

In business and leadership right now we have a cancer that is growing out of control and that cancer is a belief that every voice matters. That’s wrong. Every voice does not matter, at every time. Do you think Steve Jobs listened to every person at Apple? No, he barely listened to anyone! What about Elon Musk? Again, no. What about Marissa Mayer? Heck, no!

Great business and great innovation don’t happen by listening to everyone. They happen by listening to the right ones. That might not be popular right now in society, but that doesn’t mean it’s not right!

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!

Do you want to work with Tim Sackett? This video will answer that question!

I’m a big fan of DisruptHR and the format! I’ve been part of the team that has run the first three DisruptHR Detroits and in 2020 we’ll do our first DisruptHR Lansing. Five minutes, 20 slides, each slide moves automatically every 15 seconds. Simple, yet so hard to pull off effectively!

There are now well over a hundred DisruptHR cities and hundreds of events worldwide taking place each year. My friend, Jennifer McClure, is the co-Founder of DisruptHR and it might the single best thing that’s happened to HR this decade! Truly. To get HR leaders and pros out of the office and stretch our minds, have a little fun, push the envelope of what HR could become. Give me something better than that in the last ten years!

You can start your own DisruptHR (input city name here) for $500! It’s easy, just contact Jennifer through the DisruptHR website. It’s fun. It really engages the HR community in your city. It’s fairly easy to get a few sponsors to throw some bucks at you to help with the cost. And even bad DisruptHR talks are some of the best DisruptHR talks!

I was fortunate enough to be chosen to speak at DisruptHR Grand Rapids this past fall and I went with a topic that started on my blog as a series – Rap Lyrics that have shaped my leadership style over time. On my blog, I think I counted down twenty-five in the series a number of years ago. I even once did a presentation for the local SHRM chapter in Jackson, MI on the concept and watched 40 mostly white HR ladies look at me in horror! 😉 Actually, they asked me to do it! Which shows how disruptive they are!

In the comments hit me with your best Rap Lyric that shaped your leadership style!

Let’s face it. If you hate the video, you probably don’t want to work with me, and I probably wouldn’t have much fun working with you! But, if you like the video – we can probably be fast friends! Let’s talk!

10 Resume Phrases That Will Get You Hired…Or Not…

Liz Ryan is one of those enigmas in the space of HR and Recruiting. She was an executive in HR when I was still in elementary school! She was also a “Junk Rock” singer before Laurie Ruettimann was Punk Rock HR! She was also an early internet writer in our space and got in early on the LinkedIn Influencer space. She has giant traffic and writes in a very safe way for places like Forbes, etc.

I’ve personally never seen her at industry conferences or events, I’m not even sure she’s a real person, at this point, she might just be A.I.! Besides all the writing she also does watercolor paintings for her posts, which is another quirk I don’t quite understand, but let’s face it, I’m just jealous of her massive traffic!

Here’s an example of what Liz’s content looks like 10 Boilerplate Phrases That Kill Resumes.

Liz’s list of killer resume phrases are:

  • Results-oriented professional
  • Cross-functional teams
  • More than [x] years of progressively responsible experience
  • Superior (or excellent) communication skills
  • Strong work ethic
  • Met or exceeded expectations
  • Proven track record of success
  • Works well with all levels of staff
  • Team player
  • Bottom-line orientation

I’m sure your own resume probably has a few of these beauties scattered through your 3 or 4 pages. This got my head spinning on what do we need to put on our resumes to get noticed, and, more importantly, get us hired!

So, here are my 10 Killer Resume Phrases to Get You Hired:

  • Guaranteed not to fall asleep, much.
  • I will give 110%, 10% of the time.
  • I always show up to work on time, if you come and get me.
  • There’s no I in Team, but there is an M and an E.
  • Completely clear of all past communal diseases.
  • I’m all about making money. (Graduate of Gary Vee University!)
  • Likely to Perform well.
  • Will do almost anything, once we define “anything”.
  • Plays well with others (Oops, that is actually on my resume!).
  • Great personality, when medicated properly.

For all the Hiring Managers and HR Pros out there, you know that while these phrases are unlikely to show up on a resume anytime in the near future, they are probably closer to the truth on some of those rare candidates we all have stories about.  With us all living in this narcissistic world of social media and an elevated sense of self, I don’t see outlandish statements going away anytime soon on resumes!

So, screen well, assess better, use automated reference checking tech, interview better than you ever have, and for the love of St. Pete, smile and have some understanding that so many of those looking in the job market grew up in a world where we have all been told how awesome we are!

I’m on a Liz Ryan watch. Let me know if you’ve actually seen or met her. The pics online have been the exact same for a decade, so I’m about 99% sure she’s not a real person or was a real person, died, and now A.I. has taken on her persona and just kicks out boilerplate HR and recruiting content! Which would be totally awesome!

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…

Bad Hires Worse!

If I could take all of my life, leadership and HR education and boil it down to this one piece of advice, it would be this:

Bad Hires Worse.

In HR we love to talk about our hiring and screening processes, and how we “only” hire the best talent, but in the end we, more times than not, we leave the final decision on who to hire to the person who will be responsible to supervise the person being hired. The Hiring Manager.

I don’t know about all of you, but in my stops across corporate America, all of my hiring managers haven’t been “A” players, many have been “B” players and a good handful of “C” players.  Yet, in almost all of those stops, we (I) didn’t stop bad hiring managers from hiring when the need came.  Sure I would try to influence more with my struggling managers, be more involved but they still ultimately had to make a decision that they had to live with.

I know I’m not the only one it happens every single day.  Everyday we allow bad hiring managers to make talent decisions in our organizations, just as we are making plans to move the bad manager off the bus.   It’s not an easy change to make in your organization.  It’s something that has to come from the top.  But, if you are serious about making a positive impact on talent in your organization you can not allow bad managers to make talent decisions.

They have to know, through performance management, that: 1. You’re bad (and need fixing or moving); 2. You no longer have the ability to make hiring decisions.  That is when you hit your High Potential manager succession list and tap on some shoulders.  “Hey, Mrs. Hi-Po, guess what we need your help with some interviewing and selection decisions.”  It sends a clear and direct message to your organization we won’t hire worse.

Remember, this isn’t just an operational issue it happens at all levels, in all departments.  Sometimes the hardest thing to do is look in the mirror at our own departments.  If you have bad talent in HR, don’t allow them to hire (“but it’s different we’re in HR, we know better!”) No you don’t, stop it.   Bad hires worse over and over and over.

Bad needs to hire worse, they’re desperate, they’ll do anything to protect themselves, they make bad decisions, they are Bad.  We/HR own this.  We have the ability and influence to stop it.  No executive is going to tell you “No” when you suggest we stop allowing our bad managers the ability to make hiring decisions, in fact, they’ll probably hug you.

It’s a regret I have in my career and something I will change moving forward.  If it happens again, I won’t allow it.  I vow from this day forward, I will never allow a bad hiring manager to make a hiring decision, at least not without a fight!

Want to build a community?

I get asked quite often by folks who want to build a community and/or are already starting a community to be apart of their community. My first question is always, “Why do you want to build this community?” It’s pretty straight forward. It should be simple to answer.

Most will go all guru-like about wanting to get like-minded folks together, etc., but in the end, it’s mostly about starting a group so they can sell them something. Almost 99% of the time this is the reason. Which is actually fine, if you follow the steps and don’t actually sell!

Here is really the only way I’ve found to build a successful community:

Step 1 – Find some folks who are like you.

Step 2 – Announce that you are starting a community together.

Step 3 – Draft the purpose and some ground rules around that community.

Step 4 – Show up every day, even Saturday and Sunday.

Step 5 – Never sell your stupid shit.

Step 6 – Give.

Step 7 – Go to Step 6

Step 8 – Eventually the community will give you more than you ever gave it.

It’s super simple, and super hard, to build a community, because it’s all about you giving, and giving, and giving, with absolutely no expectation that you’ll get anything back from the community. Those who go into building a community with this mindset and action, though, almost always get more out of it than they put in it.

 

The Employee Walk of Shame

I’ve lost jobs and I’ve called old employers to see if they would want to hire me back. I’ve usually gotten a response that sounded something like, “Oh, boy would we want you back but we just don’t have anything. Good Luck!”  Many of us in the talent game talk about our employee Alumni and how we should engage our Alumni but very few of us really take true advantage of leveraging this network.

I was reminded of this recently when a friend of mine took a new job.  You know the deal, shorter drive, more money, growing company and oh, boy, just where do I sign!?  The fact was, it was all they said, shorter drive, more money and they were growing, but they forgot to tell him was our operations are broken beyond repair, you will work 7 days a week and probably 12-14 hours per day because of the mess we have, but keep your head up it’s the only way you won’t drown here!

So, now what does he do?

He already had the going away party, bar night out with the work friends with the promises to do lunches and not get disconnected, packed up and unpack the office into the new office.  Let’s face it, big boy, you’re stuck!  Not so fast.  He did the single hardest thing an employee can do he called his old boss after 7 days and said one thing, “I made a mistake, can I come back?”

Luckily for him, his past boss was a forward-thinking leader and so this past Monday he did the 2nd hardest thing an employee can do he made the “Employee Walk of Shame“.

You can imagine the looks from people who didn’t know him well, “Hey, wait a minute, didn’t you leave?” Having to tell the same story over and over, feeling like he failed, like he wasn’t good enough to make it in the new position.

HR plays a huge part in this story because it was HR who can make this walk of shame a little less rough.  Let’s face it, it is different.  You just don’t leave and come back as nothing happened. Something did happen, there was a reason he left and that reason isn’t going away.  A transition back needs to be put into place even though he was gone seven days.  It’s not about just plugging back in, it is about re-engaging again and finding out what we all can do better so it doesn’t happen again.

It’s also about making sure you let those employees who you truly want back, that they are welcome to come back (assuming you have the job) and not just saying that to everyone.  There are employees who leave that you say a small prayer to G*d and you are thankful they left!  There are others where you wish there was a prayer you could say so they wouldn’t leave.

Make it easy for your employees to do the Walk of Shame, it helps the organization, but realize they are hurting, they are embarrassed, but they are also grateful!