I’ve Always Been a Straight-Shooter

Like most recruiting teams, we deal with our fair share of “Repeat Offenders” – those folks who just won’t quit when it comes to job contacting you. Maybe we’ve called them, interviewed them, or even hired them at some point. But now, they’re like persistent shadows – calling, emailing, hitting us up on LinkedIn, and even sending friend requests on Facebook. Stalker!

One of our recruiters said, “John Smith (a boring fake pseudonym, I know) won’t stop bugging me; he emails me his resume every single day!” We all know John Smith. He used to work for us at a client, and it didn’t end well. Now, he wants us to find him his next gig. But here’s the catch – it’s not about his skills; it’s his personality. He was a pain for the client and his co-workers, and frankly, he’s not the right fit for any job.

So, here’s the burning question: How do you get John Smith to back off? This is a situation every recruiter faces sooner or later.

Here’s my simple solution:

  1. Tell Them! Be honest. That’s it – no more steps.

    The problem with recruiters is that we’re scared to burn bridges. We worry about where the person might end up, who might hire them, and we don’t want to mess up our good rep. We’re all about the “Candidate Experience,” right? Well, that’s a load of nonsense. It’s just avoiding conflict. It’s better to give them that gift than let them walk around clueless. So, be straight up.

    Tell them exactly, very specifically, and calmly, with no ill intent: “I want to give you a gift. You might not see it as a gift right now, but I hope in time you’ll understand it to be a very valuable gift. I (don’t use ‘we’ or ‘us’ or ‘the company’ – you’re avoiding again by using those) – I think you have a significant personality flaw that comes across as annoying to me and, from the feedback I have received, to those you work with. If this does not change, I won’t be finding you any job in the future, and you’ll probably struggle to find one on your own as well.” OUCH! That hurt, right? But, read it again. Was there anything mean or untrue in the statement? If this person actually listens to the statement and acts on it, will they be better for it? You can change the reason for whatever issue the person might have – maybe it’s hygiene, maybe it’s a crazy laugh, who knows – but the basic message stays the same. You need to change, or I never want to speak to you again.

It’s tough for recruiters because we’re trained to be nice, but sometimes being nice means stringing people along. It’s rude not to tell them what’s wrong. Stop with the blow-off lines and start telling the truth. At the very least, you’ll free up time to talk to the candidates who actually matter.

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.

Are You Really Still Ghosting?

This holiday season, I’m stepping away from my usual writing to bring you some of the top-read posts from 2023. Enjoy!

The Reason You Got Ghosted by a Candidate!

Yesterday I answered a question from a candidate about why an employer ghosted them after their interview. Many readers were upset because they were also getting ghosted by candidates. In fact, like all the time, way more than they would ever ghost a candidate. Oh, two wrongs do make a right!

All ghosting is sh*tty behavior by candidates and by those of us who hire. Period.

The reality is that this is hard to admit, and as a professional, we own a portion of the candidate ghosting. Are candidates awful for doing it in the first place? Yes. I will not let them off the hook. But I also only control what I can control, and that is my process, behaviors, etc.

Why are candidates ghosting us?

1. We are moving too fast. Wait, what?! We are told to move fast because that’s what candidates want!? Yes, but when you move so fast, the candidates don’t know you (your company and you personally), the job, the boss, or the reasons why they should come and interview. It all doesn’t seem real. So, it becomes easy to just not show up. (Que Taylor Swift – We need to slow down!)

2. We aren’t giving candidates a way to easily tell us they moved on with another offer. Hourly candidates, especially, are moving fast and have multiple offers. You might have scheduled them for an interview later in the week, but they have already decided to go with another offer. While we gave them instructions on where to go and when we could have made it easier for them to opt out. Many organizations are using auto-scheduling tools like Paradox, which sends reminders and lets candidates choose to reschedule or cancel via text. Those organizations get significantly less ghosting!

3. We believe that once a candidate schedules an interview, our job is done. The most powerful human emotion in existence is being wanted by others. Candidates come to you for a number of reasons, all of which they can most likely get from someone else as well. But, showing them more desire than someone else is a key to great talent attraction. You still need to do that with your messaging even after the interview is scheduled.

4. We allow it to happen without any ramifications. (Okay, this might be a bit aggressive!) What if, every time a candidate ghosted you for an interview, you posted their picture and details on social media!? Yikes! Right?! “This is Tim Sackett, a cute redhead. He ghosted us for an interview yesterday at 3 pm. If you see him, tell him we are thinking about him!” Do you think it would get noticed? Heck, yes, it would!

5. We are making it too easy for candidates to interview. This is a catch-22. We need talent, so we reduce every roadblock possible for candidates. It’s so easy. Most don’t care if they burn the bridge or not. That is truly why employee referrals are so valuable for most employers. Referrals are far less likely to burn a bridge. That might be a trick to use. Ask a candidate: Do you know anyone at our company? Begin to tie the personal connection back to them, and they will be far less likely to ghost. Also, make it super hard to get an interview, and people will hold it as a higher value! “Only 1% of people who apply to our company ever get an interview! it’s a rare thing we offer to only the top candidates.” If you knew that was the case, you would show up for that interview!

I think most of the candidate ghosting is truly reflective of the poor morals and values of the people who are doing it. You made a commitment to someone. You keep that commitment, or at the “very” least, you inform that person you will no longer be able to keep that commitment. It’s a pretty basic human condition. Those who ghost probably had crappy parents and mentors in their life who didn’t teach them the basics. I’ve never once spoken to or met an upstanding individual who thought highly of themselves that would ghost. High-quality people don’t ghost. Low-quality people do.

People don’t like to hear that. They want to talk about circumstances and bad employers, etc. The reality is high-quality people will contact someone and let them know they no longer want to be considered, regardless of how crappy the employer may or may not be. Low-quality people just don’t show up. Don’t hate the player. Hate the game. I’m just telling you the truth. You already know.

If you’re an employer and you ghost candidates after interviews – You (not your organization). You, personally, are of low quality, just like the candidates who ghost you. I don’t like to hire low-quality people. But I also want to give every opportunity for a low-quality person to become a high-quality person.

Posted on  by Tim Sackett

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!

Love vs. Victory

With Christmas approaching and New Year’s following shortly, it often seems like everyone’s just gliding through these final days. You know what tends to happen at year-end, right? People start assessing their lives and careers. It’s the classic: “2023 was rough. What am I doing with my life? 2024 is my year! I need a job I love!”

I run a recruiting agency, but my focus isn’t on “love”; it’s on clinching victories and having success. It’s a battleground of winners and losers. Tracking down the top-notch talent usually means they’re already working elsewhere when you spot them. You’ve got to win them over.

When you snag remarkable talent, it’s a win for one organization and a loss for another. It’s a straightforward win-lose situation.

Being an outstanding recruiter is all about a drive to win. Sure, loving this game (and I’m one of those who does) is great, but it’s not the make-or-break factor for success. What matters is the hunger for victory.

The best recruitment firms are consistently on the winning side. They rack up wins at a rate that overshadows their losses, like Stephen Curry hitting threes. Losing should sting, and winning should feel like that unforgettable first kiss.

Love isn’t what decides winning or losing. Some of the toughest rivals I’ve encountered weren’t crazy about what they were doing well; they were just determined to win.

Too often as recruiting leaders we feel we need to find people who love recruiting. All leaders fall into this trap, trying to get their teams to fall in love with the work they do. The belief that ‘love’ will drive great performance. Which might work, but getting someone to ‘love’ work, is really hard, and rare.

Getting someone who only wants to win, that’s much easier to find and feed.

I’m not in the love business; it’s messy and emotional. I’m in the business of winning. It’s clear-cut – it’s either a win or a loss.

HR Meets ChatGPT

Are you tired of the same old HR routines? HR and Talent Acquisition pros across the world are diving headfirst into the realm of ChatGPT. This AI wizard must be able to spice up their strategies, right!? Here are 5 popular prompts that HR and Talent Acquisition are throwing at ChatGPT:

  1. “ChatGPT, is this candidate a real person or a catfish?” HR isn’t meant to be Sherlock Holmes. We’re sick of desperately trying to unmask phony candidates – just tell me if they’re real or not! Expect a wild mix of advice in return, but how else will we know if this candidate is actually some weirdo scam artist living in his mom’s basement?
  2. “Craft a compelling job pitch for this job description!” When faced with the challenge of selling the unsellable—a lackluster job—we to ChatGPT for a miraculous solution. Yeah, it might be for the most boring job ever with a terrible salary, mundane tasks, and awful company culture, but make it irresistible!
  3. “Invent a mascot that represents our company culture!” Introducing “Happy Hootie”! Hootie is a wise owl wearing headphones, adorned with vibrant colors reflecting diversity and inclusivity. Their wings feature a mosaic of interconnected puzzle pieces symbolizing teamwork and collaboration. Hootie’s nest is a cozy library, showcasing our value for learning and knowledge-sharing. With a microphone in one claw and a book in the other, Hootie embodies our culture of harmony, where every voice is heard, and learning is celebrated. This mascot flaps around, spreading the message of unity, knowledge, and harmony throughout our workplace nest!
  4. “Craft a ‘thank you’ email to an applicant using only emojis!” 👋🙏📬📩🙏📝🤝🗣️🔜🌟 … oh sorry, you don’t speak emoji? Translation: Hello! Thank you for applying. We appreciate it! Let’s keep in touch! Talk to you soon. Best wishes.
  5. “ChatGPT, write a job description that makes even a pet rock excited to apply!” No really, that unsellable job description we mentioned earlier, we still need help. Please make this boring ass job description more appealing.
  6. “What do I respond to this candidate to show them that I’m interested, but not that interested, but still interested enough to show my interest?” *Inserts full email chain, with no regard to privacy and copyright laws* Response: I’m just a robot, I have no clue what you’re talking about.

Maximizing Employee Referrals: The Key to Hiring Success

Referral hires often stand out as the cream of the crop in any company’s recruitment efforts. It’s a simple equation:

Good Employee + wanting to stay a good employee + employee’s reputation = usually good people they recommend to HR/Recruiting to go after and hire

I’m like Einstein when it comes to HR math! However, here’s the challenge: despite this equation, many companies struggle to receive enough referrals. We’ve analyzed our referral process, fine-tuned collateral materials, and even leveraged technology to automate referrals. Yet, the numbers remain short of our expectations and needs.

There’s a straightforward but often overlooked aspect: giving employees explicit permission to share job openings within their personal and professional networks every time a referral is needed for a specific position.

HR excels in roll-outs—we’re masters at initiating programs. However, where we often stumble is in the continuity of these programs post-roll-out. Brutal truth, but true.

So, how can you ramp up your referral game?

  1. Establish a program (surprisingly, not all companies have one).
  2. When in need of a referral, ask for it every single time. Assuming that employees will naturally share openings isn’t always effective.
  3. Specifically “give permission” to employees to share job openings on their social networks—Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok you name it!

BEST PRACTICE TIP: Create departmental email groups. When a relevant position opens up, send an email to the group with standard referral language and an easily shareable hyperlink along with clear instructions.

Granting “permission” triggers action—it’s a psychological thing, and it works wonders. Think about it, like you were a 5 year old.  Your parents tell you, you can’t ride your Green Machine in the street.  Then, one day, Mom is out getting her nails done and your Dad sees you doing circles in the driveway on that Green Machine and he goes “Hey, why don’t you take that into the street?!”  What do you do?  You immediately take that bad boy for a ride in the street! Dad “gave you permission” and you ran with it!

Referrals aren’t quite the same, but it’s surprising how some employees question whether they’re allowed to share job postings with friends and family. Don’t assume—they might surprise you.

So, empower your employees. Give your employees permission to get you some referrals! Or what if you allowed anyone in your company to hire?

5 Mid-Year HR Trends You Should Be Thinking About for 2024!!

Is the world moving faster after the pandemic or is it just me?! It seems like for all the bad that Covid brought, it did make us slow down a bit. Now, we are back on the treadmill running faster than ever.

I’m sitting down this week and doing a live webinar (if you can’t make the live time, just sign up and we can send you the recording) discussing the biggest trends in HR and Talent Acquisition that are happening right now but that will also have a tremendous impact to our 2024 planning!

The webcast will be live on Wednesday, July 19 at 3 pm EST.

Shout out to the amazing team at Pillar for making this happen…

Here are some more details.

We’re halfway through 2023 (crazy, right?!), so now seems like the perfect time to reflect on the top 5 trends that have shaped the year thus far. And who better to do it with than Tim Sackett, President of HRU Technical Resources & top 100 Global HR Tech Influencer?! Join us as we sit down with Tim to discuss what is trending today in the HR & talent acquisition space and what he sees as the trends that will continue into 2024 and beyond.

Here’s what you can learn during the session:

  • Practical strategies to leverage these trends for maximum impact
  • How to gain a competitive edge by understanding how these trends can transform your HR/TA practices
  • The key drivers shaping the way organizations attract, engage, and retain talent

…& more! Looking forward to seeing you on July 19th as we have the opportunity to learn from one of the industry’s most respected thought leaders! It’s also been a year since we launched our webinar series with Tim himself, so join us as we celebrate our webinar series 1-year anniversary.

The Reason You Got Ghosted by a Candidate!

Yesterday I answered a question from a candidate about why an employer ghosted them after their interview. Many readers were upset because they were also getting ghosted by candidates. In fact, like all the time, way more than then they would ever ghost a candidate. Oh, two wrongs do make a right!

All ghosting is sh*tty behavior by candidates and by those of us who hire. Period.

The reality is that this is hard to admit, and as a professional, we own a portion of the candidate ghosting. Are candidates awful for doing it in the first place? Yes. I will not let them off the hook. But I also only control what I can control, and that is my process, behaviors, etc.

Why are candidates ghosting us?

1. We are moving too fast. Wait, what?! We are told to move fast because that’s what candidates want!? Yes, but when you move so fast, the candidates don’t really know you (your company and you personally), the job, the boss, or the reasons why they should come and interview. It all doesn’t seem real. So, it becomes easy to just not show up. (Que Taylor Swift – We need to slow down!)

2. We aren’t giving candidates a way to easily tell us they moved on with another offer. Hourly candidates, especially, are moving fast and have multiple offers. You might have scheduled them for an interview later in the week, but they have already decided to go with another offer. While we gave them instructions on where to go and when we could have made it easier for them to opt out. Many organizations are using auto-scheduling tools like Paradox, which sends reminders and lets candidates choose to reschedule or cancel via text. Those organizations get significantly less ghosting!

3. We believe that once a candidate schedules an interview, our job is done. The most powerful human emotion in existence is being wanted by others. Candidates come to you for a number of reasons, all of which they can most likely get from someone else as well. But, you showing them more desirable than someone else is a key to great talent attraction. You still need to do that with your messaging even after the interview is scheduled.

4. We allow it to happen without any ramifications. (Okay, this might be a bit aggressive!) What if, every time a candidate ghosted you for an interview, you posted their picture and details on social media!? Yikes! Right?! “This is Tim Sackett, a cute redhead. He ghosted us for an interview yesterday at 3 pm. If you see him, tell him we are thinking about him!” Do you think it would get noticed? Heck, yes, it would!

5. We are making it too easy for candidates to interview. This is a catch-22. We need talent, so we reduce every roadblock possible for candidates. It’s so easy. Most don’t care if they burn the bridge or not. That is truly why employee referrals are so valuable for most employers. Referrals are far less likely to burn a bridge. That might be a trick to use. Ask a candidate: Do you know anyone at our company? Begin to tie the personal connection back to them, and they will be far less likely to ghost. Also, make it super hard to get an interview, and people will hold it as a higher value! “Only 1% of people who apply to our company ever get an interview! it’s a rare thing we offer to only the top candidates.” If you knew that was the case, you would show up for that interview!

I think most of the candidate ghosting is truly reflective of the poor morals and values of the people who are doing it. You made a commitment to someone. You keep that commitment, or at the “very” least, you inform that person you will no longer be able to keep that commitment. It’s a pretty basic human condition. Those who ghost probably had crappy parents and mentors in their life who didn’t teach them the basics. I’ve never once spoken to or met an upstanding individual who thought highly of themselves that would ghost. High-quality people don’t ghost. Low-quality people do.

People don’t like to hear that. They want to talk about circumstances and bad employers, etc. The reality is high-quality people will contact someone and let them know they no longer want to be considered, regardless of how crappy the employer may or may not be. Low-quality people just don’t show up. Don’t hate the player. Hate the game. I’m just telling you the truth. You already know.

If you’re an employer and you ghost candidates after interviews – You (not your organization). You, personally, are of low quality, just like the candidates who ghost you. I don’t like to hire low-quality people. But I also want to give every opportunity for a low-quality person to become a high-quality person.

The Big Talent Acquisition Disconnect! #BeBetter

Do you know why talent acquisition sucks?

Yes!

It’s easy to say “yes” because TA is constantly messing stuff up for no real reason. I mean, there are a lot of reasons, but no reason it should continue for this long.

Case in point. Watch this quick TikTok:

@its_just_talia_ I was clowned by another one… but watch until the end 🤡 #jobsearch #layoffs2023 #jobinterview #careertiktok #careertok #NextLevelDish #socialmediamanager #socialmediamarketing #fyp #foryoupage ♬ Hip Hop with impressive piano sound(793766) – Dusty Sky

Okay, let’s break down all the terrible excuses TA will give us on why they would post this job on LinkedIn but not disposition this candidate before doing this!

1. We have a policy to post open jobs publicly for two weeks before we can offer a candidate.

2. The hiring manager wanted to do a last-minute check to see if anyone else was “fresh” on the market before we moved forward with this candidate.

3. We got this candidate via internal referral, and we need to post it first before we can make an offer.

4. We’re lazy AF and conflict-avoidant and don’t give two sh*ts about our candidate experience.

5. This candidate came to us via a third-party agency, and before we pay that fee, we need to see if we can find someone on our own.

6. We watched this candidate’s TikTok videos and decided we didn’t need that drama on the team.

I’m going to guess #4 is the winner based on my experience, but #6 also could be an option!

The reality is there is no excuse for the recruiter and/or hiring manager of this candidate to, at the very least, give them some insight into why they were posting this job on LinkedIn without saying something to her. Not. One. Reason!

You asked a candidate to devote major time and resources to jump through all of your hoops, which she did. You OWE it to her to give her feedback straight. “Look, Talia, thank you for your effort and professionalism. We’ve decided you aren’t the right fit for us based on “X.” That’s it. She might be pissed, but she’ll be less pissed than seeing the job posted again on LinkedIn the next day and not being told she didn’t get the job.

If you and your company do this. Just know you suck. Not your company, you. You personally suck for allowing this to happen to a person. You shouldn’t be allowed to work in HR or TA in any industry and in any capacity. If you’re a hiring manager and you allow this to happen, you should never be allowed to hire anyone every again for the rest of your life. You’re scum. You’re a bad leader. Turn your keys in.

Come on! Better better!