High-Maintenance Who?

Ever wished there was a way to spot high-maintenance behavior during job interviews?

We hire high-maintenance employees because they’re very good at hiding their diva-ness during the interview process. Sometimes they even hide it through the probationary period of their employment. These are the really hard-to-handle ones because they know they’re divas and hide it long enough to make your life difficult.

So, what’s the best approach when you find yourself dealing with one?

Managing these individuals has been a recurring challenge in my HR career. They have a knack for causing trouble and thrive on being the center of attention. The key lies in redirecting their focus from their personal needs to what the organization requires. But how do you go about doing that?

Usually, high-maintenance employees become a problem because their direct supervisor doesn’t stop this issue immediately when it comes to light. But, this is common, especially with new hiring managers, so it’s critical to work with them and help them become better managers.

These employees are skilled at playing you against their manager. It’s essential to prevent this from happening. Collaborating closely with the hiring manager to create a unified approach is vital. When they attempt to stir up trouble, it’s important to intervene immediately: “Let’s bring in your supervisor so we can sort this out together.” Despite their objections regarding confidentiality, emphasize the importance of clarity and alignment among all parties.

High-maintenance employees hate to be on the same page because they get their power from the lack of communication within organizations. So the best way to limit their impact is to get everyone in the same room and nip the issue in the bud before it gets way out of hand.

It Takes a Village

In the hiring game, going solo just doesn’t cut it. It’s like raising a kid – you need a village. This village isn’t just HR and TA; it’s the whole organization.

Dealing with clients who think we can do it all on our own is a challenge. Even if we’re an outsider, we still need input from TA, HR, and the hiring manager to know what makes their company tick and why a candidate would want to join.

And guess what? The same goes for in-house hiring.

For me, it starts with the hiring manager and the team needing a new member. Sure, TA does a lot, but the big cheese in hiring is the one making the final call.

Some top-notch hiring managers stand out by doing a few basic things:

  1. Making it crystal clear what they need in a candidate.
  2. Getting all the info out there pronto, even redoing job descriptions on the spot.
  3. Jumping into the candidate search, getting the team involved until the job is filled.
  4. Making hiring a top priority in their schedule.
  5. Setting up a simple communication plan to stay in the loop without the drama.

If more leaders did these simple things, hiring would be a breeze. Too often, though, we’re told to hire alone – just fill the position and stop complaining. Usually, it’s from leaders who are as clueless as us about how to make it work, so they vent their frustration this way.

Give them these steps, and suddenly, they become team players. Define the roles, and things start moving smoother for everyone.

Don’t let yourself get stuck hiring solo. Your gig is to lead a team effort. TA’s main job? Keep things on track and make sure everyone knows their part.

HR and Recruiting: The Unspoken Rules

Some unsaid rules guide us through HR. They’re not really hard and fast rules, just practical tips that we’ve learned along the way. Let’s break them down:

  1. Stay away from personal questions in interviews.
  2. Keep reference checks simple – just confirm dates of employment.
  3. Guard employee files like they’re top-secret.
  4. If it’s important, put it in a policy.
  5. Take every accusation seriously and look into it.
  6. “Mutual decision to leave” usually means otherwise.
  7. Measurement gets things done.
  8. Be careful about setting precedents.
  9. Expect things to go haywire on day 2 of your vacation.
  10. A candidate hasn’t really accepted the job until they show up to work on Day 1.
  11. If it’s on the ‘roadmap’ of your HR or Recruiting technology vendor, it means it’s not actually built and might never be built.
  12. Employees tattling on others probably have their own issues.
  13. Employee harassment stories are rarely simple.
  14. Open enrollment meetings need cookies.

We love our rules in HR! Ironically, I love the profession so much because I’m a low-rules kind of person. The reality is, in my couple decades of HR and recruiting work there really has only been one Rule of Thumb that has been the same at every organization I’ve worked in. Big and small. Public and private. Across all industries…

– Things change.

This basic principle reminds us that flexibility is crucial in the ever-shifting HR landscape. What’s your go-to rule in HR and recruiting?

The 2024 Conference Season is Here! Here is what I’m looking forward to

The HR/TA/LOD/Payroll/Etc. conference season is upon us. I’ve got a new book launching at SHRM Talent in April, so it will be an especially busy season for me this year. I’m excited for 2024 for a number of reasons.

I think the one thing I enjoy about conference season more than any other is connecting with peers and friends in the industry. I have the most inspiring and challenging conversations at conferences. I’ve found lifelong friends at professional conferences. I genuinely find it an awarding and educational opportunity that I love being a part of.

It came to my attention late last year that a group of professionals is working to put together a movement called #OperationPurpleLight that helps protect individuals from getting assaulted at conferences. I’m not naive to the problem of mostly women getting drugged and raped in our society. I was shocked to hear the rate at which this happens at professional conferences. Especially at HR-related conferences, with a demographic upwards of 80%+ female, we have to find ways to keep all participants safe.

It’s disgusting that anyone would ever feel threatened at a professional conference to begin with, especially if the perpetrator is a peer! So, as you are out this season, make special note of the efforts by Operation Purple Light, the conferences that are supporting this effort, and what you can do personally to ensure the peers around you have an enjoyable and safe experience attending conferences!

What am I looking forward to?

  • TransformHR – Vegas, March – Transform has a unique format where almost all of the content is done in a panel format with actual practitioners. Many of them are from SMB and Mid-enterprise organizations, and it leads to some amazing conversations that can really get into the weeds about the what, why, and how we do things!
  • Michigan HR Day – Lansing, MI, April – 2,500 HR pros all coming into Lansing, MI, for a day full of content and development. It’s one of the largest HR conferences in the US at that number! And it’s in my backyard! How the heck?! Over 15 years ago, the governor of Michigan decided to declare the second Wednesday of April to be a state-wide day of celebration and development for HR, and this thing has gotten big! The majority of state SHRM conferences can’t get 2500 attendees!
  • SHRM Talent – Vegas, April (I spend way too much time in Vegas) – Besides the aforementioned book launch, I’ll also be the closing keynote speaker at SHRM Talent this year. I’m super excited about that and a bit nervous. It’s a big crowd, but I’m speaking to my peeps, so that’s comforting. I believe this is the best Talent Acquisition conference currently running.
  • HR Tech Europe – Amsterdam, May – The sister conference to the world’s largest HR Tech conference in Vegas, HR Tech Europe is going on the road overseas, and it will be an amazing show. The HR Tech Conferences are amazing, and I’ve gone every year for the past decade. This is one I won’t miss on my calendar.
  • SHRM Annual – Chicago, June – Ted Lasso is keynoting!! Always huge. Always fun. I’ll be speaking and signing books. It’s the single largest HR conference on the planet, and really, no one else is even close. It’ll be 20,000+ HR pros in one place. If you ever have the ability to attend, it’s an HR bucket list must-do.
  • RecFest USA Nashville – Nashville, September – This is an outdoor recruiting festival, big tents and all, in the heart of Nashville. There is nothing else like this on the planet! It’s completely unique, and I’m taking my entire TA team with me to this event this year. In 2023, the best TA conversations I had all year happened at RecFest!
  • Workday Rising – Vegas, September – One of the fastest-growing and largest HCM suites in the world, Workday seems to be taking over the universe! Workday Rising brings together thousands of enterprise Workday clients for development, education, and a little bit of fun. If you’re a Workday client, you should be investing to send your team here.
  • The HR Technology Conference – Vegas, September – If you’re an HR Technology nerd, like I am, this is another bucket list conference to attend. You’ve got the startup pavilion, Pitchfest competition, HR tech products of the year awards, and the biggest HR Tech expo in the world; it’s by far the top HR Tech conference on the planet.

This is just a tip of what’s available and out there for your own professional development. There’s been a giant growth of HR Tech user conferences as well – Workday Rising, Oracle World, LinkedIn Talent Connect, etc. are a few giant ones. This isn’t even getting into the SHRM state conferences, industry-specialized conferences, etc. Then you have local DisruptHR events, local SHRM events, etc. If you wanted to, you could go to an HR event every single week of the year.

Let me know if you’ll be attending any of these conferences that I’ll be at. I would love to connect and share ideas.

Snagging Your Dream Job

Who doesn’t want a job they really love? It’s something everyone craves. The specifics might vary, but if you ask anyone, “Do you want a job you love or one you hate?” 100% are going to go for the love. Right?

Sure, there are some conditions. I might dream of being a video game tester, but let’s be real, not many people consider that a high-paying career. And a career as a surf instructor in Hawaii could lose its appeal without family nearby (and lack of surfing skills).

Now, here’s the one foolproof way to lock in a job you love – you have to want it for the right reasons.

Not because it pays more or has better perks. Not because it’s in a warmer spot or your significant other lives nearby. That’s not the ticket to landing a job you love. You’re just ticking off some life checkboxes.

To land a job you love, you have to want it because it’s been your thing forever. You have to have a track record that screams, “I’ve been after this for ages!” If you stick to that path, your odds of hitting the jackpot go way up.

Take my dream of coaching the Los Angeles Lakers. It’s been on my mind forever, but truth be told, I never put in the grind to make it happen. I didn’t hustle my way up the coaching ladder, globetrotting to chase that passion, or grind through years of coaching sucky basketball teams to gain experience.

The problem is, many folks want a dream job without putting in the work. Sorry, it doesn’t work like that. 99.9% of people don’t just stumble into jobs they love. They might start something not knowing if they’ll love it, and maybe, just maybe, end up loving it along the way.

So, you want that dream job? Work for it. Prove you’re all about it through your actions and hustle. That’s the way to snap a job you genuinely love.

Is it time to go with the flow?

Whenever HR folks hang out, they often think they’re the rebels in the room. But truth be told, when you look at what they say and do, we’re all not much different from everyone else. This isn’t just an HR thing; it’s all over our workplaces. It’s like we’re stuck in this ‘Group-think’ mode.

Back in the 1950s, Solomon Asch did a study where students had to solve simple problems, like figuring out if two lines were the same length. Some students purposefully gave wrong answers, and guess what? Three-quarters of the others went along with the wrong answers at least once. It’s a reminder that as humans we tend to follow the herd, even when it’s clear they’re off track.

In the corporate world, the contrarian label often gets slapped on the CEO or someone on the fast track to getting the boot. Despite what top executives say about valuing contrarian ideas, the truth is, going against the grain isn’t well-received in companies. So, it’s kind of amusing when HR pros claim they’re the rebels in their organizations. No you’re not. Plus, do you really want to be?

Let’s cut to the chase – HR doesn’t have to be the rebel; shouldn’t they just go with the flow? HR needs someone who totally drinks the Kool-Aid and fully supports the mission. It might sound rebellious in its own way, especially if the boss is a visionary leader, but that’s what organizations need from HR.

HR needs to toe the line. Conform to the vision, conform to the mission, and lead by sticking to the organizational goals. By embracing this kind of conformity, HR can actually make a real difference in the success of the company.

Can someone make a Recruiting Degree happen?

Ever wondered why colleges don’t offer a degree in recruiting? With plenty of human resources programs around, it’s always surprised me that there’s no focus on recruiting and talent acquisition.

Typically, folks in recruiting come from programs like Communications, Business Administration/Marketing, Liberal Arts (not known for job prospects), Sports Management, or Human Resources. These degrees open doors to a field where newbie recruiters can earn $40,000 to $50,000 in their first year, and the top ones make six figures.

Imagine a Bachelor’s degree in Recruiting, with classes designed to prepare students for the real deal.

Timmy’s Proposed Bachelor’s in Recruiting Classes:

  1. Recruiting 101 – History of Recruiting
  2. Recruiting 102 – Recruiting Processes and Procedures
  3. Recruiting 103 – Recruiting Communication and Marketing
  4. Recruiting 104 – Sourcing
  5. Recruiting 105 – Negotiation, Offers, and Recruiting Finance
  6. Recruiting 106 – 100 Ways to Connect with People – #1 is the Phone!
  7. Recruiting 107 – Writing Job Descriptions like a Marketer
  8. Recruiting 201 – Employment Branding
  9. Recruiting 202 – Candidate Experience
  10. Recruiting 203 – Recruiting Technology
  11. Recruiting 204 – Advanced Sourcing
  12. Recruiting 205 – Specialty Recruitment
  13. Recruiting 206 – Recruiting Analytics
  14. Recruiting 207 – The Law & Candidates
  15. Recruiting 301 – Senior Project – solving real-life recruiting problems in real-world companies

So, if colleges had a Recruiting degree, would employers hire those grads? Definitely. Employers would dig hiring folks with targeted recruiting skills.

What do you think? Any other cool ones you’d throw in? I think the potential for creating practical content in a Recruiting degree is huge.

4 Habits of Successful Recruiters

In recruiting, success can come down to some simple daily habits. After hiring hundreds of recruiters, I’ve seen what works. Let’s break down the four simple habits that I’ve identified as key factors in making successful recruiters stand out.

  1. Daily Motivation: Successful recruiters stay self-motivated. No doubt about it. They set small goals, like closing a client or job order, to keep themselves on track. Whether it’s meeting specific activity numbers or focusing on a larger goal, daily motivation is key.
  2. Own Up to Mistakes: The best recruiters take responsibility for their work. If something goes wrong, they don’t pass the blame like a hot potato. If an interview is a no-show, they learn from it and make adjustments for the future.
  3. Step Up to Challenges: When critical positions open up, successful recruiters step forward. They embrace challenges and are comfortable working under pressure. They not only excel in their tasks but also contribute ideas for organizational improvement.
  4. Maintain Daily Focus: Successful recruiters stay focused on their daily tasks. Despite the distractions in recruiting, they don’t let the noise disrupt their plans. They concentrate on their goals and persist until they achieve them.

HR and Recruiting both have the same main daily issue we face, we turn ourselves into firefighters.  We run from made up emergency to made up emergency.  It feeds our need to feel like we accomplished something today and became a savior. The most successful recruiters are no different.  They get the opportunity to be fire fighters, just like we all do, but they make a conscience decision not to allow themselves to slide down the pole. How can you make yourself more successful today? And what factors did I miss? Let me know in the comments!

Optimizing Recruiting Efforts: Never Underestimate the Power of Nudging!

I hate administrative work. Dotting i’s and crossing t’s puts me to sleep. I’m not a tasky person. This past week, I had to do a billing/invoicing thing for a client. It was like this 37-step process that I’m sure some accountant is so proud of. It wreaked of CYA. They used technology and walked me through each step. Dot this i. Cross this t. Give us three pints of your neighbor’s youngest son’s blood. You know the deal.

I skipped over one step because it was a live verification step. They wanted to verify that the person willing to go through 37 steps was actually a real person. I didn’t have time for this nonsense. I’ll ignore it. Most likely, they won’t need it. I mean, look, I’ve got a blog! Tens and tens of people know me. Surely, some real person on the other end of this process will see this and check the box.

Nope.

That’s when the nudges started. “Hey, Mr. Sackett, We see you mistakenly forgot to schedule your meeting with us…” Ugh. But, look, I’m a pro. I’ll keep ignoring it, and it’ll go away.

Nope.

“Hey, Idiot, Do you ever want to get paid?”

Okay, the tech wasn’t ever rude, although I suspect if it were, I would be more apt actually to respond! The nudges kept coming, and I was worn down. I scheduled my little call and finished the process. Long story short, the nudging worked. It always works.

I saw some data this past week from a company that gets about 2,000 applicants a month. Only about 500 of those actually follow through with the process and turn it into an interview. What’s the process, you ask? They get sent a link to schedule an interview! The company sends out one “reminder” after 24 hours, and then nothing ever again.

They decided maybe we should give some of these applicants one more chance and send them another reminder/nudge to have them schedule an interview. In the first round, an additional 300 responded. The company got 300 more interviews by sending out one email reminding them to click a link to schedule themselves for an interview.

Nudging works.

I tell my recruiting clients that you can never nudge enough. Your goal in nudging applicants to finish your process is to receive cease and desist letters from attorneys! If someone started your process, clearly they have interest. Our job as talent acquisition professionals is to follow up on this interest until we are 100% sure they no longer have interest. Not 97% sure. 100% sure!

It’s the only thing in recruiting that is black and white. You are either interested = Yes. Or you are not interested = No. Hearing nothing = make more f*cking nudges!

Your nudges should be multi-modal, meaning you should nudge via email, SMS, LinkedIn messenger, snail mail, phone calls, smoke signals, etc. You can use these modes simultaneously, like sending a text and an email at the same time. Or my favorite, The Triple Threat, calling the applicant and leaving a voice mail, texting them and saying, “Hey, I was the crazy person who just called you,” and sending an email, all together. 60% of the time, it works every time!

If we have learned one thing today, it’s to nudge more. Nudge all day, every day. Nudge until you can’t nudge any more. Then, nudge a little more. Get nudgy with it! Just Nudge It!

A Common Sense Crisis

In today’s world, the most precious asset is… common sense. Que “my precious” by Gollum. It’s become a rarity, dwindling away from our grasp. But I want to hold on to it so bad!

Society seems to have lost its ability to acknowledge perspectives beyond our own. Instead of embracing a variety of views, we’ve become one-way thinkers—where there’s only right or wrong, each person interpreting their own truth. It’s a messed-up reality that’s causing a lot of trouble and fights in our lives.

The breakdown in our ability to exercise common sense has led us to this. We’ve forsaken the middle ground, fixating on extreme ends. Rather than striving to understand various viewpoints, we’ve adopted an alarming stance: “I’m right, you’re wrong, end of story.”

Deep down, we recognize this flaw. How? By dismissing anyone who disagrees with us. It’s far simpler to cling to our existing beliefs than to step into the shoes of another.

This challenge isn’t fixed to a specific year or time. It’s not about 2020 or 2024—it’s about our collective inability to embrace common sense. The thing is, the extremes of a spectrum don’t show what’s right or wrong. The real answer is in the middle, where different views come together.

When hiring, I’m no longer fixated solely on a specific skill set or educational or experience. People who still hold onto common sense are what I’m looking for. It’s not just a passing trend—it’s crucial in a world where balance is lacking. It seems common sense is not so common!