I voted for an elderly white man! #YesIDid #vote2020

I’ve written a ton about ageism on my blog. Let’s face it, I’m a 50-year-old white dude. Yeah, I know I love higher 40’s, but still, it is what it is. Ageism is a real problem in hiring. I’ve written often of my support for older workers and them being the most undervalued talent in the marketplace.

That being said, I’m not super excited about hiring a white dude over 70 to be my President. I also wouldn’t be super excited at hiring a black man or woman over 70 to be my President.

Does that make me ageist? Yeah, probably it does! I think it was the broadway musical Avenue Q that said, “we’re all a little bit racist” and I’m saying we’re all a little bit ageist!

Don’t get me wrong, I love my parents, and my grandma and my aunts! They are wonderful dear people! I love spending time with them and explaining things like TikTok and how you don’t have to keep a VCR around any longer. They would do anything for me!

I back the sugar daddies that can grab a girl 40-50 years younger than them, just because they have a ton of money. Wait, no I don’t, that still gross! Like way gross! Stop it!

Being a middle-aged white dude (assuming I live until I’m 100) I was hoping for a selection of candidates that was younger and more diverse. Maybe someone in their 40s! Maybe a female! I don’t know, maybe a Hispanic or Asian! Someone who spoke as I spoke. Someone who viewed the world in a longer-term sense than like I might die before this speech is over.

Call me ageist, if you want. Cancel me. Whatever.

This is our fault. Younger people, like me, are the ones to blame. We allowed this to happen because we don’t get out and vote and say, “Wait, Grandpa, go back home and stop acting like you can run the most powerful country in the free world! We don’t even let you drive long distances any more!” We didn’t show up to vote when it wasn’t the “big” vote. We waited for all the older people, who actually pay attention to this shit, to do the voting, and then we bitch and moan we don’t like the choices!

I think it’s time we just came to the conclusion that, as Americans, we just really like old white dudes! The facts are the facts! The data doesn’t lie! Look, we all have a flavor and apparently, America’s flavor is old, white, and male. Some people get really upset by this, but then go and pick another old white guy. Even Obama, choose an old white buy to be his running mate because he knew the flavor we like. You really think Obama wanted to hang out with Biden!? He could have had someone super cool! He could have had Oprah or Beyonce or Chris Rock, Anyone!

So, go vote for your old white guy today and be happy you were given the flavor you’ve purposely decided you wanted.

 

 

Does Your Hiring Process Have Diversification Bias? (Diversifi-what!?!)

One of the really great things that have happened in 2020 is the giant spotlight D&I has gotten in organizations, especially around hiring a more diverse workforce. Obviously, organizations have been working on this for a while, but with limited success.

What researchers are discovering is that many organizations might have “Diversification Bias” in their hiring process. What is Diversification Bias?

Diversification bias describes the tendency to choose more variety—to diversify—when making a simultaneous decision, and to choose less variety when making the same decisions sequentially.

For the non-technical definition, we tend to hire more diversity when we hire a bunch of people at one time, verse when we hire one person every once in a while.

This actually then gives a really good explanation around why so many organizations struggle to increase their diversity hiring because most of us don’t hire a bunch of people all at once. Most organizations have one opening for let’s say an Accountant. When that hiring manager goes to hire, they’ll most likely hire someone who is similar to them.

Now, if that same hiring manager was going to hire 3 Accountants, they are forced to look at that panel of hires and they’ll notice that everyone looks the same, thus increasing the chances they’ll offer positions to a more diverse set of candidates. I’m not saying that our traditional way of hiring is appropriate, in fact, it’s just another form of bias, it’s just a researched explanation of why this is happening.

How can we hire a more diverse and inclusive workforce? 

Let’s be honest for SMB organizations this will be difficult because you’ll never really have the headcount numbers to do any type of mass hiring, so SMBs have to have a special focus on each hire and why each decision is being made, if they want to move the needle. For larger organizations here are some tips:

1. Understand your turn over data by position and require hiring managers to hire in multiples verse one hire at a time.

2. Ensure you have a diverse and inclusive interview panel where every person on the panel has an equal vote.

3. Understand your market demographics by position and make the organization aware of where you are falling short. Great you increased your D&I hiring by 18%, but if it’s mostly in an area where you already had great diversity, you really haven’t done anything to solve your problem. Also, if your market demographics tell you that there are 15% diversity candidates in a certain segment, and you are meeting or exceeding that number, executives should know your successes. I find often executives will say, “well we need to be at 30%” without knowing what that really means for the skills you’re hiring.

Awareness and focus solve a lot of issues.

Here’s the reality. Some of your hiring managers believe that hiring a D&I candidate is a risk. They believe that a diversity hire won’t perform as well. Is that bad? Hell, yes! But it’s also reality. So, when they hire one person at a time, they are less willing to take a “risk”, in their eyes, on a diverse candidate. Again, that’s their Diversification Bias, among others, showing up.

We fight this battle on multiple fronts. We address biased hiring manager behavior when we know it’s happening, but we can also address it by changing our own processes and making it easier for hiring managers to make the right decisions.

The more you know.

5 Tell-Tale Signs Not to Make That Offer!

If I have learned anything at all in my HR/Recruiting career it’s that everyone has an opinion on what makes a good hire. If you ask 100 people to give you one thing they focus on when deciding between candidates, you’ll get 100 different answers!

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

1. Crinkled up money. Male or female if you pull money out of your pocket or purse and it’s crinkled up, you’ll be a bad hire!  There is something fundamentally wrong with people who can’t keep their cash straight. The challenge you have is how do you get a candidate to show you this? Ask to copy their driver’s license or something like that!

2. Males with more selfies on their Instagram, than all other photos. I don’t even have to explain this (also, don’t go do a count on my IG!).

3. Slow walkers.  If you don’t have some pep in your step, at least for the interview, you’re going to be a drag as an employee.

4. My Last Employer was so Awesome! Yeah, that’s great, we aren’t them. Let’s put a little focus back on what we got going on right here, sparky. Putting too much emphasis on a job you love during the interview is annoying. We get it. It was a good gig. You f’d it up and can’t let go. Now we’ll have to listen about it for the next nine months until we fire you.

5. Complaining or being Rude to waitstaff.  I like taking candidates to lunch or dinner, just to see how they treat other people. I want servant leaders, not assholes, working for me. The meal interview is a great selection tool to weed out bad people.

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

The HR Famous Pod – E34 – Is it legal to only hire cute blondes as Flight Attendants?

In episode 34 of The HR Famous Podcast, long-time HR leaders (and friends) Tim Sackett, Kris Dunn and Jessica Lee come together to discuss a recent employment lawsuit that claims United Airlines grants assignment privileges to young blonde females and discusses the stock price of Slack tanking once Wall Street determined it’s growth wasn’t going to blow up in the WFH world aka Zoom.

Listen (click this link if you don’t see the player) and be sure to subscribe, rate, and review (Apple Podcasts) and follow (Spotify)!

SHOW HIGHLIGHTS

2:45 – WTF is WFT? KD teaches us what the Washington Football Team is. Formerly known as the Washington Redskins, WFT is the new name for the team that didn’t have a name ready for a rebrand, and all Tim and KD want to know is how Jlee, a DC native, feels about it.

5:45 – KD takes a shot a what his company’s name would be if they had to turn to something generic like WFT. Spoiler alert – It’s bland.

7:15 – First topic of the day: United Airlines has taken a lawsuit from flight attendants. Bloomberg reports this lawsuit has to do with preferential treatment to young blonde females based on physical attributes on flights chartered by major league sport teams. Shocking.

11:00 – JLee talks about how she gets upset about reviewing creative collateral due to the lack of size and physical diversity. She also wonders about the role the unions play into who gets the more coveted charter flights.  KD covers what the collective bargaining agreement says, turns out the flight attendants union bargain the right away.

12:30 – The website Live And Let’s Fly published an article saying that clients can request specific flight attendants to work their flights if their schedule allows. The same article includes unnamed sources who provide some information provided by United Airlines in the initial discovery.

16:00 – Tim talks about how he thinks most judges won’t get into collective bargaining agreements and will try to push it back to the union to deal with.

19:15 – The HR Famous crew gives their favorite profile of flight attendant. KD likes the middle aged women who are afraid to push back on people. Tim likes the ones who recognize frequent flyers.

22:30 – Last topic of the day: Slack! Slack recently reported quarterly results and it was in line with analysts expectations for their growth but their stock tanked.  The gang discusses whether Slack is must have work tech, compares it to Zoom and talks about how the greatest generation – GEN X – likes to communicate, which is all that really matters to Gen Xers. The gang identifies JLee as non-Gen X, but bets she can still muscle on on email without ever signing into Slack or the equivalent.

29:00 – Time for the CHRO Move of the Week! Nadia Rawlinsen is the new CPO of Slack! She comes from companies like Live Nation and Groupon and colleges like Harvard and Stanford. The gang takes a look at her career and thinks out loud about what’s in front of her at Slack.

Resources:

Jessica Lee on LinkedIn

Tim Sackett on Linkedin

Kris Dunn on LinkedIn

HRU Tech

The Tim Sackett Project

The HR Capitalist

Fistful of Talent

Kinetix

Boss Leadership Training Series

Influencers or Analysts? Who has the most impact on your brand?

The worlds of Influencers and Analysts have never collied more than they are right now in the HR industry. Most of this has to do with the popularity of Influencer Marketing that has taken off in the past decade, and like most things in HR, we are now just catching up with the marketing trend.

Traditionally, in the HR space, companies selling products, technology, and services only really cared about two things: 1. What do our clients think of us, and 2? What do the “Analysts” think of us?

What’s an Analyst? 

Every industry has them. These are basically individuals who work for organizations like Deloitte, Gartner, Forrester Research, IDC, and hundreds of boutique firms specializing in specific parts of the HR ecosystem. The individuals spend a great deal of time understanding the landscape of a specific function in HR, the technology, the processes, what works, and what doesn’t, etc. Then your organization pays its organization a great deal of money for this expert knowledge.

The hope is, using this expert Analyst knowledge will ultimately help you save time, money, and missteps because you’ve hired a firm of experts to help you make the right decisions. Many of these experts have never actually worked a day in HR, but hold MBAs and such. Some of these people are some of the smartest people I’ve ever met, and if you listened to them, they could truly help you. Some are idiots working for a big firm.

Examples of Analyst I admire: William Tincup, Madeline Laurano, Trish McFarlane, George LaRocque, Ben Eubanks, Kyle Lagunas, John Sumser, Holger Mueller, Jason Cerrato, Josh Bersin, Sarah Brennanetc. 

This will then beg the question of well, then, what’s an Influencer? 

Influencer marketing has been around for a hundred years, but Kim Kardashian is the queen of modern-day influencers. I’m famous! You see me talking about or using this product. You buy this product. That’s really the backbone of influencer marketing. I mean Kimmy D would never steer you wrong, would she?

An Influencer is anyone in an industry that a measurable amount of people are listening to, which will influence their buying behavior. I write a blog post on some products that I’m using in my own shop. It’s super awesome! You go out, look at it, and decide to buy it and use it with your team. You’ve been influenced.

Most of the influencers in the HR industry are current or former practitioners, they’ve lived your life. Some are super smart and have the resume to back it up. Some are complete idiots. Any idiot can have a blog (I’m a great example!). Most influencers, like an analyst, have a specialty, something they’re better at than other stuff. Some influence full time, but most hold down ‘real’ jobs to pay the bills. So, they probably don’t have the time to deep dive into the industry, as you’ll see with analysts.

Examples of Influencers I admire: Kris Dunn, Dawn Burke, Carmen Hudson, Robin Schooling, Jason LauritsenLaurie Ruettimann, Jennifer McClure, Sharlyn Lauby, Steve Browne, Sabrina Baker, Joey Price, Mary Faulkner, Jessica Miller Merrell, Janine Truitt-Dennis, etc. (there’s really too many to name!)

Many of these people are HR Famous! They have worked hard to create an audience who for the most part listens to what they have to say.

You also have people that fall into this strange middle ground of Influencer-Analysts types that have no name. Maybe they started out as an influencer, then became an Analyst, or maybe they were an Analyst who became popular and started influencing. Examples in this camp are folks like: Josh Bersin, Jason Averbook, Sarah Brennen, Trish McFarlane, Ben Eubanks, etc.

(BTW – All of these people you should connect to! )

So, who has the most impact on your Brand? Influencers or Analysts? 

This is not an easy question to answer because like almost anything it depends on a lot! We all know of a certain product we love and regardless of the influence or what some expert is telling us, we will just buy it because we love it!

We also have an untold number of products and services we buy because someone we trust told us about it, and because we trust them, we go buy it.

If you’re a large enterprise-level product or service, basically selling to companies that have more than 5,000 employees, you better make nice with the Analyst community! They tend to have the ear of more enterprise buyers then you’ll typically see from influencers. I doubt very highly the CHRO of Google is reading this blog! (but I know the CPO of GM is!)

What I see is companies selling to enterprises usually work with both Analysts and Influencers. They want to ensure their message is heard across the buying community, so they don’t miss out on a potential buyer, and they have the money to do both.

Companies selling to under 5,000 employees and it starts to get a little harder to determine the impact of Analysts. I mean how many HR and Talent shops in Small to Medium-sized businesses have the money to pay for Analysts Research? Not many! If you run an HR shop of a 1500 person company, you do not have $50,000 to hear what the best ATS is! The ATS you buy won’t even cost $50K!

Behind the scenes, most analysts understand their biggest impact on the enterprise buyer, and because that’s where the money is, that’s exactly where they want to be! If you have buyers across small, medium, large, and enterprise markets, it then becomes a more difficult decision on how you use Influencer marketing.

The real answer to the question above is you engage with the analyst and influencers that have the most positive impact on selling your product. Unfortunately, most organizations have little or no idea if either side is having an impact on selling their stuff.

Who has the juice? 

I call someone who has ‘real’ influence as having the “juice”. If you have the ‘juice’ you have the ability to influence real buying decisions on a regular basis. Laurie Ruettimann tells you to go out and buy this new great HR product, and that organization will see a measurable sales increase directly tied to the links in her posts. She’s got juice!

I wrote about an HR Tech company a few months ago after a demo and a month later they sent me a bottle of gin because they landed a six-figure deal directly from my mentioning them in a post. That’s gin and juice! 😉

Most people who call themselves influencers in the HR space have little or no juice. Usually, because they just don’t have a large enough, sustained audience who is listening. They might be 100% correct in their recommendations and insight, but not enough people are listening to move the buying needle.

I love what the folks are doing over at Advos because they are actually showing organizations who have the juice and who doesn’t. I can tell you I have the juice and say I’m the #1 Influencer in the HR marketplace, but the reality is, anyone can say that! HRMarketer is actually giving data behind those words to let people know where the real juice is.

The truth around all of the analyst vs. influencer chatter is that you’ll find people in both groups who can help you and people in both groups who are complete idiots and have no value. The best thing to do is build a relationship with both, find out who moves your needle and aligns with the messaging you’re trying to get out, and then measure. Eventually, you’ll find the right mix that will work for your organization.

How Perfect is your Perfect Hire?

There’s a concept known as the “Perfect Premium”. Basically, we over evaluate the value of “perfect” versus almost perfect. What do I mean?

Let me give an example that we are all familiar with, standardized college admission testing, ACT/SAT. A perfect ACT score is 36. If someone scores a 36 on the ACT, they’ll get a full ride, academic scholarship to some college.

If someone gets a 35 on their ACT test, one point lower than perfect, they might get a full-ride scholarship to a college, but that is no guarantee. We assume 35 is that much lower than a 36. Now, what about comparing an ACT score of 35 to a score of 34? Well, in that case, we assume those two scores a virtually the same! Smart, but not perfect!

We do this with employment assessments as well.

We assume the person who scores the highest on the test is the best one, and the people who scored less are really that close. Let’s say you have an assessment that scores 0 to 100. You have three candidates that score 100, 94, and 91. We will almost always assume that the 100 is by far the better hire than the 94 or 91.

If you tell your hiring manager they can’t have the 100 score because that person dropped out for some reason, they won’t really care if you choose the 94 or 91. To them, those are the same, but that 100! She was the magical unicorn!

We exaggerate the distance between the perfect and the near-perfect by an exponential amount from those who near-perfect to almost near-perfect. 

Why does this matter?

Because the reality is, those who are perfect, and those who are near-perfect, are virtually the same when it comes to potential performance. Whether you hire the perfect scoring candidate or the one who is near perfect, you are basically getting the same person, but your mind will lie to tell you and tell you that you’re not!

Your perfect hire might actually be perfect! But, your near-perfect hire might also be perfect!

Also, for those thinking, “Tim probably just got 35 on this ACT and now he’s trying to make us believe he’s as smart as the kids who got 36!” Ha! you’re wrong! I got a 32, and I’m still way smarter than those try-hards who got 36! Or am I…

What if we only hired based on job interest? A Job Lottery!

I heard about a very cool way that some schools are beginning to select student governments. Think about how the normal student government is selected. Some student government advisor, usually the school’s government teacher, makes an announcement for student government elections. Any student interested can throw their name into the hat, and start campaigning.

Then, reality hits.

The most popular girl decides she wants to run, and then the star quarterback decides he will also run, and the drum major of the student marching band puts her name in, it becomes a whos-who of the student body, all looking to butter-up their college applications. If you’re not popular or have a built-in voting base (school marching bands have a way of swinging elections if they elect in mass), you have zero shot at getting elected.

Now, if we changed from elections to a lottery system, every single person who has an interest in being a part of the student government now has an equal chance of being a part of the student government. Do you like this idea or not? (Listen to Gladwell’s podcast to see how this really plays out, it’s fascinating!) 

Most people’s initial reaction is not positive about a lottery. We want to have our vote. Our say! A lottery seems random. The very worst person might win the lottery and then we are stuck! Truth be told, we are awful at selection! We are bad at selecting politicians. We are bad at selecting employees. Humans are just bad at knowing what’s best for them.

Think about how we select our President. If we had used a lottery to select the President all these years, half of the U.S. Presidents would have been female! A good portion would have been African American, way before Obama! We probably would have had a Hispanic President!

What Hundred.org found is that selecting student governments via lottery actually has produced a ton of leaders that school teachers/administrators, and students didn’t even realize could be great. We never gave them a chance, and they lived ‘down’ to our expectations. But, when chosen via lottery, they rose to the occasion. Also, just because we ‘elected’ the Prom Queen to be Student Class President, doesn’t mean they’ll be good, in fact, just as many that are good, suck!

Now, let’s take this in another direction. What would happen if we did a “Hiring Lottery”? Instead of going through all the interviews and such, we just have people show interest, and then we pull a name out of a hat? Do you think it would work?

Let’s add one thing. What if we had AI go through each person who showed interest and made sure they met our qualifications to do the job? Would you have buy-in then? We had 100 applicants who meet the criteria of the job, we spin the ping pong balls and pick one, and Welcome to ACME Inc., Mary! You won the job lottery!

What do you think Mary’s chances of being successful are? 50/50? Lazlo Bock, in Work Rules, says Google was only 1% better than 50/50 in their selection, so it would seem like 50/50 would be a really strong success rate for your hires!

I have a strong belief that with many of our roles, especially those that are low-skill, no-skill jobs, a hiring lottery would actually be considerably more efficient and eliminate all bias, and would probably produce more applicants for organizations. Also, when considering lower-skilled jobs, “job interest” might be the most important criteria to consider!

Could it work in skilled professions? I think it would probably work exactly the same, it’s just a harder sell to executives since they have skills and want to desperately believe those skills matter over someone with similar skills!

Tell me what you think! Would you be willing to hire via a Job Lottery!?

How many people in your profession actually know what they are doing?

I asked this question recently to a number of people. On a normal distribution curve of performance it should look something like this:

-20% are Top Performers

-70% are Average Performers

-10% are Not Performing at all

So, my belief would be if I asked an individual in any professional occupational role, “Tell me what percentage of pros in your field actually know what they are doing?” That I should get a very similar distribution. But I didn’t!

Ask yourself this question right now. How many of your peers, doing the same job you are doing right now, actually know how to do the job?

If you are a plumber, and I put ten plumbers in front of you, are you confident 80-90% can do the job? No? Then how many? If you are an HR Professional, what percentage of your peers are actually good at our profession?

Here was the breakdown I received, in terms of what percentage of peers in your field can actually perform at an acceptable level, as rated by their peer group:

Only 1% of the 394 people surveyed felt like over 90% of people in their field knew what the heck they were doing! 18% of people felt like less than 10% of the people in their field knew what they were doing! 

What does this tell us?

Almost everyone overrates their own performance and underrates the performance of those around them doing the same job. It’s really hard for us, in a peer setting, to look at others and go, “yeah, Mary is way better than me!” It’s way easier for us to look at a peer and go, “Oh, Tim? Yeah, he’s an idiot! We don’t let him get near the Happy Meals!”

What I actually tend to find when auditing various functions within an organization is that most people can actually do the job that is requested, when it takes lower-level skills. As you ramp up the skill difficulty is when you see larger variations, which isn’t very comforting.

What are the professions that take high skill? Medical, legal, accounting/finance, technology, etc. Most of these professions, to be really good, you need a combination of a strong education, experience, continual learning, and high attention to detail. Because most of these professions are high paying and have high hiring needs, many people are trying to get into the field, but don’t have all four of the requirements mentioned!

Anyone who has gone through a frustrating medical issue where doctors couldn’t find out what was wrong, only then to go to a more well-known medical facility and immediately get a real diagnosis and treatment, understand this perfectly.

If you’ve been through a difficult legal battle you understand the difference between a $300 an hour lawyer and a $1000 an hour lawyer! There are certain things in life you don’t cheap out on. I don’t want the cheapest brain surgeon or tax accountant or criminal defense lawyer. I’m okay with the cheapest quote to cut my lawn.

The difference in skill and performance levels amongst peers is probably greater than we think. I don’t think 20% of people in the same profession are top performers, it’s probably closer to 1%. We know rock stars in a profession when we see them, and it’s rare. You don’t have 2 or 3 on every team.

That’s why it’s critical that if you have high performing talent, at any level, you do almost anything to retain them. Most will outperform a handful of average to low performing peers doing the exact same job.

 

What Is Your 3 Minute Interview Monologue? This is mine!

Right now, with high unemployment and seemingly endless competition for jobs, nailing your interview is critical! Almost every failed interview can be traced back to the first three minutes. Experts will tell you the first ten seconds, but these are the same experts who have never interviewed or haven’t interviewed in the past twenty years. The reality is a little longer, but not much.

An interview doesn’t really start until you’re asked to open your mouth. And, not the small talk crap that you do while people get settled and wait for Jenny to get her coffee and find your resume.

When you get asked that first question, “So, tell us a little about yourself.” Bam! It’s on. Start the clock, you have 180 seconds to show them why they should hire you.

Here’s what I would say:

“I was raised by 6 women. My grandmother is the matriarch of our family. I was raised by a single mom, who had four sisters, my aunts, and my sister was the first grandchild born into the family. As you can imagine, I was dressed-up a lot! The women in my life love to laugh and I have always had a stage with them to make this happen. 

The other thing it taught me was to cook, sew, and iron. All of which I do to this day. My wife is a baker, but I’m the cook. Mending and ironing fall in my chore bucket around the house.

The real thing it taught me was the value of women in the world. I did my master’s thesis on women and leadership. My mother started her own company in 1979 when no women started companies. Not only that, but she also started a company in a male-dominated technical field.  I was nine years old, and she would pay me ten cents to stuff envelopes for her. We would sit on her bed and she made calls to candidates, and I would stuff envelopes with the volume off on the TV.

Living with a single mom, who started a business during a recession was a challenge. I learned the value of work and started my first real job the day I turned sixteen. I paid my own way through college, my parents who could afford to help, but believed I would get more out of college if I found a way to pay for it on my own. I did. In hindsight, I’m glad they taught me this lesson. It was hard but worth it.

All of these experiences have helped shape my leadership style. I set high expectations but work hard to ensure people have the right tools and knowledge to be successful. I hold people accountable for what we agree are our goals. I believe hard work leads to success, and in business when you are successful you have way more fun! 

What else would you like to know about me?”

That’s it. I shut up and wait for a response.

What did I tell them in my three minutes?

I told them my story.  People don’t hire your resume, they hire your story.

If you want to get hired, you need to craft your story. A real story. A story people want to listen to. A story people will remember when it comes time to decide whom to hire.

Once you craft that story, sit down with as many people as possible, and tell them that story. You need to perfect it. You need to be able to “perform” that story in the interview so that it’s 100% natural. Pro tip: try and get people that don’t like you very much to listen to your story and give you feedback. They’ll still be nice, but you’ll get more honest feedback from them, then your fans.

You have 3 minutes! How are you going to use that time?