The Best of 2019: Wanted: Blunt Roller ($40-50K plus Benefits!)

I’m on a holiday break. Boys are home, we’re going on a trip. So, I’ve put together a Best of 2019 post list for you to enjoy. I’ll be back after the holidays with new stuff and some cool announcements for 2020! 

In case you didn’t see the job posting by Snoop Dogg, on his staff (yes, giant mogul rapper/entertainers have staffs) he has a person whose sole job is to role blunts (for the Baby Boomers in the crowd – a blunt is joint, a marijuana cigarette, if you will). What’s the quote? Do a job you love and you’ll never work another day in your life.

From the article:

“If you’re great at something I need, I’m hiring you,” said Snoop.

The gentlemen staffer in question is allowed as much marijuana as he would like, travels with Snoop, has all his expenses paid, and gets free swag whenever his boss receives it. In exchange, he keeps a well-organized box full of impeccably rolled blunts and waits for his services to be required.

“Motherf*cker like Lurch from the Addams Family. ‘You rang?’”  said Snoop, who might have had the Addams on his mind since contributing the song “My Family” to the new movie.

Why is Snoop Dogg successful?

Oh, well it must be his talent. There’s a ton of folks in the music game more talented than Snoop. Don’t get me wrong, he’s massively talented, but did you catch the first line from the article? “If you’re great at something I need, I’m hiring you”.

Now you and I, and many others might not need a blunt. Snoop has made it pretty clear he smokes like every day, multiple times a day, and he’s decided a great blunt is something he needs, so he’s hired a dude who’s great at what he does. Successful people in life surround themselves with people who are successful at what they do, period.

It makes me start to wonder who I need to surround myself with if I… (Click here to go and read the rest of the original post, and because the comments left by stoned readers trying to get this job are remarkable! It might be the greatest thing on the blog in 2019!)

This isn’t about “Fit”, it’s about your Bias is showing!

“We’re big on CULTURE and fit!” We’re looking for the “right” person, not just skills!” “We just kind of know if they’ll fit or not…”

Of course, it’s not The Project if we don’t have some sports analogies that I tie back to some HR topic! That’s how this puppy was founded, probably won’t change. So, you might have missed a great sports-HR topic that popped last week!

LSU is the top college football program in the land and their head coach is Ed Orgeron. He’s beloved by a lot of people and has a great coaching pedigree. It’s surprising, with all of his success at LSU, that USC could have had him as their head coach, but he was passed over. And last week the truth of why he was passed overcame out!

“Specifically, Feldman said certain people in the Pat Haden administration “couldn’t get past what Ed Orgeron sounded like.”

“They didn’t listen to the players. They didn’t listen to the staff,” Feldman explained. “Ed Orgeron’s not a country club guy. I think he can relate to just about anybody…I think he can read people very well. I don’t think Pat Haden, who was the decision-maker at the time, that’s just not kind of guy he wanted. And I don’t think he could get past it.”

USC as an institution is elitist. They have graduates like Matt Charney and Neil Armstrong and George Lucas and OJ Simpson. Pat Haden, himself a USC graduate and Rhodes scholar, was the Athletic Director at the time Ed Orgeron was the interim head coach.

Can you imagine one of your hiring managers coming to you and saying, “Yeah, the resume is awesome, the references are awesome, but you know the candidate sounds dumb, so I’m going to pass!” That’s culture and fit. “We’re great” and we need someone who is going to “represent” us in a way where he makes us believe we are still great.

Pat had a bias. I want a head coach who ‘looks’ and ‘sounds’ like a head coach of USC. What does that mean? Looks good in a suit. Sounds like an educated person, probably white (at least sounds white). Heterosexual with a pretty wife. It was a look, an image. It wasn’t about results.

Pat Haden and USC were just doing what most organizations constantly do. They were hiring for fit. For “culture”. Believing somehow they had it figured out. Turns out, for Ed’s sake, they made the right call, because he is in a position where he is valued and they actually like his accent!

If you find yourself in an interview debrief and the conversation starts going down a path of “Fit” understand you’re about to hear someone’s bias coming out! Maybe you’ll even catch yourself and your own bias. We all have some and they mostly come out when we really can’t determine a real reason of why we don’t want to hire someone!

Wanted: Blunt Roller ($40-50K salary, plus benefits)

In case you didn’t see the job posting by Snoop Dogg, on his staff (yes, giant mogul rapper/entertainers have staffs) he has a person whose sole job is to role blunts (for the Baby Boomers in the crowd – a blunt is joint, a marijuana cigarette, if you will). What’s the quote? Do a job you love and you’ll never work another day in your life.

From the article:

“If you’re great at something I need, I’m hiring you,” said Snoop.

The gentlemen staffer in question is allowed as much marijuana as he would like, travels with Snoop, has all his expenses paid, and gets free swag whenever his boss receives it. In exchange, he keeps a well-organized box full of impeccably rolled blunts and waits for his services to be required.

“Motherf*cker like Lurch from the Addams Family. ‘You rang?’”  said Snoop, who might have had the Addams on his mind since contributing the song “My Family” to the new movie.

Why is Snoop Dogg successful?

Oh, well it must be his talent. There’s a ton of folks in the music game more talented than Snoop. Don’t get me wrong, he’s massively talented, but did you catch the first line from the article? “If you’re great at something I need, I’m hiring you”.

Now you and I, and many others might not need a blunt. Snoop has made it pretty clear he smokes like every day, multiple times a day, and he’s decided a great blunt is something he needs, so he’s hired a dude who’s great at what he does. Successful people in life surround themselves with people who are successful at what they do, period.

It makes me start to wonder who I need to surround myself with if I want to be more successful? I’m don’t smoke blunts so I don’t need this position, and I don’t question compensation value Snoop put on this role. We all value things differently. Here are some roles I would like to hire for in my personal life:

  1. Handy Person – I suck at most things related to anything handy around the house. Hanging pictures? F’ing hate it! Fixing a dripping faucet? No idea. Chaulk coming away from that thingy, in the thingy? Um, what? I need a person to take care of all of my crap that I don’t know how to take care of. It’s not a full-time gig, but I think it could be a kind of job share program. Clean the outside and inside of my car? That job sucks. I know a bunch of dudes and gals like me who need this service and I could probably fill 8 hours per week, $30-40/hr.
  2. diet Dew on-call – Like Snoop, we all have our addictions. I don’t drink coffee, but I’m addicted to caffeine. If I was wealthy like my guy, Snoop, I would have a person on staff to ensure when I need a fix, that fix would be there!
  3. Masseuse – Nothing is better and more relaxing than a full body massage. I would do it daily if I could.

I don’t need a personal shopper or cook. I actually like doing that stuff. My wife keeps an immaculate house, so if she wants someone to come in, I’m all for it, but I don’t think we would ever find someone to her standards. An in-house dog sitter might be a possibility to make it easier on travel. Scout is so needy!

Who would you hire for yourself if you could? Hit me in the comments – no judgment!

When in Doubt, Hiring Attractive People Usually Works Out!

The first time I wrote that in a post, it was 2012 with a post called, “Hire More Beautiful People!“. In 2014, it was, “Do Managers Have a Bias for Hiring Attractive People!” (Spoiler Alert – Yes!) In 2016, I doubled down as the science continued to tell us, pretty people, make the best employees with, “Pretty People Make the Best Employees!”  In 2018, it was “The One Big Problem with Being Pretty!

All of them pre-Internet outrage wars. So, the fall out was minimal. A few ruffled feathers from some ugly folks, but all in all, people believe science! That’s hard for the extra-libs! They want to kill Trump for not believing science, but then it’s hard for them to kill me when I’m using science.

So, here we are in 2019, the height of #outrage culture and Business Insider feed my obsession to write about the Attractiveness Bias in hiring with, “11 Scientific Reasons Why Attractive People Are More Successful in Life!” I love science!

I think I write about our need to hire attractive people so much because it’s right there in our face and yet no one wants to admit to it! You see, I was raised a red-headed stepchild. I know what it’s like to not be attractive and lose out in life to some idiot who looks like Brad Pitt. To me, it might be the biggest travesty of our time!

So, what does “science” tell us about being attractive (remember – this is science, it’s not me!):

Since I’ve been writing about this concept of “Hiring Pretty” I haven’t really changed my position. When in doubt, hire an attractive one!

It’s a bit fascinating to me that there is so much research about this topic. But, like me, I think dorky smart people, who most of us wouldn’t consider attractive, are trying to prove all of this wrong, but we can’t! Those damn pretty people still keep coming out on top! It’s like they have pretty privilege.

There is one giant reason most people don’t get upset by this concept of “hire pretty”. For the most part, we all think we’re fairly attractive! Not all the time, but at our best, when our game is flowing great, we look in the mirror and go “yeah, I’d hit that!” Come on! Be honest! You believe that!

I mean, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in a hotel room getting ready to go down and speak and look in the mirror and think, “yep, they’re about to get destroyed by you, beautiful bastard!” Then, sixty minutes later, I see pictures of myself on social media and I look like a troll! A f@cking TROLL!

Every time I’ve ever struggled with getting a hiring manager to actually make a decision to hire, and they just won’t, I know the problem. I haven’t given them someone pretty enough to hire! Once I find an attractive candidate, they always pull the trigger and make the hire. It’s science, we can’t stop it.

So, kill me in the comments. I’m just sharing our reality that we continue to ignore. We love to hire pretty!

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!

Are Employees Really Upset Over Being Replaced By Robots?

I think we all want to believe that our employees are freaking out that one day their job, in the near future, will be replaced by a robot. It’s all you hear right now in our space! “A.I. will be taking over 97% of jobs by next week!”

The reality is our employees are not afraid of their job being taken by a robot. But they are afraid!

Turns out, our employees are more afraid of their job being taken by another employee, not a robot! A new study by the Technical University of Munich has shown that our employees are actually more afraid of other people taking their jobs, then by A.I.

The study shows: In principle, most people view it more favorably when workers are replaced by other people than by robots or intelligent software. This preference reverses, however, when it refers to people’s own jobs. When that is the case, the majority of workers find it less upsetting to see their own jobs go to robots than to other employees…

People tend to compare themselves less with machines than with other people. Consequently, being replaced by a robot or software poses less of a threat to their feeling of self-worth. This reduced self-threat could even be observed when participants assumed that they were being replaced by other employees who relied on technological abilities such as artificial intelligence in their work.

Turns out, it’s a huge punch to our gut to be replaced by another human since we compare ourselves to being equal, or better, to other humans, but we can comprehend that technology, like A.I., is actually better than ourselves at many tasks.

“The robot can definitely do parts of my job better than me, but g*d damn it, Mark can not!” 

It makes sense, for the most part, we all have fairly fragile egos. It’s hard for us to comprehend that our employer would replace us with another person because that means we probably suck at our job, or at least, our employer thinks we suck. If I’m replaced by a machine I can rationalize that away. If I’m replaced by another person, that’s a hard one to explain to family and friends.

It’s definitely something to keep in mind as we transition many tasks over to the robots. I think from an organizational behavior standpoint we are very concerned about what our employees will think, but the reality is they’ll probably have less issue with it than if we were shopping their jobs offshore to people who will do it cheaper but are real!

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!

Your Job Posting Requiring a Bachelor’s Degree is Discriminatory!

From the world of sports this week in 2019 –

The NCAA (collegiate sports governing body) came out with rules for agents working with college athletes who are underclassman but trying to make a decision to test the NBA waters before graduation. Take a look at what they had to say:

“With this in mind, we benchmarked our new rules against requirements for other organizations that certify agents, like the NBPA, which also requires agents to have a bachelor’s degree. While different and distinct, our rules taken together, which is the manner they were meant to be examined, provide a clear opportunity for our student-athletes to receive excellent advice from knowledgeable professionals on either the college or professional path they choose.”

So, this is being called the “Rich Paul Rule” around the NBA circles. Rich Paul is Lebron James agent, the most famous basketball player on the planet. Rich Paul is a childhood friend of Lebron James, both of them skipped ‘college’ and went directly to the pros! James went and played basketball in the NBA, Paul went and trained as an agent and now has his own sports agency, Klutch, which Lebron happens to be a minority owner.

So, why is this discriminatory?

Rich Paul, like Lebron, grew up black and with little resources. He probably could have gone to college, given the right support system, but when you grow up black and poor, usually access to those support systems are non-existent. Lebron and Rich have had some great success getting young NCAA basketball players to want to sign with them. So, the NCAA makes a rule whereas Paul will not be able to ‘tamper’ with these young men.

Rich Paul, by all accounts, is a successful sports agent for his clients. He’s a very wealthy man, running a very successful business. He’s smart enough to have an army of lawyers, CPAs, etc. surrounding him to ensure his clients have the exact representation they need to be successful in negotiating great contracts.

Rich Paul does not need a bachelors degree. The role of a sports agent does not need a bachelors degree. The NCAA is forcing agents to have a bachelor’s degree if they want to have access to these athletes.

So, let’s get back to HR. We, organizations and HR pros, are pretty much like the NCAA. We often require education for positions where there is no correlation between educational obtainment and success on the job. We do this, like the NCAA, because we are either:

  1. Discriminatory
  2. Lazy
  3. Lazy and Discriminatory

Well, we’ve always hired Account Managers with bachelor’s degrees, so that is why we keep requiring a bachelor’s degree. I would say probably 80% of the positions we hire for in organizations do not need a formal education to do that job, but there will be a formal education requirement on the job description.

Let’s not be stupid and you make comments below about how we definitely want doctors to have degrees. Of course, there are formal educational programs that are critical to success. But there are more jobs that require education where it’s not critical for success. Using education as a screener because you have too many candidates is flat out lazy and you’re probably missing great talent.

Since we know who has and doesn’t have access to higher education, requiring higher education for jobs that don’t really need it, you’re basically saying “we just really don’t want to hire minorities”. The NCAA doesn’t want Rich Paul around “it’s kids”, so they change the rules. The reality is, these are more Rich Paul’s kids than the NCAA’s. At least Rich is upfront with his clients about how he’s making money on them!

 

Words matter! If you want more gender diversity in your applicants!

New data study released by LinkedIn this week titled “Language Matters Gender Diversity Report” has some awesome insight to how the words we use in job descriptions and job postings have a dramatic impact to who actually applies to jobs. We’ve known some of this for a while, but the LinkedIn data is very robust and compelling at a new level.

Some highlights from the report:

– Women are 16% less likely to apply to a job after viewing it than men.

– Research shows that when words like “aggressive” are used in a job description to describe a company’s workplace, 44% of women (and 33% of men) would be discouraged from applying.

– 25% of women would be discouraged from working somewhere described as “demanding”.

– 61% of women associate the term “soft skills” as a female-gender preferred role vs. 52% for men.

– Women are 4 times more likely to want to be perceived as ‘collaborative’ in the workplace.

So, how do you put all of this into practice?

The reality is the words we choose, thinking these words are going to get us the dynamic talent we desire, might actually be hurting our ability to get the dynamic, gender-inclusive talent we desire. There are a number of technologies on the market currently that can help with the wording (Textio is probably the most known).

The data is very clear, the language you use on your job postings and job descriptions will attract or detract certain people from applying. Want to give yourself a chance to get more females to apply, use phrases like “soft skills” or “collaborative” as a desired skill set you’re looking for. Don’t use words like “aggressive” and “demanding” or you’re more likely to get fewer females to apply, and there are a whole host of these types of words.

If you can’t afford the technology that will help you catch this language, I would ask for help from females in your organization (not necessarily in HR) to give you feedback around language and suggestions for things that would get them to be more likely to apply. I find most employees welcome the chance to give TA and HR feedback about our work! 😉

What we know is cutting and pasting the same job description you’ve used since 2004 isn’t working or helping. Most job descriptions, even today, are written in a male-dominated voice that discourages females from applying. It’s very hard to read and see, but the data is screaming at us that it’s a problem that we aren’t paying attention to. We all (male, female, non-binary, etc.) all write in a male-dominated voice because that’s how we’ve been trained to write. That’s what we read. So, it’s natural for us. It’s unnatural for us to change it. Welcome to bias in hiring.

 

The New Red Flag in Hiring!

I’m trained as an HR pro to pick up on ‘red flags’ in interviewing, in employee behavior, potential turnover risks, etc. Sometimes those red flags are really obvious.  I tease my staff all the time, but missing time on Mondays and Fridays, unexcused time, is a red flag.  It says something about how you feel about work, that you want to extend your weekend. It’s subtle, but in my experience, it doesn’t play out well.

My new red flag in hiring is Positivity.

First, I’ll admit to you that I’m a mostly a positive person.  My normal gauge is set to “things will probably work out in the end”.  I try to be realistic, without thinking the sky is going to fall when something doesn’t go my way.  Life has been pretty good to me. My glass is over half full, and when it’s not, I believe I can find a way to fill it back up.

What I don’t buy is the people who are so positive they seem to be telling themselves they’re positive.  I tend to believe if you’re positive, you don’t need to say your outlook is positive, people will hear it and see it in your daily interactions.  Those are the people you get drawn to. They are truly positive people who enjoy the life they’ve created for themselves.

There is another kind of positive person.  This is the person who needs to keep reminding themselves and anyone around them they’re positive. This positive scares me. This positive is a red flag for me.  This type of positive makes me believe you are actually fairly negative but trying to turn yourself into positive.

Now, I don’t necessarily think that’s bad, someone wanting to change from negative to positive.  I applaud the effort. I also know that most people are hardwired to lean one way.  It’s your personality, and that’s really hard to change long term.

My friend Kris Dunn, author of The 9 Faces of HR, loves to ask applicants about what work experience in their life they enjoyed the most, and which one did they dislike the most. Each tells you something about the person.  A truly positive person will have a hard time finding a place they truly disliked, but they’ll speak a ton about what they really liked. A truly negative person will do the opposite. They’ll go on and on about what they dislike, but move on quickly with their answer about what they like.

Basically, you can fake positivity, and it’s common amongst candidates.  The problem is, you can’t fake it for long, and even if they can fake it, fake positivity can get downright annoying!

I think it’s important to remember that the opposite of Positive Thinking isn’t Negative Thinking. It’s Possible Thinking. I want to hire people who are realistic about what is possible. Blind positivity doesn’t last and usually leads to a big fall.  I don’t need the drama in my work environment.

Who would have ever thought that positivity would be a hiring red flag!