The First Rule of Recruiting!

Sometimes we go so far into the weeds in recruiting we forget what is really important.

We have to have a brand!

We have to have an ATS! Or a new ATS!

We have to have a CRM! What the hell is a CRM!?

Our job descriptions need to be better!

Our career site sucks! Don’t they all!?

We need to relaunch our employee referral program!

There are literally a million things you could focus on in recruiting and you still would have a list of crap you never even got to.

You know recruiting isn’t difficult. It’s not like we’re trying to launch the space shuttle. Recruiting is finding people for your organization. People are everywhere. We just need to talk them into coming to work for our organizations.

It’s the first rule of recruiting – Just let people know you’re hiring.

We make it so difficult when all we have to truly do is let people know we actually want to hire them. Do you have any idea how many people would really want to work for your organization, but they never know you are hiring or were hiring?

Recruiting is really only that. Just letting enough people know that you want them to work for you until you’ve reached the right people. It’s okay that you will reach some you don’t want. That’s part of the game.

To reach the people who you want, and who want you, you have to let a lot of people know you’re hiring.

Letting people know you’re hiring goes beyond your career site. It goes beyond job boards. It goes beyond employee referral programs. It’s a philosophy throughout your organization. It’s about an understanding that you want everyone to know that you’re hiring.

Most organizations don’t do this. It’s a combination of issues, but mostly it’s a conceited belief that letting people know you’re hiring seems desperate. That we are too good of an organization to let everyone know we are hiring, because we don’t want everyone, we only want a few.

This is why most talent acquisition departments fail. Simple conceit.

Great recruiting isn’t conceited, great recruiting is about being humble enough to let people know you want them, that you really want them. At the end of the day, that’s what we all want. To be wanted.

Recruiting Facts: People Actually Like It When You Want Them…

If I hear one more person tell me that candidates don’t like phone calls, I’m going to shove a phone up your…

I’m not the smartest cat, but I know a couple of things.  Here are a few things I know:

1. You can’t taste the difference of well Gin and high-end Gin after 4 Gin and Tonics.

2. French Fries, Onion rings and Tator Tots taste great fried and taste awful baked.

3. Great tasting chocolate is the reason women can be single. (okay, I stole that one from my wife!)

4. Candidates with car trouble are lying.

5. People like to be told that you want them for a job! It’s flattering. It makes them feel important. It makes them feel valued. They love to listen to what you have to say, regardless of how satisfied they are in their job.

If I called you right now with a job that was something you have always wanted, guess what would happen?  You would call me back. You would call me back almost instantly. You would run out to your car, telling the receptionist on the way out you have an urgent personal call, to hear what I have to say.

Those people. Those thought leaders. Those idiots, who are telling you candidates don’t like phone calls are LIARS!

Why are they lying to you? Here is why I think they are probably lying to you:

1. They are lazy and hope the internet will solve all of their problems.

2. They are hoping to talk the world into believing you never have to make a phone call to get a job.

3. They are scared.

I did a survey where I asked 100 people, mostly millennials, (all potential candidates, since all people are potential candidates) if I called you with your “Dream Job”, would you either pick up my call or call me back?  Would you like to know the results?

100 out of 100 said they would pick up my call or call me back! 100%!

Recruiters who say candidates don’t like phone calls are not recruiters, they’re administrative professionals. Pay them accordingly.

The #1 Holiday Gift For Recruiting and TA pros Worldwide!

When I worked at Applebee’s in HR we talked about terminations as giving someone a “gift”. Every time I tell someone this, they kind of chuckle. “Yeah! Great ‘gift’ I get fired!”

Of course, there’s an explanation.

Imagine you are working in your dream job (whatever that job might be). You love your job. You love the people you work with. You feel valued. You do great work. The hours work well for you. The location works well for you. You have a really good balance. You are in your dream job.

Now, imagine the opposite. You hate your job. You can’t even stand getting out of bed in the morning, knowing you have to go to ‘that’ job. You don’t like the people you work for. You can’t stand your leadership team. It’s too far away from home. Nothing seems to be right. As such, you probably aren’t giving 100%. You probably aren’t performing at your best. You will probably be fired.

The person who is miserable and not performing in their job needs a gift. That gift is we stop kidding ourselves that this will work out and we terminate them so that they now have the time and motivation to go find that dream job! A job they love! We all deserve that gift! Our life is so much better when we are working at a job we love. It’s a true gift.

So, what’s the #1 gift for Recruiting and TA Pros!?

No, it’s not to terminate them!

It’s to buy my book! The Talent Fix! Yay! It’s back in stock over at Amazon just in time for the holidays, and you can order it in bulk right now! If you want to buy signed copies for your team – send me a note (timsackett@comcast.net) and we can work out the details! I’ll even personalize them with funny messages if you send me what you want to say!

Dear Tina,

I can’t think of a more amazing recruiter who has ever graced the

earth. The world is a better place because you’re in it. Last night, 

I wept with joy from the idea of “you”! 

Tim (but really fancy signature type “Tim”)

You like what I did there!? 😉 It’s really the gift that keeps giving all year long!

Also, you should probably fire some folks who aren’t performing well and hate their job! They will not consider it a gift in the moment, but if they are lucky enough to find that awesome dream job, a job they love, eventually they might come to see it as the best gift they were ever given!

You’re Going to Jail because of your LinkedIn Profile Pic!

Breaking News from down under! An Australian woman lied on her resume and used a fake picture on her LinkedIn profile and those facts were used in a trial where she was sentenced to over a year in jail! Let’s face it Australia is kind of like the Florida of countries.

From the article:

Veronica Hilda Theriault, 46, was convicted Tuesday of deception, dishonesty, and abuse of public office, relating to her 2017 application for the chief information officer role, which came with an annual salary of 270,000 Australian dollars (US$185,000).
Theriault worked in the position with South Australia’s Department of the Premier and Cabinet for over a month and earned about 33,000 Australian dollars ($22,500) before being fired.
She pleaded guilty to all charges and received a 25-month sentence with a non-parole period of a year…The court heard that she submitted a fraudulent resume to the department with false information relating to her education and prior employment. After she was granted an interview, she also posed as a previous employer during a reference check, in which she “gave glowing feedback” about her own performance.
But the lies didn’t end there. In earlier submissions, the court heard that Theriault used a photo of supermodel Kate Upton as her LinkedIn profile photo, according to CNN affiliate 7 News.

Can you imagine if we put people in jail for lying on their resume or using doppelganger photos on their LinkedIn profile!?! Half of our employees would be in jail!

Well, don’t think it can’t happen in the US! This position was for the Australian government. Turns out, if you lie to the government when getting a job, you might end up in jail! Not only in Australia but pretty much every country! I can only imagine how many employees of the US government, state and local governments, who have access to secret level information who have ‘exaggerated’ on their resume! It has to be upwards of 20% or more.

Now, this person flat out lied and probably has some severe mental issues. Which begs the question, how the heck could this happen for such a high-level position?

Quite simply, Malcolm Gladwell wrote an entire book (Talking to Strangers) about this simple idea. We all, all of us, default to truth. We believe what people are telling us, and we are awful at spotting liars. The higher the level of position, the worse we get. “Oh, she has an outstanding resume and background and education and she looks just like Kate Upton! She must be telling us the truth!”

We. Are. Stupid.

Once we actually come to grips with this fact, we might get slightly better at talent selection and interviewing. We assume everyone is telling us the truth when we interview them. We rarely believe someone is lying. “Oh, they wouldn’t lie, they really want this position! And I know her cousin, and she goes to church, and…” We are all biased in this same way. We do not want to believe someone would lie to us.

I think it would actually do some good if we started putting people in jail or lying on their resume, or at the very least for using LinkedIn profile pics that look nothing like you do now! “Oh, Hi…you’re “Tim”!? I didn’t recognize you, I mean immediately!” (Internal voice – “with that extra 25 pounds and no hair, from your LI profile pic that is clearly ten years old!)

I want to be the HR leader at court for the case where we’re trying to put someone away for their stupid, fake LI profile pic! That’s the pinnacle of HR!

True or False: Corporate Recruiters Fear Agency Recruiters?

True or False?  It’s a common belief, in most Talent and HR circles, that most corporate recruiters fear agency recruiters.  Go ahead and argue if you would like, but it seems a little silly.

The reality is, true recruiting professionals don’t fear amateurs.

It’s like a really great professional Photographer. They charge money because they offer something someone is willing to pay for. Professional photographers don’t fear the mom at the soccer game with her $2,000 dollar camera and $5,000 dollar lens. Who cares that you have the equipment if you don’t know how to use it!? Pros don’t fear amateurs.

So, if you are a really good corporate recruiter who knows how to really recruit and source talent, agency recruiters don’t scare you, because you know your stuff! That’s the problem, though, right? The reason so many people feel the title of this post is true is because we all know so many corporate recruiters, who really don’t know how to recruit. They aren’t pros, they’re amateurs. Amateurs fear professionals when it comes to meeting head to head in competition.

The best professionals love it when a talented amateur tries to play at their level. These types of individuals help to push both parties to do the best work they can. Or, at least, they should! A great agency recruiter should push an average corporate recruiter to want to get better. An amateur agency recruiter will starve, that’s why you only see amateurs in the agency ranks for a very short period of time. If they aren’t good, they don’t eat! That is why on average, agency recruiters tend to have more recruiting skills than corporate recruiters. Agency folks aren’t full salary. How they are compensated forces them to have better skills, on average, of they are out of job.

So, how do corporate recruiters ensure they become professionals? Well, I love Malcolm Gladwell, so I’ll steal a little of his 10,000-hour concept (and go ahead and tell me it’s B.S. – I don’t care, I like it and I’ve seen it work). You must make yourself a true recruiting professional!  You need to invest time and development in yourself, in the recruiting industry, to become a pro. That means as a corporate recruiter, you focus on recruiting, not becoming an HR Pros. What?! Most corporate recruiters are corporate recruiters because that’s their path to get into a straight HR position. Their endgame is not recruiting, it’s HR. That’s a problem because they are not fully vested in the recruiting game. This is an amateur move.

The reality is, those who get promoted are usually professional at something. Become a great recruiting pro and the powers-that-be will take notice, and you’ll find yourself in positions you never thought possible. True professionals don’t worry about promotions, they worry about becoming a better pro at their craft.

The next time you start feeling yourself pushed by an agency recruiter, don’t curse them for what they do, embrace them for what they push you to become — a better recruiter!

I Don’t Always Use Recruiters, but When I Do… (I use Tim Sackett!)

I love those old Dos Equis commercials “The Most Interesting Man in the World” where the most interesting man says, “I don’t always drink beer, but when I do I prefer Dos Equis.” It’s great marketing that doesn’t seem to get old.  It actually ended in 2018, but it’s become part of our vernacular.

It got me to thinking as well. I started my HR career in recruiting working for the company I’m now running, so in a sense, I’ve come full circle. I started recruiting right out of college for HRU Technical Resources, doing technical contracts. It’s a tough recruiting gig but pays very well if you’re good.

When I left my first job, and the third party recruiting industry, to take my first corporate HR job. I left with a chip on my shoulder that armed me with such great recruiting skills that I thought, I would NEVER, I mean NEVER use a recruiting firm to do any of my recruiting. WHY WOULD I?  I mean I had the skills, I had the know-how and I would save my company a ton of money by just doing it on our own.

So, I spent 10 years in corporate HR before returning to HRU in 2009, and you know what? I was young and naïve in my thinking about never using recruiting agencies. It’s not just about having the skills and know-how; it’s much bigger than that. I worked for three different large, enterprise-sized companies, in three different industries in executive recruitment type roles and in each case, I found situations where I was reaching out to some great third-party recruiters for some assistance!

So, why did I change my philosophy on using recruiting agencies?  A few of the reasons I ran into in corporate HR…

1. Having Skill and Know-How only works if you also have the time.  Sometimes in corporate gigs, you just don’t have the capacity to get as deep into the search as you would like with all the hats you have to wear as a corporate HR pro.

2. Corporate HR positions don’t give you the luxury of building a talent pipeline in specific skill sets, the same way that search pros can build over time. As a corporate HR pro, I was responsible for all skill sets in my organization. Niche search pros can outperform most corporate HR pros on most searches, most of the time. It’s a function of time and network.

3. Many corporate executive teams don’t believe their own HR staffs have the ability to outperform professional recruiters, primarily because we (corporate HR pros) have never given them a reason to think differently about this. Thus, we are “forced” to use search pros for searches where executives like to get involved.

4. Most corporations are not willing to invest in the model and tech stack (people, technology and process) that puts themselves on a higher playing field than professional recruiting organizations. I would estimate only 1% of corporations have made this investment currently and more are not rushing out to follow suit.  Again, this comes from corporate HR not having the ability to show the CFO/CEO the ROI on making this change to have the best talent in the industry you compete in. So, the best talent gets sourced by recruiting pros and corporations pay for it.

I didn’t always use recruiting agencies, but when I did I made sure I got talent I couldn’t get on my own in the time and space I was allotted in my given circumstances.  When I talk to corporate HR pros now, and I hear in their voice that “failure” of having to use a recruiting agency and I get it! I get the fact of what they are facing in their own corporate environments.  It’s not failure, it’s life in corporate America and it’s hard to change.

Stay thirsty my friends…

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!

Amazon just got 200,000+ Applications and That is a Giant Problem!

You probably saw the headline from Amazon: “Hiring 30,000!” Let’s face it, Amazon is a rocketship. Have you seen the Amazon vans coming down your street? I’m 100% sure the “Amazon Guy” who drives the van in our neighborhood stops by our house about 250% more times then the mailperson stops by our house!

I’m not actually surprised they have 30,000 openings, but I am surprised that they only got 200,000 applications!

The headline is from Business Insider and they’re mostly professional journalist thinking that when they write the headline everyone will be wowed by the big number, but in reality, that number is scary low! Do the quick math 200,000/30,000 = 6.6 applications per position.

Also, we (Talent Pros) know the reality. For positions that Amazon has no trouble filling, they probably got 600 applications per positions and for the ones they are having trouble filling they got zero or one, and that one wasn’t even close to being qualified!

I’m not sure exactly what Amazon’s applicant funnel looks like but if the top of the funnel only has 6 applicants, that’s a problem! A giant problem! The big question is how many applicants does Amazon need to fill 30,000 currently open, or anticipated open positions. If Amazon has 30,000 positions to fill, right now, how many applicants would they have to plow through to fill those jobs?

This is where the rubber hits the road with your Talent Strategy. There are a number of factors:

  • What’s the average pay per position?
  • Can we group these positions into various categories to better understand how long the process will take?
  • How many are skilled vs. unskilled vs. semi-skilled vs. white-collar?
  • What are the locations?
  • How fast do these need to be filled?
  • How picky are your hiring managers?
  • What’s our comp strategy? Trailing, leading, etc.?

Let’s just throw out some numbers assuming the average pay is around $15/hr. Probably low for many of the openings they are filling, but I’m also assuming the vast majority are warehouse, drivers, service level type roles. Scattered all over the country, but most white-collar positions will be in highly competitive markets.

Let’s say you need at least 20 applicants on average per position. That would mean at a minimum they will need around 600,000. But, there is a massive turnover of those lower-level positions, plus Amazon is known to have a demanding work culture that tends to push folks out even quicker, so you would probably need at least double that to around 1.2 million applications to fill 30,000 openings.

That means, in the real world, Amazon’s TA team is probably right now having a panic attack! A panic attack of being around 1 million applications short to fill 30,000 positions, and that’s not even considering current turn and churn of their giant employee base already, plus who knows what Bezos and the team have cooked up for future growth.

The numbers are staggering, but at scale this the job. It’s just a funnel whether you’re filling 30,000 or 30. You better know how many applications you need on the topside to ensure you get the hires at the end!

College Students Have No Idea You Want to Recruit Them!

For part of my career, I did the standard corporate college recruiting gig. It sounds “super-cool” when you first think about it. “Wait, I get to fly around the country and go the best college campuses and recruit people who actually want to be recruited?!”

The reality is college recruiting as a corporate recruiter is much less sexy. Think a lot of Courtyard Marriotts, a pizza, and a six-pack, while you watch crapping hotel TV and follow up on work email. Then wake up early and get to the next campus. You quickly begin to hate travel, hate college campuses and miss actually being in the office!

But, corporations believe they must be on campus to recruit the best and brightest college students. Here where the problem begins. College students don’t even know you’re there! A recent study by Walker Sands found out that the majority of college students don’t even know you were on campus:

Walker Sands’ new Perceptions of Consulting Careers study, 56 percent of college students don’t even know if consulting firms recruit at their school. On top of that, 82 percent feel that major firms only recruit from a limited group of select universities.
Okay, this study focused on consulting firms, but the reality is the students don’t really know the difference between Deloitte and Dell when it comes to getting a job!
What can you do to make your company stand out and be remembered while you’re on campus? Try these five things:
1. Develop a Pre-visit communication strategy. Work with the schools you want to recruit from most to find out how you can get your message in front of them (email, text, the student newspaper, geo-targeted social media campaign, billboards on campus, etc.). Each school has a way to reach every student, you need to find out what that is, and how you can tap into that, even it costs a little money.
2. Come in early and take over classes in the majors you’re most interested in. Professors are like most people, they don’t want to work hard if they don’t have to. So, if you build 45 minutes of great content, most Professors will let you ‘guest’ lecture as long as it’s not one big sales pitch. Come up with great contact professors will find valuable for their students, then go deliver it the day before the major career fair. Then invite each class to come see you.
3. Make a splash in high traffic areas on the day of your visit. College kids haven’t changed much, they like free food and drink, free stuff, basically anything free! So, find the highest traffic area on campus and give away free stuff college kids will like. If you’re only interested in one specific school within the university, find out where those students hang out.
4. Stay a day later after everyone else leaves. Whether it’s the day after or even another time altogether, find a time to be on campus when you don’t have any competition to getting your message out. 99% of employers only show up on career fair day. Stand out and be the employer that is there when no one else is!
5. Post-visit communication strategy. Most organizations never contact the students who show interest in them after they leave campus.  They’ll contact a handful of the ones who stood out to them, but so is every other employer. Recruiting kids after you leave is more important than the time you spend on campus. Most kids will see 20+ employers and will only remember a couple. If you stalk them after the fact, they’ll remember you!

McDonald’s Is Showing Us the Future of Recruiting!

Mikey D’s announced this week that they purchased an Artificial Intelligence speech recognition company. Why? Well, quite simply the vast majority of interactions that happen between McDonald’s and it’s customers happen through the drive-thru speaker. So, if you want to save money. Become more efficient. Make fewer errors. etc. You need to find a way to add technology into that equation.

“Yeah, um, well, I’d like a #3 with a large fry and large diet, and an extra McChicken with no mayo, what? No, you can’t have an apple pie, I also need a kids meal with apple slices, the cheeseburger one, with no cheese, ketchup only, did you get my large drink on the first order? Oh, I need an extra ranch as well, and I’ve got a coupon for a free large sandwich.” 

So, welcome to the show A.I.!

Here’s the thing, if McDonald’s new AI software can figure out these orders and get them right, we recruiters are in trouble!

I wasn’t making fun of the order above, I think that’s my actual order! That is complex language to have to figure out and sort through and respond to. If they can have a chatbot take your order and answer your questions, they will be able to figure out how to eliminate a real human in having screening conversations and most low-level skilled interviews.

“Oh, AI will never replace recruiters, Tim!” 

Why?

Because AI can’t have complex conversations? Maybe at this moment, but that is changing quickly. Because AI can’t correctly judge and have bias like a real person? Well, turns out that’s a positive for inclusive hiring. Because AI can’t select the best talent out of many candidates? Yeah, it already does a better job at that than humans.

So, it basically comes down to AI can’t build relationships.

AI is super good, way better than humans, at doing transactional stuff really well. Candidate applies for a job. AI takes them through the process. The candidate gets hired. That can happen today.

Person, not yet a candidate, might be a good fit for your job, but they have a job and are happy with the job they have. They could probably, through a great marketing process, actually get interested in your job, but it’s going to take some real person to person interaction to get them truly interested and leave that job for a new job.

This is where AI will struggle, but that is only about 20% of hiring. So, almost 80% of hiring, theoretically, today, isn’t too far away from having AI take it over and be more efficient and less costly.

Technology starts on the consumer side of the world. “How do we use AI to sell hamburgers to customers?” Once that gets figured out, it’s pretty a very easy transition to “How do we sell this job to a candidate?”