Do Recruiters Still Need to Make Phone Calls?

Recently, I was on a webinar, and in my presentation, I harped on the talent acquisition pros and leaders on the webcast on why 100% of us are not using texting as a primary first form of contact with candidates. The data is in. Texting works! It works better than email by a mile, but still, less than 50% in the room are texting candidates.

After I was done a great TA pro contacted me and said, “Tim, shouldn’t recruiters being calling candidates!” I feel in love! Why, yes, fine, sir they should always be calling candidates! But, let’s not forsake other tools that are working at a high level. We know people, in general, respond to texts at a much higher rate than email and phone calls.

You see a text and within seconds you read it, and you respond to it at more than double the rate of email or voicemail. In talent acquisition, we are in LOVE with email, even when it doesn’t work.

In 2011, I wrote this post below – funny enough, it’s still relevant today (except now I think we need to add in more texting with those phone calls!)

Do we (recruiters) still need to make telephone calls?

I mean really it’s 2011 – we have text messaging, emails, Facebook, Twitter, etc. – hasn’t the telephone just become obsolete?  Does anyone actually use their cell phones to make actual phone calls anymore?

The New York Times had an article: Don’t Call Me, I Won’t Call You, in which they delve into this concept of whether the act of making a phone call has jumped the shark or not.  From the article:

“I remember when I was growing up, the rule was, ‘Don’t call anyone after 10 p.m.,’ ” Mr. Adler said. “Now the rule is, ‘Don’t call anyone. Ever.’ ”

Phone calls are rude. Intrusive. Awkward. “Thank you for noticing something that millions of people have failed to notice since the invention of the telephone until just now,” Judith Martin, a k a Miss Manners, said by way of opening our phone conversation. “I’ve been hammering away at this for decades. The telephone has a very rude propensity to interrupt people…

Even at work, where people once managed to look busy by wearing a headset or constantly parrying calls back and forth via a harried assistant, the offices are silent. The reasons are multifold. Nobody has assistants anymore to handle telecommunications. And in today’s nearly door-free workplaces, unless everyone is on the phone, calls are disruptive and, in a tight warren of cubicles, distressingly public. Does anyone want to hear me detail to the dentist the havoc six-year molars have wreaked on my daughter?

“When I walk around the office, nobody is on the phone,” said Jonathan Burnham, senior vice president, and publisher at HarperCollins. The nature of the rare business call has also changed. “Phone calls used to be everything: serious, light, heavy, funny,” Mr. Burnham said. “But now they tend to be things that are very focused. And almost everyone e-mails first and asks, ‘Is it O.K. if I call?’ ”

Sound Familiar?

Now I could easily turn this into a generational issue because for one it’s easy to do, but this isn’t a GenX vs. GenY issue.  This is a basic communication issue.  An understanding of what we do in our industry issue.  Whether your third party or corporate recruitment, we do the same thing, we search and find talent.  There are two basic ways to screen potential talent for fit for your organization: 1. Meet them in Person (no one would argue that this is the best way, but boy it’s expensive if you are using it as your first-line screen); 2. Meet them over the phone (done in some form or another by 99.9% of recruiters).

There really isn’t any way around this issue, we recruit, we make telephone calls.  If you don’t like to make telephone calls, if you believe what the New York Times article believes, you shouldn’t recruit.  It’s not an indictment on you, this just isn’t your gig.

Recruiters like to talk to people, to question people, to find out more about people, not a career, best done by email and text messaging. We need to talk live to others. That’s how we go to work. Doesn’t matter if you’re 21 or 6. It’s how to deliver great talent to our hiring managers.

So, here’s a tip, if you’re in recruitment and you don’t like making phone calls get, out of recruitment, you will not be successful.  If your first choice of contacting someone isn’t picking up the phone and calling them, instead of sending them an email, when you have their phone number, get out of recruitment. If you’re thinking you want to recruit, and you don’t like making phone calls take another path.

Recruiters make phone calls, that’s what we do.

Chief Crisis Officer – The newest c-suite addition in 2020!

The c-suite has expanded over the years. Originally you had basically the CEO, COO, and CFO. Next, depending on the industry came the CIO/CTO (IT), CMO (marketing), and CHRO/CPO (HR and Talent). Some organizations have added depending on need c-suite roles for strategy, diversity, safety, client/customer support, etc.

Basically, the c-suite is a little like empire building. If you’re a CEO with a decent head on your shoulders you want to surround yourself with people who complement your lack of certain skill sets, or skill sets that need more emphasis.

Don’t be surprised if you start to see another addition to the c-suite roster that I’m calling the Chief Crisis Officer!

Think about the crisis’s that many organizations have had to deal in the past couple of years:

COVID – Work from Home/Remote transition

Social Justice/#MeToo/BLM

Major Client issues (social media blowup, bad press, freak of nature accidents, etc.)

Major Employee issues (labor supply, harassment, D&I, pay equity, etc.)

Supply chain issues

IT Hacking issues

Environment Issues

Stuff we haven’t even thought of yet…

If I’m a CEO today, of course, I expect my c-suite partners to own crisis, but I also need a point person who I’m 100% sure their job is to work through crisis and help us mitigate crisis fallout. Ownership of crisis is critical, as it’s a nature of organizational dynamics to want to push crisis off onto other functions.

We continue to hear stories of organizations that handled COVID and most recently the uproar around social justice with great poise and response. We also continue to hear about the organization that totally mishandled these situations. Leadership, and the ability to have someone high enough in the organization to push back, seems to be critical in getting the proper response all the way around.

Where would your “Chief Crisis Officer” come from? I think it’s definitely a personality set vs. a skill set, in terms of coming out of one functional area over another. You would probably want a person who is more of a generalist, than a specialist, but someone who has a keen understanding of how your operations are run. I don’t think you want someone from outside since part of great crisis management is knowing the history.

The person has to be all in on the organization. I want someone who loves the company, our mission, our employees, our customers, all of it. That person will own it all during a crisis. They’ll take all the stakeholder’s viewpoints into consideration. I need someone who is high details, low rules. Get it done. Don’t miss anything. I don’t really care how it gets done in a crisis, as long as it gets done correctly in the end.

I’m not sure I want someone from legal. They get too caught up in risk aversion. Crisis management is about mitigating risk, not eliminating it. This person will have to be confident, as we’ll need them to push forward with not much information or certainty. I tend to believe the best folks at in crisis situations, in the workplace, are female. Confident, good detail orientation, but not cocky. Quick to move, but not so fast stuff will get missed that doesn’t have to be.

Keep your eyes out, the c-suite will be growing in 2020 and beyond, and many organizations across the Fortune 1,000 will be hiring Chief Crisis Officers!

The Worst Hire You’ll Ever Make!

A crazy thing happens almost every day in professional sports, and it’s the one thing that separates great teams from the pack. Talent selection will make or break a team’s success and in professional sports, it’s about getting the right talent for the right price.

The problem with most professional sports teams, regardless of the sport, is they continually try to improve their roster incrementally. “Oh, let’s pick up Pitcher A because he’s a little better than Pitcher B”.

Great Pitcher A is better than Pitcher B, but did Pitcher A truly solve the issue you have?

That’s the real issue!

The worst hire you can ever make is one that doesn’t solve your problem but just make it a little better. “We suck at sales, let’s hire Tim, he’s not great, but he’s better than Bob.” Wonderful, now you only slightly suck less at sales!

Never make a hire that doesn’t solve your problem completely that you are having in that specific position. Upgrading doesn’t always fix problems, and many times it actually continues your main problem longer instead of fixing it completely.

We have this belief that all we need to do is continue to get a little better each day, each week, each month until we eventually have fixed it. The problem is that this isn’t how most problems are actually solved, by getting a little bit better over time. Most problems are fixed by implementing one solution that solves the problem.

It’s basically this crappy failure paradox we continue to get sold by seemingly everyone with a platform. “Just keep failing and eventually you’ll find success!” Which is complete and utter bullshit, but we LOVE hearing this!

In hiring, you can’t keep failing and find success. You will actually find failure even faster and be out of business. In hiring, it’s critical you find success and hire the right people who will solve your problem the first time, not just make you a little better.

Another great example of this is in the NFL. It’s critical in the NFL that you have a great quarterback, but they’re extremely hard to find. So, if you don’t have an elite quarterback, most teams will continue to try and upgrade with average quarterbacks.

The better advice is to work with what you have and make it the best you can until you get the opportunity to hire, or draft, that one great quarterback that can truly change your franchise. Constant change and churn, just to get a little better, is slowly killing your organization.

Make great hires. Organizational change hires. Individuals who have the ability to make things right. Too often, and we’ve all been there, we make hires that feel safe, knowing they won’t hurt us, but they probably won’t help us much either. Those are the worst hires you can make.

Interview Pro Tips: The “You” Show!

A bunch of folks have been doing some work at home or furloughed at home, or some laid off at home over the past few months. Depending on your situation I’ve been hearing more and more from people who are out interviewing for the first time in a long time and looking for advice.

JDP did a survey recently and found out that the average candidate preps for 7 hours to prepare for an interview! I’m not sure I buy into that piece of data, it seems like there might be a bit of exaggeration going on from candidates who want to make you believe they actually did way more than they actually do.

Let’s be honest, you looking at a companies website and reading reviews on Glassdoor doesn’t take you seven hours. It probably takes you about 30 minutes, and I would bet my career on the fact that is about 99% prep that happens for most candidates.

How should you prepare for an interview? 

There are two types of candidates I see in an interview. The first type just lets the interview happen to them. They basically react. I’m here, you have questions, let’s see how this turns out.

The second type of candidate, which is much rarer, come prepared to put on a show. I’ll call it the “You” Show! This candidate comes in and has prepared to show you why they are the person for this position. They risk that you might be the type of person who won’t like this, but more times than not I find leaders are actually impressed by these candidates.

What does the “You” Show script include?

It starts off with an introduction that includes a good story that will instantly get those in the room on your side. It might be funny, might be inspirational, but it was definitely planned and prepared. Anywhere from three to five minutes of this is who I am and why I’m unique, and why you should like me.

The You Show candidates have also prepped by doing research on those who will interview them. They probably know more about the people interviewing them, then the people interviewing know about you as the candidate. They’ll stalk your LinkedIn profile, your social footprint, Google name search, people from my school who work there, etc. I want to know my audience if I’m putting on a show, so I at least have a chance to producing a show they’ll like.

If I have one hour, planned, for the interview, I want them to hear 55 minutes of me, and very little from them. I want them leaving that room, call, video conference being wowed! Being of the mindset that we really don’t need to interview any longer, since we just found the person.

The “You” Show is probably an exaggeration of your true self. Kind of like, “Hey, this is the best me” and while I might not be this person every minute of every day, when you get the best of me, this is what you can expect. The “You” Show is high-energy, fully caffeinated, I’m going to energize you and when I leave you’ll feel better about yourself.

As you get ready for your next interview ask yourself if you would want to watch you do that interview. If your answer is “no”, it will probably be “no” from those interviewing you as well.

Ugh! Being an Inclusive Employer is a Lot of Work!

It seems like being an ‘inclusive’ employer would be super easy! You just accept everyone! Can’t we all just get along!?

The reality is, being an inclusive employer is hard, because being inclusive isn’t about accepting everyone. What!? Oh, great, Tim has finally lost his mind, buckle-up!

I wrote a post about Jeff Bezos’s annual letter and how he lays out a great framework for how organizations and leaders should management performance. Many people liked the post, but there was also a strong reaction from a lot of people who hate Amazon’s culture.

They hear and read media accounts of Amazon being a bad place to work. About Amazon’s hard-charging, work a ton of hours, you don’t have a great work-life balance, etc. Some people go to work for Amazon and tell themselves during the interview process that “yeah, I’ve heard the stories, but I’m different, I want this, I want to be a part of a giant brand like Amazon, I can handle it because it’s a great step in my career.”

That’s when they find out they actually lack self-insight and they should never listen to their inner voice because it lies to them!

So, what does this have to do with ‘inclusion’?

If you truly believe in inclusion, you then believe that Amazon is a great place to work, for those who desire that type of culture. It might not be a culture you would ever choose to work. Amazon actually likes the people that self-select out! It makes their job easier because they don’t want you anyway!

If you stand up and shout Amazon is an awful employer, you don’t understand inclusion. No one forces you to got to work at Amazon, and Amazon does not hide who they are. In fact, Amazon might actually be the best company on the planet to show exactly who they are as an employer and what you’re signing up for if you decide to go to work there.

Amazon is giant and the vast majority of its employees love working for them. Those employees thrive in that environment. It’s what they were looking for. It’s how they are wired. If you put them into another what you might consider, ’employee-friendly’ environment, they would hate it and fail.

Inclusion is hard because it forces you to think in a way that theoretically every environment is potentially a good fit for the right person. We struggle because in our minds something that is opposite of what we want must be bad. Because it’s so hard for us to even consider someone else might actually love an environment we hate.

Being an ‘inclusive’ employer is about accepting all types of people (race, gender, religion, etc.), but it’s also about only accepting all of those people who actually fit the culture you have established. That’s the hard part! Amazon accepts everyone, but you better be ready to go a thousand miles an hour and never stop.

Being an inclusive employer is hard because if it’s done right, it’s not just about being an accepting employer of all, it’s about being accepting and then only picking those candidates who actually fit your culture. The outcome can be awesome. The work to get there can be overwhelming. And if done incorrectly you go from being inclusive to exclusive.

The New Normal for Hiring Hourly Employees!

Not many of us are actually doing a ton of hiring right now. How do I know? There are 25 million people who applied for unemployment! That means there’s probably another 75 million that are currently under-employed or utilized.

This means that when we all get back to the ‘new normal’ of working, a bunch of stuff is going to change! How we attract, select, onboard, etc. can not be the same as what we did only sixty to ninety days ago.

Hourly hiring has always been a very “hands-on” endeavor and we must change that! My good friend and Recruiting Expert, Madeline Laurano has done a major research project looking specifically at hourly hiring. I’ve been spending time interviewing TA and HR leaders on the changes they are planning moving forward, and we are going to share with you all of those ideas and strategies!

Join us for a free Webinar on Tuesday, May 12th at 1pm EST: The New Normal for Hourly Hiring: 5 Strategies TA Leaders Must Consider Moving Forward! 

I’m so excited to have this conversation and share the information that Madeline and I have found! It’s always a great time just talking shop with her, and this is a topic we are both passionate about.

Thank you to the great folks over at Get.Fountain.com for sponsoring this and allowing us to present this information. Fountain is an easy to use Hiring Software trusted by the world’s leading companies. Source, screen, and onboard your hourly workers, giving them a great experience without all of the physical high-touch!

Your Hosts with the Most!

What does the C-suite want out of an HR Leader?

You may be sitting at home right now, asking yourself this very question! I wonder what my CEO prefers I do in my role. It’s a valid question, and one I find that great HR leaders already know the answer to, because they ask the question, often!

When I wrote my SHRM published book, The Talent Fix, part of the research I did was to interview hundreds of c-suite executives. CEOs, COOs, CHROs, CIOs, etc. I wanted to find out what made a world-class HR and Talent leader versus an average leader. From that research came some definite DNA traits.

It’s fascinating to have these conversations, and one thing I did was pull them away from just talking about their current HR and TA leaders. All that would turn into is a performance review, and they were giving it to me, not the person who needed and wanted it! We delved into the concept of if you could choose the ‘perfect’ leader to run your HR and TA functions, what would that person look like? What would they do differently than all before them?

Here is what your CEO wishes we would do in our role as HR and TA leaders:

1. Provide Data-Driven Solutions.

So often what we provide our solutions based on gut and feel. Solutions that are generated to be CYA and eliminate HR work, while increasing work on our employees. Data-driven solutions are desired by the c-suite because it shows you understand the goals and outcomes of the overall business and you are designing a function that will help meet those outcomes. Old HR used subjective measures of success because those were easy to meet. New HR, better HR, uses the same measures of business success that our c-suite uses to measure actual success.

2. Increase your Executive Presence to become that Executive Mentor.

It’s really lonely at the top! I know, I know, cry me a river for the CEO and her new Mercedes SUV, right!? But seriously, think about the role of CEO. As a CEO you can’t really just go to a direct report and say, “Hey, I need some help, I’m not sure I’m doing the right thing!” That will never happen! But as an HR leader, we have this ability to be that confidant and executive coach for our c-suite, but only if we actually put ourselves into that role! That takes executive presence. The greatest HR leaders I’ve been around in my life, all played this role for their c-suite!

3. Be a Futurist.

Our CEOs believe we are firefighters, first responders at our best. While we love our real-world first responders, being viewed as that by your leader in HR isn’t a good thing. Having to fight fires all day, every day means we can’t figure out how to get ourselves out of the firefight and begin building a better state of being. Our c-suite also believes we do not have the level of technical savvy to even choose our own tech stack, so they choose it for us like we are children. Becoming a futurist, pulling ourselves above the fires, and building a strong understanding of how technology can help every aspect of HR, will put you on another level of HR and TA leadership.

Becoming great at anything isn’t easy. Don’t allow yourself to be told by anyone that it is. It’s something you’ll work towards the rest of your career. I find that super exciting, as lifelong learning and development is what keeps HR and TA new and interesting to me every single day!

I’m an SHRM-SCP. I’ve been certified in HR for over 20 years! I’m proud of the certification and the continual learning I’ve done to increase my skill sets. I recommend you take a look at SHRM Education Spring 2020 Catalog and pay close attention to these programs and e-learning modules:

  • 32 – Consultation: Honing your HR Business Leader Skills
  • 33 – Investing in People with Data-Driven Solutions
  • 34 – Powerful Leaders – Transform your personal brand and executive presence. Strategies for Leadership in HR.
  • 35 – Future of Work Fast Track

Use the code “HRRocks” when registering for a Spring or Summer SHRM Educational Program and receive $200 off until May 15th! (excludes SHRM specialty credentials and SHRM SCP/CP prep courses)

Leaders Aren’t Best Judged in Crisis, No Matter What You’ve Heard

We are in a crisis. Everyone would agree with this.

It’s been popular since the beginning of time to judge people based on their best moment. Stand up tall, when others are small and you are destined for greatness in history. No matter when you did before or after.

Rudy Giuliani, by most, is considered a great leader of our time for his leadership in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. He was in charge when the towers came down. He said and did the right things during that time. He will be forever remembered for that time in his legacy.

The reality is, leaders are not best judged in times of crisis.

Great leaders should not be judged by how they reacted in a once in a lifetime event, but how they act every day. On good days, average days, bad days, and very rarely on crisis days. The problem is we aren’t paying attention on normal days. We don’t see the greatest. So, we judge them on the few times we see them, which are either celebrations or catastrophes.

Crisis management is incredibly difficult by leadership teams at organizations. You try with all of your might to put your own situation aside, but it’s always there in the background, while you try and do what’s best for all involved. The hardest thing a leader will ever do is make the decision that some will have to lose their job, so the majority can keep their job. Even putting your own name on that list of cuts, isn’t as difficult.

Nobody wants to be judged by his or her worst moment. In crisis management, we tend to have a lot of worst moments because we are often making quick decisions with limited information that in hindsight looks foolish.

As we are all going through some level of crisis management currently, I wanted to share Professor Scott Galloway’s three steps of crisis management from his NYU class he teaches on the same subject:

  1. Top Guy or Gal Takes Responsibility
  2. Acknowledge the Issue
  3. Overcorrect

Overcorrect is the key. Well, I’m not sure if we should do this, let’s just wait a little while longer and see what happens. NO! Overcorrect. Make the safest choice possible. Make the best choice possible for your people. Act swiftly.

If we watch, we will see great leadership moments in any crisis. Some of these moments will be by great leaders doing great leader stuff. Some of these moments will be done by idiots who just happen to be in the right place and make the right decision. Don’t confuse a moment of leadership competence with being a great leader.

Great leaders don’t just show up for a crisis, they show up every day.

 

The One Fix for Talent Acquisition You’re Too Afraid to Implement!

There’s a ton of reasons we are afraid of stuff. I was never scared of the dark, but for some stupid reasons, I’m scared of bees. I know that I’m not going to die from a bee. I’ve been stung. It hurts, you get over it. Yet, I hate when a bee is buzzing around me!

I think most people are afraid to be ‘found out’ professionally. To have it discovered that we aren’t as good as we think we are. Every function has hickeys. Things we really don’t want others in the company to see or know about. They aren’t career-ending things, still, they are things we aren’t proud of.

In talent acquisition, we lose great talent at points in our recruiting process. It happens way more than it should, for a number of reasons. If you were to truly dig into the exact reason why each person was lost, it wouldn’t be something most TA departments would be proud of.

What this is really saying is that talent acquisition isn’t giving this information to the hiring manager, or more likely, your hiring managers don’t believe the B.S. you’re selling them on the reasons why!

The majority of TA departments, when asked why a good candidate is lost during the process will come up with candidate problem reasons. The candidate backed out, it was too far to drive. They got an offer from another company and couldn’t wait. It wasn’t the position they truly wanted. Etc.

All of which might be legitimate, but we forget, many times the hiring managers get a different side.  Usually, hiring managers know people, who know people, etc. and the ‘real’ reason will get back to them. It then becomes, “well, Mark was getting the run around from your TA team about his plane ticket costing too much, and he felt like it just wasn’t worth dealing with this at this level”, or “the Recruiter took three days to call Mary back to schedule the interview time and by then she decided to take the other offer”.

The reality is, the majority of TA leaders don’t want to know the ‘real’ reason because it reflects poorly on their team, and on them. That doesn’t feel good! Uncovering the brutal truth is painful and many times embarrassing.

Want to fix your TA department? Find out why candidates truly left your hiring process. If that’s your focus, you’ll quickly have your priorities of what to fix, change, and improve upon.

How do you do this? First, you don’t allow your recruiting team to ask the question. The answers you’ll get back will be ‘massaged’ to make TA look great and make the hiring managers look bad, or at the very least blame anyone else except yourself. Third-party this out, or find a neutral party within the organization that can make these inquiries and report back the results. This is key.

The best leaders want to know the truth. Not their version of the truth, but the real truth. Unfortunately, the truth might be the scariest thing you’ll ever face.

Do you want to work with Tim Sackett? This video will answer that question!

I’m a big fan of DisruptHR and the format! I’ve been part of the team that has run the first three DisruptHR Detroits and in 2020 we’ll do our first DisruptHR Lansing. Five minutes, 20 slides, each slide moves automatically every 15 seconds. Simple, yet so hard to pull off effectively!

There are now well over a hundred DisruptHR cities and hundreds of events worldwide taking place each year. My friend, Jennifer McClure, is the co-Founder of DisruptHR and it might the single best thing that’s happened to HR this decade! Truly. To get HR leaders and pros out of the office and stretch our minds, have a little fun, push the envelope of what HR could become. Give me something better than that in the last ten years!

You can start your own DisruptHR (input city name here) for $500! It’s easy, just contact Jennifer through the DisruptHR website. It’s fun. It really engages the HR community in your city. It’s fairly easy to get a few sponsors to throw some bucks at you to help with the cost. And even bad DisruptHR talks are some of the best DisruptHR talks!

I was fortunate enough to be chosen to speak at DisruptHR Grand Rapids this past fall and I went with a topic that started on my blog as a series – Rap Lyrics that have shaped my leadership style over time. On my blog, I think I counted down twenty-five in the series a number of years ago. I even once did a presentation for the local SHRM chapter in Jackson, MI on the concept and watched 40 mostly white HR ladies look at me in horror! 😉 Actually, they asked me to do it! Which shows how disruptive they are!

In the comments hit me with your best Rap Lyric that shaped your leadership style!

Let’s face it. If you hate the video, you probably don’t want to work with me, and I probably wouldn’t have much fun working with you! But, if you like the video – we can probably be fast friends! Let’s talk!