Talent Acquisition is NOT Marketing. Here’s why!

We love, I love, to say Recruiting is Marketing! I love Recruitment Marketing and the technology behind it, I think it’s brilliant! Recruiting is also not sales!

Why is Recruiting neither Marketing nor Sales?

What’s the core function of marketing and sales? To welcome as many people as possible into your funnel so that all of those people will buy your product or service, or give to your charity, etc.

In Recruitment we in the Rejection business!

Can you imagine you walk into a Cadillac dealership? You saw the commercial for the new SUV, you decide you want that SUV. You saw the billboard for that same car, heard the radio commercial, heck you even saw an Ad on Facebook, it’s almost like they’re listening to your brain! You’ve got a pocket full of hundred dollar bills and you walk into the dealership because today you’re driving away in that brand new, beautiful Cadillac SUV!

DealerNo!

MeUm, what?! 

DealerNo, we aren’t selling you that new Cadillac SUV, you’re not a Cadillac “Man”! 

MeA what!? 

DealerYeah, sorry, you don’t get a Cadillac today, we’re saving those for only certain people! 

It’s funny because we know this would never happen! I could walk into the dealership holding a severed head and the first words out of the salesman’s mouth would be “the trunk on our new sedan could hold a hundred of those heads!”

Recruiting isn’t Marketing or Sales, because true Marketing and Sales is in the business of ‘All’, not one. No one really gets rejected in marketing and sales if you have the means. In Recruiting, you could fit every single thing the organization is requesting and you will still get rejected. Recruiting is in the Rejection business, not the sales and marketing business!

If we/recruiting are in the Sales and Marketing business, we are in a really sick and twisted business! Hey, “Everyone” come and apply to our jobs, because I get really excited when I get to turn you down and say “no”! So, let’s not kid ourselves. Our business is about Rejection. Hey, come on over here and let me tell you what’s wrong with you, and then I’ll make the decision if we want you to be a part of our team or not.

Marketing campaigns sometimes try to fake like they’re being exclusive. “Only ‘you’ are being invited to buy this new SUV! You’ll be the first to own it! No one else!” Until next week when everyone will own it and actually have a better color than you. That’s not true rejection for those who don’t get it first, it’s just a game we play to increase demand.

So, why does this manner? 

If we know we are actually in the Rejection business, and we are, we/recruiters have to have an empathy level that is off the charts if we want to survive. Let me get this straight, you want me to talk as many people as possible into loving our company, then you want me to reject 99.9% of them? Yes!

To be able to do that and not drink yourself to sleep every night takes a really high ego or an endless supply of empathy towards all those great people who just wanted you to pick them, but your organization picked someone else, but they left it on your desk to share the bad news!

This is probably the main reason so many candidates never get dispositioned. We can all just crush only so many souls in a day! It’s easier to ghost candidates than to crush their dreams!

The rejection business is a hard, hard business to be in. Sales and Marketing are easy. Can you imagine how easy your life would be if you were able to give everyone the job!

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…

Are your Recruiters wasting your Hiring Manager’s time?

I had a conversation the other day with a corporate HR Director and we were talking recruiters, corporate recruiters.  My friend had a dilemma, a classic corporate recruiting scenario. The problem is she has recruiters who are doing a decent job, but they won’t get out from behind their desks and get out into the organization and get face-to-face feedback from the hiring managers. But, here is the real reason:  the recruiters feel like they are “wasting” the hiring manager’s time.

“So,” she asked, “How do I get them out to build these relationships?”

Great question, but she asked the wrong question (was partially my answer).  Her problem isn’t that her recruiters aren’t building the relationships face-to-face with managers. The problem is they feel they are “wasting” someone’s time.

They don’t value or understand the value they are providing to the hiring manager. If they did, it sounds like they wouldn’t have a problem with visiting with the hiring managers.  It’s a classic leadership failure, solving a symptom instead of solving the actual problem.

I don’t think that this is rare, recruiters feeling like they are wasting hiring managers time. It happens constantly at the corporate level.  Once you train your recruiters (and hiring managers) on the value the recruiters are providing, you see much less resistance of the recruiters feeling comfortable getting in front of hiring managers to get feedback on candidates, and actually making a decision.  This moves your process along much quicker.

What value do recruiters provide?  Well, that seems like a really stupid question, but there aren’t stupid questions (just stupid people who ask questions).  Here are a few that will help your corporate recruiters understand their real value to hiring managers:

  • Corporate recruiters are the talent pipeline for a hiring manager. (or should be!)
  • Corporate recruiters can be the conduit for hiring managers to increase or better the talent within their department.
  • Corporate recruiters are a partner to the hiring managers in assessing talent.
  • Corporate recruiters are a strategist for the hiring managers group succession planning
  • Corporate recruiters are your hiring managers first line of performance management (setting expectations before someone even comes in the door)
  • Corporate recruiters are tacticians of organizational culture.

So, the next time you hear a recruiter tell you “I don’t want to waste their time.” Don’t go off on them and tell them to “just go out there and build the relationship”. Educate them on why they aren’t wasting their time. Then do an assessment for yourself to determine are they adding value or are they just wasting time. All recruiters are not created equal and some waste time, and it’s your job as a leader to find ones add value.

A critical component of all of this is building an expectation of your hiring managers of what they should expect from your recruiters.  They should expect value. They should expect a recruiter who is a pro, and who is going to help them maneuver the organizational landscape and politics of hiring. They should expect a recruiter is going to deliver to them better talent than they already have. They should expect a partner, someone who is looking out for the best interest of the hiring managers department.

Ultimately, what they should expect is someone who won’t waste their time!

Happy Global Talent Acquisition Day! #GlobalTADay

September 2, 2020, marks the third annual Global TA Day!

Global TA Day was an event started by the Association of Talent Acquisition Professionals (of which I was a proud founding board member!) and it’s a day to celebrate our profession!

Recruiting is hard! What we do in talent acquisition is difficult! Also, what we do has an extremely positive effect on our organizations! Every single day, we impact our organizations by improving talent. That talent will lead our organizations into the future, and we are the first step to making that happen!

Never discount your role in talent acquisition. So many of our peers in HR don’t want to do recruiting because they know how difficult these roles truly are. In recruiting, your performance can’t hide. We either find the talent or we don’t, and there’s no way to hide from that fact. Our level of accountability is in our face with every single requisition we work.

So, I salute you my fellow TA pros! Take a moment today to stop and celebrate yourself, your team, and your profession. Use the hashtag #GlobalTADay on social today and put up a picture of you and your team doing the work you do! Join along with the celebrations online that are going on across the globe! There will be live presentations and panels throughout the day, all free, for you and your teams to enjoy and learn.

Want to join the movement in TA? Sign up and join me as a member of ATAPGlobal and support your profession throughout the year, and not just this one day! The top TA pros across the world work on their craft all year long, and ATAP supports our development!

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!?

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?

Is it okay to be biased for underrepresented communities in hiring?

I’m a big podcast listener. It’s one of the reasons we started HR Famous because we loved the format! One of my favorite podcasts to listen to is The Prof G Show with Scott Galloway.

If you aren’t familiar with Scott Galloway he’s a New York University professor of marketing and hugely popular. He’s a liberal and rails openly against Trump and also his own industry, Higher Education. I’m a moderate and he’s so freaking smart, I could care less about his political leanings, I just get smarter listening to him.

Besides being a professor, he has started and exited a few technology companies, sits on boards, has school-aged kids, and talks a ton about the stock market.

On a recent pod, Elitism: Money vs. Influence, he gave his top 3 attributes the top-performing employees of the companies that he has started. These are:

  1. Most likely Female. “First they were female. If they were male I couldn’t say this but it’s okay because as long as you are biased for underrepresented communities your okay, but we try and ignore that…” (42:03 in the pod)
  2. Graduate from a world-class university. Ivy League, Penn, Michigan, Stanford, Berkley, Vanderbilt, etc. “Better schools matter…more applicants…start with better core human capital…better screening.”
  3. Athletes are very successful. They understand teamwork, discipline, they can endure and push themselves harder. “Someone who can finish an Ironman isn’t lazy”, says Galloway.

So, Professor of NYU, former business owner, and thought leader says it’s okay to be biased in selection.

I’m not sure I agree we should ever be biased in our hiring selection practices, but Galloway points out a reality in our culture. As long as we aren’t biased towards the majority, we will look the other way and ignore it.

What Galloway is saying is not different than how the vast majority of hiring managers are making their final selections. They take a look at past and current performance and they make some educated inferences about what those top performers have in common. Based on this knowledge, it will shape their hiring selection. Does this, or could this, lead to bias? Yes.

Does it make it wrong?

That’s the big sticky question, isn’t it?

We want to say, no, it’s fine, continue to hire the females if those are your best performers. But, just because your current females are your best performers doesn’t mean they’ll be your best moving forward, or that maybe one of the males will be even a better performer.

Flip the scenario.

Galloway now tells us that one of the three attributes for high performance is they are “male”. Do we have a problem with this now? Most likely, you do have a problem with it based on hiring equity issues, broadly, but it’s hard to say specifically since maybe this organization doesn’t have gender equity issues.

Want to know what Inclusion is difficult when it comes to organizational dynamics? It’s because what Galloway laid out is exactly what every organization lays out. The difference is, it isn’t always friendly to the underrepresented community.

Like I said, regardless of your feelings on this one subject, Galloway’s podcast is money! It’s on my must-listen to pods each week.

Give me your thoughts on this in the comments?

Should Your Employer Brand State its Political Beliefs?

Oh, no, Tim’s losing his mind! He’s going to talk about politics!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I am a Raging Moderate! I will fight until my last breath to keep myself firming on the fence in the middle, open to actually having an opinion that might fall on either side depending on the subject!

Here’s the thing, though, 63% of people are more likely to “buy” from a brand that speaks out about politics!

If that’s the case, and the main goal of great employment branding is to clearly let potential employees know who you are, so they can self-select in, or self-select out, it would seem like we should be stating our political leanings in our employment branding and recruitment marketing!? Right?!

It’s a tricky question!

Most organizations would claim they do not have a political identity. They would claim they are a-political accepting candidates and employees who believe all kinds of politics across a vast spectrum. That is actually the reality for many large employers. And, it’s not the reality.

When you dig into exit interview data, and reasons why folks do well in some organizations and struggle in others, many times you find that “fit” was all about either the political leanings of the micro-culture they worked in or the political leanings of the macro-culture they worked in.

It then truly comes down to the goals of your leadership team. What is it they want to portray to the world? Your customers. Your stakeholders. Your employees, and your future employees, candidates.

The reality is, if you are a small to a mid-sized organization (0-500 employees), you probably lean one way or another on the political spectrum, many times you are leaning really far to one side! Your senior-most leader probably has stated publicly what they are politically, and/or who they will vote for. Most likely, the folks they hire will be similar in their political beliefs, and it all rolls downhill.

The farther away from senior leadership the more likely you will have hires make into the organization they see the world completely different, politically, as you will get left or right leaders who hire folks who don’t carry the same strong leanings one way or another.

BUT – if the true goal is to get people who “fit” your culture, shouldn’t we tell them who we are?

Can you imagine applying for a job at a 1,000 person organization and on their career site they have something like this listed:

After the Most Recent Political Election, our employees took an anonymous survey of where the fell politically. Here are the results:

  • Democrat – 52%
  • Republican – 35%
  • Libertarian – 3%
  • We hate politics – 10%

Automatically, you get a feeling if you want to work at this company or not, just by looking at the breakdown! If you are a major conservative, you probably will question whether you want to join, or even apply, to this company. Or, if you are liberal, this data might truly push you to want to join this organization!

“But Tim! We want to be ‘Inclusive’!”

Really? Are you sure? Have you asked your CEO that question and then asked them why they’ve made it public where they stand, politically?

If the best employer brand helps you attract the talent the best fits your organization, then you probably aren’t being fully inclusive. That’s a hard pill to swallow, but it’s true. Great employer brands are exclusive. This is exactly who we are, and this is exactly who we want to work here. That might mean we are a diverse set of men and women of all colors who like old school hip-hop and Minecraft, who are also mostly Catholic. Cool. I either want that, or I won’t, but now it’s my decision.

Bad employer branding is to say we are everything to everyone, come join us, when you actually aren’t, and you actually don’t want to be that. It’s not popular to say out loud. We are supposed to be fully inclusive. I want the Trump hat-wearing dude and the rainbow flag wearing lesbian and that one girl with black lipstick that doesn’t talk much, but damn can she code! Unfortunately, that isn’t the normal reality.

I’m going to say that 99.9% of TA and HR leaders would say, “NO!” when asked if they would want their employer brand to state their political beliefs. The reality is, it does, and you’re just ignoring it.

Are Your Recruiting Candidates Winning at Work? #TheProjectTakeover

I’m on vacation this week so my friends are taking over the Project! Enjoy their content, connect with them, and share the content with new people! Some amazing voices coming to you this week! 

Enjoy this post by Joey Price!

Want a quick way to evaluate the potential for a candidate to win at work? While there’s no magic bullet for employee experience and retention, success does leave clues. Here, Joey Price (Jumpstart:HR, LLC, and the Business, Life, and Coffee podcast) discuss the four keys to winning at work and how you can incorporate them into the candidate evaluation process.

 

3 Secrets Talent Acquisition Leaders Do Not Want You to Know #TheProjectTakeover

I’m on vacation this week so my friends are taking over the Project! Enjoy their content, connect with them, and share the content with new people! Some amazing voices coming to you this week! 

Enjoy this post by Jackye Clayton! 

I love technology. I order my groceries online. I am on a first-name basis with my mailman, FedEx, and UPS driver. I have a Google home, a ‘Smart’ TV, and a scale that is connected via Bluetooth. And most of us these days are pretty well connected. I love it so much that rather than just write about it, I changed careers to help others in HR and Recruiting find the best combination of technology to hire better candidates faster in a more efficient way. After dedicating my life to the benefits of using technology I found something I was not expecting. It isn’t just the technology that makes us better. It is the data we get from the technology and how we use it that is the difference between good recruiters and great ones. I have worked now with literally hundreds of recruiting leaders – and there is some stuff they won’t tell you. Here are 3 secrets TA Leaders do NOT want you to know!  (Spoiler alert – these aren’t silver bullets; it is simple math.)

Quality of Hire > Time to Hire = Take Your Time to Find the Best

Recruiters have ZERO control over how fast a hire is made and yet for some reason, we evaluate recruiters based on how fast a hire is made. That is crap and they know it. Of course, they want to get someone in the role quickly. But if they knew that if they waited an extra week, there would be a better candidate in the aisles, they will wait. A majority of companies are looking now for diverse candidates unless you use HiringSolved (#shamelessplug) it will take you extra time to find that ideal candidate. And all will sacrifice speed for a candidate that fits the requirements, the culture, and can solve the problem they are trying to solve. Do not be afraid to ask for more time.

Data > Instinct = Show Your Work

TA leaders want to give their sourcers and recruiters the world. If they had millions of dollars available to spend on whatever they wanted, after a new laptop, they would want to spend it entirely on tools that would help their team hire faster and better. Because they want you to be successful. (I promise.) However, there are so many tools they have no time to research them all and so, they buy the ones either their top recruiter asks for, the one from the salesperson who called at the same time they realized they needed something, or the one an influencer recommends. Until now – Because you can help.

We already established that you know more about what it takes to find the best candidates. That also means you know what tools will give you access to those candidates. Don’t tell your manager that you want what everyone else has. Use the data you have to tell them where the candidates are and why what you are requesting would be a good investment. Don’t have a tool to communicate regularly? Get a CRM. Have too many candidates applying and not enough time? Explain why you need a matching tool. Don’t tell them what you want – tell them what you NEED – then tell them why. Use data to support your instinct. Not the other way around.

Recruiters’ Talent Knowledge > Hiring Managers’ Talent Knowledge = It is Your Job to Educate

The majority of hiring managers have no idea what is going on in the world of hiring. They don’t know what an appropriate job title is. They don’t know what a good salary is. They don’t know what will make or break an offer. But you do. Let your hiring managers know the trends in hiring and how things have changed since the last time they hired. This goes with job descriptions as well. The same old job descriptions from 2018 will not work in this post-COVID, social justice focused world. When they know better, they will do better.

This is especially true when reviewing the job requirements. Is a bachelor’s degree really necessary? Sometimes removing that barrier will give your company access to hundreds of additional candidates. If you think they are making a mistake, use the data to let them know what you think could help them gain better candidates faster.

In conclusion, it is time for recruiters, sourcers, and other talent acquisition professionals to take their power back. The world of technology has some hiring managers thinking that recruiting is a simple job. Go out there with the knowledge and skills you have and go wow your hiring managers! (And your boss!)

Jackye Clayton is recognized as a people expert who puts the Human in Human Resources. An international trainer, she has traveled worldwide sharing her unique gifts in sourcing, recruiting, and coaching.