The US has Relatively Low Rates of Hiring Discrimination. But you don’t believe it!

Do we have hiring issues in the US? Yes. Are many of those issues really bad? Yes. Is the US worse than most other countries? Hmmm…

There was a meta-field study done with over 200,000 job applicants (that’s a massive data sample) in 9 counties in Europe and North America. The study found there is hiring discrimination in every country, but some countries are worse than others:

What did the study find?

– The USA has one of the lower rates of discrimination while France and perhaps also Sweden have very high levels.

– If you travel the world, the findings are very surprising. If you have just sat your butt in the US, this is hard for you to comprehend with the US’s history of slavery, and you probably find this surprising. Turns out, many other parts of the world still act like discrimination isn’t happening and ignore they have a problem.

– Capitalism, in fact, is likely to predict less discrimination in hiring. Again, competitive hiring practices actually help decrease discrimination in the labor market.

The authors of this study are Lincoln Quillian, Anthony Heath, Devah Pager, Arnfinn H. Midtbøen, Fenella Fleischmann, and Ole Hexel. A very diverse group of academics from some of the top educational institutions in the world. Here is what they had to say about the study:

“National histories of slavery and colonialism are neither necessary nor sufficient conditions for a country to have relatively high levels of labor market discrimination. Some countries with colonial pasts demonstrate high rates of hiring discrimination, but several countries without extensive colonial pasts (outside Europe), such as Sweden, demonstrate similar levels. Likewise, the lower rates of discrimination against minorities in the United States than we find for many European countries seem contrary to expectations that emphasize the primacy of connection to slavery in shaping the contemporary level of national discrimination. These results do not suggest that slavery and colonialism do not matter for levels of discrimination, rather they indicate that they matter in more complex ways than suggested by theories that posit simple, direct influences of the past on current discrimination.”

And

“Low discrimination in Germany could be a result of distinctive hiring practices in Germany: Employees typically submit far more extensive background information at initial application than in most other countries—including, for instance, high school transcripts and reports from apprenticeships (Weichselbaumer 2016). This may reduce the tendency of employers to assume lower skills and qualifications among nonwhite applicants, which is one potential source of discrimination. If so, this suggests the importance of high levels of individual information about applicants as a method to mitigate discrimination (c.f., Wozniac 2015; Auspurg et al. 2018).”

So, France and Sweden are the most Discriminatory Countries in HIring?!

Well, not exactly. They are the most of this study of nine countries.

I would bet you would see higher rates of hiring discrimination in places like Japan, China, South Africa, etc. Why? How many non-Japanese do you see on the Japanese national team? How many non-Chinese? One non-Chinese, an American snowboarder, was in the winter Olympics, and that was the first one in their history. Now take a look at the US and the other European countries. All of them have multiple people from other countries on their national teams. Is that hiring? Nope, but it shows a willingness to welcome and evolve people from other countries in a very transparent way.

Just because other similar Capitalist countries tend to be more discriminatory in their hiring practices than the US also doesn’t make us better. There are still massive improvements that need to be made. I point all of this out because you will never see this type of study highlighted by the mainstream media most HR and TA leaders and pros read. This won’t be on CNN and Forbes. We love to act like every other country is so much better. They aren’t, and we aren’t. We are all struggling with getting better and closer to the same than most of us realize.

Is More Efficient Recruiting Always Better? #TruthBomb

If you’re in HR or TA and read this blog on a regular basis, you know I’m all for making our recruiting process as efficient as possible! Primarily because so many of us are woefully inefficient in using our technology and the belief that a more involved process must be a better process.

I’m a little nervous about the future and recruiting efficiency.

I think in our rush to become ever more efficient. We might miss out on some great talent. At this point in the recruiting tech stack, I can actually automate every single piece. Anything you have a person do in recruiting, I can automate. I can even ensure that candidates “don’t” get dispositioned if that’s how you like to play it! I mean, about 50% of you don’t do that now, so it seems like that is probably the way you like it.

If recruiting was only about taking a requirement, matching that requirement to available talent, screening that talent, interviewing that talent, assessing that talent, and onboarding that talent, well then, technology can do that better and more efficiently than humans at this point. But, I think recruiting has always been about getting the best talent for your organization.

Available vs. best is where the technology starts to fall down if talent truly makes a difference in your organization. Honestly, for many, “best available” will work just fine, and it has for decades. The vast majority of organizations are hiring the best available at this point.

Technology is exceptional at hiring the best available. Technology hasn’t figured out how to hire the best talent that isn’t openly available at this point. If you don’t have that talent in your database, and that talent isn’t active on LinkedIn or other job boards, technology has a really hard time getting your message in front of them.

The future of recruiting isn’t about efficiency. That is already here. The future of recruiting is about your organization’s ability to actually go out and discover who is the best talent for your organization. That person might not actually be on the “jobs internet,” or they were, but that was five years ago, so you’ll never see them as someone you want because the five years ago person isn’t the person you need today.

Efficient recruiting is great until it isn’t. If you suck at recruiting, then becoming more efficient at best practice recruiting (which recruiting technology can definitely make happen) will elevate your function for sure. But efficient recruiting isn’t world-class recruiting. It’s just efficient.

The best talent acquisition in the future will be able to go out and discover the talent that hasn’t been discovered by everyone else. We like to believe that everyone who is anyone is on LinkedIn, Indeed, or you name the site. But they are not, or they haven’t been active for a long time, so this is a hidden talent.

Too many TA shops are currently working too hard at becoming efficient and not hard enough at becoming experts of the talent for their industry and their marketplaces. You know I love technology. So, be great at technology, but don’t forget to be great at recruiting.

The 5 Steps to Buying HR Technology #HRTechConf

Hey kids! I’m out at the HR Technology Conference this week, and I have 26 meetings set up with HR Technology companies to do briefings. My buddy, KD, says I do a hundred crappy HR tech demos a year, so you don’t have to. That means this week, I’ll knock about 25% of those! It was 27, but I had one cancel because they felt like I didn’t do enough “HR” tech, and I only know “Talent Acquisition” Tech. That made me laugh! Thankfully, I’ll survive. They most likely won’t.

If you are an HR or TA Leader, the biggest budget purchase you’ll most likely ever make in your position is technology. What I find is that even though this will be one of the most important leadership decisions you’ll ever make, most leaders really have no idea how to buy the technology that runs their business. By the way, as leaders, almost know functional leader knows how to buy technology, so we aren’t alone!

Because we lack this knowledge, most of us will either let our IT department make this purchase for us (a super bad idea!) or pay a giant consulting firm a giant fee to help us make this decision (not as bad of an idea, but not great). Your IT department doesn’t know HR/TA. You do. That should be enough said about IT choosing your functional technology. The giant consulting firms are paid millions of dollars by certain vendors for “research.” So, guess who they will recommend you buy?

Since I get to do a lot of demos and briefings, I like to think I most likely have some good insight into how to do this. Wait, what the heck is a “Briefing” with an HR Technology company? Basically, “briefing” is analyst-speak for speed dating with a tech vendor. In 30 minutes, they’ll tell you why they’re awesome, what they have built recently, and what they plan on building in the future. Then I get to ask them what their favorite movie is, where they’ve traveled, etc. You know, all the normal dating questions. If they really know what they’re doing, they’ll bring diet Dew to butter me up!

How Should You Buy HR Technology?

Step 1 – You actually use your current software fully and truly figure out what it can’t do that you desperately need to do your job better. I find almost no one does this first step. They just want something better, even though when asked, they struggle to verbalize what better is.

Step 2 – Once you know what you need, you figure out who the best players are in the market who do that thing. That takes some research and a hell of a lot of demos. For anything you need, figure out at least twenty vendors selling that solution. Based on your size, that will limit your selections, but at least 5-6 will always be in play. Think about Enterprise-level HCM alone; you have: Workday, Oracle, SAP, Infor, Ceridian, ADP, UKG, and I’m sure others that I’ve missed. This is why I got to the HR Technology Conference every year, to keep up with the market. Every HR and TA leader should be doing the same.

Step 3 – Depending on your size, you’ll have to RFP. For many SMB and Mid-enterprise buys of point solutions, you’ll just be on your own trying to find a partner. In this case, step 2 becomes super important for you because I find that most HR/TA shops buy what is “Sold” to them, not what is available. Turns out, HR Tech companies are super good at marketing and advertising to potential buyers. Those companies marketing to you might be the right choice if you’re lucky, or it could be an awful choice. You need to know your options!

Step 4 – You need to talk with users of the technology you decide to buy before you buy it in three ways: 1. Users currently going through an implementation. 2. Users who are through implementation for at least one year. 3. A user who has left them within the past year. If the vendor doesn’t give you these references, walk away! You need to know how much pain you’ll be in and the realistic timing of implementation, you need to know what learnings others had during their ramp-up of the technology, and you need to know what could go very wrong as a worst-case scenario.

Step 5 – Network in the community for other users who use the same technology you want to use and find out what they are paying for that same technology. I find tech vendors charge as much as they can, and some buyers are better at negotiating than you’ll be. If you can come back with some hard numbers, the vendor will work with you. If you have no idea, you’ll pay a much higher rate than another company using the exact same solution. Also, if the big giant consulting firm that you’re paying six figures for can’t give you these introductions, you’re paying them too much!

There are obviously a bunch of steps within these steps, but this framework will give you a good start and make sure you don’t make a bad purchase. Also, remember the old technology buying saying, “no one ever got fired for buying IBM.” That was said because, at the time, IBM was the gold standard and the most expensive. So, while you might be able to find a good technology cheaper, you also have more risk of it failing.

The same goes for HR/TA buying decisions. There are over 10,000 HR Tech solutions on the market. You can find some amazing technology where the vendor will almost give it away to gain you as a client and get more users, but that comes with some big-time, unproven risk. For some, that risk will be worth it because you’ll be able to get and use the technology you could never afford without taking that risk.

The Recruiter Texting Rules!

Here we go! Your boy is back with some more rules! You know I love me some rules! I’m high rules, and low details, which drives most people crazy!

I was having a conversation recently with some recruiters about texting candidates. For the most part, in recruiting, we’ve gotten to this point where we believe every candidate prefers texting over every other kind of communication. And, if they don’t want a text message, then they want email.

This isn’t exactly true! I did some research and surveyed over 1600 candidates we screened to find out the facts and published it – 6 Things Candidates Want You to Know – you can download it here for free. But I’m not here trying to sell you a free whitepaper!

The entire reason we believe candidates prefer text over any other form of communication is some creative marketing around text vs. email response rates in overall text vs. email communications. Now, this is where all of this falls apart. I get over 500 emails per day. I get maybe 25-50 messages. Of course, I’m going to respond more to text messages vs. email. But that doesn’t mean, as a candidate, I want text vs. email, necessarily!

This all lead me down a path where I believe we need some rules around texting as recruiters!

The Recruiter Texting Rules:

Rule No. 1 – As the first outreach to a candidate you don’t know, texting is not preferred by candidates. They don’t know you, and they certainly don’t want you jumping into their private text messages with a spammy job offer!

Rule No. 2 – No one of quality ever accepted an interview and job offer through text message without first speaking to a real human. Pick up the god damn phone. Once a candidate is all in with you, then yes, they will most likely only want texts from you.

Rule No. 3 – Give me a way to opt-out of your bad text recruiting automation hell! For one, it’s the law. But, most still make it way too difficult to stop the automated texts.

Rule No. 4 – Just because you have my number as a candidate does not give you permission to stalk me for a date. It’s super creepy!

Rule No. 5 – If we aren’t friends, don’t text me like we are friends. Avoid sarcasm. Keep it professional and short.

Rule No. 6 – If it feels like you’re sending candidates too many text messages. You are sending candidates too many text messages! Also, don’t text me a novel! Send long stuff in an email.

Rule No. 7 – If I ask you a question, answer the damn question! We are adults. You can tell me the truth I don’t need some run-around answer that doesn’t really answer my question.

Rule No. 8 – If you expect me to respond within minutes. I expect you’ll respond within minutes. Set the ground rules around expectations early.

Rule No. 9 – Never! And I mean, NEVER! Text with a green bubble! Just Kidding! 😉

Okay, peeps, what did I forget? Give me your favorite rule for texting candidates in the comments below.

Happy Global TA Day! I Love Recruiting!

Today is Global TA Day, put on by the Association of Talent Acquisition Professionals (ATAP).

The other day I had someone ask me, who doesn’t really know me and definitely didn’t know what recruiting is, isn’t recruiting hard because people don’t like you?!

I wish I could tell you I’ve never heard this question before. When I first started in recruiting 25 years ago, it was a common theme in my life. “Oh, you’re a headhunter! That must suck…”

I thought it would be all different when I went into the corporate side of Talent Acquisition. Okay, now I’m in “real” recruiting. But I wasn’t. Corporate TA, which I love, wasn’t real recruiting. It was just another form of recruiting. Either way, I enjoyed that side of recruiting as well.

Why? Why do I love recruiting?

Basically, at any moment in my day, week, or month, I’m going to be a part of a life-changing event. I’ve been a part of someone getting the job they dreamed of, or getting a pay increase that will change the direction of their life, or maybe a position that will allow them to move to a location that will fulfill something they’ve been searching for.

It’s not every day. It’s not every week. Heck, sometimes it might not happen in a month. But every morning when I get up, today might be the day! There’s a chance. There’s a chance today is going to be a great day.

I love recruiting because in recruiting, we have the ability to change our company for the better every single day. Maybe today will be the day I find the designer who will design a next-gen product that is the future of our company. Today might be the day I hire a nurse who will care for my grandfather when he is sick and help them recover. Today might be the day I hire a Barista who takes to extra seconds to recognize a person who tomorrow will need to be seen to make it through another day.

Aspirational? Hell, yes. And today, I’m here for it!

5 Signs You Should Not Make That Job Offer!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4 Strategies to Get Candidates to Open Your Emails!

I found some cool data that probably got overlooked a while back from CB Insights. Now, this data is from 2016, but it’s super relevant!

CB Insights did some testing with their own email newsletter that went out to 175K+. A very big sample, and the reality is they have the exact same goal as we all do, Get Candidates to Open Our Email!

These four things work really well in getting people to open your email:

1. Brand Names. CB found that using a big brand name like Apple, Google, Nike, etc., in your subject line increases your odds greatly of getting someone to open your email. Now, you might be asking yourself, “Tim, how the heck am I going to use a brand name in my recruiting emails!?” How about something like, “3 Ways we are a better place to work than Apple!”

2. Short Titles. Less is more when it comes to attention-grabbing subject lines! I suggest under five words if possible. “Are we paying too much?” or “I’ve Got a Quick Question” or “Sackett” – Yep, in my own testing, the one email that gets open at a higher rate than any other is when I only put my last name in the subject line!

3. Negativity. This seems counter-intuitive. No way! People love positivity. You are right, but negativity draws them in! “How Candidates Fall on their Face!” will get opened way more than “How Candidates Succeed!” Again, in ten years of blogging and making headlines, this data also rings true. I get way more interaction on negative headlines than positive headlines.

4. Surprises. Different viewpoints that people don’t expect. “Punching Your Boss Can Get You a Raise!” or “Older Workers Have More Energy Than Millennials!” or “Hiring Dumb People!” Basically, people open these because they don’t agree with the headline. What the heck is Tim talking about today!?!

So, if all of these things work. What does CB Insights say doesn’t work?

What should we stop doing with our subject lines? 

  • All of the opposites of the above! Long headlines, positive headlines, boring, etc.
  • Question Headlines. “What 3 Things Are You Doing to Hurt Your Brand!” While Buzzfeed has made billions with these clickbait headlines, CB found readers are getting fatigued with these types of headlines. (I will tell you “The X Things to do…” headlines still work in my world. 5 Ways to Hire More People! Will always do well.
  • Broad topics do worse than Niche. A headline that says “5 Ways to Attract More Talent” will do worse than “5 Ways to Attract More Nurses Right Now!”

The key to great email subject lines is they get opened! If you send out a hundred emails to candidates and no one opens them, it doesn’t matter what the content is and how much time you spent making it perfect. Get Them To Open Your Emails! Is the single most important thing you should worry about first!

It’s very Recruiting 101, and it’s something almost every recruiting shop struggles with, but then we go and focus on the picture we’re using. Does it have a puppy and a kid in a wheelchair? No, stop the presses! Stop it. Fix the basics first, then worry about doing the higher-level stuff.

What is your most responsive email subject line?

Why do you fight to keep what you have vs. fight for what you need?

I had a great conversation with the co-founder and President of Greenhouse Software, Jon Stross. Jon developed a model he calls the Hiring Maturity Model. Basically, it’s a scale or curve of where your recruiting department is in terms of technology maturity.

Part of that conversation was a fascinating piece about why we keep technology that isn’t moving us forward or making us successful. Don’t say budget! It’s not budget! Let me explain that.

What are the four reasons why we would rather keep stuff we have versus get stuff we actually need? 

1. We fear the pain of change. “Moving from one ATS to another ATS is hard work and takes years, and it’s just not worth it, Tim!” You’re wrong. It was that way when we had on-premise software, but with modern-day Saas platforms, this isn’t as painful by a mile! My most recent ATS change took six weeks, and we had zero downtime because we kept the legacy system going while we got used to the new system.

2. We fear short-term lower performance over the benefit of long-term gains. Well, it might not be great, but we know what we have. What if we change and it’s worse!? It won’t be because you will do your due diligence and research, and you’ll make sure it will be exponentially better! If what you have isn’t that good, you must be willing to build something better. Your organization needs you to do this.

3. We feel stupid and don’t know the technology enough to advocate for change. This is very legitimate. I feel stupid every single day about technology. I’ve got some stupid thing with my Macbook going on, and I can’t figure it out. And it drives me crazy! Demo. Demo. Demo. I felt stupid about our TA Tech space, and I just started demoing everything I could find, and it opened up a completely new world of what is possible in talent acquisition.

4. It was your call, originally, to get what you have, so bailing on it now looks bad on you. Do you still have an iPhone 4? No!?! What!?! Why not!? When the iPhone 4 was launched, it was AWESOME! Oh, wait, the iPhone 12 is better? Turns out, technology improves. What you thought was best two or three years ago is now a dinosaur in the technology world. So, just like IT, Finance, and Operations, it’s okay to say, hey, the tech we have now isn’t what we need today to stay competitive for talent.

Did I say demo? For the love of St. Petersburg, Demo! It’s the single best thing you can do to develop yourself around getting smarter about the technology in your functional professional area of expertise.

Too many of us keep processes and systems way too long for reasons that, when you really dig into it, don’t even make sense. “Well, Tim, we have to use this ATS because payroll is tied to it, and payroll says we can’t change.” Um, what!? Does payroll drive revenue for the organization? Does payroll find and develop talent for the future of the organization? Stop it! Stop the excuses.

Oh, Budget! 

I forgot it’s the pandemic. You don’t have a budget. Actually, you do. I mean, you’re already spending it on crappy software that isn’t working for you. Stop spending that, and you have all kinds of budgets! I have never met one CEO/CIO/CFO who, when shown a better, more efficient way of doing business wasn’t all in on giving it a try if it didn’t cost them more money. Same money? Okay, let’s do it!

Check out the Greenhouse podcast with Jon and me. He’s a great dude. I love his voice and cadence. I could listen to him all day!

Talent Acquisition Trends with Friends! ATSs are buying ATSs and the Jobs Report!

Last week I sat down with two of the best in the business when it comes to TA knowledge, my partner in crime on HR Famous, Madeline Laurano, and our good friend, Kyle Lagunas. Jobvite acquired best-of-breed ATS Lever after acquiring a whole bunch of other great TA technologies over the past two years. This now gives Jobvite/Employ three ATSs under their umbrella of products!

TA Tech Trends with Friends!

The best part of this is this is exactly how we talk shop when we are together sharing drinks at some conference! The three of us will all be out at The HR Technology Conference on September 13-16. Come join us!

Tim Talks – Are you worried about layoffs?

If you’re a close follower of mass media, we are currently being led to believe that the world is coming undone, and everyone is losing their job. That’s not really the case, so let’s dig into some reasons why that is…

Enjoy your day. Enjoy your weekend. Keep hiring great talent that produces excellent work, and your world will be a much better place!