Should Candidate Response Time Be a Measure We Care About?

I have expectations as a leader in my organizations for other employees who are in a leadership position in my company. One of those expectations is, if I call or text you on off hours, weekends, vacations, etc., for something that is urgent to the business, I expect a reply in a rather short time frame.

Some people would not like that. I don’t care. You’re a leader, the business needs you, there’s no time clock for that.

That expectation is set for someone at a leadership level in my organization. They know this expectation before taking the job. Also, I’m not an idiot about it. I can probably count on one hand the number of times in the past five years I’ve reached out to someone on weekends or vacations expecting and needing a response.

But, what if you measured candidate quality in the same manner? Seems unreasonable, doesn’t it!?

Well, check this out:

Nardini is the CEO of the sports and men’s lifestyle site Barstool Sports. In a New York Times interview, she detailed her process for vetting job candidates. After saying she was a “horrible interviewer” because of her impatience, she explained a unique process for gauging potential hires’ interest in the job.

“Here’s something I do,” she said. “If you’re in the process of interviewing with us, I’ll text you about something at 9 p.m. or 11 a.m. on a Sunday just to see how fast you’ll respond.”

The maximum response time she’ll allow: three hours.

So, Erika believes if a candidate doesn’t reply back to her on a Sunday at 9 pm within three hours, they are not interested in a job.

This is why recruiting is hard.

You have moron leaders who come up with stupid ideas of what they think is ‘important’ and then they make you live by these dumb rules. This rule is ridiculous. Erika’s assessment of why this works is ridiculous. But, she’ll get a pass.

Why?

She’s a she. If some dumb white dude came up with the same rule the New York Times would write an expose on how this guy is a complete tyrant and out of touch with today’s world, and how crappy this candidate experience is, and how bad leadership this is, etc. But, no one will. She’s just leaning in and doing what the guys do!

Yes, she is. She’s being an idiot.

Now, I’ll say I actually agree with her on her assessment on response time, assuming the roles she is expecting a reply from in three hours are time critical roles. She runs a media site with breaking stories. Twitter has these things up in seconds, media sites need replies to what is happening within minutes and hours. So, there could be some legitimacy to something as arbitrary as measuring candidate desire by response time.

It’s fraught with issues, to be sure, but for certain roles, it might find you some good talent. Should it be a golden rule of hiring for your organization? No, that’s just dumb.

If you really want a silver bullet I ask every candidate if they’re a dog person or cat person. Works every time!

How Should We Structure New-Hire Sign-On Bonuses for Hourly Hires?

Right from The Project mailbag comes this beauty of a question! Very timely in that so many organizations are moving super fast to add sign-on bonuses for new hires to help them attract more hourly candidates right now. Here’s the actual question:


Dear Tim,

We are looking to offer a new hire sign-on bonus for our hourly hires. I was wondering if you have any advice in terms of what is the best way to do this that one, makes it attractive to candidates, and two, works to help retain these hires so we aren’t just throwing money away?

Thanks for the help,

Mandy


How would I offer an hourly sign-on bonus?

It’s a great question because there isn’t any one correct answer. The correct answer is you do what it takes to meet your goals! In this scenario, without giving up Mandy’s specific details, here’s what I would do:

  • Offer an amount that makes staying on extended UI/Stimulus a non-issue. So, if someone is making $300 a week additional stimulus ($1200 per month), I’m going to pay that on top of our hourly wage.
  • Pay this sign-on as a fraction per hour worked. So, an additional $300 per week would be $7.50 per hour over your normal hourly rate. So, a person who normally makes $15/hr, would be making $22.50/hr until the “sign-on bonus” is paid off.
  • The decision you have to make is how long do you pay this additional extra hourly sign-on addition? One month, two months, until the end of September?! I would pay it for one month and if the person quits and tries to collect unemployment, we would challenge it. The reality is, once someone has worked for a month, there more than likely going to keep working. The ones who really don’t want to work, won’t make it a month.
  • “Tim, we just can’t afford that much”-edition. I hear you, $300 per week is way too much. What can you do? Steal workers from other employers who are making roughly the same as what you pay, but you pay more, just not $7.50 an hour more! Maybe you pay $2/hr more.
  • But, wait, you’re not done! What about your current workers? The reality is, if you start offering a sign-on bonus to new hires, your current employees are going to be upset, especially your best ones! So, you have to make it good with them. More than likely you end up in a compensation track that pays your more experienced people more than your new hires. The key for success here is whoever is getting the best pay must be your best performers, or you get rid of them.
  • Also, you can’t pay your more experienced hourly workers $.50 to $2/hr more if you’re paying new hires sign-on bonuses worth more than that, but you don’t have to pay them the same. The key is to make sure your best workers are being paid at a rate that leads the market, so they can’t go anywhere else for similar work in your market and make the same or more. Pay for performance.
  • Move quickly to make changes to market compensation. In crazy employment times, as we have right now for hourly workers, you can not rely on paid compensation data and services. They move too slow. Pay attention to what candidates are telling you and make some calls to fellow pros around your market to see what folks are paying.
  • Bonus Tip: Have multiple sign-on bonus/retention plans for potential new hires/current employees to choose from! Let’s face it, no one plan will be what everyone wants. So, design three and let them choose. Maybe some want an additional hourly rate, maybe some want a retention bonus paid at the end as a lump sum, and maybe some want something totally different. Get creative!

Brainstorming Idea: What if you paid bonuses for certain activities that lead to the new employee behaviors you wish to have? Show up for the interview, get $50 cash in your hand. Show up to the first day of work, get $100 cash in your hand. Make it through the first week, etc.! Reward based on the behavior you want to happen, and ensure it happens. Yes, payroll will hate you, but it doesn’t mean that it can’t be done!

Yes, this is expensive, but not as expensive as going out of business because you can’t find labor. You can always increase your prices for your products and services to meet this additional demand. Say hello to inflation, it’s going to happen, the current administration made sure of that with a multi-trillion dollar stimulus package!

The key to making sign-on bonuses work is to only pay those bonuses fully to those workers who truly are working. If you start paying that higher wage to slackers, you’ll be dead in the water. People are willing to work market leading wages, but they are also willing to collect market leading wages for not working so hard if you allow it.

Do you care about Ethical A.I. in HR and Talent Technology?

Or should you care, could have been an alternate title to this post!

The reality is, almost everyone in HR and TA will be using technology that has some built in Artificial Intelligence and/or some IA (Intelligent automation/machine learning), either currently or in the near future.

What does this really mean? It means, machines will be making decisions we used to make and that can be amazing and problematic all at the same time. My super smart friends, Madeline Laurano and Tyler Weeks discuss this concept with me in the video below.

The Weekly Dose: @Rejobify – A Better Way to Reject Applicants!

Today on your Weekly Dose of HR and TA Technology, I take a look at the candidate experience technology Rejobify. Rejobify is a combination of a better candidate rejection template experience versus your normal ATS rejection email and free candidate tools that will help them in their job search.

Rejobify was founded by RecTechMedia’s founder, Chris Russell. I’ve known Chris for at least a decade and he’s one of those guys that just gets Recruiting Technology and the pain points of recruiting at a very high level! So, I knew if Chris was behind this, it was going to be useful and cost-friendly, because he gets what it’s like to be a head of talent!

Rejobify is basically a platform that your rejected candidates can use for free to increase their job search skills. It’s a seven-day course that takes them through things like how to build a better resume, higher-level interview skills, how to better search for a job, etc. They do this through your normal rejection process by simply clicking a personalized link that you have built into your normal rejection templates.

Here’s what we know about rejected candidates right now. First, most don’t even know they’ve been rejected, because we kind of suck at dispositioning candidates. Rejobify helps you ensure not only is your process of dispositioning working, but you can now measure it to be certain.

What I like about Rejobify:

  • For one, it doesn’t change the workflow of your recruiting team, but it does work immediately to raise your candidate experience of rejected candidates.
  • Rejobify gives candidates this psychological feeling that yes, I was rejected, but this company cares enough about me to give me some feedback and direction for the next steps.
  • Rejobify actually measures which candidates begin and complete the training as candidates click through the links and sign up for the training.
  • Using a tool like Rejobify has the potential to help you increase your employer rating on Glassdoor as so many of our negative reviews many times are coming from displeased rejected applicants.

At the end of the day, giving rejected candidates a better experience is a clear differentiator from your competitors. Most employers, at least 50% by recent studies, still don’t even tell candidates they’ve been rejected. They just kind of ignore them and hope they die or something! This has a long and ongoing impact to your employer brand, especially in small and highly competitive markets.

Using technology to not only help ensure you let every candidate know they’ve been rejected but turning this opportunity into a positive for your brand by showing the candidate you want to help them on their search is a true win-win. I found Rejobify to be a cost-effective and automated way to help you increase your candidate experience at a time when most candidates don’t feel very good about the experience or your brand! Well worth a demo, and there are no integration issues with your ATS as it gets built out within your current ATS process (meaning? super easy and inexpensive to get it up and running!).

Do you feel like an imposter in your HR or TA Leadership Role?

Imposter syndrome impacts everyone at some point. The feeling like you don’t belong because your abilities aren’t up to par with others, or your accomplishments don’t fit the role you were given. This belief that you might be a fraud, except no one has figured it out, just yet!

So, there is a couple of ways I look at this feeling of being an imposter in the role you have:

  1. It’s true, you’re an imposter. You might get lucky and no one will figure it out, but most likely at some point, they will. So, you have the time from right now, until you’re figured out, to actually not be an imposter! Good luck.
  2. You feel like an imposter, but you actually know your sh*t. This one is just your insecurities f’ing with you. You probably just need a good life coach or partner, a little self-confidence boost to actually put you on the right path. (Don’t call me, I’m not a Life Coach!)

Within HR and TA we see quite a few imposters. It usually. takes about 12-18 months for an imposter to be figured out after hiring. The world, and LinkedIn, are littered with imposters with year and a half working stints. Some are so good at being imposters they actually will jump from one failure to the next and get promoted! But, the timing always stays true!

The world is also full of really great people who feel like imposters. Why does a good, solid performer feel like an imposter?

  • You work for a weak executive who don’t know that you are actually a really great hire and have great potential. This lack of belief by your leadership leaves you feeling like an imposter.
  • You just suffer from lack of confidence. You might have always had low confidence. Did you feel like you did bad on every test in college, but always got an “A”? Here’s your sign.
  • You have a bunch of senior level terrorists on your team that make you feel like you don’t know what you’re doing, when in reality they don’t know what they’re doing, but they’ve been around longer and you’re the fourth leader who will fail with this ragtag bunch of under performers.

How do you stop feeling like an imposter in your leadership role?

Validate your greatness!

The more time you spend within your peer group outside of your organization, the more you’ll be able to assess if you’re an actual imposter or if you actually know what you’re doing. The first step is to hang out with some peers you believe are rock stars and start assessing what they say versus what you say. Are they asking you for advice? Are you only asking them for advice? (Pro tip: true imposters don’t ask for advice, because they want to continue to believe they know everything!)

Remember why you got hired into your role!

What were you hired to do? Did you do it? Are you close? If you did accomplish what you set out to do, what’s next on your plan? What still needs to be fixed? Can you fix it? Do you need outside help? Have you upgraded your team? You were hired because an executive thought it was important to do something in your organization, and that’s your job. You will either do it, or not do it. Imposters never do the job they were hired to do, but they’ll tell you they did!

Leaders are action oriented. Imposters are not.

Imposters don’t take action, because they don’t know what action to take, or they are fearful that the action they will take will blow up and they will fail. Leaders take action to better the situation of their department/function, knowing failure could happen, but doing nothing if just continued failure of why they were hired. The one action imposters will take are usually around something to do with showing someone else is to blame for the failure of their function. “We would have succeeded if marketing and IT would have given us a better career site!”

Don’t fear your feelings of being an imposter!

Feeling like an imposter, especially for new leaders, might be the most natural feeling a leader has! Questioning yourself and your abilities will drive you to learn what you don’t, and partner with those who know more. The imposter feelings will give you the pressure you need to succeed and not slow down.

One helpful key to imposter feelings if having a mentor or peer, outside of your organization, that you can share your feelings with. Someone to bounce ideas off of, and help you understand the difference of being an imposter and being a leader. These discussions are important for your mental health.

Are you an imposter in your current role? The real imposters will answer “No!” and change nothing. The real leaders will think about it and determine the feelings are just feelings, and go about doing something about it.

What is the difference between Recruiting and Sourcing?

I get asked a lot about what’s really the difference between Recruiting and Sourcing? Or, where does Sourcing end and Recruiting begin? Or something similar to these questions.

The answer is it doesn’t matter.

The organization has a need for talent.

The organization has to find or grow talent.

You and others in the organization need to figure this out.

So, figure it out!

Everyone is going to design and process this differently. Some will have Sourcers take it all the way until the candidate is screened, then the Recruiter will come in and finish the process. Some will have the Sourcers just find the talent, then have the Recruiter work to contact, screen, etc.

It doesn’t matter how you design it if it works for your organization, and, this is key, it’s replicable no matter who you have in the role.

Stop. Think. Let that process for a second.

One of the biggest mistakes I see really good organizations make is they build and design processes around the talent they have right now. One piece of that talent changes and all of a sudden it no longer works.

“Well, Tim, did all the sourcing and just handed me great talent!” Great, Tim quit because he was doing most of the work and you took all the credit. How is that process working now?

Talent Acquisition is really hard when you have to make it up new each time you have an opening! Talent Acquisition becomes sustainable when you can plug in the skill sets you need and the machine keeps spitting out talent no matter who it is.

Is it Sourcing? Is it Recruiting? It doesn’t freaking matter. Make it work for your organization.

What I find with the most innovative TA shops on the planet is they didn’t look at what everyone else was doing. They looked at what their organization needed and they solved for that problem. Many times the solution was doing something no one else was doing.

The Past-Employee Walk of Shame!

I’ve lost jobs and I’ve called old employers to see if they would want to hire me back. I’ve usually gotten a response that sounded something like, “Oh, boy would we want you back but we just don’t have anything. Good Luck!”  Many of us in the talent game talk about our employee Alumni and how we should engage our Alumni but very few of us really take true advantage of leveraging this network.

I was reminded of this recently when a friend of mine took a new job. You know the deal, shorter drive, more money, growing company, and oh, boy, just where do I sign!? The fact was, it was all they said, shorter drive, more money and they were growing, but they forgot to tell him was our operations are broken beyond repair, you will work 7 days a week and probably 12-14 hours per day because of the mess we have, but keep your head up it’s the only way you won’t drown here!

So, now what does he do?

He already had the going away party, bar night out with the work friends with the promises to do lunches and not get disconnected, packed up, and unpack the office into the new office.  Let’s face it, big boy, you’re stuck! Not so fast. He did the single hardest thing an employee can do he called his old boss after 7 days and said one thing, “I made a mistake, can I come back?”

Luckily for him, his past boss was a forward-thinking leader and so this past Monday he did the 2nd hardest thing an employee can do he made the “Employee Walk of Shame”.

You can imagine the looks from people who didn’t know him well, “Hey, wait a minute, didn’t you leave?” Having to tell the same story over and over, feeling like he failed, like he wasn’t good enough to make it in the new position.

HR plays a huge part in this story because it was HR who can make this walk of shame a little less rough. Let’s face it, it is different. You just don’t leave and come back as nothing happened. Something did happen, there was a reason he left and that reason isn’t going away. A transition back needs to be put into place even though he was gone seven days.  It’s not about just plugging back in, it is about re-engaging again and finding out what we all can do better so it doesn’t happen again.

It’s also about making sure you let those employees who you truly want back, that they are welcome to come back (assuming you have the job) and not just saying that to everyone. There are employees who leave that you say a small prayer to G*d and you are thankful they left! There are others where you wish there was a prayer you could say so they wouldn’t leave.

Make it easy for your employees to do the Walk of Shame, it helps the organization, but realize they are hurting, they are embarrassed, but they are also grateful!

What if we hired employees like NFL teams draft players?

The NFL draft, kind of like college football recruiting, is still mostly a crap shoot. I mean, you kind of know what you’re getting, but you truly have no idea if that player is going to be a great success or a colossal failure! It’s all a game of statistical chance. Our hope is this player is more likely to be successful than this other player, but there are no guarantees.

Kind of sounds like Hiring, right!

Here’s kind of what we know about the NFL draft. There are usually a few transcendent talents in the first few picks, like picks one through five. For the most part, if you have one of these picks, you’re are highly likely to get a player who will be productive for an above average amount of time, and more likely they’ll be a superstar talent.

Once you get into the late first round through the seventh round, for the most part the talent is all very similar! This guy runs a 4.56 forty yard dash and this one runs a 4.58 forty yard dash, etc. The stats, the playing experience, the physical traits they have, are bunched very closely together.

There are a few coaches and teams that have kind of figured this out. They are known for “trading back” in the draft pretty consistently. Why draft one player in the first round at number 25, when you can trade back and get two picks of players at 30 and 52? Virtually all three players are basically the same, and if you want better odds at picking a good one, you should give yourself more picks! Hall of fame coach, Bill Belichick, and Baltimore’s GM, Ozzie Newsome, are known to do this frequently and have built very consistently good teams with this strategy.

More picks equals more chances for success!

So, why don’t we hire like this? Let’s say you have an opening for one engineer. You interview a bunch, they’re basically all very similar, and you have no way of really knowing which one will be a great hire for you. Why don’t you hire two or three!?

“Well, Tim, if you knew anything about anything, you would know we don’t have budget to hire two or three engineers! That’s expensive!”

So, if you hired one and they failed, what did that cost you? Also, if you hired two and one made it and one failed, are you better off, or worse off, from where you started? What if both became great hires? Would your company be better or worse?

Let’s say you were hiring a Sales professional. Now, if you hired one and they failed, you start over. If you hired two and one failed, at least you have one performing. Hire three and all of them do well, that is awesome! All three fail and you just quickened your false positive rate on sales hires!

We don’t “over” hire because we, falsely, believe we don’t make bad hires. Until every time we make a bad hire!

What some great NFL personnel have found is “over” drafting, getting more picks, actually gives you more opportunity to get some great talent. Again, this is not just about the number of picks or hires. It’s a combination of doing the right due diligence on talent, all of your selection science, and then getting more chances!

Very rarely, in extreme cases, I’ve seen organizations that could not over hire. But, 99.9% of the time, all organizations would be just fine by over hiring and giving themselves more chances of finding someone great for their organization. Yes, you have some short-term salary budget issues, but most find that is offset by actually being fully staffed with high performing people!

It will either cost you more upfront or more on the backside, one strategy is proactive and one is reactive. As a leader you must ask yourself which one are you more comfortable with?

Talking Talent Acquisition Tech w/ Madeline Laurano (@madtarquin)

Madeline and I are back with our second “Vlog” as the kids like to say! We are Vloggers! Which is like one step below “Influencers” but you get to keep your dignity!

In this episode of Vlogging with Talent Nerds (not the real name, we aren’t naming it) Madeline and I talk Recruiting CRM technology. It’s part of the recruiting landscape that keeps morphing into other areas of the stack, and honestly, we find it pretty complex for the average TA leader.

Madeline Laurano and Tim Sackett – Vlogging TA Nerds!

Question: Do you use a Recruiting CRM? If so, about what percentage do you feel you and your team actually use?

Hit me with your answer in the comments!

Do people really not want to work?

On my way to work this morning, I saw seven businesses that had “Help Wanted” signs out front. The sign above is from a fast-food restaurant requesting you be nice for the few staff they have that are working their butts off to get you fat! Please be patient, your fries, double cheeseburger, and shake will be with you shortly.

I was on vacation for Spring Break (yeah, I said it), and traveled out to St. George, UT, and spent time outside hiking. Stopped at a McDonald’s for a Diet Coke on our way back from Zion and the manager was locking the doors at 2:30 pm in the afternoon. He apologized and said he normally has 50 employees on the schedule, but currently only has 16 and can’t keep the doors open!

Do People Really Not Want To Work? 

1st – Of Course People Don’t Want To Work!?! How stupid is this question!? (Wait, so let me get this straight, I don’t have to work? And I’ll get money? And I don’t have to pay rent? Okay, I’m not gonna work.)

2nd – Read #1.

3rd – If you give anyone the choice to not work, but still get their bills paid, they will not work. This is what is currently taking place in this great country of ours. In fact, some folks are making more not working than they were working. So, none of this is surprising!

The surprising part is politicians seem to be the only people alive, in America, who don’t understand that businesses can’t get people to come to work right now. They like to point to unemployment numbers, but those numbers are not telling the true story of what’s happening across the vast majority of industries.

Certain companies and industries got hurt super bad by Covid. We needed a policy that was sniper rifle accurate to help those people. Our government, instead gave us a nuclear bomb acting like everyone was in trouble. Which lands us in the position we are in right now. Too much work, not enough people who need to work at this moment.

No, Really!? Do People Not Want To Work? 

Here’s my take:

People want to do things that make them feel valued. Things that make them feel satisfied. Where they have some freedom of choice. And at the end of the day they feel safe, secure, and that they matter.

The vast majority of jobs from $10/hr to $20/hr can’t meet those basic needs.

If anyone of us was given the choice to not work and have our basic needs met, even for a short period of time (like the current Stimulus package) most would take it and do things they would rather be doing. Some will help others and volunteer. Some will take time for themselves. Some will actually do nothing and just wait until the time comes around when they have to go back to work to meet their basic needs.

So, basically, if you are hurting for workers and you pay below $20/hr, you are going to be in a world of hurt through at least this summer and maybe longer.

What Can You Do To Get More Workers? 

First, do everything in your power to keep the workers you have. Be kind. Be helpful. Be understanding. If they are overworked, be empathetic and try to do what you can to help them and their quality of life.

Second, don’t give new employees stuff you won’t give your current employees. I see this constantly. Oh! Hey, come work for us and we’ll give you a $500 signing bonus! But you won’t give your current employees a $500 retention or Hard Work bonus.

Third, stop thinking you are all that and a bag of chips! You can’t just throw up a Help Wanted sign and get workers. Be Better! Yep, that means you might actually have to put money into recruiting. Yes, hourly recruiting is as important as salaried recruiting and in many businesses more important. But, I find most organizations that hire a lot of hourly workers are vastly under-resourced when it comes to hourly recruiting as compared to salary recruiting.

Fourth, it’s time to take some chances with all those biases you have. Hire folks who test positive for weed. Hire folks who went to prison. Hire folks who aren’t your “Norm”. It’s time to take some chances, which really aren’t chances, but being more inclusive in hiring, but that’s an entire other post.

Finally, vote differently. If one employer is having a problem hiring, most likely that employer isn’t really that great to work for. If tens of thousands of employers are struggling to hire, something went wrong at a macro-scale. In terms of our current situation, we know exactly what went wrong. Bad policy is causing some short/long-term pain for employers.

Economics will eventually take care of this problem. Employers will pay more, offer more, change. This means we’ll all pay more for stuff we used to get cheaper. Some businesses will go under because you won’t agree that paying more is worth what they offer. This will cause workers to be unemployed. Making it easier for employers to hire at market wages. The law of supply and demand is undefeated.