How to Help Your Company to Stop Sucking at Hiring!

Hiring people to work for you directly is probably the single hardest thing you’ll ever have to do as a manager of people. To be fair, most people are average at hiring, some are flat out killing it, and probably 20% are awful at hiring.

The first sign you suck at hiring is your new hire turnover is an outlier in your organization, your market, or your industry.

So, what constitutes new-hire turnover?

I find most organizations actually don’t measure their hiring managers on new hire turnover but use this to judge effectiveness on their talent acquisition team. That’s a complete joke! That is unless you’re allowing your TA team to make hiring decisions! New hire turn is a direct reflection of hiring decisions. Period.

When should you measure new-hire turnover?  Organizations are going to vary on this based on your normal turn cycles and level of the position. Most use 90 days as the cap for new hire turnover. That is safe for most organizations, but you might want to dig into your own numbers to find out what’s best for your own organization. I know organizations that use one year to measure new-hire turnover and organizations that use 30 days.

How do you help yourself if you suck at hiring?

1. Take yourself out of the process altogether.  Most hiring managers won’t do this because their pride won’t allow them. If you consistently have high new hire turn comparable to others, you might consider this, you just have bad internal filters that predispose you to select people who don’t fit your org or management style. Don’t take it personally. I suck at technical stuff. I shop that part of my job off to someone who’s better. You might be an exceptional manager of your business, but you suck at hiring. Shop that out to someone who’s better!

2. Add non-subjective components into your hiring process and follow that 100% of the time. Assessments are scientifically proven to tell you what they’re designed to tell you. If you follow what they’ll tell you, you’ll be much more likely to make consistent hires. If that assessment gives you better hires, then keep following it, or find an assessment that does give you that consistency.

3. Analyze your reasons for each misfire hire. Were there any commonalities in those? What I find is most poor hires stem from a hiring manager who gets stuck on one reason to hire, which has nothing to do with being successful in your environment. Example: “I want high-energy people!” But then they work in an environment where they are stuck in a 6X8 foot cube all day. It’s like caging a wild animal! 

Numbers don’t lie. If you consistently bomb your new hire turnover metrics, it’s not the hires, it’s you! In the organizations where I’ve seen the best improvement in reducing new hire turnover, it was in organizations where new hire turnover metric results were solely the responsibility of each hiring manager, and nothing to do with talent acquisition.

It’s the 80/20 rule. 80% of most new hire turn is usually coming from around 20% of your hiring managers. Fix those issues and ‘magically’ your new hire turn improves.

How long should it take a candidate to decide on a job offer?

When you make a candidate an offer, how long do you give them to tell you they want the job or not? 24 hours? 3 days? 1 week? Immediately?

For two decades I’ve been in the camp of a candidate should be able to tell you ‘yes’ or ‘no’ immediately, or you (the recruiter and hiring manager) did something wrong in closing! But, I think I’ve changed my stance on this, if “fit” is really important for the position, your culture, etc.

Here’s the deal, if the job and/or company fit is really important to your organization. The candidate should take as long as they need to, to make sure that your organization is the one for them. That might mean they need to finish up other interviews, do more research, go through counter-offers, etc.

So, if that takes two or three weeks, so be it. The fit is critical for you and you actually want the candidate to take their time with this decision.

I feel so strongly about this, I think you should actually make candidates wait 72 hours after you offer them the job, to give you an answer! Yes! You won’t accept an acceptance from them until they’ve taken 72 hours to really think about the job, the new boss, the organization, everything!

Why wait 72 hours if they already know!? 

A “cooling down” period will give them some time to get through the infatuation period of getting the offer! It will give them some time to really think about your job, their current job, other jobs they might be considering. This time is important because too often, too many people get that offer and at that moment everything feels so awesome!

After a couple of days, they come down from the high of being desired by you and start to think clearly, and all of sudden you’re not as pretty as you looked two days ago, or you’re even more pretty by playing hard to get.

But what if a candidate gets cold feet by this technique? 

That’s a real concern especially with historic unemployment in many markets and fields. If you force a candidate to wait 72 hours there is a good chance someone else might come in and offer them a job!

Yep! That actually would be awesome if that happened, because then you would really know! Do they love you, or did they just fall in love with someone else!? Remember, this isn’t for every organization. This is only for organizations where fit is critical to your organizational culture.

If a candidate gets cold feet by another offer or by waiting 3 days, they don’t really believe your organization is the one for them. They don’t believe what you have is their dream job or organization. Also, if you get cold feet by having them wait, you don’t really believe fit is important!

So, how long should it take a candidate to decide if your job offer is right for them? 

There is no one right answer. Each of us has our own internal clock to make those decisions. If you force a candidate to decide immediately upon an offer, that speaks to your culture. If you let candidates decide on their timeline, that also speaks to your culture.

In a perfect world, I still believe if the process works as designed, and everyone pre-closed as they should, both you and a candidate should be able to make a decision when the offer is placed on the table. But, honestly, how often does our process work perfectly?

Hit me in the comments with what you believe is the proper amount of time you should give a candidate to decide whether or not they’ll accept your job offer?

Covid made us fat, lazy, and depressed! How do we turn that around?

My go-to answer for most things is, Cocaine. I’m sure if I did Cocaine I would be less fat, less lazy, which would lead to me being less depressed. Most likely, this is flawed thinking, but I never have tested it to know for sure.

A brand new study on the effects of Covid on our mental well being was just released and to no one’s surprise, it’s not a rosy picture:

What does this tell us? 

  1. We are moving way less than we did pre-Covid.
  2. We are sleeping more.
  3. We are getting up later.

Also, in the study, depression has increased by over 90% in the past year! That is massive, and while we love the flexibility of remote work, we are also craving the need for personal contact and normalcy. Humans are pack animals by genetics. We don’t thrive in cages (like being locked in our homes).

By the way (from the picture at the top), who are these people who don’t wake up until 10 am!? And even more puzzling, pre-covid, who are these monsters who didn’t get up until 8:30 am!? Surely, I gest. But, only for free of being canceled by some new pro-sleeping, don’t judge us movement.

How can we turn this around? 

I was raised by Baby Boomers who weren’t all too keen on schedules and the importance of a consistent schedule on mental and physical wellbeing. They just grew up during a different time in our world where you just kind of went with the flow. Yes, hippies, kind of.

My wife, bless her soul, rescued me and trained me to understand how having consistency in your life leads to a less stressful life. Less stress leads to less depression. Turns out, we as humans, actually do really well when we know the parameters of our world. We actually like being put in a box. It’s warm and cozy. We perform better. Covid took us out of our boxes, out of our schedules, out of our routines.

And like a flower without water and sunlight, many of us wilted. We stopped moving. we started putting on weight, we started sleeping more, and we became depressed.

We love the newfound flexibility, but we want some semblance of our lives back. Getting up, going to work, hitting the gym, etc. We need to turn these negative trends in our health, physically and mentally, back in the right direction. Even if you stay remote or hybrid, really work to build a more permanent, more healthy schedule into your day.

Part of building that new schedule is an understanding that we aren’t living a temporary life. We all have this belief that once Covid is over, we’ll be back to normal and then I’ll start getting healthy again, but our reality is we aren’t getting back to the old normal. For most of us, we’ll have a new normal, and we need to adjust to that new normal now.

It starts with moving more. Spring is a great time to start!

Can a Mid to Large Size Company Work Without an HR Department? #HRFamous

In episode 53 of The HR Famous Podcast, long-time HR leaders (and friends) Tim Sackett and Jessica Lee discuss BTS, companies without HR departments, and whether the new Covid-19 bill will affect employment in the service industry.

Listen (click this link if you don’t see the player) and be sure to subscribe, rate, and review (Apple Podcasts) and follow (Spotify)!

Show Highlights:

2:00 – Just JLee and Tim today! KD is out for this episode.

3:15 – JLee and her family have become a part of the BTS Army. BTS is a K-Pop group that has taken over the world.

6:00 – Tim loves that JLee is very tied to her Korean culture and instills that pride and love in her children. He mentions an article that discusses Norwegian families raising Korean children and discusses the nature vs. nurture argument in that context.

8:00 – Tim brings up how the article examines the racial aspect of coming into a homogenous culture and trying to succeed with all the advantages your family can give you.

10:00 – Next topic: The CEO of UK startup Octopus Energy says he has no interest in having traditional business departments like HR. His company is worth over a billion pounds.

12:20 – Tim asks, “What we do without HR”? Well, Tim discovered that this company actually does have job openings in HR/IT-adjacent roles but he couldn’t find any hard HR or recruiting roles.

14:15 – JLee thinks that he’s gotta be outsourcing things like HR to other agencies or companies.

16:15 – Tim was on vacation this past week and read the book The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz. He said he hired a recruiter after only having nine employees for his company.

17:30 – Tim asks JLee if the newly passed Covid-19 stimulus bill will affect people wanting to go back to work in the service industry. JLee says she understands why people would not want to go back to working at restaurants or other service-type places because a lot of the draws of working there are now gone.

19:00 – JLee shares a story about going to lunch at a restaurant only the second time in the past year recently and how she felt very awkward there and didn’t know what to do while in the restaurant.

23:00 – Tim recently went to dinner and a movie for his birthday and he noticed that the business was understaffed. He wonders when people will start to return to the mentality of getting frustrated by long waits and lines.

25:20 – What’s there not to like about Koreans? Here is Time Entertainer of the Year BTS!

The Single Most Desired Trait Employers Want: Being an Adult!

Don’t buy into the hype! “Oh, just do what you love!” That’s not being an adult, that’s being a moron! Just do what makes you happy! No, that’s what a child does.

“Tim, we just want to hire some ‘adults’!” I hear this statement from a lot of CEOs I talk with currently!

That means most of the people they are hiring, aren’t considered adults by these leaders. Oh, they fit the demographic of being an adult from an age perspective, but they still act like children!

I tell people when I interview them and they ask about our culture I say, “We hire adults”.

That means we hire people into positions where they are responsible for something. Because we hire adults, they take responsibility for what they are responsible for. If I have to tell them to do their jobs, they’re not adults, they’re children. We don’t employ children.

I think about 70% of the positions that are open in the world could have the same title –

“Wanted: Adults”.

Those who read that and got it could instantly be hired and they would be above average employees for you! Those who read it and didn’t understand, are part of the wonder of natural selection.

How do you be an Adult?

You do the stuff you say you’re going to do. Not just the stuff you like, but all the stuff.

You follow the rules that are important to follow for society to run well. Do I drive the speed limit every single time? No. Do I come to work when my employer says I need to be there? Yes.

You assume positive intent on most things. For the most part, people will want to help you, just as you want to help others. Sometimes you run into an asshole.

You understand that the world is more than just you and your desires.

You speak up for what is right when you can. It’s easy to say you can always speak up for what is right, but then you wouldn’t be thinking like an adult.

You try and help those who can’t help themselves. Who can’t, not who won’t.

My parents and grandparents would call this common sense, but I don’t think ‘being an adult’ is common sense anymore. Common sense, to be common, has to be done by most. Being an adult doesn’t seem to be very common lately!

So, you want to hire some adults? I think this starts with us recognizing that being an adult is now a skill in 2021. A very valuable skill. Need to fill a position, maybe we start by first finding adults, then determining do we need these adults to have certain skills, or can we teach adults those skills!

The key to great hiring in today’s world is not about attracting the right skills, it’s about attracting adults who aren’t just willing to work, but understand the value of work and individuals who value being an adult.

I don’t see this as a negative. I see it as an opportunity for organizations that understand this concept. We hire adults first, skills second. Organizations that do this, will be the organizations that win.

The Motley Fool has a great section in their employee handbook that talks about being an adult:

“We are careful to hire amazing people. Our goal is to unleash you to perform at your peak and stay out of your way. We don’t have lots of rules and policies here by design. You are an amazing adult and we trust you to carve your own path, set your own priorities, and ask for help when you need it.”

You are an amazing ‘adult’ and we trust you

If only it was so simple!

The Lies We Tell in HR and Talent Acquisition!

Everyone lies, right? I mean a little. Not bad lies. It’s like the lies we tell those we love to not hurt their feelings, or we believe the lie we are telling is really a victimless crime. You know the kind of lies I’m talking about:

  • Does this dress make me look fat? (Of course not…the dress has nothing to do with you looking fat…)
  • Ordering take-out food, then putting in normal dishes and making them believe you cooked it.
  • Buying new clothes, then bringing them home in dry cleaners plastic, to make it look like it is just stuff from the cleaners, and you really didn’t go buy stuff your budget couldn’t afford! (I have the shoes I buy shipped to my office and then wear them home!)
  • What size are you? (Oh, I’m a size 3! Only at Chico’s!)

Clearly, there are different types of lies.  The ones above, while clearly hiding the truth, aren’t meant to cause pain to the parties involved, and probably, in the end, trying to hold the peace within the relationship (i.e., that what they don’t know, won’t hurt them).

Then, there are those lies (Damned Lies) that will send you directly to hell, don’t pass go, don’t collect $200.  Those are the ones that cause people to lose their jobs, their families, their dignity, and pretty much anything of value.  I think we all agree, these are the “real” lies that get people into trouble.

The problem is, our “little lies”, like those listed above, tend to be the entry drug of lies, that lead to the damned lies.  Boy, this gets really confusing, especially trying to explain this to your kids! “No, Timmy, it’s not okay to lie! But you told Daddy we didn’t buy anything today and you bought that stuff at Lulu!”

Then, we have those lies we tell in HR and TA.  These are lies meant to primarily avoid conflict, protect feelings, protect privacy, protect relationships, etc. You know these –

HR and TA Lies:

Employee: How am I’m performing, and is my job in jeopardy? (bad performer)

HR: You’re really working hard and giving great effort. As of right now, there are no plans to let you go (but 15 min. after you leave I’ll have the plan).


Candidate: Do you have any room for negotiation? 

TA: We can’t move an inch, we’ve completely maxed out what we can offer you. (But, if you decline the offer more money will magically come flying out of my butt!) 


Employee: Can I still sign up for insurance, I forgot to sign up before the open enrollment deadline!?

HR: Of course not, it’s against the federal law, marshall law, the world health organization, and Rule 3 of the Secret Society of Evil HR Pros, and not to mention the Geneva Convention! How could you be so stupid?! We reminded you 87 times via email. We’re very sorry but the government will not allow us to help you! (Or, if we really like you and you’re a valuable employee who is hard to replace, “theoretically” we could fire you on Friday, and hire you back on Monday, backdate your paperwork and sign you up. But don’t tell anyone, it’s just our little secret!)


The last one I like the best, probably because I see it happen in every (yes, I mean every) company I’ve ever worked in or with!

What lies do you tell in HR & TA?

The Weekly Dose: @OurTilt – Leave that doesn’t suck!

This week on the Weekly Dose I take a look at the startup employee leave technology Tilt. Tilt is reimagining Leave Management to help companies improve retention, streamline processes and reinforce corporate culture.

Let’s face it, most organizations use an Excel Spreadsheet to track company employee leave. No judgment! The vast majority of organizations have tracked leave this way since the invention of Excel! Before that, it was written files. But, now, thanks to Tilt there is a more elegant way to administer employee leave that helps all the stakeholders.

You might be thinking, “do we really have a problem tracking leave?” Maybe not, but leave is more than just HR tracking it. You also have the employee who is on leave, and the manager of the employee who is on leave, who often feel in the dark the entire process.

What I like about Tilt:

– One easy platform to streamline all of your employees leaves into one place where all parties can log in the get the information they need. Super easy to add an employee to leave, and each employee has their own access to track and get answers they need while on leave.

– Fully compliant, in every state, so a perfect solution for those organizations that are multiple states and find it hard to keep up on changing legislation. Tilt helps ensure you stay in compliance and don’t’ find yourself in legal hot water.

– Tilt guides help employees and managers through the process, lowering the amount of time and questions leave administrators have to deal with on an ongoing basis. Also, integrates auto-nudges to ensure both employees and managers do what they need to do, when they need to do!

– Direct communication from employees, managers, and leave administrators that are logged within the platform to ensure all communication is tracked and documented. Plus, great, ongoing manager education around the do’s and don’ts in having an employee on leave.

– Tilt works with every client to review and update leave policies and plans, to ensure your leave plans are built on what’s best for your organization and your culture.

I really like what Tilt is doing. Organizations big and small struggle to administer leave in a really easy way and most of the time all the company leave knowledge is usually stuck in one person’s brain. Also, administering leave is a complicated job, the more employees who have on leave, and the more states you must administer it in.

Pre-leave, leave, and post-leave, you, your employees, and your managers will have the information they need when they need it. All the while the tech helps you stay compliant, saving you time and money. Well worth a demo, especially for those companies managing leave in multiple states.

The Rules for Office Romances

Valentine’s Day is coming up in a couple of weeks. As HR pros we know what this means, which is usually a lot of unwanted advances by horny dudes who think they have a shot at the hot co-worker, who has absolutely no interest in them at all.

Welcome to the show, kids!

I’ve given out some rules in the past. Everyone on the planet has read my Rules for Hugging at the Office, but Office Romances are a little more complicated than the simple side-hug in the hallway. So, I thought I would lay out some easy to follow, simple rules for Office Romances for you to pass out to your employees on Valentine’s Day:

Rule #1 – Don’t fall for someone you supervise. If you do fall for someone you supervise, which you probably will because this is how office romances work. In that case, get ready to quit, be fired, be moved to another department, and or get the person you’re having an office romance with fired, moved, etc.

Rule #2 – Don’t fall for anyone in Payroll. When it ends, so will your paycheck. At least temporarily, and even then it will be filled with errors from now until eternity. It’s a good rule of thumb to never mess with payroll for any reason.

Rule #3 – Don’t mess around in the office, or on office grounds. Look I get it. You’re crazy in love and just can’t wait until you get home. The problem is the security footage never dies. It will live long past your tenure with us, and we’ll laugh for a long time at you. So, please don’t.

Rule #4 – Don’t send explicit emails to each other at work. It’s not that I won’t enjoy reading them, it’s that I get embarrassed when I have to read them aloud to the unemployment judge at your hearing. Okay, I lied, I actually don’t get embarrassed, but you will.

Rule #5 – Don’t pick a married one. Look I get it, you’re the work-spouse. He/She tells you everything. You get so close, you really think it’s real, but it’s not. You’ll actually see this when the real spouse shows up and keys your car in the parking lot.

Rule #6 – Don’t pick someone who has crappy performance. Oh, great, you’re in love! Now I’m firing your boyfriend and you’ll have to pick between him and us, which you’ll pick him, and now I’m out two employees. Pick the great performers, it’s easier for all of us.

Rule #7 – Inform the appropriate parties as soon as possible. Okay, you went to a movie together, not a big deal. Okay, you went to the movie together and woke up in a different bed than your own. It might be time to mention this to someone in HR if there is at anyway a conflict of some sort. If you don’t know if there’s a conflict of some sort, let someone in HR help you out with that.

Rule #8 – If it seems wrong, it probably is.  If you find yourself saying things in your head like, “I’m not sure if this is right”, you probably shouldn’t be having that relationship. If you find yourself saying things like, “If this is wrong, I don’t want to be right”, you definitely shouldn’t be having this relationship.

Rule #9 – If you find yourself hiding your relationship at work, it might be time to talk to HR. We’re all adults, we shouldn’t be hiding normal adult relationships. If you feel the need to hide it, something isn’t normal about it.

Rule #10 – Everyone already knows about your relationship. People having an office romance are the worst at hiding it. You think you’re so sneaky and clever, but we see you stopping at her desk 13,000 times a day ‘asking for help’ on your expense report. We see you. We’re adults. We know what happened when you both went into the stairwell 7 seconds apart. Stop it.

There you go. Hope that helps as you prepare for Valentine’s Day!

Does a $15/hr Minimum Wage Really Help Workers?

There might not be a more controversial topic in 2021! Whether or not we (the United States of America) should raise the minimum wage for all workers, in all states, in all jobs to $15/hr.

I would love to say this is ‘simply’ a political issue, but it’s not. It’s much more complicated than politics. Both sides will point to studies that prove why or why not we should have a minimum wage of $15/hr. The reality is, a $15/hr minimum wage is more of an economic issue than political.

What is the argument, really, for and against a $15/hr minimum wage? 

For $15/hr:

  • People need a living wage. $15/hr for a forty-hour week, roughly puts a person at an income level of $30,000 per year. Which, in theory, would bring that person above the poverty level. Let’s be clear, “above poverty level” is still a freaking tough life!
  • Corporations are making record profits on the backs of hourly workers. Hello, Jeff Bezos!
  • Other countries have done this and it’s worked out just fine.

Against $15/hr:

  • Raising the minimum wage to $15/hr and above will cost jobs. If you force employers to pay $15/hr as a minimum they’ll hire fewer workers and have them work fewer hours.
  • $15/hr minimum wage is too little for some markets and too much for some markets. We should let market dynamics decide what the minimum should be.
  • Other countries, like Australia, pay a living wage, but have you been to Australia? It’s not the U.S. It’s U.S.-like, but when you go to a “bar and grill” in Australia you don’t get waited on. You go to the bar, order your food, and they yell your name when it’s done. Need extra ketchup? Go to the bar, wait in line, and hope you can get the one bartender to get it for you. Why? Because wait staff costs too much, so they use them. Things are different. So, yeah, “waitstaff” in Australia gets paid a living wage, but those places just don’t hire very many.

What does the research really say? 

Here is where the rubber meets the road because we can always find a study that will back up whatever point we might have. I’m for an increase in the minimum wage, or I’m against it, I can share with you five studies each supporting my take. Ugh! So, what is it really?

I found a study that looked at all the minimum wage studies (not some dumb Forbes article, real academic research), both for and against, to break down the facts and the myths. Here’s what they found:

  • There is a clear preponderance of negative effects on employment when raising the minimum wage.
  • The evidence is stronger for teens, young adults, and less-educated.
  • The evidence around specific industries is less one-sided.

What does all of that mean? 

First, while you will find studies saying that minimum wage does not impact jobs, there is way more academic and economic literature supporting the other side. Also, the evidence shows a strong effect on younger workers and lower educated, so there might be some room to talk about family or adult minimum wage standards verse just the standard one-size-fits-all. There is also a need to look at minimum wage by industry, again not just across the board.

An example might be, manufacturing sectors can pay $15/hr but service level restaurant jobs can not. Or, $15/hr makes sense in New York City, but not in Winona, MN. Maybe it could be looked at via high margin industries verse low margin industries.

What is clear, from the evidence, is that a straight $15/hr minimum wage, for all people, for the entire country, is not the best remedy for our current dilemma. Most likely, what will happen, if the $15/hr minimum happens is you’ll see organizations adjust accordingly by doing a combination of rising prices, cutting costs, cutting hours, and cutting jobs.

If you believe corporations are just going to “eat” the additional expenses, at the cost of profit, you are at best naive.

What’s my take?

I don’t like the proposal of just across the board we are going to raise the minimum wage to $15/hr across the country. I don’t like it because it won’t do what people think it should do, it’s really just more political posturing. In the end, consumers will pay more (which maybe we should) and corporations will cut to make the same profits. Ultimately, workers will take it on the chin, again.

If politicians truly cared about workers, they would dig in and do a minimum wage by market. It would be way higher than $15/hr in some locations and probably a bit lower in some locations, but there would be more strategy and thought behind it. The federal government does this now with pay bands for federal workers, they should be able to do it for all workers with minimum wage.

To not include market dynamics in compensation policy shows the government doesn’t really care about workers, truly. Because when it comes to taking care of their own, federal government employees, they do take into consideration market dynamics. $15/hr in Los Angles, San Francisco, and New York City is nothing, let’s be real.

Let me hear it in the comments! Are you for or against a $15/hr minimum wage and why? 

Covering Up a Career Hickey

I had a person work for me at a past job in HR.  She performed the HR cardinal sin of sins, she shared personal, confidential information with an employee outside of HR.  My problem was, this person was a high performer, an outstanding employee, she had a frustrating, weak moment, and did something you just can’t do in an HR position.  This is what we call a Career Hickey. Sometimes you can survive these hickeys and cover them up, and continue to work as normal.  Many times you can’t.

So now, this Hi-Po has a Huge Hickey.  Interestingly though, this Hickey can’t be seen when you look at their resume or interview them in person, but it’s a Hickey they can’t get rid of.  So, barring a life-turtleneck how does one cover this puppy up?

It’s interesting because I think that probably the best of us have a hickey or two that we would rather not have our current or future employer know about.  Sometimes they’re big-giant-in-the-back-of-a-Chevy-17-year-old-I-will-love-you-forever hickeys and sometimes they’re just oops-I-lingered-a-little-too-long type of hickeys. Either way, I would rather not expose my hickeys and have to worry about how this will impact the rest of my professional life. And here’s where most people drive themselves crazy.

As HR Pros I think it’s important for us to be able to help our organizations determine the relative value of individuals.  This person was a rock star at ABC company, did something wrong, and couldn’t maintain that position any longer with ABC because of said incident, and lost their job. Now we have a chance to pick up a Rock Star (and probably for a discount).

The question you have to ask is not could we live with this person if they did the same thing here?  Because that really isn’t the question, you already have that answer is “No.”

The question is: do we feel this person learned from said wrongdoing and is there any risk of them doing it again? 

You might come to the conclusion, “yes, they’ve learned, and yes, there is potential they might do it again” (let’s face it if they did it once, they’ve shown they can do it, so there’s always a risk), but it’s a risk we are willing to take.

So how does someone come back from a transgression at work? The answer is that they have some help.  Eventually, someone is going to ask the question: “why aren’t you with ABC Company anymore?”  They’ll give you the canned answer they’ve been developing since the moment they lost their job. If you’re a good interviewer, you won’t buy the first answer (I mean really – so you decided it was better off not to have a job – is what you’re telling me?!) and you will dig to see the hickey.  Hickeys are funny in that you really can’t take your eyes off of them, once you see them, but for those who can get by the hickeys, you might just find a great talent who is grateful for the second chance.

But, you also might find someone who just likes being in the back of that Chevy and getting Hickeys. You’re the HR Pro though and that’s really why your company pays your salary – to mitigate risk vs. the quality of talent your organization needs to succeed. So, you have to ask yourself, can you live with a Hickey?