And the Prize for the Most Money Goes To…

No one. You don’t give out prizes for making the most money. Making the most money is the prize!

“Hey, Tim, you made the most money! Congrats! Here’s a membership to Netflix.” Um, what? Just give me more money, I’ll buy my own damn membership to Netflix!

You give out prizes as rewards when people can’t make more money.  And the prize for the best customer service goes to, Billy! Good job, Billy! Here’s a gift card to Applebee’s for $25!

Organizations are constantly giving out ‘prizes’. We give out prizes for being the best employee. We give out prizes for finishing a project faster than we thought you could finish a project. We give out prizes for showing up to work every day.

I think it might be the first thing you learn at leadership college. If in doubt, give out a prize!

Don’t have an organizational vision? That’s okay, give out a prize.

Don’t have a new product to deliver to the market? No problem, give out a prize.

Have no clue what you’re doing? We feel you, give out a prize!

Prizes are a nice distraction from mediocrity. There easy and the honest truth is everyone likes winning a prize. Have you ever been somewhere, like a golf outing, where they pick raffle prizes and the prizes are all basically crap from vendors no one wants and people get so excited when their random number gets called! People clap. Hey, look, Mary won a prize! Good for her! Wonder what she’ll get? The tote bag or the portable battery that charges your phone up exactly once, yes!

But, we are put in this position because not everyone in our organizations can make unlimited money. So, we have to find ways to keep the troops motivated, and prizes seem to be the motivational tool of choice. The key to prize giveaways is that everyone has to believe they have a shot at winning, but not everyone wins.

If everyone wins a prize, it takes away from the prize value. If I win a car, I feel like the most special boy in the world. If everyone wins a car, it’s still great, but no as special.

Our greatest motivational tool of all time – the prize. Go give out one today!

 

 

Announcement! I’m Joining the Josh Bersin Academy as a Senior Faculty Member!

Today, I’m excited to announce that I’ll be joining the Josh Bersin Academy as a Senior Faculty Member!

I’ve run in the many of the same circles as Josh for years and, like many of you, have been always loved and admired his insights and data that he has shared with the community for so long, and I’ve seen him present countless times. So, of course, when he asked of my interest in joining, it was a no-brainer! Josh Bersin is the biggest name in our business!

For the past decade I’ve shared, and maybe overshared at times, everything I possibly could with this community of HR and TA professionals. So, this moves makes complete sense for me, because it allows me to continue doing what I love and sharing now with even more people and growing the community.

What’s the Josh Bersin Academy? 

The Josh Bersin Academy, composed of over 3000 members, is a center for the global co-creation of the future of HR by a Community of Practitioners sharing experiences in spirited conversation about what might be.

Adding expert knowledge to this conversation is the Senior Faculty group chosen by Josh Bersin, who of course, is the Dean of Josh Bersin Academy. Their role is to add expertise to the ongoing generation of knowledge by the broader community.  You can see my JBA bio by clicking on the link. I will be joining a distinguished list of Senior Faculty group to 21, plus of course, Josh Bersin as the Dean.  You can see all our bios here: https://bersinacademy.com/faculty.

What is my role as a Senior Faculty Member? 

Within the JBA platform and each specific course, we break up the members who are currently enrolled in courses into smaller teams/groups to have a better ability to have real, active interactions. As a faculty member, it is part of my role to get involved with these conversations, react, add insight, and answer questions.

Josh also will utilize our expertise for various content and research projects, that will add to the growth and understanding of the JBA members on an ongoing basis.

Why this role? 

As you can imagine, I get asked to do a lot of stuff! And I love to stay busy and try everything I can. This role in the JBA Academy allows me to continue on leading HRU Tech, continue to write and speak, and continue to work with the HR and TA Tech community that I have a passion for. I just need to find a way to clone myself or sleep much less!

Truly, I can’t wait to begin interacting with academy members! Helping share knowledge in our community is something that I really enjoy and it brings me great satisfaction.

So, check out the Josh Bersin Academy. It’s a tremendous way to increase your skills in HR, interact with like-minded professionals, and gain high-level insight from some of the best HR and TA minds on the planet (and me).

The Truly Absurd Power of a Bad Idea!

Have you ever been caught in a downward vortex of a truly crappy idea that at some point you wondered to yourself, “how the heck did we get here!?”

I like to think I’m the kryptonite of bad ideas in my organization. It’s part of my personality of being a bit unfiltered in my thoughts and ideas. If I think something is a bad idea, I’m probably going to say something. Or at least, I hope I will say something.

Why don’t we stop bad ideas in organizations?

  1. We never want to tell someone their idea is bad. We say things like, “there are no bad ideas!” Of course, there are bad ideas! That’s just a dumb statement. There are ideas that can ruin your company and your career. If some idiot opening shares a bad idea, it should be up to us as peers to point this out and help them out.
  2. The person sharing the idea is in a power position. This one is hard. Well, Tina is the boss! I don’t like her idea, but we have to go along with her or else it will probably look bad and she’ll make sure she crushes my career. This is the worst! If you’re a leader, you need to find someone who will tell you the truth about your stupid ideas.
  3. We all know it’s a bad idea but we’ve got so much already invested we need to make it work. Ugh! My grandmother would call this, “throwing good money after bad”. Well, we’ve come this far, we have to make it work. The best organizations know when to call it quits on a bad idea, take the loss, and begin a new in a better direction.

So, bad ideas grow and prosper basically because we don’t want to hurt feelings or hurt our own careers.

I do think there are some strategies we can use to help get us out of a bad idea. Some things that will allow us to protect our relationships and our careers, and put us on a better path.

If I think of the times that I saw someone’s bad idea blow up in their face, it happened because it was done publicly. If we have the ability to sit down privately with the individual and talk through it, I usually find that together we can create something better, and change a bad idea into something that will work, and it saves face for all involved.

In terms of people in the position of power who have bad ideas, I like, again, speaking to them in private, but also using data and competitive data to try and influence their decision in another direction. I’ve also used a strategy that is a bit risky, but it’s going over their head in a way that seems like you weren’t doing it on purpose. Like, “Oh, I want to share this data with the entire company because I found it so fascinating and thought others would have interest!” Data that shows we should be doing something else, in hopes, it sparks an idea for someone to change.

The reality is bad ideas happen every day in our organizations and it’s up to us to help create a culture where we reward stopping bad ideas. Where we respect each other so highly we are confronting bad ideas as a way to help that person’s career, not point out their failure. If we can get to that point, we put ourselves in a position to take the power out of bad ideas!

HR Managers! Sometimes Executive Compensation is Above Your Pay Grade!

From the front lines of in the weeds HR Management in Detroit – HR Manager claims to have been fired for whistleblowing on some unfair executive compensation practices!

From the front lines of real HR:

A human resources manager at the publicly-funded Great Lakes Water Authority has filed a whistleblower arbitration case against the agency, claiming she was fired only days after raising concerns about lucrative new retirement benefits for authority CEO Sue McCormick, and how they were handled.

The benefit netted McCormick, a former manager of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, more than $90,000 in additional retirement money in 2018 — an amount so large, it had to be split over two years to conform with Internal Revenue Service maximum retirement contributions by an employer.

Hmmm…sounds fishy…continue:

Though other GLWA employees also received the benefit — designed for former Detroit water department employees who left city employment to come to GLWA before becoming vested in the city’s pension system — McCormick’s bonus under the program was, by far, the largest, said Stephanie Stevenson, a human resources manager with the agency whose job included oversight of employee benefits…

…Stevenson said it seemed as if policies were being created specifically to assist McCormick with her predicament — and were being made without consulting Stevenson, who oversaw benefits.

“This was unfair. It was like an abuse of power — corrupt,” Stevenson said.

Rule number one in HR Fight Club – do not make a benefit change without first consulting the HR Pro in the house!

So, the GLWA decided to terminate HR Manager Stephanie. Did they terminate her because of the whistleblower complaint? “No!” was the exact quote from lawyers representing GLWA. Why was Stephanie fired? They weren’t saying…

Here’s the thing.

Almost every executive makes so much more than the run of the mill employee, and HR Manager, that when you see something like your initial impression is something isn’t right about this! Executive compensation is a different animal altogether!

Now, I don’t know if Stephanie was fired for whistleblowing. But, when you hear the explanation of the additional compensation benefit and its design, whether it was done specifically for the CEO or not, they dotted their i’s and crossed their t’s, and while most employees couldn’t take advantage of this additional benefit, all were eligible.

“Unfair” isn’t illegal and sometimes that’s is so hard to accept. Is it fair this CEO gets a bunch of money given to them when most employees will not be given anywhere near this amount? No. Is it illegal? Also, No.

If I was a betting man, Stephanie, got fired not for whistleblowing, but for probably some stuff she did to prove something illegal was going on, when it really wasn’t, but it felt like it was. Why don’t people come forward with whistleblowing complaints? Because either way, no one wants you around afterward. Rightly or wrongly, a trust has been broken. That’s not right, that’s reality. Funny enough, most HR pros actually know the math on this!

What I find most helpful when dealing with executive compensation stuff like this is to bring a few people into the decision-making process, and have us all together at the same time. I want someone from my legal team, someone from my HR team, and someone from my finance team, hopefully with their CPA. Are we legal, are we following tax laws, are we breaking policy we shouldn’t? Is everyone good? Okay, go.

Executives are hired and fired for making decisions above our pay grade. Sometimes they get benefits that seem unfair and exorbitant. The big question you need to ask, is this illegal or simply just unfair? Those are two very different things!

SHRM-SCP or HRCI-SPHR? HR Pros – Which one should you get?

I’ve been HR blogging for ten years. You learn a few tricks about blogging after that amount of time. One is you find out what people actually want to read by the search words they use to find your blog and various blog posts.

One of the most all-time most searched for terms that find my blog is:

“SPHR or SHRM” or “SHRM or HRCI” or “SCP or SPHR” or some combination of those terms.

For my non-HR readers, SHRM is the world’s largest HR association. HRCI is an organization that has certified HR pros through education and testing for decades. A couple of years ago, SHRM decided to take that type of activity in-house and do it themselves, which led to competition around who’s certification is better SHRM or HRCI, or which certification should you get SHRM or HRCI?

I wrote about this a couple of times, years ago, and it still comes up and I still get questions about it, so I thought I would do an update on the topic. The first time I wrote about this was in December 2016 when SHRM first announced its move into the certification space. My opinion then was I’m going to have both, and see how it all plays out, but SHRM is the brand name that HR pro and leaders identify with, no one really knows HRCI outside of the HR world.

What’s changed in the past three years? 

Really, not much! It’s played out a little slower than I thought, and there hasn’t been really any big moves like I thought would happen on the HRCI side. My feeling back then was SHRM would slowly bleed HRCI dry and take over the HR certification space. That has definitely happened, but not at the pace I thought it would. I would have thought HRCI would have had to pivot by now or be out of business altogether.

But, a funny thing has happened. HR pros/leaders, by their nature, hate change and are slow to change, so those who had their HRCI certification, have basically just kept at it, instead of changing. If anything, we probably see more people now holding both certifications, which is really kind of silly to pay both fees. In fact, my plan is to not renew my HRCI certification the next time it comes up.

Why?

My feeling hasn’t really changed. SHRM is still, by a mile, the brand name that is recognized in the HR community. The reality is HR pros get an HR certification to better themselves, their career, and their HR knowledge. As an HR pro, when you go on an interview, almost no one is going to question whether you have an SHRM cert or an HRCI cert, only that you have the certification. Also, most executives will identify with SHRM as being the gold-standard, again mainly because the brand is so strong in the industry.

What’s Next? 

In a modern world, what is it that people really need to show you they know their stuff? We all know someone who has a certification in HR that basically sucks at HR, so we go, “well, certifications tell us nothing!” I don’t agree with that. Taking both the SHRM cert and the HRCI cert, those assessments are for real. You just don’t show up, without studying, and pass those. So, there is definitely knowledge that is learned if you have one. But, we know that knowledge, alone, isn’t enough to be great at a profession.

SHRM has launched Micro-credentials, like mini-certifications, where people can dive deeper into certain aspects of the HR knowledge base. I think those have merit.

I think both HRCI and SHRM have completely missed the boat on talent acquisition certification. I’m on the board of ATAP and because it’s newly formed, and mostly volunteer, we don’t have the capacity to make this happen, but someone like HRCI could do it and it would be huge. Corporate TA leaders, more than anyone, struggle to find talent that knows what they’re doing. Again, certification doesn’t mean you’ll be great, but it’s a good first step to show someone actually cares about their profession and educating themselves.

SHRM’s answer to Talent Acquisition was the micro-credential and I got to be an instructor for one of the classes for this credential and the content was really good. But, it’s mainly designed for non-recruiting, recruiters. HR Pros who have to recruit, but it’s not their full-time gig.

More and more, we are seeing that formal education, getting your bachelor’s in HR, etc. It doesn’t have the ROI that it has in the past. This has led to many organizations hiring for positions and no longer requiring a college degree. HR is clearly one of those fields where a degree shouldn’t be a requirement. Some of the greatest HR pros I know do not have a degree but do have certification, and their lack of a formal degree has no bearing on their ability in HR at all. All that said, getting the degree will get you where you want to go faster.

The key to being great in any field is how you educate yourself and keep up on the industry. Too often I find way too many professionals that believe the way you keep up on being a great professional in your field is by showing up to work each day. That is not how you become great at anything! If you do not keep yourself up to date in your field and interact with others in your field, you slowly (or sometimes quickly) become obsolete.

Is there something else I should be getting besides SHRM or HRCI?

I do not feel, in the HR community, there is something else that replaces either one of these right now. There are a ton of new micro-learning, on-demand digital learning sites that are out there (Udemy, Lynda, Khan Academy, etc.) that can augment the things you won’t learn studying for SHRM or HRCI certifications.

Also, I do believe any modern HR Pro/leader has to really work to educate themselves on the HR Technology space that is now a critical component and competency for great HR in today’s world. Neither SHRM or HRCI really go deep enough on HR technology, but you will never get all you need from any one organization.

This is why your HR network of peers and mentors is critical. Networking with HR pros outside of your normal everyday world. Facebook and LinkedIn groups have really been excellent for this, in an online format. Local SHRM groups, DisruptHR, and various other local HR groups are also a great way to network and stay up to date on the latest HR trends and topics.

 

What is this hire supposed to do?

I’m only talking to leaders today.

We tend to fall into this rut. I have a position on my team. A person leaves. We need to fill that position.

Before you fill your next position, as yourself this one question:

How will this hire bring us closer to reaching our business objective? 

In fact, you might want to ask that question in the interview of the candidate. How are you going to move us closer to meeting our business goals and objectives, and of course, first tell them what those are.

Too often we replace people without really seeking to understand if a certain position is really doing that. Well, we’ve always had a person in this position, so we need to replace this person. But, if that position isn’t really moving you closer to meeting your objectives, maybe it’s the right time to not hire that position, and maybe hire a new position.

Business objectives evolve and change over time. A position you needed five years ago, quite possibly might not be needed today.

I also find that what a certain position is supposed to accomplish sometimes devolves over time based on who had the position. Well, Timmy’s position was supposed to do “X”, but Timmy wasn’t very good at that, but we liked him and now Timmy’s position does “Y”. Really, so do we no longer need “X”?

If any position isn’t moving your department or business closer to your goals, it’s a position you should not be filling. We have a really difficult time as leaders not filling positions on our team that we’ve always had. We love to build our empires, not break them down. The reality is the most effective leaders don’t just backfill positions, they analyze where the real need is or isn’t in their world, and then work to make that happen.

Great leaders don’t backfill positions. Great leaders first decide is this role going to move us closer to meeting our objectives?

Why Do You Go To Work So Early?

Cooper: You know Dad you don’t have to go to work so early.

Me: Yes I do, someone has to pay the bills, put food on the table, keep the lights on.

Cooper: Yeah, I guess you’re right.

Me: (internal voice) – he’s probably right.

This was a conversation my youngest son and I had a few years ago. We are both early risers, so he and I have spent many mornings up before the rest of the family.

I like getting to the office early for a couple of reasons. It’s usually quiet, not a lot of distractions, so you can get a lot done, and, personally, I just perform better in the morning. I’m more productive early.

The reality is there are a few that I work with that are like that, but I find a bigger majority is probably not as early risers as I might be if given the choice. Therein lies the real issue, “given the choice”. If you were given the choice to start work at let’s say 7 am or so, or start work at 9 am or so, which do you choose?

I’ve always thought it was silly that high schools start classes, for teens, at 7 – 7:30 am. Teens have growing bodies and developing brains, why not let them sleep in and start school at 9:30 am or so? It truly makes zero sense, if we are actually trying to what’s best for children….but I digress…

What about the modern workplace? What time should work start?

I think for the most part, in environments that can manage this, we should allow workers the flexibility to start when they feel they’ll be most productive. If you’re an early riser, great, get in here and kill it. If you like to stay up late watching Netflix and roll out of bed at 9 am, awesome, get in here and do your thing.

It seems easy enough! So, why doesn’t this happen as much as it should?

The early risers don’t think the late risers really put in the hours they should. I come in at 7 am and I leave at 5 pm, I put in 9 hours. You come in at 9 am and you leave at 6 pm, you only put in 8 hours. It’s not fair! Honestly, this is really the main argument and why so many organizations still force employees to arrive at basically the same time!

It’s back to good old fashion clock watching!

The reality is, in a modern workplace, we should care less about hours and more about what actually gets done. If it takes you nine hours to get done what it takes me seven hours to get done, that’s a ‘you’ problem, not a ‘me’ problem. To make this happen, though, we have to have great measures of performance and hold people accountable to those measures.

Ugh, that’s difficult, let’s just stick to making everyone work the same amount of hours at the same time, that’s so much easier…

 

A 30-Minute Commute is All Most People Are Willing to Take!

We all kind of know this fact. Once you get more than 30 minutes away from your job, no matter how you actually come into work, it starts to feel like a chore. You begin to hate the commute. Doesn’t matter if you drive, take a train, walk, etc. 30 minutes, one-way, is our max!

It’s called Marchetti’s Constant: 

Marchetti’s constant is the average time spent by a person for commuting each day, which is approximately one hour. It is named after Italian physicist Cesare Marchetti, though Marchetti himself attributed the “one hour” finding to transportation analyst and engineer Yacov Zahavi.[1] Marchetti posits that although forms of urban planning and transport may change, and although some live in villages and others in cities, people gradually adjust their lives to their conditions (including the location of their homes relative to their workplace) such that the average travel time stays approximately constant.

I can’t tell you how many times, as a Recruiter, I was talked into believing this wasn’t true by a candidate that then screwed me by ghosting on an interview after driving to the location and seeing it was too long, declining an offer late, started the job but then quickly left because the commute was too long, or we had to over-compensate to make up for the time the person spent on the commute.

Probably one out of one hundred people can actually take a longer commute and live with it. 99% of people will eventually crack if the commute is over thirty minutes. So, what does this mean for us trying to attract talent to our organizations? There are certain locations in the U.S. that are much easier to have a thirty-minute commute than others:

On average, large metro areas with the shortage commute time:

  1. Grand Rapids, MI
  2. Rochester, NY
  3. Buffalo, NY
  4. Oklahoma City, OK
  5. Salt Lake City, UT
  6. Kansas City, MO
  7. Milwaukee, WI
  8. Louisville, KY
  9. Hartford, CT
  10. Memphis, TN

All of these metro areas have the majority of their citizens with a commute time under 30 minutes.

Who have the worst commute times? Think about the largest metro areas, even when you take into account their transit options: New York, San Francisco, D.C., Philly, Boston, Seattle, Chicago, etc.

So, it’s thirty minutes one-way or one hour per day, or five hours per week that the average person is willing to commute. I wonder if this plays itself out when you begin to factor in work from home options?

Let’s say you ask someone to commute one hour each way, two hours per day, but you let them work from home two days per week. Total commute time is still more at six hours per week, but would that make a difference enough to retrain and attract more talent to your organization? I have a feeling it would. It’s worth a test for those who have longer commutes at your work location.

Also, I have seen this done by any company, but I would love to see turnover data by commute time! I have seen data on hourly worker turnover and it’s amazing to see the differences by miles from a worksite in a radiant pattern. Every mile you get farther from the work site, the turnover increases exponentially until you get to about five miles where it skyrockets. So, we know if you hire hourly, low-skilled workers, your best bet for retention is less than five miles from your location (this also is about a 15-minute commute – car, public, walking, bike, etc.).

So often we want to focus on the stuff we control, versus stuff the candidate or employee can control, but we think it’s ‘their’ decision. The problem is, we allow people to make bad decisions and don’t think it will affect us, but it does in high turnover. All things being equal, or close to equal with candidates, take the one with the shorter total commute!

The Best of 2019: The 3 Rules About Kissing Your Boss!

I’m on a holiday break. Boys are home, we’re going on a trip. So, I’ve put together a Best of 2019 post list for you to enjoy. I’ll be back after the holidays with new stuff and some cool announcements for 2020! (This post was actually written in 2017, but for some reason got new life this year and was of the most read) 

May 20, 2013, I published a silly little post on my blog called “The Rules About Hugging at Work”. The post might have taken me twenty minutes to write. It was just an idea I got, like thousands of others, I thought it was funny, so I wrote about it. To date, it’s been read over 1 Million times. Huff Post picked it up, it went viral on LinkedIn (I got over 1300 comments), I’ve been interviewed and called, “The World’s Foremost Expert on Workplace Hugging”.

Twenty minutes of writing, a throwaway idea.

Months later I posted the exact same post on LinkedIn’s publishing platform. This was before everyone could publish (remember that), you had to be invited. I got a call from the LinkedIn chief editor offering me access. I didn’t know if it was really anything so I just threw up old posts I had already written but added a few new pieces.

On the Hugging post, I added at the bottom my next post would be: The 3 Rules About Kissing Your Boss! as a joke. I never wrote it. Until five years later I got a message last week from someone who found the hugging post for the first time asking how they could find the kissing post! I didn’t even know what they were talking about!

So, here’s the kissing post! 

It would be easy to dismiss the notion of kissing your boss as something that would never happen. When I say ‘never’ I mean never. I mean honestly do any of us ever feel it would be appropriate to kiss your boss!?

This one is hard for me. I come from a family of huggers and kissers! My father is 73 and he still kisses me on the lips when I greet him or say goodbye. Some folks would find that super weird. Different cultures do different things.

My son was overseas this summer visiting friends in Belgium and it was quite common for new people he met to give him that traditional kiss on the cheek, but he said those same people would not give you a hug or a handshake. This kiss on the cheek greeting is very common in many parts of the world.

In America, you would probably get punched in the face if you tried kissing someone on the cheek you were meeting for the first time! I mean, look, if I don’t know you, I certainly don’t want your germs all over my face! Most Europeans I meet for business purposes in the states who come here often have gotten used to handshakes, rarely do I see one of them do the cheek kiss greeting.

All of this is way different, though, then kissing your boss! Kissing your boss would have to be a special circumstance or special occasion. I’m guessing if you’re kissing your boss one of a few things probably hasn’t happened in that relationship. You’ve probably become very good friends, some once in a lifetime event is happening, or you’ve become romantically involved, in which case, not really your boss any longer!

So, if we can see a time in which you might kiss your boss, the great HR pro in me says we better put some pen to policy and make some rules! Here are my three rules for kissing your boss:

1. No kissing on the lips. Kissing on the lips is a slippery slope you can’t put back in the bag! Wants that happens you might as well just get undressed, stuff just got real! We’re going to assume this kiss is not romantic in nature, completely as professional as kissing your boss can be professional!

2. Do not leave moisture on your boss’s cheek. Okay, somehow we got down this rabbit hole to a point where I’m kissing my boss on his or her cheek, let’s not make this super awkward by leaving a nice big wet spot on the side of their face. If you’re so excited to be kissing your boss’s cheek that you leave it wet, you should be checked into a mental ward.

3. Do not have bad breath. First impressions are critical and even though your boss knows you, your boss doesn’t know the kissing you. Do not go in for that first boss kiss with bad breath! I love Ice Breakers Mints and I have some close by almost always. Why? I can’t stand bad breath. Coffee breath is the worst and I know a lot of you are major coffee drinkers! Guess what? Diet Mt Dew breath smells like a flower garden! Think about that next time you go for a fill-up at the coffee station at work!

See? That’s how you do it. That’s how the World’s Foremost Expert in Workplace Hugging becomes the World’s Foremost Expert on Boss Kissing. You can’t be a one-trick pony in this world folks, we all need to keep striving on reinventing ourselves. Watch out fall conference circuit! If you see Sackett coming I might have just raised the game!

So, hit me in the comments. What are your rules for kissing your boss!?

The Best of 2019: The Reason You’re Being Ghosted After an Interview!

I’m on a holiday break. Boys are home, we’re going on a trip. So, I’ve put together a Best of 2019 post list for you to enjoy. I’ll be back after the holidays with new stuff and some cool announcements for 2020! 

Dear Timmy,

I recently applied for a position that I’m perfect for! A recruiter from the company contacted me and scheduled me for an interview with the manager. I went, the interview was a little over an hour and it went great! I immediately followed up with an email to the recruiter and the manager thanking them, but since then I’ve heard nothing and it’s been weeks. I’ve sent follow-up emails to both the recruiter and the manager and I’ve gotten no reply.

What should I do? Why do companies do this to candidates? I would rather they just tell me they aren’t interested than have them say nothing at all!

The Ghost Candidate

************************************************************

Dear Ghost,

There are a number of reasons that recruiters and hiring managers ghost candidates and none of them are good! Here’s a short-list of some of these reasons:

– They hated you and hope you go away when they ghost you because conflict is uncomfortable.

– They like you, but not as much as another candidate they’re trying to talk into the job, but want to leave you on the back burner, but they’re idiots and don’t know how to do this properly.

– They decided to promote someone internally and they don’t care about candidate experience enough to tell you they went another direction.

– They have a completely broken recruitment process and might still be going through it believing you’re just as happy as a pig in shi…

– They think they communicated to you electronically to bug off through their ATS, but they haven’t audited the process to know this isn’t working.

– The recruiter got fired and no one picked up the process.

I would love to tell you that ghosting candidates are a rare thing, but it’s not! It happens all the time! There is never a reason to ghost a candidate, ever! Sometimes I believe candidates get ghosted by recruiters because hiring managers don’t give feedback, but that still isn’t an excuse I would accept, at least tell the candidate that!

Look, I’ve ghosted people. At conference cocktail parties, I’ve been known to ghost my way right back up to my room and go to sleep! When it comes to candidates, I don’t ghost! I would rather tell them the truth so they don’t keep coming back around unless I want them to come back around.

I think most recruiters ghost candidates because they’re over their heads in the amount of work they have, and they mean to get back to people, but just don’t have the time. When you’re in the firefighting mode you tend to only communicate with the candidates you want, not the ones you don’t. Is this good practice? Heck, no! But when you’re fighting fires, you do what you have to do to stay alive.

What would I do, if I was you? 

Here are a few ideas to try if you really want to know the truth:

1. Send a handwritten letter to the CEO of the company briefly explaining your experience and what outcome you would like.

2. Go on Twitter and in 140 characters send a shot across the bow! “XYZ Co. I interviewed 2 weeks ago and still haven’t heard anything! Can you help me!?” (Will work on Facebook as well!)

3. Write a post about your experience on LinkedIn and tag the recruiter and the recruiter’s boss.

4. Take the hint and go find a company that truly values you and your talent! If the organization and this manager treat candidates like this, imagine how you’ll be treated as an employee?