Recruiters And Refs

Previously published via Fistful of Talent

Let’s face it; a blown call is a blown call.  Be it on the football field, basketball court or in hiring.  Recruiters and refs get tainted with the one or two blown calls but seldom do we celebrate the hundreds of good calls they make.

The other day I was watching a football match (soccer for all you neophytes) and this jerkoff ref completely blew a call.  I mean “might be on the take” blown call.  With steam coming out of my ears… I thought of how refs are a lot like recruiters.  To wit, here’s a list of 12 commonalities between these two professions.

  • Great recruiters/refs are human and have biases but keep them in check as best they can.  The high wire act of neutrality.  Decidedly not easy for refs or recruiters.  The best ones know how to keep that shit in check.
  • Great recruiters/refs are fair-minded.  Great recruiters represent the interest of both the candidate and the company.  The best compliment you can ever receive as one who hires… they seemed fair.  You can be harsh as long as you are fair.
  • Great recruiters/refs have great instincts and can make quick decisions.  In both professions, time is a scarce resource.  Of course, if we had more time, we’d prolly make “perfect” decisions.  They don’t have all the time in the world and oftentimes they rely on instincts.  And that’s a good thing btw.
  • Great recruiters/refs are consistent and reliable.  You can count on them.  You have an idea of what you are going to get and they deliver.  Their reputation precedes them… inna good way.  Being consistent isn’t easy but that’s one of the things that separate average from greatness.
  • Great recruiters/refs have a deep understanding of the game.  They know the hustle.  They know the grind.  They understand the ebb and flow.  They know when to speed things up and when to slow things down.
  • Great recruiters/refs have thick skin and don’t take shit personally.  Your feedback isn’t really all that important to them.  I mean, in general, they know when they fuck something up and when they haven’t.  That said, got some harsh words for them… not to worry, they’ve heard it all.  Your words don’t intimidate them.
  • Great recruiters/refs are known for their integrity.  Hiring and officiating is all about trust.  And trust cannot be broken.  The best refs and recruiters are beacons of integrity.  Untouchable… average people are weak… great refs and recruiters are never average.
  • Great recruiters/refs have a keen sense of communication.  Lots of stakeholders.  Everyone wants a piece of you and, in truth; part of the job is being a czar of communication.  Like pimping, it ain’t easy.
  • Great recruiters/refs have common sense.  Outside of the blown calls that we all make… you rarely see great refs / recruiters make stupid mistakes.  Again, separate the bad apples… the truly great ones just have a gift of making good decisions… on and off the field sort of speak.
  • Great recruiters/refs are confident.  For a moment, let’s separate confidence from arrogance.  Great refs / recruiters own the limelight without making us vomit in our mouths.  Everyone loves confidence.  In fact, if you don’t love confidence, it usually means that you’re a lame ass.  J/K.
  • Great recruiters/refs have a solid work ethic.  One truism… not a lot of fat people in old folk’s homes.  Right?  Also, great refs and recruiters work hard.  They take what they do seriously.  Think about it for a moment… not a lot of slackasses within the ilk of great refs and/or recruiters.
  • Great recruiters/refs are motivated.  It’s like they have a special gear.  The great ones at least.  It’s not like they need a special pep talk.  They just mystically know how to game up.  You don’t have to motivate them, they motivate themselves.
  • Great recruiters/refs are patient.  And patience is a virtue, right?  Yeah it is.  They say that you could call holding on every single play in the NFL or traveling on almost every single possession in the NBA.  And truth be told, a great recruiter could make a defensible case for AND against every single candidate.  Thank goodness they are patient.

In the history of refereeing AND recruiting, no one has gotten every single call right.  We all blow it from time to time.  We aim to get more calls correct than not of course and we need the world to forgive us when we muck it all up.

Note to self, I sure wish we had instant replay in hiring.  Right?


The Transformation of Jules

Previously published via Fistful of Talent

In the movie Pulp Fiction, Jules says a phrase from bible… Ezekiel 25:17

The quoted text from the movie goes like this…

“The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of the darkness. For he is truly his brother’s keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know I am the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon you.”

If you’ve seen the movie, you remember the first time Jules says it.  If you haven’t seen the movie… well, carve out three hours this weekend to view one the best films of the 90s (read: of all time).

In the film, Jules actually says the phrase twice… once at the apartment and once at the diner.  In both cases most of the phrase is intact sans the last line… at the apartment he says “I lay my vengeance upon thee” and at the diner he says “I lay my vengeance upon you.”  Nominal difference.  Or is it?

At the diner, Jules is reflecting on has transpired over the last few hours… as he reflects, he analyzes his bible quote.

“I been saying that shit for years. And if you heard it, that meant your ass. I never gave much thought to what it meant. I just thought it was some cold-blooded shit to say to a motherfucker before I popped a cap in his ass. But I saw some shit this morning made me think twice. See, now I’m thinking, maybe it means you’re the evil man, and I’m the righteous man, and Mr. 9 millimeter here, he’s the shepherd protecting my righteous ass in the valley of darkness. Or it could mean you’re the righteous man and I’m the shepherd and it’s the world that’s evil and selfish. I’d like that. But that shit ain’t the truth. The truth is, you’re the weak, and I’m the tyranny of evil men. But I’m trying, Ringo. I’m trying real hard to be the shepherd.”

No doubt that Jules is navigating a transformation.  Much like our beloved HR profession / industry.  Who are we, what we represent and/or why are questions we must ask of ourselves?  No need to be overly philosophical but let’s not be afraid of the tough questions either.

Do me a favor… please read the bible quote above again… pay particular attention to what is being said and not being said.  Where’s HR in that story?  Where are you in that story?

Here’s my take but I’d love to get yours via the comment section below…

  • Righteous man = HR
  • The inequities of the selfish = the status quo
  • The tyranny of evil men = our dependence on best practices
  • The valley of darkness = shitty working environment s (bad bosses, terrible benefits, crappy compensation, etc.)
  • Brother’s keeper = all stakeholders
  • Lost children = back handed reference to the management team

Please comment… I’m really curious to see what you come up with.

Btw, don’t try to look the quote up via the traditional bible… like most things in Hollywood, it is made up.

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The Fucking Noise

Previously published via Fistful of Talent

The single biggest threat to HR pros ever being strategic is lousy time management skills.

Declarative sentence over… allow me to build the case.

Noise in holding us back.  The fucking noise in particular.  Real strategic thinking and/or doing takes time.  Time is a commodity and most HR folks don’t have.  Noise management is a personal pursuit… meaning, what works for you might not work for another HR pro… so tailor your approach accordingly.  What is noise you ask?

Email - objectively review your email from the past week.  How many emails did you automatically delete?  You know, without even looking at them delete.  A ton of them right.  It could be worse actually; you could have given time to each one of them.  That’s a fucking waste of time.  Here’s a suggestion… unsubscribe from everything.  Everything.  When you need to look something up… visit Google.  You can always re-subscribe but my hope is that you’ll enjoy getting less email.  You’ll gain back some of your valuable time.  Another strategy for getting your time back is using a different email address for newsletters and other types of email.  I don’t believe that strategy works as over time… you just visit it less and less or at all.  Reclaim your inbox.  IMHO, you should only be using email about 10% of your day.  Let the culling begin.

Facebook – we all love Facebook but to argue that it isn’t a huge time suck is like arguing that Tom Cruise isn’t cray cray.  Exhibit 1 – couch + Ophra = cray cray.  The worst part of Facebook is that we allow dumb fucking content to invade our minds.  Either via friends or things that we’ve liked.  To Facebook’s credit they have allowed us to unsubscribe and/or filter all the content.  So, spend some time getting your feed clean… filter out the dumb shit.  Filter in the good stuff.  The reason you should spend time doing this is simple… it will streamline your time with Facebook.  You’ll get all the good stuff without the dumbness and/or calories.

Twitter – I’m probably not a great example of what to do and what not to do via the Twitters but I can tell you that I primarily use lists as my feed in Twitter.  Occasionally I use my main feed but only if I want to witness the randomness of life.  Kinda like reading the YouTube comments… humanity devolved.  I really enjoy the native Twitter application but when I want to follow conversations… I do so via hashtag and/or list mainly.  This saves me time and keeps me sane.  Also, like Facebook, you control who you follow.  It’s okay to love someone and yet not follow them via Twitter.  I promise… the world will continue on.  If someone is overtly religious, political, racist, sexist, explicit, etc etc etc… unfollow.  Clean up your stream and stop wasting time.  Lastly as relates to Twitter, I never read DM’s… ever.  Useless form of communication.  If you need something from me, you know how to get me.

Linkedin - the feed in LinkedIn is actually pretty good.  It trends more professional than Facebook.  For me, when I want snarky and sarcasm – I consume my cleaned up feed in Facebook.  When I want grownup content – I consume LinkedIn.  Also, LinkedIn groups are great but I suggest you unsubscribe from emails from the groups you belong to.  Again, an empty inbox is like a friend with great weed.  When you want content from that group… visit the group.  Interact and have fun but you don’t really need a daily or weekly email from them.  You think you do… you know, to stay on top of it all… but, that’s just a crutch.  Get your time back; get back to adding real value at work.  No one will think less of you because you discontinued your long standing relationship with a virtual group.  No one will ever know.  I promise. 

Text messages – people kill me with text messaging.  As if that shit is really important.  Just because someone text you… it doesn’t mean you have to text them back.  Like ever.  Don’t get me wrong… for quick questions texting and/or chat is great.  Ex.  Did we say 5 or 5:30 for the meeting?  Boom boom.  But having a full on conversation via text.  Fucking retarded.  A complete waste of time… you are kidding yourself if you don’t get that.

Voicemail - I rarely answer the phone.  Rarely.  I like my calls schedule… where I can prepare beforehand and not waste a ton of time chit chatting about useless shit.  Years ago I noticed a particular frustration welling up inside me… that I was the target of drive time calls for people.  WTF.  You’re in traffic and want to kill some of your time by calling me and wasting mine.  Fuck you.  Or fuck me for answering.  So, I don’t.  If you’ve ever tried to call me, then you’ve prolly got my voicemail.  I break with tradition from time to time but if someone wastes my time… I’ll never answer calls from them again.  Fool me once but never twice.  I like voicemail… I can paw my way through 10 voicemails in 2-3 minutes.  Boom, I got my time back. 

Employees – this is harder but worth it.  We all work with noisy people.  You know… employees that need to talk it out.  Don’t give up them just give them less of your time.  For instance, Tim complains to your every two weeks about some random shit.  His conversations usually last about 30 minutes.  Find a way to make his conversations last 10 minutes.  Find a way… lie if you have to… I don’t care… but get out of useless conversations.  Personally, I use the “I have to use the restroom” as my conversation ender.  It’s my way of pivoting out of a useless conversation.  Ruthless.  Yes.  I am ruthless when it comes to my fucking time.  You should be as well.

I could keep going but you get the point.  Think of time management as push versus pull.  You’ve got all these inputs… and you control them all… change the game by taking control of these inputs… get your fucking time back.

If you are an HR pro… do this simple exercise… how much of your time in any given week is spent on truly strategic initiatives?  Whatever the number is… why is that number so low?  My belief is simple… you don’t have time to be truly strategic because your time is spent for you… if you agree, get your time back.  Cut out the noise… rid yourself of the fucking noise.

My motto for time management is quite simple… your emergency is NOT necessarily my emergency.