Do you mind if I pray?

No, I don’t mind if you pray.

What I do mind is that you asked me that question while I was in the middle of an interview process with your company. I do mind that you were the HR manager of a large organization and still risked asking that question during an interview. I said I didn’t mind, but I wonder if I would’ve got the job if I said I did mind.

What I do mind is that I never called you out on putting me on the spot like that or making hiring decisions based on who people pray to.

Pay negotiations

Probably my least favorite part of being a recruiter is pay negotiations. I cringe every time they come up for many reasons. Reasons like when an applicant puts pay negotiable, gives me a number in the interview and we meet or exceed that number in our offer, but suddenly we need to consider paying more than that. I also cringe because I don’t have a lot of say in the negotiations and most candidates don’t handle pay negotiations gracefully. Because someone told you to negotiate I thought I’d list some things for you to consider when you are about to negotiate pay (from a little ol’ corporate recruiters perspective).

  • Don’t wait two weeks to tell me what your counter offer is. You can tell me what you want it to be sooner rather than later.  Having that conversation with me when you know what you want helps keep everyone on the same page and keeps the company from waiting around on you and losing another candidate. This may seem ideal for you as the candidate, but I can tell you, hiring managers don’t forget when you put them in a corner like that, whether you know about it or not.
  • Know why you are asking for what you are asking for. Another week of vacation? Why? Because you have been earning that many weeks at your current job? Cool. Another 25k? Why? Just because you googled the going rate and that’s what you came up with? Not cool. A lot of companies have someone on staff dedicated to researching going rates for your education and experience level. They will typically take that information and compare it to their contract award or budget and where that compares with other employees already with the company with similar skills and background. There is a lot of work that goes into creating in offer, in most cases, so know why you think you are worth those additional dollars.
  • Do not under any circumstances tell me you are just asking because someone told you never accept the first offer.  I’m not trying to sell you a car, we are talking about a potential career. I have business to conduct. My hiring managers have business to conduct. Don’t say “it never hurts to ask.” It does hurt to ask if you are doing it for no reason. You could be viewed as cocky or ignorant depending on what kind of number you try to counter with.
  • Also don’t tell me you know Bradley Justin that works for our company and you know he makes 88,000/yr so you would like the same amount just because. I will not talk about other employees pay rates with you, I just won’t.
  • And don’t tell me you will save pay discussions for the “important people.” I’ll hope you meant hiring manager or higher and try not to take offense, but I won’t forget what you said and I will always have that in the back of my mind when you need something from me or my department in the future. I will always kill you with kindness and answer your questions because I’m really HR and that’s what I’m here for, but I won’t forget how rude you were from the beginning.

Just a few helpful tips from my desk to yours! I know you’re going to negotiate so by all means, negotiate the right way!

Salary

 

Rock stars need not apply

I wonder how we got started using the phrase “rock star” to describe awesome candidates. Who thought of it first? The hiring manager or the recruiter? Was it the candidate?

Rock Star

I’ve been thinking about how funny it is to post that you are looking for a rock star candidate or whatever variation you use in your posting promotions. Maybe “rock star” is a completely unappealing phrase to the person you are looking for, because my guess is you and your managers haven’t thought about the message you are really conveying. Now some positions do qualify for a rock star status candidate, but most do not.

I giggled at the first definition that came up of rock star because it says “famous and successful singer or performer of rock music”. Does anyone even make rock music anymore? I digress.. Rock stars are not created equally, so be careful what you wish for. Remember when David Lee Roth trashed a dressing room in Pueblo, CO because they were served brown M&Ms and Van Halen’s contract clearly stated the brown ones had to be removed? (Full disclosure: I don’t remember it, I’m not that old. I just read about it and yes I know it’s an extreme example and the clause in the contract actually served a valuable purpose, just let me pitch my challenge to you, okay?). These are the kind of strategic requirements that could be proposed to you by that rock star you think you must have. Think about this

  1. Not all rock stars create good music Just because you don’t like them doesn’t mean they are not a star, but its important to know that not every star will appeal to your taste or needs.
  2. Rock stars can be difficult to manage. Don’t just take my word for it, ask my boss. I’m a pain. I have clear-cut opinions on just about everything. I have no interest in doing things that I know I have no interest in. I haggle over everything. I prove my point any way that I can, which even means using his own words against him. I could continue this list of hard to manage qualities I have, but for the sake of your interest I’ll stop there and tell you this, if you leave me alone for 48 hours with the tools I want I will produce results. 48 hours is all I want… oh and let me shut my door, let me crank up my Nicki Minaj channel on Pandora, let me do it my way aaaand all those other things I previously mentioned. See what I did there?  (I kid, I’m definitely not a pain to manage).  Everybody’s results have a price, you need to decide is it necessary (and feasible) to pay the rock star price?
  3. Rock stars get bored.If you don’t have what it takes to keep a rock star entertained you are headed down a dangerous path. Sometimes it means letting the rock star do what they want to do and sometimes it means making sure you have challenges for the rock star in the workplace, at least now and then.

It’s important (recruiters) to know what your organizations needs are and to sometimes bring your hiring managers back in and give them a reality check. Can you afford a bunch of rock stars? What will a bunch of new rock stars do to your work environment? Can you really retain a rock star? Consistently good performing and reliable employees are great too, everyone cannot be a rock star. Maybe you do need to go out there and get a rock star, all I’m saying is don’t be surprised when the rock star behavior/attitude come along too.

HR under fire

Scrolling around through some social media sites recently I watched HR take some heat for the large number of unemployed, from the unemployed. I read through several conversations that were happening before I gave up on trying to understand the nonsense and just power down. I kept thinking later that it would’ve done the profession zero good for me to try to engage in conversation to clear up some obvious misunderstandings. This group of people seemed to have made their mind up and probably would’ve argued with anyone about anything, and that’s a shame, right?

i hate hr

Let me back up to a week ago. The closing general session of the SHRM legislative conference was the Secretary of Labor from the U.S. Department of Labor, Thomas Perez. He was a wonderful speaker, very charismatic and he took charge of the room like a pro! He had stories too. Stories that would make the hardest of hearts soften. As I listened to him tell the tales of the single mother who couldn’t turn her heat up because she was many months unemployed and struggling to find a job so she bundled up and rationed her food to stay within budget, I looked around the room full of HR professionals. I looked to see who was engaged, who was tweeting and who was truly heart-broken. Then I thought of the worst employee I ever had and how relieved we were when she was no longer employed with us. What if the lady he was telling the story about was her? The employee that had a problem with every holiday we took. The employee that had a problem with every supervisor who asked her to do anything. The employee who was offended by the candy in the vending machine. We’ve all had those employees, right? What if that long-term unemployed person really is that employee?

What blows my mind is that SHRM was very involved in the efforts for the “Ready to Work” initiative, so speaking for the HR community, they care about those long-term unemployed. I also didn’t think it was a secret that HR does NOT own the hiring process, but to read the comments I read it must be a secret still. Hey public, HR doesn’t own the hiring process (and they shouldn’t).

So back to the conversations my computer screen was flooded with, what if those people are that employee? Can we help them? Do we do anything for them? Is it HRs responsibility to get them back on track? Is there really a skills gap in the country or is there an attitude gap? Or better yet, an entitlement gap? Something to chew on this Monday morning, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Pick up the phone

You remember that awesome recruiting workshop I just talked about a couple of days ago? yeah… I’m going to talk about it for the next 6 months probably. I get excited when respectable, experienced pros start talking about social media and its role in todays work place.

The most obvious thing Tim talked about that made me go durhhhhh was the Facebook page for Facebook recruiting. Facebook is a little scary to personally recruit with because there are a bazillion creepers out there. At a previous job I made a page just for my office hello is it leads your looking for(to avoid creepers), but why didn’t I think of just having my own page and having each of my recruiters have their own page? Hindsight. This totally just reminded me of another thing that I had been introduced to for Facebook recruiting: the monster.com BeKnown app. Two problems with it: 1) Monster is not my favorite and 2) Just reading that it keeps your personal and professional life separate exhausts me.

Separating your personal and professional life is another topic that we touched on. I’ve been asked before “Why do you use your twitter for personal and professional? Why don’t you just have two separate accounts?” I use the same account for everything because it’s exhausting to have multiple accounts on the same social media outlet. For the most part I am completely myself on my social media accounts and the fun thing about that is, I’m not such a terrible person that I need constant censorship AND I am a recruiter 24/7 so it is part of my personal life.  The one thing that I’m not as careful with, though, is making sure I’m sharing relevant information for my targeted audience. It’s okay to share stuff you like, but if it’s not relevant to the people you are trying to attract to connect with you don’t be surprised when you are not making those connections, ya dig? The biggest thing you can do to be successful in this arena is make sure you are giving your audience more than you are taking from your audience. I’m the worst about sharing things irrelevant to my targeted audience these days because I will share something that I think is funny in a heartbeat, or an HR article in half a millisecond without thinking about those EEs or CEs that don’t care about that stuff. This is where my social media recruiting needs improvement, lots of it. (See, its okay to not be perfect with your #SoMe efforts from day one. Don’t let that scare you).

By all means, avoid just sharing job posts. Always give more than you take. And reply to people!
By all means, avoid just sharing job posts. Always give more than you take. And reply to people!

The main thing you need to know about using social media for your recruiting efforts is that it does not replace the telephone. Those of us who push social media recruiting push it because it helps you, not because it replaces anything. It’s a form of marketing to attract the talent you need. It works for you when you’re not working. Much like HR technology it is just a device to make your recruiting work faster. It is another tool in your tool belt! It is not the end all be all. It is not a replacement for the telephone. Just in case you are confused, NO it does not replace the telephone 🙂 . Pick up that phone and call people! Social media does not take the social function out of recruiting, you still have to develop relationships with people and have voice to voice conversations.

I love social media and I love it when other HR folks love social media. If you have been thinking about taking that social media step, but you have questions or you are worried, email me (hutto.ipad@gmail.com)! If I don’t know the answer I bet I know someone who does! If you have a great tip, please feel free to leave it in the comments below, I’d love to hear what you’ve found works for you.