Hiring Manager Accountability

A very long trip to Eastern Europe caused a bit of a lag in blog posts. Rushed back to the US and had a great webinar with our friends at FistfulofTalent.com. There was a ton valuable content, but one idea has really stuck with me the most which deals with creating accountability around the hiring manager.

There are some things that HR can do well in an organization. I firmly don’t believe that recruitment is one of them however. The most effective recruiters in your company are as follows (as least in my view) …

1.)  Founder

2.)  CEO (usually)

3.)  Hiring Manager

This is not to denigrate recruiters and HR, just a simple reality that the best recruiter will be those closest to the job and the long-range view of the company. HR plays a critical role in creating screening process, but not closing the deal.

Recruitment is often dumped into HR, with the role of the hiring manager typically being one or two interviews along the way. There is typically no real accountability for a bad hire, however nothing w

ill impact a manager’s ability to do their job successfully more than a bad hire. Quite a paradox.

It’s time to drive accountability into the process and begin measuring a manager’s hiring effectiveness (another great role in the process for HR). It doesn’t need to be complicated. Decide on a couple metrics such as …

1.)  Turnover (first 90 days)

2.)  Turnover  (1 year)


3.)  Return on Hire (A new metric that can help you measure overall quality of hire by looking overall manager and candidate satisfaction. Ultimately, you are identifying still poor hires who haven’t quit or gotten fired. I have a white paper for more info and a ChequedTV episode covering the topic.)

Create a dashboard and start measuring with each new hire. Develop a simple heat map to show you which managers are performing well in the hiring department and which are not. You will immediately see the problem managers and can take action.

Simple stuff here … let HR support the hiring process through tools, etc. and assisting the hiring manager with training, development and resources. Put the ultimately accountability on the hiring manager. It is there team, isn’t it?


Why a Recruitment Brand is Nonsense

Been traveling a bunch lately and had a chance to stop by the offices of a pretty cool company, Evviva Brands, in San Francisco. This is not intended to be a plug in any way but the conversation got me thinking. Evviva does employment related branding for some seriously big companies like Marriott and HSBC. They actually do it in some really innovative ways … through games.

“Recruitment branding” has become a buzz-word de jour of late. Having an image as a great place to work or an innovative environment or whatever is all good. But I think the entire conversation is pretty misguided.

There can be only one brand and that belongs to the whole company. “Who are we or what do we want to be in the minds of a candidate” is the wrong question and yields a lack of authenticity. “What about our company and its brand can we leverage to attract top talent” may be a better approach. (For the record, this is the approach Evviva takes.)

Companies attract top talent when there is a brand alignment to customers, employees, candidates, and any other stakeholders. It’s probably the most over used analogy in HR but consider Southwest Airlines. If SWA was not a fun airline to begin with, would a brand that promotes them as a fun place to work ever have impact? Maybe for a little while until the truth came out.

Recruitment branding exercises often focus more on brainstorming appealing statements to candidates and less on communicating the natural advantages of the business. The next time you are thinking about your recruitment brand, really consider your overall corporate brand. What makes is special, different? Why did your top performers choose you over other companies, why do they stay and excel? Need a place to start? Ask them. Chances are it will say far more about your company as a whole than any inauthentic “recruitment brand”.


Are HR & Tech Just Beginning to Collide?

Just did a new guest blog for our friends over at HrRemix as part of their Future of HR Series. Here is an excerpt and be sure to have a look ….

When people ask about the future of HR technology, it’s difficult to paint a crystal clear picture because we can never be positive of what the coming days will hold. Yet, while complete certainty is unavailable, experience and understanding lead us to some well-informed, and thus very likely, conclusions about the impact of modern science on some of the most fundamental aspects of our field.  In essence, the collision between HR and technology has only just begun. READ MORE


Why Turnover Doesn’t Matter (a.k.a “So? What if they sucked?”)

For decades, HR organizations and executives throughout the company have fretted over turnover metrics. “Our turnover is increasing … what are we going to do?” was a refrain heard constantly.

But, just once, another question needs to be asked …

“So? What if they sucked?”

There are probably more tactful ways to get to the same issue but it’s a legitimate question. The fact is turnover is only a bad thing if you loose a good performer. It can be a great thing if finally that deadbeat of an employee takes a walk.

We need to be looking for a new metric that can focus on “good turnover” and “bad turnover”. Of course “good turnover” would mean that you made a bad hire in the first place but shouldn’t that go into a successful hiring metric?

Here is my proposal (right off the top of my head) to begin a new set of metrics with the resulting outcome …

1.)  Good Turnover: Crappy employee quits or gets fired. Commence party, flog the recruiter.

2.)  Bad Turnover: Good employee quits or gets fired. No party, flog the manager.

I’m sure that you can come up with far better ideas but I would challenge you to really rethink the entire turnover metric as it’s dated and tells us nothing about the state or health of our operation.


How Much Do You Experiment?

Love, love, love this article in Fast Company about 37 Signals. If you aren’t familiar with them, you may be with their popular project management software Base Camp.

37 Signals CEO Jason Freid discusses how his company has become “somewhat of a laboratory for innovative workplace practices.” Mundane things like a 4-day work week in the summer. His rationale? “There’s a shortage of talent out there, and if there’s a shortage of resources, you want to conserve those resources.” For those environmentalists reading, he likens it to a “peak people theory”.

How much experimentation goes on in your organization? Unfortunately, far too many HR and legal departments have gone the opposite direction and are focusing far more on risk avoidance than anything else.

Here is a personal experience in my company, Chequed.com. We are a software company that hires a lot of very bright, very motivated and very … um … demanding employees. They can be … they are very smart and very motivated. We really try and cut against the grain of traditional HR practices as much as possible. Some experiments work and some don’t. When we began, we refused to put a vacation policy in place. Our

rational was if you need a day or week off, take it off. Of course, this requires your manager’s approval and you must be meeting your goals. It’s all about personal responsibility and clear accountability / performance. We hire adults, entrust them with millions of dollars in client relationships and try to treat them accordingly.

We get stung by this policy from time to time. Even HR technology companies can make a bad hire every once in a while. But, the good far outweighs the bad and the experiment paid off. Like I said, not experiments have worked as well (more on that in another post).

How can you experiment? When was the last time you focused on the upside and ignored the risk in eliminating an old-fashioned process or launched a new, slightly outlandish initiative.

We all need to experiment more … isn’t that really where the fun is?


The Lacking Intelligence with HR Technology Integrations (a.k.a. The Dongle Just Doesn’t Cut It)

The word “dongle” has become a part of my daily lexicon. It’s a very odd word that sounds strangely dirty. Everyone laughs when it comes up in a meeting. (See, you are laughing right now and I seriously am not trying to be provocative.)

The odd part of a dongle is the fact that it even exists. It connects one thing to another thing to yet another thing to make the first thing work.

Standard HR technology integrations work the same way most of the time. One technology, usually an ATS, has a bunch of dongles hanging off connecting various other pieces of component software. That’s fine if all you are trying to do is just get the information back into the system of record.

But, what if you want to actually leverage that data throughout the hiring process? Here is an example I see all of the time … an ATS has “hooks” into a skills test, pre-employment assessment and a background check. A candidate applies, takes the skills test, then takes a pre-employment assessment, then phone screen, in-person interview, yada, yada, offer. Typically, the only real information going back into the ATS is the score. You can clearly see that they passed the skills test and that they got a satisfactory score on the assessment.

Here is the lack of intelligence though. What about your ability to actually use the information, beside the scores, in a meaningful way? Think about the pre-employment assessment. Most vendors provide a wealth of information about the candidate and their job fit. Most also provide detailed narratives and interview questions. Some even provide specific coaching and on-boarding suggestions. Standard integrations miss all of this and “check the box” that a screening component was completed, but the leverage effect is lost.

In the other post, I talked about breaking the silos in talent selection. I discussed that information collected in one part of the screening process is not usually shared effectively to drive another. Current HR integration strategy can really cause or exacerbate this problem. We are focused on the scores of various parts of the selection process or the fact that they have simply taken place, but require entering multiple systems to gain any insight into the issues identified.

This is not an easy problem to correct. HR tech vendors and their clients have long struggled with the gross inefficiency of building an integration. This is improving as API’s become more open and mid-ware components such as HR Integrations become more mainstream. But, this doesn’t solve the intelligence problem.

In the meantime, HR needs to make sure that even though the ATS is showing that a process is complete, the full report explaining why a candidate scored as they did is being shared and used throughout the screening process. Without this intelligence sharing, the integration becomes a very elegant way to “check the box”.