Myths about Introverts

ImageYou may have read my previous post on the Social Bully of Retention Plans, on the discussion of introverts and extroverts at social gatherings at the office. I received some very interesting replies, including a couple personal emails from bloggers who seemed to want to tell me, “how it really is”. One of my very good friends is an extrovert, we do a lot together both in the community and at home watching movies. When we are together, it is very difficult to tell who is the introvert and who is the extrovert because of our flexible and accommodating personalities. There are myths that introverts are “missing out”, “don’t know how to have fun”, are “cold” and “antisocial”, lack creativity, are shy, don’t like people, don’t like to talk, are only “book smart”, and more…. these are simply not true. All of these traits have no preference for personality, they can belong to anyone. Discerning the difference between the two is not as simple as outgoing and shy. There are many misconceptions between these two personalities, and unfortunately, because extroverts make up 70% and more of the population, introverts have been labeled unjustly. This post is intended to clarify the personalities in a positive light, and give more background information on why introverts should be valued in the workplace, not shamed, but encouraged to be themselves- just as extroverts are.

Myth #1) Introverts are Shy. Shyness implies a fear of social interaction- introverts are not any more afraid of people than extroverts. When I worked for a large IT company, there were mass company events, or “social gatherings” rather, once a week. The Director of Events would speak in front of aproximately 2,000 people and more over the course of the day with a team moral booster speech, act as MC, and so forth… And every morning, he would put anti-anxiety pills in his coffee about 20minutes before going on. He was an extrovert, and he could barely speak in front of a crowd without his meds. Shyness is unique to the person, not the intro-extro personality.

Myth #2) Introverts don’t have fun. I would be very interested to know what group of introverts came forward with this information. Introverts go paintballing, are horse enthusiasts, do extreme sports, belong to clubs, go to concerts, and take the train to work just like anyone else. Just like extroverts, there are high energy individuals and low energy individuals. Some introverts don’t like the outdoors, but like cooking instead- others thrive when mountain climbing but don’t like books. Introverts make their fun how it meets their own needs and what is good for them. Which leads me to the next myth, that introverts can change to be like extroverts- and it would be better for them.

Myth #3) Introverts can change to be like extroverts- and it would be better for them. Introverts cannot change, just as extroverts cannot change. Depending on the field of work that each goes into- they may adopt traits that assist them in their environment. Even more so if the individual is passionate about their line of work, and has a dynamic character. In this instance a strong introvert can be an Event Planner, and a strong extrovert can be a Librarian. Although it is a tad unusual for these, as the majority  dominates the opposite personality, it is not unheard of, and will not hinder the personality’s success. If introverts are forced, coerced, or made to believe they “must be an extrovert”, it can take a severe toll on them expending more of their energy, kind of like a jaguar pretending to be a dove all day- it’s just harder. This may be why some people think introverts tire out more easily or are extra quiet- it could just be because they have used up all their energy sporting their extrovert skills.

Myth #4) Introverts make poor managers and don’t connect with employees. False. Introverts in the office are typically in the “know” for the office pulse, but tend to fly beneath the radar undetected. No doubt that extroverts make a point of their presence being noticed- however introverts as managers sport a reliable, trustworthy open door policy, as opposed to a fluttering social butterfly get around. For professionals that have worked into middle-but for sure upper and senior management, they can attest that the differences between intro-extro at these levels become very difficult to spot. This is because a good manager climbing the ranks typically has to have a dynamic personality and character to effectively manage a diverse group of individuals. A tunnel extrovert cannot manage an introvert, and a tunnel introvert cannot manage an extrovert. Either/or, the fact remains that the stats flip for management- upper management is made up of 70% introverts > this says a lot. Introverts are more sensitive to employee relations and culture which makes them valued managers. This is primarily due to the more easy going nature of introverts who enjoy exploring different types of stimulus at varying degrees as opposed to a lot of stimulus at one degree all at once.

introvertMyth #5) Introverts only want to be alone. Believe it or not, just like extroverts- there are “world class introverts” just like “world class extroverts”. There are different sub-levels and degrees of each, kind of like the difference between being outgoing and obnoxious. There are world class introverts (kind of like myself) that can go days without being in touch with the rest of the world, even without a phone or computer. Sometimes I just really enjoy reading, writing, contemplating, and being creative on my own for a bit. Usually I want to share this with someone when I’m done my time alone, and I love sharing with other introverts who do the same thing. But believe me, not all introverts like to be alone. There are a lot who enjoy talking and sharing regularly throughout their day. Typically though, introverts prefer groups of 1-3 of close friends who they have sincere, close relationships and connections with as opposed to 5-8 people (again- notice the increase in stimulus) when together at once. It’s not that they want to be alone- it’s that they require lesser stimulus overall. Introverts get lonely for company and relationships just like anyone else.

Myth #6) Introverts are not creative. A lot of this stems from the myth about introverts having their noses in books, and being quiet all the time. Introverts can be very creative, in fact, there is not a statistic that can tell you who is more creative. Each personality enjoys art, music, food, languages, culture, and everything in between. Each personality expresses their creativity differently- writing, reading, drawing, painting, playing an instrument, designing a web page, marketing, blogging, social networking, public speaking, community networking, and the lot to follow.

I hope this helps you in your journey with understanding the differences, and how to positively work with, and understand introverts. Perhaps even for some of you (30%) you recognize yourself, and can see the qualities.

Happy Office Politics.

The Human Resources Myths

Image

There is a myth around Human Resources, their need in the office, their role among other workers, where they stand in the hierarchy, and what their job description is. And it seems, politely so, that a surprising amount of HR, don’t even know their political and ethical role.

Human Resources was established for employee counsel, as opposed to everyone going union and using union reps (who are employed by the employee, not the employer), as an alternative as an advocate for the employee with the company’s goals and best interest at heart. It is a balancing act that requires true diplomacy, tact, grace, and a cunning and shrewd business sense. Like hiring an accountant for the company, you do not simply hire someone to figure out the numbers nonsense. You hire an accountant who is knowledgeable about filing, working numbers in the right integrity, ensuring your costs remain low, and seek out options for marginal profit and can balance the books in a such a way it’s not costing unnecessary dollars waving “bye bye” out the window. So with HR, you should be seeking a strategist, not a people pleaser.

Human Resources is not a High School Guidance Counselor. I don’t want to hear about your petty problems with Bill and Sally. Spare me the details. It is your responsibility under the work code of ethics to figure it out until there are irreconcilable differences. If you want someone to be a sounding board, that’s different. In that case, tell me. But don’t stalk me to my office, complain, and then cover it up with how you really like them because they are such nice people. That’s gaslighting. Don’t complain in the first place. Therefore, do not privy me to information as a supposed “leak”, and then say “whoops, please don’t do anything” when really you think this is a sneaky and clever way of getting me to discipline someone. I’ll fire you for breech of trust, misrepresentation, withholding information, ethical slander, fraudulent character, triangling, gaslighting, undermining, contributing to bad moral, and anything else I can sum up. Two words, Be Ethical. HR is not here to do people pleasing, or to solve employee disputes. Solving disputes is a combined effort between the supervisor/manager and HR when it escalates, and not before then. For those of you who may not be aware, HR monitors your behaviour in disputes, handling relations, and conduct. We keep note of anything that is a misrepresentation of character, breech of trust, or violates ES (Employment Standards), LR (Labor Relations), or Company Policy. If you violate enough, you go on the black list. It may be 2 years later, but when push comes to shove, and your behaviour has not changed or showed character growth, technically it doesn’t exist in the books, but it will still go against you.

It’s not all RAGS (Rules and Regulations). Policy is unique and eloquent. That’s why it’s called Policy, not law, not rules, not rights. Policy. HR should be creative with policy and court it with the same enthusiasm as a business relationship would with high profile client. You should know the character of policy (when it is appropriate), its circumstance (how effective in this circumstance), its development (in all circles, such as Trades, Medical, Social Services, Legal, etc), its rulings (how successfully different policies have been implemented for this scenario), and when and WHERE to extend or expand upon it. Policy does not dictate the law, but it does paint the scene and players for which the legal action will be carried out. Make it eloquent, just, and above all: air tight. Everyone in the company should have signed a confidentiality agreement to start, integrity agreement second. Policy should be updated regularly with HR Employment Standards development, legislative changes, and company growth and development. Ten policies that work excellent for a company of 40 employees, may backfire for a company that doubles within a year.

“I don’t want to hear about your hobbies, quirks, or personality traits- you either have the skill set or you don’t.” As quoted from an HR professional here in Vancouver. What? Who decided on this? Is this why employees are suffering each other and everyone hates their job? I can tell you now, if someone has strong pathology, looks like a psychopath, is an outside of work alcoholic, philanderer, has anger issues, or is abusive – I will NOT hire you. For the simple reasons of how you act in your personal life is always a translation of how you will act in your professional life. Morals and Values do not change when you walk in the office door, you take them everywhere. Furthermore, if I find you annoying, I will not hire you based on that you don’t fit in with the culture of the office. Fair is fair. I’m not going to piss my employees off. And that’s not in policy.

Human Resources handles the basic duties of an Office Manager plus benefits and payroll. False! This is one of the most common myths, just add on the high school guidance counselor bit. HR does not manage the office the same way an OM does. Typically, OM (Office Managers) have administrative training, a professional HR should have training in employment law, basic one-to-one counsel, peer support, training and coaching abilities, and be able to provide counsel to senior management, something an OM is not trained to do. So on the Hierarchy scale, the HR doesn’t actually have a “place” as their diplomacy and integrity is supposed to keep them as advocates for the employees, but keeping managers and senior staff on track achieving company goals. It’s a neutral position, that if it has to could be somewhere beside a senior Director- however the HR would most definitely have to be quality and know their stuff.

These are just a few of the myths in HR. You may recognize one, two, or all. But if you are an HR professional, please keep these in mind and make critiques to be the better professional I bet you can be.

What HR isn’t Telling You…

Image

Every Human Resources Professional has seen some quirky, crazy, and eyebrow raising things in the office. Chances are, unless you’re involved in disciplinary action, a complaint, performance review, bucking for a raise, being onboarded or prepped for exit interviews, you will never see them. But don’t be fooled. HR knows more about you than your manager, and some of your closest coworkers. Here’s a look at what they are really thinking when it comes to employee relations…

1. “The No. 1 thing in job security is your relationship with your boss. Even if he says, ‘I’m sorry I really wanted to keep you, but they made me lay you off,’ that’s almost never true. He probably made that decision.” –Cynthia Shapiro, former human resource executive

2. “If you’re accused of sexual harassment, even if you’re found to be not guilty, people will always look at you funny afterwards. It can kill your career.” –Laurie Ruettimann, HR consultant and speaker in Raleigh, N.C .

3. “Even in jobs where you test applicants and those with the top scores are supposed to get the job, I’ve seen hiring managers fix scores to get the people they like.” –HR representative in the manufacturing industry.

4. “If you have a question, come to my office. Don’t corner me in the bathroom.” –HR professional at a mid-sized firm in North Carolina

5. “Children and hobbies do not belong on a résumé. And never, ever say, ‘Now that my kids are in college, I’m ready to get back in the workforce.’ ” –HR professional at a mid-sized firm in North Carolina

6. “You’re right to be paranoid. The company is always watching you, and there’s a record of everything you do: every phone call, every text, every tweet and instant message. At most companies, they save that data forever.” –Laurie Ruettimann, HR consultant and speaker in Raleigh, N.C

7. “I was asked by one CEO to hire the long-legged girl with the long dark hair even though she didn’t have the right skills. Another time, I was instructed not to hire anyone with children because the company had too many people leaving for soccer games. That kind of thing happens all the time.” –Cynthia Shapiro

8. “I know a lot more about you when you walk in the door than you realize. I’ll search for you on the web and often use my own personal network to do a pre-interview reference check.” –Senior HR Executive in Vancouver, BC

9. “Generally speaking, you only put someone on paid leave if you’re pretty certain that they might be terminated from the company once you do your investigation.” – Jenny Gantham

10. “Never accept the job immediately. Say you need to think about it overnight. Once you sign on the dotted line there’s no room for negotiation.” –A human resources professional in Seattle, WA

11. “If you get fired, don’t just stomp out and go on with your life. The company may be willing to give you some severance, especially if you can point to someone different from you who didn’t get as severe a punishment. Just saying, ‘Well, I talked to my attorney’ (even if you don’t have an attorney) can also give you some leverage.’” –Suzanne Lucas, a former HR executive

12. “If we ask ‘What salary are you looking for?’ say you’re flexible, or say it depends on the responsibilities of the job. Try not to name a salary unless we really push you, because that gives us a leg up in the negotiating.” –A human resources professional in Victoria, BC

13. “Companies do have black lists. It’s not written down anywhere but it’s a list of people they’d be happy to get rid of if the opportunity arises. If you feel invisible, if you’re getting bad assignments, if your boss is ignoring you, or if they move your office, you’re probably on it.” –Cynthia Shapiro

14. “I may say ‘I’m terminating you because you didn’t meet performance measures.’ I’m not going to say it’s because you’re a pain in the butt and piss people off every time you interact with them.’” –HR Manager at a Loblaw

15. “One time a candidate sent – I love this – a thank you card with a professional picture of herself, which quite honestly became the running joke for weeks. The picture was blown up and posted in my office with hearts drawn around it.” –HR director at a financial services firm

16. “Don’t ever tell me that you have to have this job because you’re going to lose your house, your kids have nothing to eat, your mother has cancer. Companies aren’t a charity.” –Suzanne Lucas

17. “Networking does not mean using Facebook or Linked In. It means going to events, getting your face in front of people and setting up informational interviews.” –A human resources professional in Hamilton, Ontario

18. “We get résumés on fancy schmantzy papers. We get them with gold-pressed lettering. We get them in binders and in document protectors with ribbons. None of that sways me.” –HR Manager in St. Cloud, Minnesota

19. “98 percent of the résumés we receive when we post a position on a big jobs site like hotjobs, monster or careerbuilder are junk, people who are nowhere near qualified. We’ll get a guy who’s a bar manager applying for a director of public affairs position. Or a shoe salesman. That’s why we like posting jobs on websites that target specific industries.” –Michael Slade, HR director at Eric Mower and Associates, an integrated marketing communications agency.

20. “I had somebody list their prison time as a job. And an exotic dancer who called herself a ‘customer service representative.’ ” –Sharlyn Lauby, human resources consultant in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

21. “Don’t stalk me.” –A human resources professional in Vancouver BC

The Talent War

Talent War

The Talent War is a well known battle to the HR professional about the historical problems, progress, and leading edge tactics used to attract and keep high profile candidates. It is a complex network of references, who knows who, reputation, personality traits, legacy, and social media. As start-up companies have their unique market to sell, what else could help them attract and keep talent? Luring quality profiles away from long standing organizations is an art, and the newest player to this battle is economic uncertainty.

One of the largest setbacks to recruiting is that the amount of quality candidates to recruit has diminished substantially for one main reason: economy. People are wary if they leave their present job that the grass really won’t be greener on the other side. Better the devil you know, than the devil you don’t if you’re thinking about transitioning. In addition to this setback, those who are looking to change fields or companies, are using recruiters to keep their transition confidential. Recruiters only check your most recent reference upon the job offer, not before. This gives the candidate a reasonable amount of privacy and respect to their current professional reputation. Here’s a few surefire ways to attract the best.

1) Culture, culture, culture. Just as realtors say “location, location, location”, a company is only as good as the people it hires, and as strong as its weakest link. For boomers, and the next two generations to follow, work culture was carved into 3 choices: Corporate, Non-Profit, Trades. Today, culture has over 50 different brands and labels like, Geek, Geekender, Polished, Tech, Chic, Trendy, Cook-Outs, Laid Back, Non-Vanilla, Butterscotch, Dilbert, The Office, Humble, Daily, and so many more… So if you’re unsure of what these mean, I suggest you grab an urban dictionary and check it out. My first main point is to know your culture. It’s not just HR who should know your culture, the CEO, COO, CAO, CFO, CSO, CCO, and their teams, should know the culture, how to describe it (have agreed on previous key words to use), how to market it, and how to keep it. A strong culture attracts like minded people and creates a “pack mentality”. If your employees feel they run in a pack together that is unique to them- they will be more ambitious to make referrals, attract business, and make their pack something to be sought after.

2) Social Media & Networking. One of the newest trends among start-up business’s and those who’s staff dominates the 20-35yr old age gap, is company blogs that focus on two things 1) company goals 2) and the culture that got them there. The culture is marketed in the blog through personality. The personality of who writes the blog will have a big impact on who it attracts. As for Linkedin, have a Linkedin account for your HR that is not personal, but strictly used to network and recruit. Have your HR use Linkedin, Twitter, FB, and check out Airbnb just so you know what you’re missing. So who’s running and deciding what the social media networks should and should not be? Millennials. The Millennials are the generation born between mid 1980’s and early 2000. Reasons following this are they have had a huge impact from their predecessor generation, GenX, who opened up the gates to evolving office culture and unleashing a whole new subcultre of personal lives for comedy clubs and trends like Black Adder, Kids in the Hall, Simpsons, Saved by the Bell, News Radio, Friends, and the most recent addition to all this for the newest generation, Silent Generation, Family Guy. This humor and the scenarios used to play them out have reshaped the value system for the Millennial kids, and in addition they have watched so much of it on computers, cell phones, ipads, or something else other than a television it has taught them that face to face conversation is not the first medium to use when networking. This is the generation that is deciding on appropriate platforms, criticising and testing them in accordance with their needs- and so far, it’s working.

Having a company blog helps to gather followers, and regular contributors. You get to know your audience, and all of a sudden it acts as a recruiting pool. This is hugely convenient! In addition it keeps the company in the loop with what others are posting and networking about. Even if your company doesn’t have a blog, to succeed with recruitment, it should have at least* Linkedin.

3) Rodriguez vs Roberts. I covered this in another post, that the number one untapped source of recruitment are individuals who’s names were difficult to pronounce on paper. On average it takes these individuals 20 resume’s to send out for a call back. However, for the anglo-saxon name, it takes 8-10 resume’s with runner up status for a job offer. This means that individuals who are well educated, articulated, excellent reputations and resources, are having the most difficulty changing companies because of a simple name. No more for that, it’s time to utilize these people as their skill set is in high demand. As HR let me ask bluntly, will you jeopardize your company’s success because of a name? No. So get on it already!

4) Job Description = Set the bar for goals, achievements, and rewards. A job description for high achievers is not a description of day to day activities- it’s a list of what you have *already achieved, and what the company wants you to achieve *in addition, and how you are expected to grow with them. Anyone can do clerical work, be responsible, make decisions, manage a staff, balance numbers, manage OHS, listen to employees vent, put in for payroll- and I bet I just covered about 8 job descriptions in that list- but it takes a very special employee to do it *well, and have a go getter personality that wants it to be better and better everytime it’s done. Somewhere along the road, the lines between competitive and ambitious got blurred. If you want excellence for an operations manager, ensure that you advertise you are looking for a High Profile Operations Manager that has a successful track record of managing budgets of $1.4m, a staff of 60, multiple stakeholders, specializes in tact and diplomacy, and can increase network relations by 18%. And by golly, do not shy away from asking for a portfolio. Some companies request you make one on their website for them to review. This is also a growing trend. If you send the message that you will only take the best, then you will attract it. -It will be muddied in with other applicants who do not put effort in to reading job descriptions, but they will be there.

5) Compensation = Creative Benefits. This is also something I have posted on previously: Creative Benefits vs. Pay. Creative Benefits include a paid gym membership, company yoga every friday at noon in the “yoga room” or “debriefing room”, chocolate bowls around the office, free bus tickets, starbucks gift cards, movie vouchers once a month, spa days, mental health days, onsite counselor, a tour of a local GVA Brewery once a year, onsite fully equipped kitchen, onsite chef, and so much more. The type of creative benefits your company chooses says a lot about the values of the company. Some of the most successful company benefits are those that are food related for obvious reasons. In addition, a nice compensation is always appreciated, however if you are being paid to go into a small town, or an unattractive area, that compensation will only buy you for so long. A complete relocation and onboarding package is the way to go. A relocation package has an “expense” budget of $5k+ for the move, with assistance arranged from the company with a local real estate / rental company to help you scout the area. I heard about a guy who relocated to Saskatchewan to a small town, and the company arranged for a local B&B to drop off a pack of beer, a homemade lasagna, and “welcome” basket of goodies to help him feel welcome, including a list of suggested clubs and networks to join with a list of other company members who were living in the area and a part of those groups to help build roots and get settled. How stellar is that? If people truly feel “a part of the team” they are more likely to stay through hard times and good times. Money isn’t everything if you can’t feel good about earning it.

Good luck recruiting! I hope it’s worth every penny!

The Recruiters Guide to Being a Good Recruiter

ft_interview_mainThere’s a lot of blogs and articles that focus on recruitment, searching for the right employee, getting to know them, determining if they are a good fit, steering clear of not so kosher applicant’s and so forth… However, very little articles focus on tricks and tips the recruiter can use not only to be a better recruiter, but to actually make informed decisions.

human-resources-by-onurdongelJob recruitment is based on whether or not an applicant can complete the job description. This is determined by 3 things, education, experience, and WHO you have worked for. No doubt, that getting on with Bombardier looks better on your resume than Mom & Pop’s Coffee Shop. So why are there so many dysfunctional employees in an office, why is no work getting done? Because people lie. It’s plain and simple. People have a natural incline to want to be better than what they really are, after all, we are all struggling to get ahead. People lie about their education, work history, job titles, and oh so much more. Well, in an attempt to weed out the liars, psychometric testing was introduced. What a joke that is. It guarantees results with personality testing, education testing, and profile compilation- all by asking some questions on a computer screen. Something about this smells of lazy 4 day old tacos to me. You want a better example?- Check out how accurate eHarmony testing was. Yeah, that’s what I thought. Success rates are almost as high as a spider outrunning liquid chocolate at the factory. So in an attempt to help todays recruiter be a better recruiter, and draw out more information from their candidate than any CPU screen could do, check out these tips:

1) Get Over Yourself. I have met a lot of men and women who think hiring and firing is all about being able to read people and determine whether or not they can do the job. Ultimately I find a lot of recruiters to be stuck up because the truth is, they have a lot of power- being able to determine your employment fate. So as a forewarning from an HR Strategist to the Recruiter, get over yourself. When candidates walk into the office and are more nervous than a shaved terrier, let me remind you that you could be the Hamburglar, and they will still be just as nervous. Employment is nervous for everyone. This is not about you.

2) You Don’t Know Everything- and neither do they. Some recruiters have a misconception that because they may interview high profile candidates that means that they themselves are either high profile, or they have a superpower that allows them to soak up all the knowledge from this individual and whammo-bammo, they are now Executive Directors! Just because you have a list of questions in front of you with four syllable words on the paper, does not mean you know everything about the job. A good recruiter researches the job title in different capacities so they can provoke incorrect answers or detect lies from a fraudulent applicant. You need to know how the Executive Assistant looks, acts, and what the language differences are between one that works in a non-profit office, and one that works in a corporate office. In addition, if the EA has been responsible for community liaising and social networking, don’t be so horrified if on their resume it says, “Melissa Dupree, #awesomechick99 FBMellimelonD, pursuing meaningful career as an EA w/ Global Assistants where I can use my skills to 3xx capability.” Admittedly, it could be seen as a little unprofessional, but check the job history- did this person just rock out on the community service awards and demonstrate incredible ability to build relationships and an agency’s reputation? The culture difference on paper just made sense. So take it for what it’s worth.

ss-recruiting-bootstrapped3) Get to know Transferable Skill Sets. Why? Because silly goose, this makes you money! I once had a recruiter tell me that because I had a Social Work degree, my job was with families, I had no place in the corporate world. Needless to say, I walked out of that interview. Many people don’t know that in your Social Work degree you can specialize in Law and Business Management like I did, where they teach you how to start and run your own business, apply for funding, hire, fire, work with difficult people, know the in’s and out’s and many loopholes of legislation, and develop finely tuned management skills. How do you think the average Social Worker does such difficult work?- they have to know everything there is to know about all the critical stakeholders to their job that includes, municipal/provincial/federal government systems, funding, systems, policy, human rights, networking, business management, people management, conflict resolution, threat analysis, and more. So when someone says I have a degree in PoliSci, don’t just think they’re good for working at City Hall. Remember that they have to learn diplomacy, tact, systems, order, legislation, current affairs = strategy, history, and more. This just made them a prime candidate for working with grants and funding, being a community liaison, technical writing, and other related things. People have potential. Don’t forget it. Please don’t oppress them into one role. Give everyone a chance at greatness.

4) Use Your Body Language to Test their Boundaries. One thing as a war strategist they teach you is terrain. Know what lays ahead of you and test whether it is an illusion by making smoke and watch where your enemy appears. This is metaphorical (Sun Tzu) and can be applied to so many scenarios. This time, we are using it with body language. I once was teamed up with a psychotherapist, during an interview who kicked the applicant under the table  twice, feigning “Whoops!” What was he doing?- he was testing the applicant’s boundaries. How did they respond? Were they even more nervous, did they get angry, did they kick back, did they not even really care, were they put off? So many possibilities. In another interview, I had a colleague come in late to the interview, pull up a chair RIGHT beside the applicant and sit down so close next to them, they were almost on top of them. Again, same questions, how do they respond? Do they politely pull away, offer to make room, get angry, get nervous, what? It doesn’t sound nice to put minor stressors on people applying for jobs- however with the number of people that apply for jobs who are committing fraud- I think it’s fair to employ tactics to soft out the liars. Other tactics include a ridiculously firm handshake, constant unwavering eye contact, give the applicant the wobbly chair, turn up/down the heat in extreme, give them hot water instead of cold water…. there are so many tricks of the trade used when interviewing. Have fun :)timemachine

5) Don’t Judge, Ask Questions. I have an extreme scenario for you, but none the less based off of a true story. I had once interviewed an absolutely lovely applicant, polished, poised, a little over dressed for the job, but who cares- they fit the bill and had amazing potential. My interview companion spits out, “They slept their way to the top, you can totally tell.” Whoa!? Wtf?! I didn’t realize you had a MA in behavioural studies to know that!? Stop being so judgemental! Just because someone is younger than you, has climbed higher than you, and has way more potential than you, does not mean they have gone about it in unscrupulous ways. Put aside your own issues, your own insecurities, and judgements, and be honest. This is why as an interview panel, we ask questions. Don’t assume someone is lying, or playing you. Typically the one’s who boast the expertise are the one’s who are working the hardest to sell you something. Don’t overlook that with your panel, the applicant, or yourself.

6) Trust Your Gut. Too many times there is one person on the interview panel who says, “I don’t know. Something just wasn’t right.” Remember the expression, “One of these things is not like the other.” Chances are, this person has picked up on this. Occasionally you really like someone as a professional, but personally you detect something chilly, creepy, eerie, offputting, foreign, or you just can’t put your finger on it.” I would forewarn you to stay away from these people. Ten years ago the stats for sociopaths was 1/99. Today, the stats are 1/10. Strong pathology alone is a statistical achievement at 1/4. Now, very few people can diagnose a sociopath and other sorts of pathology. It can take up to 20 years to really know if someone is a sociopath. But on that note, be safe, and be careful. You don’t know who you are bringing into the workplace, and you are ethically liable as a recruiter, and as HR.

7) Interview Applicant’s Who’s Name’s You Can’t Pronounce. HR stats show that for every Anglosaxon name on a resume, they receive 1/10 call backs. Every African-American or Latin name is 1/15. Every Arabic, Slavic, and other name is 1/20. Tough crowd. That means that valuable, educated, promising candidates are being overlooked for their name. You may have read the article I wrote previously on this topic exclusively. It’s tough to get a job if your name happens to Ryseai Aminoltajari. It’s surprising to learn on top of this how many applicants have already shortened their name to Rys Amin, and still don’t get a call back. Yet they have ample education from accredited western universities, excellent work experience, stellar references, and a local address so you know they can make it into the job easy- but no. They are still not getting callbacks. This has almost become an untapped hidden source to the job market. As a recruiter, it would be wise to contact these individuals and cash in on this high standing wealth of applicants. Remember you can always google how to say their name, or simply ask them. They will be too thrilled they got a callback to even notice you asked how to pronounce their name.

I hope this helps for now my HR cohorts! Good luck, and Happy Headhunting!

Mercy & Grace in the workplace

When facing public humiliation, disgrace, and a tarnished reputation, most of us pray for mercy and grace. We wish to be absolved from our wrong doings and go on to do better things, be given a better chance, and gain more positive enablers. So when I found out my beloved agency had an embezzlement scandal, I was rather shocked.

Sometime previously, there had been investigations completed, disciplinary action taken, and a conflict resolution specialist brought in as recommended by my action plan. Unfortunately the termination of employment for fraud and false representation had not been honoured.  I have tremendous respect for my former CEO and have tried to understand the decisions made that kept the individuals who participated in criminal activity there.

mercy-grace

Someone once told me that grace is a pardon of good will and faith, while mercy is getting what you don’t deserve.

Let me ask you, as managers and executive staff, do we not need mercy and grace in the workplace? It compliments forgiveness without explanation and complicated detail… More of a, “if you’re going to shoot yourself in the foot, you’re going to shoot yourself in the foot.” Most people deserve a second chance- I say that with my own bias towards anyone who’s a pedaphile or rapist- not acceptable under any circumstances and no, you don’t get a second chance in my books. But with that being said, I think we would all hope for a second chance because we all make mistakes. As managers, supervisors, assistants, friends, lovers, and someone’s child- we all make mistakes. A colleague of mine chuckled, “No one makes it through childhood unscathed.” And isn’t that the truth? We are not golden children who are golden statuesque adults of perfection. I admit, the workplace remedy of grace and mercy has further enabled my own sleep at night. It’s as though that one extra chance of walking the road with someone ensures you do your part on behalf of social exchange and give them the opportunity for change. And, if they are going to shoot themselves in the foot, then oh well. Employees want someone to believe in them. They don’t want someone watching them expecting a screw up. They don’t want their position to be undermined, nor taken for granted.

My experience has been that having good faith in sometimes even what appears to be the worst employee, really pays off. No- not because they marvelously change, but because instead of undermining them as a whole, even drowning in screw ups, you can sometimes make out a glimmer of talent- and as that wonderful employer that you are- you place them in another position within the company where that glimmer of talent encompasses their entire being and they can rock out as the best employee for that job ever. That’s called talent management- and by the way, it shouldn’t take HR to do talent management. It should be decent human beings who are rooting and hoping for one another. I think that’s well enough to ask for.

I hope that my employer continues to give me mercy and grace- just as swiftly as I am to judge others or make rash decisions. And before the few of you go out on a limb and start listing your degrees in assessment let me kindly remind you that it’s illegal to make decisions on an employee’s job based on predicting the future- it’s also against most spiritual practices. Please make sure you use your strategic planning for this one. Everyone deserves the feasible chance to get ahead. There’s enough success in the world to go around.

Look Who’s Playing HR

My biggest beef for the HR professional and unprofessional of the world is who is acting with moral and intent vs who is the bumbling fool in the office.

lazy-employee-01

For those of you unfamiliar with the education of an HR, let’s list the courses taken in both the certificate and degree program:

40 hrs + for each course including Business Management, Organizational Behaviour, HR Management, Benefits, Performance Management Training, Labour Relations, Health & Safety, Recruitment, Project Management, complete the list of full time courses taken. A maximum of 20 hrs will be spent on the next courses, Harassment Training, Conflict Resolution, Change Management, Communication, Conducting Effective Interviews, Building a Positive Workplace, International HR, Harassment and Investigations, Compensation, Community HR, HRIS, Tools for Training, Cross Cultural HR.

This seems like a sparse list of studies and training for an HR professional. Especially since typical job descriptions for HR and growing demand for community liaison, project mapping, action plans, policy writing, staff training & coaching, debriefing and counsel, translation, complex conflict resolution, workplace safety, crisis intervention, analysis and response, socioeconomic development, job description and report writing, talent management, payroll management, labour relations management, employment standards implementation, human rights awareness, employee wellness, disciplinary action and more are sought after skills of the trade. My own education consists of a bachelor’s in Social Work, an additional bachelor’s in Political Science, a Masters in War Strategy in Urban Communities, additional certificates in Conflict Resolution, NVCI, Character Assessment, Profiling, Threat Analysis & Response, languages: English, French, Spanish, Arabic, Russian, and this is all on top of my HR certificate. Okay, so I’m a little over educated for the standard HR position, but without at least half of my education, I honestly don’t know how I would be an adequate HR.

istock_books_college1

Human Resources manages such sensitive information. They get to know their employees on a whole new level, including disabilities, disciplinary action, reports, skill level, benefits, payroll, reviews, office conflict (and all the gossip that follows), they are privied to company budget information, cut backs, pay increases, bonus info, company vision, projected plans, vision change, and so much more. I do however suspect that as the HR position grows, so the required education will too. My biggest pet peeve for HR is glorified office managers who have zip training and score this amazing position. So much of HR is people oriented with tact and diplomacy. It takes a talented chameleon to go into a work environment and revolutionize positive change management from the ground up. There are many misconstrued ideas of what HR does and the role they hold within an organization. The old school myth is that HR is there to play problem solver for employees and smooth over relations. Or the flip side is that they are there to play Office Manager and handle payroll. Unfortunately these are bad reasons to take on an HR. The HR should be focused on people management, strategic planning, ensuring everyone is on task, assisting the senior management with goal development, and from there may optionally hold a speciality in the workforce such as trainer, recruiter, hiring manager, benefits manager, analysis, advisor, and so forth. What’s even more unfortunate is the people recruiting for HR seldom actually know what to look for and thus hire an individual lacking in skills. It is a vicious cycle for HR to face, especially those who are adequately trained, to step into this kind of situation.

Whoa to the HR- you face a rocky road. But don’t worry, with any luck you can write your own job description.