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January 2016

The Training Epidemic at Starbucks (1st World Problems Edition)...

Starbucks - it's a great company.  Examples:

--Marketing - they made me pay 3 bucks for a cup of coffee (check).   Tumblr_mocnq5LlXf1sntvimo1_500

--Employee Love - they hire well, and they take care of employees through things like full tuition aid (check).

--Training - their Baristas know what they are doing, and.... Wait a second.

Can I go off on a rant for second?  For the love of Shatner, can Starbucks close the business for an hour one day and train employees not to align the sipping portion of their lids with the seam on the cup?

1 out of every 10 trips to Starbucks, I get a lid put on this way.  The result?  Drippage.  Down the cup and on whatever surface is near underneath, which may or may not be my shirt at any given point.

The training is easy - DON'T PUT THE SIP HOLE LINED UP WITH THE SEAM OF THE CUP, PEOPLE. 

1st world problem?  Why, yes.  What's your point?

My life is full of these type of problems. Jay-Z would say this is one of 99 problems.  ASAP Rocky would say I've got a ******* problem.

You can make your donation to help at my non-profit to make our American lives better - at krisdunn.org.


If You Say, "Don't Think That I'm _____....", You've Already Lost...

Career Coaching day here at the Capitalist.  Today's lesson: Disclaimers in conversations.

You have to have a conversation with another individual.  You're trying to justify your stance or get the individual to take action.  You know they're not necessarily gong to like or be open to what you have to say.  

So you try to get in front of that by starting with a disclaimer.  #fail 

Need examples? Here you go:

"I'm not trying to be difficult, but"...

"Don't think I'm being defiant, but"...

"I know you and I haven't always seen eye to eye in the past, but"....

You know what happens you use disclaimers? The person in front of you already knows that you recognize you might be difficult, defiant or whatever language you laid down.  The walls?  They're already up, and the only way you're going to get what you want is if you already have incredible leverage.

Need an alternative?  Make an observation ("Hey, I noticed your email to ACME didn't really have a clear call to action") and SHUT UP.  Balls in their court. You made your observation, time for them to respond.

Even if they defend it perfectly, you've got the chance to re-engage by talking about common goals, etc, then asking them for help. 

Make an observation, let them drive and then reframe and ask for help in a humble way.

Or you could tell them, "I'm not trying to be difficult, but"... You can almost hear their mumbling under their breath now...

Letting them drive part of the conversation and then asking for help is a smart alternative to your conversational disclaimers. 

All disclaimers do is tell the world that people have considered you to be... whatever it is you're disclaiming... often in the past.


THE MOST IMPORTANT TALENT QUESTION IS: "Would You Trust This Person To Represent You?"

There's a lot of ways you can measure talent.  Do they have the KSAs - knowledge, skills and abilities - to do the job?  Are the behavioral markers that drive them personally and professionally a match for the job, your management style and the culture of your company?  No doubt you could add to this list with some of your favorites, right?

But the biggest talent question of all - the one that separates the players from the pretenders - is this:

Would you send this person to represent you - to a key client, to your CEO - and trust that regardless of experience level, they would make a great impression and not hurt you?

That question is bigger than you might think. You know some great professionals, people who do a great job.  But would you trust them to represent you when it really mattered?  When risk is the highest?

The list should be relatively small. 

As crazy as it sounds, some people don't ask this question when the stakes are high.  Let's say you're getting ready for the ole' King Tut repair project and you don't have time to do it yourself.  Who gets that job?  I use that example because someone recently send a girl/boy to do a woman/man's job. More from CNN:

"Eight museum employees will be charged with negligence after a botched reattachment of the beard on King Tutankhamun's mask, Egyptian authorities said.

King Tut's burial mask is displayed at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo and is considered a valuable artifact from ancient history.  There have been differing accounts of how the mask's blue-and-gold braided beard broke off since its damage came to light in 2014.  

At the time, a museum conservator said the beard detached when the mask accidentally fell during cleaning. It was quickly reattached with a strong adhesive, but the glue left a gap between the face and the beard, the conservator said.

Others said the beard loosened with age.

Museum officials dismissed the claims when they emerged, saying reports of the mask's damage were unfounded.

Prosecutors opened an investigation into the damage last year, saying workers did not follow protocol during restoration.

"The (museum) officials dealt recklessly with a piece of an artifact that is 3,300 years old, produced by one of the oldest civilizations in the world," the Administrative Prosecution said Saturday in a statement to state-run Ahram Online.

Prosecutors said the eight people who will be charged are six restorers and two former heads of the restoration section at the museum."

WTF? It's KING TUT People

King Tut.  Kind of a big deal. Maybe the hourly employee who tried to organize a union last year at the museum wasn't the right person to deal with that.  Superglue is always the answer for that person.  Maybe the administrator who actively talks about the fact he's got 3 more years before full retirement isn't the right one to run the project.

Whoever held overall responsibility - not named by the prosecutors, by the way - didn't ask the big question. 

Would you send this person to represent you - to a key client, to your CEO - and trust that regardless of experience level, they would make a great impression and not hurt you?

You should ask that question more than you do when assigning important work. And the list you come up with?  It should be small.

BONUS - Steve Martin performs his "King Tut" song in video below (email subscribers click through for video).


How to Remove Lies From Your Resume (and LinkedIn) Without Getting Fired...

Capitalist Note - Reposting this one as I got two emails asking for help on taking lies off thier resume in the last week - get 'em off there people. 

So you've distributed a lie on your resume.  Maybe a big one, maybe a small one.

Still, if you've followed things like past saga of Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson, any lie on your resume should give you cause for pause.  Consider the rundown of Thompson's alleged character issue via a resume lie from the San Jose Mecrury News:

(editor's note - this quote is from 2012, when Thompson stepped down) "Yahoo (YHOO) CEO Scott Thompson will step down from the helm of the Sunnyvale Internet company after a furor resulting from a false degree on his company bio, according to a Sunday report.

Thompson, who took over as head of the struggling company less than six months ago, claimed he received degrees in accounting and computer science from Stonehill College near Boston, but Yahoo's largest outside investor revealed earlier this month that the accounting degree was the only one he earned.

Yahoo admitted Thompson did not receive a computer science degree, but termed it an "inadvertent error." That did not halt the controversy stemming from the revelation, however, and Thompson's attempts at damage control -- two apologies to Yahoo staff and claims that the error resulted from a mistake by an executive search firm that recruited him to his former job at PayPal -- did little to calm calls for his job."

Thompson did something that's common - he had a degree, but claimed a specific degree he thought would help him in his preferred career path.  Then, when his career took off, he didn't remove the error.

I'm not telling you to lie.  I'm telling you that if you lie, you need to get the lie off your resume at some point.  Increasingly, that little lie is coming back to haunt people at all career levels.

Here's how to remove a lie from your resume:

1.  Pledge to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

2.  The next time you distribute a resume, go with the whole truth and nothing but the truth.  Guess what?  You get credit for the job you got with the resume lie in your new version of the real truth.

It's really that simple.  You've lied on your resume.  Just stop the madness with the next resume you distribute.  Be brave.

Of course, simply changing the resume back to the whole truth and nothing but the truth isn't as simple as that.

Then you've got to figure out the LinkedIn thing as well.   That's right, LinkedIn.

Odds are if you lied on your resume, you've lied on LinkedIn.  That's problematic, because that's not nearly as private as you distributing a resume in a private job search.

Thoughts on dealing with the LinkedIn problem:

1.  If you lose your job, change everything, including LinkedIn, automatically.  It's a natural breaking point and the risk is low at that point.

2.  If you're still employed, odds are the lie isn't about job title or broad responsibilities - since all your company could see those.  It's probably a supplemental detail, like a degree.

3.  One way to deal with the LinkedIn problem: Activity Broadcasts.  Login and go to your name at the top right hand corner, then click "settings".  Then check "Choose whether or note to share your profile edits", then uncheck the box that alerts people when you make changes to your profile.  This ups the chance you can make the change without people being aware that you're changing the detail in question.

4.  If you don't think #3 provides you enough cover, go for neutralizing what your profile says.  Instead of changing what your degree is in, do #3 and simply change the degree to "B.A.", without mention of a specific degree.

It's time to grow up and remove the lies - even the little ones - from your resume.

Do it before something that small and stupid causes your career harm.  Trust me, it's not worth it, and after your second job and the experience you have at that point, no one really cares.


The Job Turnover In My LinkedIn Network is 19.4%

If you're like me, you probably got an email from LinkedIn saying that ____ people you know started something new in 2015.  To be fair, not all of those represent people that started new jobs.  Many simply added a volunteer gig, changed their title, etc.  

Still, the numbers in my LinkedIn Network are interesting.  According to LinkedIn, 1,207 people I know started something new in 2015.  That's out of a total network of 6.195 contacts, which calculates to about 19.5%.

Is 19.5% turnover in my network bad?  What if we take aways the internal transfers, the volunteer job adds that don't require a change in the paycheck job, etc - and make it 14%?  Is 14% turnover bad?  

I'd take 14% turnover any day of the week with the type of people I've connected with on LinkedIn.  Check out the email I received, check your own and calculate the turnover percentage of your own network.

Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 6.09.27 PM


The Top 100 Movie Quotes for HR Pros: #72 is Bob Sugar: "I'm Here to Fire You, Jerry"...

Recurring series at the Capitalist: The Top 100 Movie Quotes of all time for HR Pros.  In no special order, I break down the 100 movie quotes that resonate most for me as a career HR pro.  Some will be funny, some will be serious... Some will tug at your heart like when the Fox voice-over guy said, "Tonight - a very special episode of 90210"... You get the vibe... I'll do it countdown-style like they're ranked, but let's face it - they're ALL special..

"I'm here to fire you, Jerry. It's real -You should say something"...

--Bob Sugar in Jerry Maguire

Ah yes, the offsite meeting.  Here's some rules/guidelines about what offsite meetings mean in your culture:

--If offsite meetings happen often and informally in your company, they mean nothing more than your normal meeting request received via outlook for Conference Room #5 on the second floor.

--If the person requesting the offsite meeting is clear about the purpose, either through what they proactively explain or give you upon request, you're good.  Play on.

--If the person says they just want to run through some things when you ask them for the offsite topic of conversation, it's probably a gripe session about someone other than you.  That's better than what's coming next.

--If the person won't really tell you what the offsite is about upon request or goes dark on you when you request the topic, beware.  The Bob Sugar approach might be just around the corner.

Bob Sugar is a sleazy, but hilarious, sports agent type in the movie Jerry Maguire.  The movie starts with Jerry having an epiphany at a conference that he's tired of the way his company does business, so he writes a manifesto and distributes it to all the partners/owners of the firm.  He then gets fired, with Bob Sugar sent by the company to do the dirty deed.

Clip appears below (email subscribers click through for video).  My favorite part?  After firing Jerry at the offsite location, Sugar breaks the silence by saying, "It's real -You should say something".  Classic lack of bedside manner when firing someone.

I also like the following quote -"What about me? You know what I went through? Knowing I was going to have to fire my mentor?"  Classic turn the tables!

Bob Sugar for president. Hit the clip below and read offsite meeting requests accordingly!


5 Ways a Seller/Candidate Recruiting Market Should Change The Way You Recruit...

So it's 2016.  Probably time to give in and say that the economy has fully recovered from the last recession (2007-2010), right?  And let's knock on wood that I'm not tempting economic fate by stating the obvious.

Some of you are in industries that have never recovered from the recession - I get that.  But all you have to do is look at candidate behavior overall to know that the economy has recovered. Simply put, here's how candidate behavior manifested itself during and after the recession:

--During the recession - Hard to get employed candidates to make a move because they were rightfully spooked.  "I have a job, why would I Guitar recession change and risk that your company is the next to do layoffs?"

--Immediately following the recession - Hard to get people to move because no one knew if the bad times were over.  See the above quote.  Good times.

--Once it was obvious to most the recession was over and hiring was again the norm. "I'm ready to move, let's do this!"  Pent up demand had a lot of people moving.

--Today, in obvious post-recession mode - A lot of people have made their next move, and it's more costly than ever to extract a candidate and convince them to make a move.  Demand for great candidates open to a move greater than supply. Time to fill creeping up as a result.

What's the solution if you're feeling the reality of the current state of affairs?  You have to change some of the ways you recruit.  Here's 5 ways a Buyer/Candidate recruiting market should change the way you recruit:

1. You need to go find people and start conversations more than you have in the last 7 years.  Post and pray will never die, but a smaller percentage of your hires are going to come from job boards if you're recruiting in the professional ranks.  Start sourcing and picking up the phone.

2. You need to have a story to tell.  More than, "I have a job for you" - what's the value prop for the person to think about the opportunity?

3. You need to be more of a career agent. Sometimes a job isn't right for the person you're calling. Be honest and willing not to force feed the match.  Act like you're aware of the background and have a POV related to someone's career.

4. You need to look better online.  Profile completeness on LinkedIn, social accounts, etc.  Look better and more like an agent for talent than the people around you.

5. You need to network more for referrals.  Do all of the above well, and you'll have the ability to ask good people for referrals from a position of strength - not desperation.  

Wormer dropped the big one - the recession is over, and so's the honeymoon period when everyone was ready to move post-recession.  Time to tighten up our recruiting games.


PREACH IT: White Dudes + Aliases = Nothing Good

Here's a sexy topic for you - the use of aliases that are uncovered via background checks.

What do they mean?  More than you know.  Nothing other than someone changed their name, which is their right. Everything in between. Jack

Some quick background - My company (Kinetix) does work for a former friend of mine turned entrepreneur.  As part of that talent work, we do transactional things in the talent life cycle like background checks for the people he's thinking about hiring.  One of our coordinators CCs me on those so I know he's taken care of, which is important to me.

The other day I see a background check come through for a developer and he's got 2 aliases in his past of the social security number trace.  2 seems like a lot.  Background was clear other than that little thing.

I started thinking about it. Here's my practical rules for how to view aliases on background checks:

1.  Aliases + charges/convictions means walk away.

2.  Females have a lot of latitude to change their names.  They get married and have to change their name, and you can see when that happens.  Stalkers and weird vibe guys abound.  Sometimes a lady has to change her name to get a husband in or a freak out of her life.  Check.

3.  People with highly ethnic names that change them to more standard American names get a pass as well.  Welcome to America, Mr. Smith.

4.  WASPy american born males that change their names in their adult life - what is up with that?   Red flag.  I get that someone might have changed their name due to a stepfather/father situation, but you generally don't see that out in the marketplace when someone is in their mid to late twenties and beyond.

What did I miss?

So yeah - I'm talking to you white American males.  What's up with multiple aliases in your adult life?  Are you Jack Bauer, recently retired from the CTU?   Witness protection program after a run at the lower levels of the Soprano family?  I think not.  Seems like a reset for whatever reason looms in your closet.  Child support?  Jumped ship in Tibet before you fulfilled your commitment to the Peace Corp?  Lester the molester?

My friend?  He hired the guy.  Software developers are hard to find.  It's not show friends, it's show business.  


READER MAIL: "Humble" Jocks Are Always Better Hires Than "Star" Jocks...

A longtime reader reacts to my post on hiring D2 and D3 jocks:

Well thought out Kris – I agree with you.  Two quick stories, one of which involves a former pro athlete (you didn’t go there, technically, but it follows the trend).

I worked for a VPHR who played college ball in the early 60’s for a Division II school.  He was a starter (point guard) BUT that was before schools started Dodgeball
giving away full scholarships.  Instead, their recruiting method was to help their players get jobs in the community.  He said that if he ever forgot who the star on the team was, all he had to think about were the jobs the school secured for them.  Their star center worked as a salesman for a car dealership.  In addition to his salary and generous commission for each vehicle sold, he got to drive a “Demo” sports car.  Sweet.  Jack was never destined for the pros.  I may have forgotten to mention this was at Indiana Evansville – so a rural area.  They found Jack a job in a meat packing plant, specifically the “Kill Floor”.  Jack always said it helped make him the HR professional he later became.  Jack was a good guy; great sense of humor, and always put the team’s needs first and instilled that in his “rookies” like some kid from Philly he hired.  Good guy; great mentor.

Later I went to work for a company and our CEO called me and said “Hey, I need you to get a new hire package together for a guy I met on a plane.  I offered him our Sales Manager job.  You’ll love him; he’s a former Philadelphia Eagle” (True Confession- football is my sport, not hoops – sorry, Buddy!).  He only had a cup of coffee for three years in the NFL as a Defensive lineman, but was a Division I college star as you describe below.  Naturally, I got him hooked up and we sent him off to do great things.  After 4 months, we nicknamed him “Elvis”.  That’s because we saw him around the office as often as you heard about “Elvis Sightings” at the local 7-11.  Now, to be fair, the company was a manufacturer of a long list of SKUs that we sold to a variety of industries which required a lot of travel.  But the best story about “Elvis” was when I had to investigate a sexual harassment complaint.  All those SKUs were managed internally by three different managers, coincidentally, all of them female.  One of them ran into him at a bar about 9 months after he started.  He apparently had a few too many to drink and proceeded to invite her to dance.  Then he invited her to the “VIP” (the bar really didn’t have one of those – most of us would call it an “alley”).  When she declined, he informed her of all the parts of her body that would enjoy an evening with him.  She left the bar and reported the behavior the next day.   But wait for it…… So then I go to talk to “Elvis”.  When I asked him about the evening in question and his comments he wanted to know how I knew he had been there and met a woman.  I informed him she was an employee.  He immediately apologized saying he didn’t realize that!  So then I informed him that not only was she an employee, but was supposed to be one of his key business partners and sort of (in a matrix kind of way) his “boss”.  He swore he had no idea who she was.   I’m going to go with that behavior as being selfish and unprofessional in my normal understated fashion……

Mic drop.  Peace out.  KD is right on all points.

Great stories and representative of my experiences as well.  Thanks CA!!!


I'll Say It Again: Hiring The Right Type of Jock Is Always The Smart Way to Go...

This post first appeared at Fistful of Talent a while back.  I got into an argument with someone who was hating on jock hires this morning and had to break 'em off a little something. This one is for you, Marge.

OK – the title made you look.  You had an emotional reaction because there are a lot of dumb @#@ athletes out there who would make horrible hires.  You're right, I was just trying to manipulate you with the headline.

First up, I'm always a little taken aback by the anti-sports crowd.  Lord knows the group at FOT and some Vipers of our contributors write enough about the connection between corporate talent and sports.  There's even a website dedicated to an annual ebook featuring FOT writers and close friends of FOT writing about – you guessed it – the connection between talent and sports (download it here).  Many readers think we should stop the madness. Some have unsubscribed as a result.

BONUS - Click on the picture to the right to blow it up and see some bad guy jocks.

We interrupt your regularly scheduled programming of sports/talent metaphors to talk about something important – when does it make sense to hire a jock?  When are they going to be a better hire than a non-jock?

Sports teaches a lot of things – teamwork, drive, being coachable, time management, working towards a goal that no one but you cares if you chase, being under pressure with others actively hoping you fail, to name a few.  But sports at its worst can also raise up some ugly sides of the human condition – feelings of entitlement, thinking rules don't apply to you, an over-weighting of a single area of life, etc.

The key in knowing when hiring a jock is the right thing to do?  Find college athletes in situations where the positives outweigh the risks.  Here's my list of great times to hire a jock over a non-jock when all other things are equal:

-Hire Division 1 and Division 2 major sport athletes (football and basketball) who didn't start at the collegiate level and maintained strong grades (3.0 and above) and involvement outside of sports while being on full scholarship.  Being a full scholarship athlete in a major sport is a full-time job, and if the grades are good and they still were involved in other areas of college life, odds are you are looking at a driven person who is going to fit well withyour team.  They've already been humbled – they're not playing a lot, but they've maintained all the commitments and they had to do what it took to get there in the first place.  Not easy – hire them if you can.

-Hire Division 1 and Division 2, minor sport athletes who had all the qualities outlined above (strong grades, involvement outside of sports) but were on partial or no scholarship.  Being a minor sport athlete on partial or no scholarship at the D1 or D2 level isn't easy – usually these kids have the same time commitments as many of the major sport athletes and aren't doing it for the money, they're doing it because they love it.  These kids make great team members and if they've found a career area they have similar passion for, look out!  Sky is the limit.

-Hire any star at the Division 3 level in any sport who had all the non-sport qualities listed above.  A dirty little secret to Division 3 is that it's all non-scholarship, and schools actively use sports participation as a general recruiting tool to drive enrollment.  It's not uncommon for D3 football programs to bring in 130 kids with the promise of playing football.  They're not providing athletic scholarships to any of them, probably just a 10K discount on a 35K annual tuition bill through grants and non-athletic scholarships.  It would have been much easier for these kids and their families to go to a cheaper, brand name state school, but there they are – chasing the dream.  There's passion and drive in these kids, so grab them when you can, they won't be available long.

So that's my cheat sheet on the best times to hire jocks.  D1 and D2 full scholarship jocks with bad grades?  Move on people – the stereotypes aren't always true, but the risk is high enough you shouldn't bite.  Sort first for GPA above 3.0 and some involvement in non-sport activities as well, then sort by D1 and D2 non-starters, D1 and D2 minor sport athletes of all types and D3 stars.

Boom.  I just gave you the formula.  Haters activate in the comments, please.