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June 2015

Facebook Mandates Interviewing at Least One Minority Candidate For Every Open Position...

Want to know when a startup culture has become all grown up?  When you start doing things like forcing your managers to do certain things on the hiring front, like interviewing at least one minority candidate for every open position.

Believe it or not, this is where Facebook finds itself and the decision it's made in response to its workforce (like every other tech company in Silicon Valley) struggling from a diversity perspective.

More on Facebook starting something referred to as the Rooney rule from Bloomberg:

"Facebook is reportedly borrowing a concept from the National Football League as part of its efforts to boost diversity in its work force.

A source told Bloomberg that the social network began implementing a policy of having at least one minority candidate interview for open positions, and Facebook spokeswoman Genevieve Grdina confirmed the initiative to Bloomberg.

The NFL established the Rooney Rule, named after Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney, in 2003, mandating that teams with coaching vacancies interview at least one minority candidate."

How do you feel about this?  You might be surprised that I like this - here's why... 

I think you have to stop talking about Affirmative Action and start talking about how the world works as you consider this one. On many occasions, hiring managers have a candidate in mind that they think they want to plug into a job.  When this happens, they're usually so set on the decision that they think any other interviews may be a waste of time.  The tough part about that is that your company still has a process, and the hiring manager needs to put forth a little more effort.  

Let's say your hiring manager has a candidate they think would be great for the job, but your version of the Rooney rule is in effect.  Your company has a process that says a minority candidate must have an interview with the hiring manager in question.  Your hiring manager doesn't want to do it, and he's bitching about it.  You're faced with the classic catch-22 - you either force the process and risk looking like a bureaucrat, or you let the hiring manager do his thing without interviewing a minority candidate. 

I'm tagged as a capitalist.  You might think I would support the need to skip the minority interview, right?  But I don't, and here's why.  I've learned that for every 10 interviews you make a hiring manager do against their will, they are going to get 2-3 pleasant surprises, meaning they're impressed enough by the candidate in question that they'll change their mind and offer them the job, or they'll put the memory on reserve and as a result, hire them for a future role.

Of course, it takes a skilled HR/Recruiting Pro to pull off the marketing required to maximize the chances the hiring manager truly has an open mind.

That's why you get the big bucks.



Netflix CEO Reid Hastings on Leadership, Failing at Culture and Being Lucky

Quick post today - Reid Hastings, CEO of Netflix in this video below from Foundation Capital.  3 minute video covering his first boss washing his coffee cups for him, his failure to build culture in his first run as a CEO, and being lucky in his epic fight to kill blockbuster...

Worth your time for sure (email subscribers click through for video)...

Join Tim Sackett and Kris Dunn at SHRM National in Vegas (2pm Monday)

It's true.  If you're at SHRM National next week, you've got a rare opportunity to see Tim Sackett and I presenting together - for "We're Bringing Techy Back" at 2pm on Monday somewhere in the Convention Center in Vegas coded with the sexy "N228-230" tag.  

We'll be sharing all our secrets for shopping for HR Tech, how to negotiate, what's real, what's not, etc.  Basically all the stuff you should know but we're afraid to ask.  That's us - we're the inside guys who work on your behalf.

If you're in Vegas for SHRM, join us at 2pm on Monday.  Tim will give you a hug - I'll scoff at it all.  What could go wrong?

Session description below - if you're not in Vegas and want the slides, hit me up and I'll make sure you get them.

We're Bringing Techy Back
06/29/2015 02:00 PM - 03:15 PM | LVCC N228-230 

1.25 SHRM PDCs1.25 HR Credit | Competencies: HR Expertise, Consultation, Communication | Intended Audience: Senior-level
This session will cut through the complexity and confusion of HR technology and arm you with knowledge and answers. 

The average HR pro has no idea what HR technology is actually needed to make their HR function as effective as possible. This session will give you what tech you should have, what tech is a waste of time and money and what tech you should consider to take your HR shop to the next level. This session will help you:

· Develop a deeper understanding of what HR technology is being used now and in the future in best practice HR functions.

· Increase your HR technology savvy so that you can communicate with your IT function on what your HR function needs and wants for future effectiveness.

· Prepare you to kick ass and take names (I added this one, it didn't make the brochure)

All the Best Uber Drivers I've Had Want to be Contractors, Not Employees...

If you follow Uber at all (ride-sharing instead of taxis for the uninitiated), you probably saw this week that a court in California declared an Uber driver an employee instead of a contractor.

Earlier today, I saw this piece by the LinkedIn Editorial team - Chariot is Decidely Not the Uber of Employers. Uber

Which is to say that a lot of liberal sources think it's a travesty that Uber can manage its company on the back of contractors.  These folks think that's unfair - that all Uber drivers should be employees.

It's easy to agree with that, but here's the dirty little secret - the best Uber drives don't want to be employees - they want to be contractors.

Case in point - I'm about 40 rides into my experience as a Uber customer.  Here's a rundown of the best drivers I've had:

--The commercial real estate agent who was going through a messy divorce and needed money.  He not only did the ride, but gave me his card for all my ride needs moving forward in that city.

--The Middle Eastern guy who was finishing up college and told me about the software idea he and his brother we're working on the side.

--The middle manager in Corporate America who needed money for a trip his son was taking and was doing rides on the side.

Translation - the thing they loved about Uber was the flexibility - they could drive when they wanted to, and all of them had an end goal in mind.  They weren't looking to be employees, they were looking to be opportunistic and use the service towards their goals.  

Oh, and 2 of the 3?  Offered me bottled water that came out of their own pocket. Hmmm...

They were attempting to be entrepreneurial.  You gotta love that.  America, etc.

Making Uber drivers employees will end up in the "museum of unintended consequences"... We'll sue a firm like Uber into oblivion to force what we think is right, and as a result, Uber will staff up with employees during regular business hours - normal 8 hour shifts, etc.

And the entrepreneurial people I described using Uber for their own goals - they'll be dead to Uber because they can't be employees.

I get the laws.  But sometimes we kill the spirit of the best labor with laws.

Drivers who want to be employees or at least drive a car someone else owns?  They should go to a more formal place called taxi companies (although if the libbies dug in, they'd find not everything is kosher there).  And everything you experience at taxi companies is how we got to Uber in the first place.

The Legend of the 10X Performer in Technology Companies...

If you haven't seen it, Business Week has an entire issue with one article only in it - on Coding.  Go check it out and spend a couple of hours digging into the 78 page article, because it's a great primer on something a lot of us refer to but spend little time talking about - the art of software development.  Since software is everywhere and eating the world, it makes sense for you to know more than you do.

One of the hundred things it digs into is the legend of the 10X Programmer.  Haven't heard of that?  The 10X Programmer theory basically says that there are programmers out there who are brilliant, and as a result, are 10X as Businessweek-code_gif productive in writing code than the average programmer.  Here's how the BusinessWeek article by Paul Ford handles this performance issue/legend:

"There’s even the legend of the 10x programmer, an individual who is just that much more productive than the proletariat. There is evidence that some programmers are much more productive than their equally experienced peers; but other studies have found this to be engineering folklore. Ten is an order of magnitude in a discipline that uses orders of magnitude to estimate things. Ten is an attractive and thus suspicious number.

Dream of 10x programmers if you will. But I wouldn’t hold out hope that one will come to work for you. You can’t hire them for the same reasons you can’t coach the Chicago Bulls and you aren’t often called upon to date supermodels of your preferred gender. They’re not interviewing at your crappy company for your crappy job. They’re not going to come and rescue your website; they’re not going to make you an app that puts mustaches on photos; they’re not going to listen to you when you offer them the chance to build the next Facebook, because, if they exist, they are busy building the real Facebook. Sometimes they’re thinking about higher mathematics, or how to help a self-driving car manage the ethical choice between running over a squirrel and driving off a cliff. Or they’re riding their bikes, or getting really into pottery. It’s hard to have a better life than a great programmer, as long as they’re unencumbered by physical or mental illness. 

If 10x programmers exist, they require 10x managers at 10x companies. There’s no shame in not being 10x yourself."

The money shot for me -they’re not going to listen to you when you offer them the chance to build the next Facebook, because, if they exist, they are busy building the real Facebook.  Word.

Also - If 10x programmers exist, they require 10x managers at 10x companies.  Boom.

So while 10X performers have been discounted by this article, the argument remains - are there 2X or 3X performers in your industry/functional area?  I'm betting there are.  But if you want them, you probably should focus on being a 3X company and a 3X HR pro/Manager.


Manager Just Left Your Competitor? Time to Raid That Company for Talent...

One of the things we forgot about in the recruiting world is this - there's never been a better time to raid a company for talent than when a manager leaves.

That manager leaving?  She could be Ghandi, or she could be Stalin.  Doesn't matter - the change means it's a great time to take a run at the talent in the company.  Change creates FUD - fear, doubt and uncertainty.  And the smart recruiter always makes the calls as a result - the higher the level, the more this is true.

Of course it's not all glamour and fun pirate-like behavior - sometimes, it's going to feel like there might be a morals issue associated with this type of raiding.  Take SurveyMonkey as a result, where the CEO (husband of Sheryl Sandberg, COO at Facebook) recently passed away and the company is experiencing an uptick in recruiter calls as a result. More from the New York Times:

"It's hard to imagine a company keeping its normal operations when faced with the sudden death of its CEO — but that's exactly what SurveyMonkey had to go through when its much respected CEO Dave Goldberg unexpectedly passed away in May.

But the bigger challenge may be fighting off competition for talent. The report says SurveyMonkey now has to deal with an increased number of calls from recruiters for other tech companies trying to poach some its employees. 

“I hate to acknowledge it, but it’s a fact ... we've all gotten them,” Becky Cantieri, the head of human resources at SurveyMonkey, said about receiving more calls from recruiters.

As part of its effort to keep employees focused on their jobs, Don Graham, former Washington Post owner and friend of Goldberg, came in for a special two-hour speech, while 18 executives from other tech companies have agreed to mentor some of the SurveyMonkey executives. It's also running regular surveys to ensure employees are happy at work, it said."

Should you make recruiting calls to a company where a manager just passed away?  I say yes, but there's obviously an increased need for sensitivity.  You've got to be less salesperson and more therapist.  But change is change.

A manager leaving the company under any circumstance is a recruiting opportunity.  The smart recruiter makes the call.  The talented recruiter not only makes the call, but actively listens to the need and the tone of the candidate and adjusts her pitch as a result.

Make the call always.  Listen . Match your talking points with the need.  

Why Fitbit Doesn't Do a Damn Thing For Wellness...

In case you missed it, Fitbit did an IPO this week and shares were up 48% in first day trading.

Fitbit is hot right?  Everyone loves the idea of employees wearing a device that makes them more active, and dreams of the contribution that reality will create towards the health of the workforce.

IPO. HR. Fitness. Technology.

It's enough to make me suggest this new tagline for Fitbit: "Fitbit's the S**t".  (that's trademarked, btw)

There's just this one little problem with Fitbit.  Some are saying that it really doesn't influence the people you need most to get off their butt and get in shape.  Consider this astute quote I heard this week from a CHRO in a company with 10K employees during a private conversation about healthcare spend:

"Well, Kris - I'll tell you the deal we learned about Fitbit.  We've got over 10K employees.  We've got 1K of those who are actively trying to use a Fitbit.  Here's the problem - about 965 of those were people who were already into fitness - they're already working to stay in shape, etc.  So I got 35 people to change their lifestyle?  That's great, but there's no impact to the bottom line of my healthcare cost."

Her response?  I need wellness with more of a focus on case management, not shiny items.

I love to run and I'm in decent shape.  I like tech.  But she's right - the early adopters to this device probably don't move the needle.  We need the other side to come over to make that work.

Fitbit can still be the ****.  It just won't make the person about to stroke out in your workforce change their lifestyle.

Rachel Dolezal (Spokane NAACP) and the Deep Circle of Self-ID in the Workplace...

By now, you've probably heard about Rachel Dolezal, former head of the Spokane chapter of the NAACP.  Turns out, it looks like she's not black.  Which would seem to be an issue.

But when you dig deeper, it's almost impossible for people who deal with talent issues not to turn to the an important concept we've dealt with for years:

Self-ID in the workplace.  Rd

For most of us, Self ID is a product of being an affirmative action company.  Managed by the OFFCP, the Self-ID process is generally done at some point in the application process and allows candidates and future employees alike to tell us who they are across a wide variety of protected classes.

You're Asian, I'm white. He's disabled. She's a military vet.

Here's the tricky part as it relates to the recent headlines related to Dolezal.  In the normal workplace, we don't have the ability to challenge someone's self ID, especially as it relates to race.  The concept of how someone identifies related to race is just that - a self concept of identity.  We don't give them guidance that you have to be 1/2 white to ID as a caucasian.  And that's where it gets tricky.

Consider these quotes from Dolezal on GMA (from the New York Times):

"When she moved into her uncle’s basement in the largely white town of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, in 2004, Rachel A. Dolezal was still blond and pale-skinned and identified herself as a white woman — one who had left a black husband and had a biracial child.

But within a few years, her already deep commitment to black causes and culture intensified. Co-workers and relatives began hearing from her or others that her background was mixed-race — and even that she had called herself black.

So when Ms. Dolezal (pronounced DOLE-uh-zhal) went on national television on Tuesday for the first time since she became the subject of a raging debate about racial identity and fabrication, it was no surprise that while she cannot claim a hint of black ancestry, she refused to concede that she had misled anyone. “I identify as black,” she said with a smile.

On Tuesday, Matt Lauer of NBC’s “Today” show asked her, “When did you start deceiving people?” But Ms. Dolezal, who stepped down on Monday as president of the Spokane N.A.A.C.P. chapter, pushed back.

“I do take exception to that because it’s a little more complex than me identifying as black, or answering a question of, ‘Are you black or white?’ ” she said. Over the course of the day, she also described herself as “transracial” and said: “Well, I definitely am not white. Nothing about being white describes who I am.”

And that my friends, is the big turd sandwich that presents itself to the HR world when it comes to the Self-ID process.

We've all had mixed race individuals in job groups that were underutilized under Affirmative Action that we knew ID'd themselves as white.

Why can't they ID themselves as Native American?  We'd be fully utilized! - Many of us have said that.

But it didn't matter - it's called self-ID for a reason.  It's not show friends, it's show business.  It's their identity, not ours.  

Now comes Rachel Dolezal, outside the employment realm, with the claim that her experiences, motherhood and other factors make her black.  I'm a white guy, so this clearly is not my issue to commentate on.

But Self-ID in the workplace?  That's in my wheelhouse. And the whole Dolezal/NAACP issue just underscores the difficulty of Self-ID.

Think about transgender and other emerging groups that will ultimately be protected.  The concept of Self-ID - and the fact that it's just that, SELF ID - means your job as a HR pro is going to get a lot more interesting in the next 15 years.

Stop Lying To Candidates: Here's a Good Way To Tell Them Why They Didn't Get The Job...

You know the drill - it's time to give a candidate feedback on why they didn't get the job.  Of course, you're fearful you're going to be sued as a result of your bumbling on this conversation.  Whether you're a HR pro or a hiring manager, it's a tough conversation.

The truth can be explosive - so you roll out the following tried and true generalities: Feedback-icon

--We loved you - but we hired someone who was a better fit for the job and our needs at this time; or

--We thought you were overqualified for this job.  But you're great!  You'll land somewhere.

The first one can be true.  The second one might be true, but is rarely the reason you actually didn't select them.

We hate giving real feedback because we hate conflict.  And we're worried about getting sued.

Me?  I like to tell candidates that I selected someone else for the role, and why it's obvious that I thought they were a better fit, I like to give the declined candidate 1-2 things the selected candidate had that they didn't.

Example - I just filled a Lead Gen position at Kinetix and had two great candidates at the end.  I choose the one I did because that candidate did work that was more directly related to the job in question - they were going to be able to use that experience to more quickly roll into the position and add value immediately.

It didn't mean the other candidate was bad.  She was actually very good - but it's the real reason I went the way I did.

If you want to stop the generalities on feedback to non-selected candidates, I'd recommend the following:

1. Tell them you selected someone else in the first 20 seconds of your conversation.

2. Tell them that while the selection was difficult, there were a couple of things the other candidate had more of than they did.

3. Give them one of those things and tell them why that matters in the job. PS - make sure those things are real and that the comparison of candidates nets out the way you're describing it.

4. Wish them the best and get the h#ll off the phone.

That's it.  Feedback is a gift!

When Comparing Offers, Always Pick the Best Boss...

So you've got more than one offer to choose from?  Congrats!

If you're like most people, the fact that you're pondering two different offers means the money is close enough to take either job.  That means you're probably comparing the two different companies, wondering which one is a better fit for you or will be the most advantageous to your career.  

Comparing companies is one of the biggest mistakes you can make - if you're high potential.  The dirty secret with jobs, especially early in your career, is that you should be comparing jobs based on who is going to manage you at each company.

If you're under 35 or 40 years of age, the best boss should always win.  What do I mean by best boss?  Great question.

The best boss is the one who has a long track record of growing people on their team.  They are the boss who doesn't hoard all the credit, who is willing to let others shine and promotes the work people on their team do - both inside and outside of the organization.

The best boss is the one who is connected - so much so, that when people see you working for them, you become a natural candidate for future positions.

The worst boss when comparing?  Does none of the above, and is more concerned about locking you in long term that it's about their comfort - not your career.

Don't pick the best company when comparing offers - pick the best boss.  You might make less or be less comfortable short term, but the long term benefits of working for great people will return your faith and investment many times over.

Pick the best boss.  You know it when you see if if you're reading this blog.