Using Pictures of Employees on your Careers Site - Do You Need a Release?

So you're ramping up your employee comms materials. A project to refresh the ole' careers site, new collateral, etc. You rightfully detest stock art because it's all fake and your employees don't look that perfect, happy or content.  

That means you've made the decision to take real photos of real people doing work and feature them in new digital and analog comms tools that you're building. That's a smart play, but it begs the following question:

Do you need a signed release form from the people you feature?  The answer is almost always yes, here's a story on why, but stay tuned after the Lineupjump for more analysis:

Several years ago, Jordan Guthmann, a VP at Edelman PR, interviewed for a job at Amazon. While he was on the company campus chatting with folks, someone asked to take his photo and he kindly obliged. Guthmann didn't get the gig, but apparently he at least looked like the right person for the job: Until a few days ago his photo appeared on Amazon's Talent Acquisition website. After Guthmann tweeted about it, Amazon quickly swapped out the photo. As Petapixel commented, hopefully the person in the current photo actually got the job!

Years ago I went to Amazon for a job interview that I did NOT get but they were taking photos and the kind person taking photos asked me if she could snap my picture and I was like sure why not anywho that's why I'm on their jobs website today... https://t.co/ehhRvnYaC6

— Jordan Guthmann (@JGuthmann) July 24, 2019

Every once in awhile, people get sensitive about the use of their likeness in your company's promotional flow. It should be noted that Guthmann was a candidate, not an employee - which raises the need for you to get a signed release if you're taking shots of non-employees as part of your strategy.

But let's talk about the more likely path - you're taking pictures of current employees for your new website or collateral. It's important to get that release - not so much for the time that employee is actually with your company - but for the time after they depart.

The dirty little secret of shooting pictures of employees for use in promotional materials is that most releases are very broad - meaning they don't say anything about a requirement to take a photo down from your website once an employee leaves your company. 

Any release you have an employee sign should give a similar broad release.  After all, you don't want to be changing photos every time someone leaves your company. Assuming the employee left on good terms, most don't request you take down their photo, and that's a good thing. After all, you choose them for a reason!

Oddly enough, the managers in your own company are more sensitive to having pictures of past employees on your website than the departed talent.  That broad release is key to saying, "no, we actually have the right to keep the photo up."

So get the release signed - but understand it's more about being able to deflect removal requests from your own team than it is about disgruntled ex-employees. 


Cut Through All the Reference BS with This Single Question...

No one ever gives you references they expect to be negative in any way. 

You know this, right?

When someone calls you up for a reference check and you do anything short of saying they're unbelievable (they provided your name after all), it's not being borderline neutral.

Neutral is the new negative with reference checks.  And it's been that way for awhile.

Think about that - when someone calls you, you say you can only give name, rank and serial number on a candidate who used you for a reference.   

Or you pivot, and give the ole' "I can only give a personal reference, not a professional reference."

Sure you can, Skippy. Let's do your personal reference then (winks as he says the words)

PS - A reference checker's ability to get any type of true negative information out of a reference is gold.  Try my favorite reference checking question below to get a negative view:

"What job in your organization would you not put this person into under any circumstances?  Why?"

It's up with people day here at the Capitalist.  Go extract some negative info when checking references - just for the contrast and actually learning something you didn't know about the candidate.  

That's what they pay us for.


The #1 Way For Recruiters To Build Creditability With Candidates...

If a recruiter is good at what they do, they'll talk to a lot of people in a given week.

Some of those conversations are short, some are long. There's a variety of information traded between candidate and recruiter - it's a two-way exchange. Phone

But some recruiters are better at building credibility with candidates, which further results in trust, transparency and most importantly - great information.

The #1 way recruiters can build creditability with great candidates is pretty simple:

Great recruiters always include an examination of whether the job is right for the candidate - AS A PART OF THE CONVERSATIONS THEY HAVE WITH THE CANDIDATE.

The intent and meaning behind proactively examining whether a proposed career move makes sense with the candidate is simple:

1--You don't want quick churn as a recruiter, so it make sense to the get the candidate's view of the opportunity, judging what they value most about job in question.

More importantly, here's what making the time to talk about career arc means to the candidate:

2--You're not a transactional recruiter looking to slam bodies into a company. You're looking for true fit.

3--You care enough about candidates that you don't want them to take a step back in what they're trying to accomplish.

Does building creditability with candidates in this way really matter?  That depends on the type of talent you're trying to recruit.  All recruiting is tough in a peak economic cycle, but recruiting entrenched candidates is difficult at best.

If you're looking to hire someone with a lot of options, building creditability as a recruiter could be the most important factor in them making a decision to move from their current company.  You always have imperfect information when you make a career move, so having a recruiter helping you analyze whether a move makes sense is not only comforting, but a competitive advantage.

Of course, if you're recruiting candidates from the lowest of tiers, maybe building creditability doesn't matter to you. 

Good luck with that.


Is Workday Really the Most Used ATS in the World?

If there's one thing that's consistent in the TA/Recruiting world, it's hot takes related to Workday Recruiting.  Which is why a recent report that shows Workday Recruiting is now the most used ATS among Fortune 500 companies is fascinating.  

Many of you object to that finding. But it is science! More from OnGig:

"Workday is the #1 ATS system used by Fortune 500 companies, narrowly beating Taleo.

That’s what we found after a review of the 476 Fortune 500 companies that show their applicant tracking system on their public-facing career sites.

22.6% of these Fortune 500 companies use Workday versus 22.4% that use Taleo.

Oracle is still the #1 ATS provider to the Fortune 500 when you add in Oracle HRMS, iRecruitment and Oracle Cloud (see the long table below). Oracle beats Workday 24% to 22.6% when you add in Oracle’s other software."

It's notable to say that there's a lot of dissatisfaction out there related to Workday Recruiting, as many CHROs are forced into the solution by broader ERP initiatives within their organizations.  

Also notable is the fact this is a survey of Fortune 500 companies - Workday Recruiting most certainly is not the leader in the mid-market ATS category, where a bunch of companies on the tail end of the Fortune 500 full list fare much better (looking at you, Jobvite, Greenhouse, Newton, Lever, SmartRecruiters).  See the top 10 ATS solutions across Fortune 500s in the image below, get the full list here, and see a broader list here from 2017 that includes mid-market companies that probably provides better context and a shopping list for the masses.

Top ATS


Bernie Sanders: Proving the Compensation Side of the People Business is Problematic...

Let me start by saying this is not intended to be a political post. It is intended, however, to show the complexities of running a SMB (small to medium sized business).

Need a case in point?  Try Bernie Sanders.  Sanders is a Democratic presidential candidate, and part of his platform has been the need to pay workers a living wage.  No one really Bernie argues that this is a good idea, but once you get into the execution of the idea, it gets complex.

Let's look at the Minimum Wage in America.  Sanders is on record that the minimum wage should be at $15 per hour nationwide, etc.  That's where it gets tricky as he attempts to build out his campaign organization for his presidential run.  More from the New York Post:

"The Vermont socialist senator made history by agreeing that his paid 2020 presidential campaign workers would be repped by a union, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 400, with all earning $15 an hour. But now the union complains some employees are getting less. Worse, someone leaked the whole dispute to the Washington Post. Worse yet, Sanders’ response could be a violation of US labor law, all on its own.

The union’s gripe centers on the fact that field organizers, the lowest-level workers, often put in 60 hours a week but get paid only for 40, since they’re on a flat salary. That drops their average minimum pay to less than $13 an hour.

“Many field staffers are barely managing to survive financially, which is severely impacting our team’s productivity and morale,” the union said in a draft letter to campaign manager Faiz Shakir. “Some field organizers have already left the campaign as a result.”

The campaign’s immediate response, now that it’s all gone public, is to restrict the field workers from putting in more than 40 hours a week. Hmm: If it then brings on more unpaid volunteers to pick up the slack, that’s a different union grievance."

The HR pros who read the Capitalist - regardless of political orientation - know that Sanders has experienced the following:

1--He believed workers should be paid no less than $15 per hour.

2--While he partly accomplished that with how he set up his organization, he either didn't understand or cut a corner by classifying field organizers as "exempt".  My guess is he told his people his intent and they found the path of least resistance to make that marching order a reality while maintaining cost certainty - aka, salary over hourly.

3--The good people that read this site understand it's debatable that field organizers would be classified as "salaried" under the FLSA.  But collective bargaining with a union pushes some of the burden of classification to the background - at least initially.

4--Overtime pay kills all SMBs.  The Sanders campaign has a budget - they can't reclassify those workers to hourly status and make their budget (paying them $15 per hour for all hours worked and OT for hours past 40 per week).  Also, if they reclassified, they'd be on the hook for back pay for OT.  So they do what the only thing available to them - telling salaried field organizers to stop working at 40 hours.

What Bernie Sanders has ran into is a classic small business problem. As a business owner, you'd like for the vast majority of your workforce to be salaried - so you have cost certainty and instruct workers to work until their objectives are met - no overtime. The FLSA exists to provide legal boundaries for SMBs (as well as large companies) related to classification of workers.

The devil is always in the details.  There's never enough resources when you're attempting to bootstrap an organization, and that fact makes you look for the most affordable labor possible in some situations.  

Bernie Sanders is bootstrapping an organization in America.  It's an interesting contrast of ideas, market forces and math.


Are HR Leaders Ready to Hire Candidates with Criminal Histories? #SHRM19

If you’re a SHRM member or even remotely following major initiatives within the world’s largest association of HR professionals, odds are you’ve heard of “Getting Talent Back to Work”, a pledge drive to promote the hiring of candidates with criminal histories.

Which begs the question – are HR pros really open to hiring people with criminal backgrounds who are available in the talent marketplace?

I was reminded of “Getting Talent Back to Work” at the SHRM National conference, when SHRM GTBTW CEO Johnny Taylor promoted the cause during his address to the general assembly.

Taylor is easily the best presenter SHRM has had as a CEO.  More on that in a bit.  First, let’s do a level set and tell you what “Getting Talent Back to Work” is as a program/initiative/platform:

"Getting Talent Back to Work is a national pledge open to all organizations that was signed even before the formal announcement by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Restaurant Association, the National Retail Federation, the American Staffing Association, SHRM, Koch Industries, Dave’s Killer Bread Foundation and more.

Organizations are pledging to give opportunities to qualified people with a criminal background, deserving of a second chance, which creates successful outcomes for employers, all employees, customers and communities.
 
Ninety-five percent of people in prison will be released—that’s more than 650,000 people every year. As they re-enter society, people with criminal backgrounds are deprived of employment opportunities and organizations are deprived of qualified talent, creating harmful consequences for millions of people."

Getting Talent Back to Work was launched in January 2019, and SHRM immediately got criticized for the inclusion of Koch Industries in the list of organizations agreeing to the pledge.  Koch is run by the Koch brothers (Charles and David), who moonlight as political fundraisers/operatives on the Republican side of the aisle.

I discounted the criticism at the time due to the list of organizations beyond Koch Industries that signed the pledge. Any time you have the National Retail Federation and the National Restaurant Association sign off on a pledge to do something differently in the realm of employment, it’s meaningful.  But seeing Johnny Taylor - a pretty dynamic mix of presenter and disrupter as the CEO of SHRM - go after the issue hard at SHRM made me want to dig in on the issue a bit.

So, I asked 15 Director/VP of HR types at SHRM National what they thought about “Getting Talent Back to Work.”  Here’s a summary of what I heard:

1—Everyone understands the idea has merit.  As our society has become more progressive, it’s clear that most of the people I talked to supported the spirit behind the pledge. Most of us believe in second chances.

2 –The devil, as it turns out is in the details. Here’s where it gets dicey. What jobs are available to those with criminal backgrounds?  Concerns from my groups of HR Directors/VPs are raised where you would expect – in financial jobs, jobs which provide autonomy of work using expensive tools, etc.  If we restrict access to only the lowest level jobs with limited risk, is attempting to employ those with criminal histories still meaningful?

3--Most feel there will be resistance to the idea across the leadership teams they belong to back at the home office related to the concept. While the HR leaders I spoke to get the intent of the Getting Talent Back to Work pledge, most indicated there would be friction and blocking activity as they tried to execute changes to existing policy related to hiring candidates with criminal histories.

4—Hiring Managers are also thought to be a major roadblock. As expected, most of the HR leaders I spoke to thought hiring managers would be less than supportive to this type of hiring policy change. 

With all that in mind, my takeaways after these conversations were simple. HR pros are open and welcome participating in Getting Talent Back to Work, but they’re also unclear about the best way to proceed in knocking down barriers that exist in their organizations.

That means Getting Talent Back to Work as a SHRM initiative has legs, but the next step in the program for SHRM will need to focus on helping HR leaders make the business case to skeptics back at the home office.  While most of the HR pros I talked to were generally unaware of the toolkit that exists here, a review of the resources makes me recommend the toolkit will need to expand provide a base-level communications campaign that a normal HR leader could use to make presentations, send emails and general communicate the policy changes they're asking for. 

The tools that exist are strong, and the next step probably needs to be ghostwritten materials that show an HR leader step-by-step what they can do to initiate change in their organizations.

I like what SHRM is doing in this area, and the fact they stayed on message at the national conference. The next step is to push HR leaders to take action inside their companies and start the necessary dialog.

Change is likely to be slow, but it's a conversation worth having.


PODCAST: e3 - This is HR - Employee MBA Debt, Employer Brand Lies, EEOC Male Dress Code Hardships

(Email subscribers, if you don't see the podcast player, click here to see the podcast)

In this episode of THIS IS HR, Tim Sackett (President of HRU), Jessica Lee (VP of Brand Talent, Marriott) and Kris Dunn (CHRO at Kinetix) cover the following topics:

--recent research from BusinessWeek that shows Top Tier MBA programs saddle 50% of their graduates with six-figure debt. The gang discusses whether they would push high potentials in their organizations on that traditional path with that set of economics in mind (3:30)

--a recent HBR op/ed piece that attacks how your company is approaching employer brand, citing an industry of 40 companies solely focused on the EB market, a number the gang thought was too low (15:12)

--Recent EEOC guidance that says males may be discriminated against via the use of traditional dress codes, guidance which the gang loves and hates at the same time (26:12). 

KD closes it out by going to the mailbag and getting a simple question about the thing HR Pros do to build culture that usually doesn't work (31:26)

BONUS: Disclosure that JLee isn't even in America on the 4th of July.  

What could go wrong?  Take a listen!


Glassdoor Should Try This If They're Concerned About Employers...

If we've learned anything in the world of HR Technology, it's that there's always a hook that vendors/partners are creating scale and mass around.

In no area is this more true than the Talent Acquisition/Recruiting side of the house.  Consider the following areas of our world dominated/owned by specific partners/vendors in recent history:

--LinkedIn - owns eyeballs related to the world's largest candidate database

--Glassdoor - owns eyeballs related to company reputation/reviews

--Indeed - owns SEO on job search (by its very definition, eyeballs), although many expect that to change as Google for Jobs comes to scale

What's interesting about each one of these plays designed to create scale of users and overall interest is that the real product isn't what I've listed above for each vendor.  

If you use a site and it's free, the product - as they say - is you.

More to the point, the real product is Job Postings.

I know, I know.  You can get your head around that being the case with Indeed (duh), but LinkedIn sells a variety of things beyond job postings and Glassdoor wants to charge money to help you manage that very average reputation you have on their site.

But when you really dig into the packages offered by all of these vendors, the hook is what they're known for (biggest database, SEO, company reputation) - but make no mistake, the monetization is job postings.

Why? Because that's what people like you and me most want to buy. We want ROI on our recruiting budget. If a site has enough attention and a connection to the workplace, there's a chance that job postings might work, and more importantly, it's WHAT WE WANT TO BUY.

Let's look specifically at Glassdoor. The fact that monetization for GD is really found in user traffic that sees job postings and converts to applicants at your company means the model won't change, even when it's obvious that it would help users.

Here's an example of a tweak that is needed on Glassdoor.  If GD really cared about employers/your company (and I could argue candidates looking to do research), they'd make it simple for you to search reviews by current employees vs past employees.

You know what doesn't drive as much traffic to Glassdoor?  Balanced reviews.  We live for the car wreck in turn four - the flaming review that's fun to read and just really takes apart the company.

But if we're honest with ourselves as candidates, we don't value that review (or the 5-stars) as much as we value the balanced 3 star review.  

So Glassdoor should change that. But it won't because the car wreck 1-star review from a past employee drives eyeballs.  Eyeballs are traffic that see job postings and covert (hopefully) to applicant flow.

Simple search of reviews by current employees vs past employees won't happen anytime soon on Glassdoor.

The product is you/me/us.  The Glassdoor 1-star review by a disgruntled, anonymous employee is the equivalent of a TMZ camera catching Bernie Sanders exiting an Applebee's drunk and belligerent and being available for viral distribution within 30 minutes.

Traffic always wins.

 

 


So You're a Tough Interviewer, Eh? How's that Working Out For You?

Let's talk about the myth of being a tough interviewer.
 
So you're a tough interviewer. You automatically go on the offensive in any interview setting, some would even call your style "on the attack."  You are confrontational, basically calling bulls**t on the candidate you have in front of you.  Are they sure they really belong in front of you with this background? What's missing?  You routinely attack what's missing in the first 10 minutes of the interviewer, satisfied you're doing your job of preventing people (who don't really have what it takes) to join your company.
 
The tough interviewer could also be called the negative or confrontational interviewer. It's most common tenured employees who don't feel any risk of alienating candidates. If this interviewing style is you, you don't build a lot of dialog with the candidate. You just go negative and watch them squirm.
 
How's being a negative interviewer working out for you?
 
Great, you say.
 
The people around you probably beg to differ.  
 
You see, your hard interviewing style is costing your company candidates. In a peak economy, good to great candidates have a lot choices in where their next job comes from.  It's likely that if a candidate made it all the way to you that they are good or great. They're in front of you because they have already been vetted and someone believes they might be a hire for your company.
 
And you bomb them with negative and hard vibes.  Damn.
 
The path for the most effective interviewers is simple - selling your company and yourself as an leader or peer while getting what you need to evaluate the candidate.  Are you an effective interviewer by this definition?
 
--No. You’re hard on candidates. No one wants to work with you or for you.
 
--Maybe. You’re neutral enough not to hurt your company. But that's probably not good enough in today's competitive hiring landscape.
 
--Yes, Absolutely. You get great stuff to evaluate the candidate, asking tough questions but framing that dialog in a way that makes them think you're on their side and rooting for them.
 
If you've ever prided yourself for being a "hard" interviewer, time for a little self-evaluation. If candidates leave your interview thinking that the session went awful or worse yet - they wouldn't want to work for you or with you, you've got a problem. You're net negative to the employment brand.
 
You're better than that. You can still ask the hard questions, but cadence, taking the time to build positive dialog and demeanor means everything.
 
You can do this. Help us out. 

But Will They Stay? (Weak Things HR and Business Leaders Say)

Ever hear managers, executives and even HR say some weak things?

Of course you have. For me, there's one thing that rises to epic level when it coms to weak: Kawhi

"I like them as a candidate. I'm just worried they won't stay."

This mindset values retention over talent, performance and more. The candidate is strong and wants to come. Yet, there's something about the work history (too heavy), the comp (we can't provide as much as we would like) and a myriad of other factors that make your hiring manger wring their hands about offering a job to the candidate in question.

As I write this, the Toronto Raptors are set to clinch the NBA championship tonight over the dynastic Golden State Warriors. The Raptors are up 3 games to 1, and their success is driven by the acquisition of Kawhi Leonard, for whom the Raptors traded another all star for, even though Leonard only had one year remaining when the deal was made.

That means contractually the Raptors traded for an employee who would open up their recruiting process one year later, and faced a heavy chance they wouldn't retain him.

"I'm just worried they won't stay."

The older I get, the more I'm convinced that if you can keep great talent in your company for a stint of 2-3 years, you're better off for having had them, reaping the contributions they make - than never having them at all.

This obviously refers to the top 10% - the most talented among us.

The Raptors traded for Kawhi Leonard and knew that it was highly likely they would have him for a year. They did it anyway. Now, they're about to win a title.

Unwillingness to bring in top talent - long term retention risk be damned - can say a few things about your organization:

1--I don't think we're very good and I'm sure they won't stay.

2--We're OK, I know we can get better, but I'm not sure we'll improve quick enough to retain them.

3--We're not going to be able to comp this person they way they'll need to be comped to retain them.

4--I'm personally threatened by hiring someone this good. I'd prefer to have village idiots around me.

But what if you put any and all of those fears aside and hired the best person available, then got the **** out of the way and let them do their job?

They might be gone in a year. But that year might have been a hell of run.

Just ask the citizens of Toronto.