Conversations: Fitter Not Fatter

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Former Executive: I don't understand what you sent me. 

Data Scientist: It's the studies on fitness at work making more productive employees

FE: I don't understand. 

DS: They're not accurate. 

FE: Why is this relevant?

DS: It's because your presentation relies on similar studies. 

FE: We have nothing to do with fitness. 

DS: I want to show you why those studies are useless. So let's start with this - do you agree that fitter employees are more productive, happier, and engaged at work?

FE: Sure.

DS: Studies would say that's a pretty good position to take. 

FE: And you're going to tell me why that's wrong?

DS: I'm questioning the value of fitness. The argument is on average, fitter employees are more engaged, have more energy, take less sick days, and get more done.

FE: You just said fitter people get more done.

DS: I did. But that's so you don't bring up the easiest anecdote - listing someone who was out of shape who was a great worker. I'm not taking that avenue. Instead, let's talk about 2nd grade teachers

FE: 2nd grade teachers.

DS: Yes. What is the value of a 2nd grade teacher being fit versus being fat?

FE: Where did fat come from? 

DS: It makes the argument stronger. Fit means relatively healthy. Fat takes it to the extreme. A fat second grade teacher - how is she less productive than a fit 2nd grade teacher?

FE: Maybe in the way she engages the students.

DS: 2nd graders. Basic math - a little bit of writing, and coloring inside the lines.

FE: Fair enough.

DS: The level of work needed is finite. A pleasant demeanor is more important than enhanced productivity. As for sickness, it's actually cheaper for teachers to use their sick days, because teachers can bank sick hours. A substitute is cheaper because a teacher's sick time is more expensive than the time of the sub, and yet the material is still taught. 

FE: Okay - so second grade teachers aren't more productive when they're fit. 

DS: So there's one. How about minimum wage workers? Are they more productive? And before you ask, let's say that physical jobs clearly require some level of fitness. If you don't have to lift 50 pounds over your head, are you more productive with 6% body fat? 

FE: Sure you are. 

DS: No one has ever done that study, but it's cute you think that. What's the biggest cost in minimum wage workers? 

FE: I don't know. Benefits? Heathcare?

DS: That's true as a category. It's not true individually, and age has much more to do with it than weight. The correct answer is scheduling and turnover. It's expensive to hire and train. Losing people creates hardship that causes more turnover. A fit worker can get more done, but what happens when you can get more done?

FE: You want a raise.

DS: You want a raise or a better job. In a very perverse way, being fit and intelligent for a minimum wage job makes you less attractive to the employer. 

FE: That seems doubtful. 

DS: Would you hire a Harvard grad with supermodel looks to work in your warehouse?

FE: Sure I would. 

DS: Would you hire them if you trained them for a month and really, really needed them to stay?

FE: Sure I would.

DS: If you were traveling to Italy, and needed them to work for six months on the job because you weren't going to be home - would you hire them, train them, and just leave assuming they would keep the job? And you're paying them shit wages. 

FE: Depends on why they were available.

DS: ...

FE: Okay, probably not.

DS: We don't talk about it much, but you hire people for their longevity. You wouldn't hire a sales manager with 3 month stints at five companies, and you wouldn't hire a CFO whose tenure only lasted a year. When it comes to many jobs, you hire people with less options because they stick around. 

FE: That is a terrible view of hiring.

DS: It doesn't have to be conscious, but it is a feature of the system. "Why do you want this job" and "Where do you see yourself in five years" both address this question.

FE: What does this have to do with 6% body fat?

DS: First, don't be sexist. It's very difficult for women to get to 6% body fat. 

FE: Those were your numbers. 

DS: It was the context. Speaking of which - we've addressed minimum wage and we've addressed teachers. So we can both agree that there categories of workers where fit vs fat is not only relevant, it can be detrimental.

FE: With exceptions, but yes, there are categories of workers who don't fit that model. 

DS: Then without going into every category, we can say there are probably other categories, where it is not true, but the studies we have don't break down performance by category.

FE: They don't.

DS: They rely on averages. 

FE: Yes. On average, a fit worker costs less and does more than a fat worker.

DS: So an average company, hiring average workers...

FE: No, no - you're going with average workers - and then saying above averages companies don't do this. An above average company would hire more fit people because, on average, more fit equals more productive. 

DS: One, that's ageist. More fit, on average, is code for younger. And when you have a study that says younger people are better, it's almost entirely a function of searching for ways to justify lower wages. Second, the data does not support your conclusion. You can't create an average of workforce performance and then claim the benefits. That's not how data science. 

FE: Then why do they do the studies? 

DS: It's the only data they have, and it supports a narrative that lowers wages because fitness is code for younger.

FE: That...that is a huge leap.

DS: It's not that big. It's part of another pattern we see in terms of HR data. Whenever you use averages to create policy, you can be assured that the data is shallow, and does not reflect the real world. You should never make policy decisions on human beings based on averages of performance. They have no value but to support a narrative. 

FE: Who exactly is creating the narrative? 

DS: That's another discussion. I don't want to get into Joseph Campbell, but every story has to support an existing power structure. Studies using averages of human behavior and performance by definition support the existing power structure. They are blunt tools pushed by the uninformed as a way to create a scientific justification for their behavior.

FE: Okay - I'm going to go. It's an interesting point, but I think it goes off the rails at the end. 

DS: Maybe. Doesn't mean it isn't true. 

FE: What do you weigh these days? 


Announcing The Sourcing Worklab

It's real, and it's spectacular.

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Well, we did it. My team launched the Sourcing Worklab last night.

This is a new training model for recruiters - a program to change habits and improve performance at all levels through Visual Learning and demonstration. 

This is like nothing you've ever seen in the recruiting space, and I want to tell you why my team launched this. 

First - the model.  The SOURCING WORKLAB is a monthly subscription community for up to 200 staffing and search firms. Each week, the members send in searches they are working on, and on Monday afternoons, Lacey and I do the searches live. 

It's a 90 minute session where we work on your jobs. Who is we? Why, these two folks down here! 

Screen Shot 2017-05-31 at 8.35.36 AMLacey is an experienced host, moderator, and community manager. She keeps me on track and works with members on their training programs and progress. 

I'm the Social Media Headhunter, and I've trained some 9,000 people on digital tools. 

And that experience is why I decided to try something different - something that I've struggled with in front of audiences for the 10 years. 

It works like this. Webinars give you a short time to introduce a new concept. Most people get a few lessons from the webinar, but very few download or replay the videos. They're just too busy. Several years ago, I launched a store of products that covered the webinar topics of LinkedIn, Facebook, Search, Google, Twitter...) - and they sold about 100 copies. That drove me crazy. The surveys and reports of use rated them highly. The tech was easy. The packaging was beautiful. The recorded trainings were higher quality, better thought out, edited and planned. When people did buy them - they sat on the shelf. Those who watched, watched only once (even though it was set up into chapters for quick reference). 

At the same time, webinars for those same topics would drive 200 people. Why? It was the same marketing. Why take live training instead of carefully edited training? 

It was simple. Recruiters are busy. If they don't put it on their calendar, it goes down the task list. Having a physical product is not a need. Having a webinar on a calendar is a need. 

Clearly - you have to get on a calendar. 

But what happens after the training? My best results come from individuals who get repeated training sessions. Check out this reference: 

"Jim has been a fantastic mentor.  Early in my career, Jim trained me on the key components of sourcing and screening. Over the course of two years, as the positions I worked on grew more complex, he continued to provide me with new tools and tactics that matched my experience."

That's a recruiter in Houston I had the pleasure of working with for some two years. As he got better, I gave him more. Most important, we worked on open positions, not imaginary ones. And that is the formula. 

Scheduled Session + Live Requirements + Consistency

That is how you learn. That's how everyone learns. So we created the Worklab to create better results. 

There are two versions of the lab. The first is a staffing firm/independent recruiter community. The second is for internal/corporate recruiters (launching later in the year - with an exciting second speaker). 

Check out the site. Most important - tell your friends with staffing friends. Send them to the site and help them develop their recruiters.


The New LinkedIn Webinar: April 27th at Experts Connection.

LinkedIn_Webinar_Jim_Durbin

 

BOGO SPECIAL AND REFERRAL PRIZE!

This is currently only available from the blog - but if you refer someone and they book the webinar, I'll send you the new LinkedIn search guide.

In addition, the person registering the webinar will also receive a download link to my 2016 LIRecruiter training. 

Just email me with the name of the person who bought the webinar, and I'll send you the link and my thanks!

 

 

In the last 9 years, with the help of Kathy Simmons of Experts Connection, I've delivered paid webinar training to over 9,000 recruiters on the topics of LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and the digital searching. 

These top rated webinars come with a 90 minute session followed by live Q&A, a video download, the slide deck as a PDF, and if you register before April 20th, I'll send you me new LinkedIn UI search guide. 

 

 

Book the Webinar!

Cost for the webinar is $125. 

TIME: Thursday, April 27th 2 PM EST/ 11 AM PST.  
SOFTWARE:  Join.me

In this webinar, you’ll learn:

  • The fastest way to search using the keyword search
  • Search strings to build company and title lists
  • 360 Sourcing - a method that works with the LinkedIn UI to surface hot candidates
  • 3 New Messages to generate interest and stand out to jobseekers
  • Important changes in settings, groups and connections (with a PDF checklist)
  • Live searches from your requests (send them in with registration to make sure yours is covered)

Come join me - and join the mailing list on the page to learn about what we're doing in Sourcing and Recruiting in 2017. 


Conversations: Referral Hiring Tells A Story You Don't Want To Hear

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(Overheard in the halls of a recruiting technology conference)

Human Resources Business Partner: That was such a good presentation. 

Recruiting Consultant: Yeah? What did you like about it?

HRBP: He used so much data. This will be great to bolster the case for more budget next year. 

RC: You have your own data. How is this going to help you get more budget for what I can only assume is 10 more LinkedIn Recruiter licenses with some vague promise of a chat bot down the road? 

HRBP: You're too cynical. Fighting for budget is hard, but if we can show how other large companies are doing, we can make the case that we're looking for parity. That's the important word - not in the business case, but as my first rebuttal. 

RC: So, you go in prepared for them to shoot it down, and you have your rebuttals ready? I imagine some 1970's science fiction movie with the execs in white robes, sitting on giant chairs with blinding lights behind them. 

HRBP: It can feel that way, but it's not that bad. We simply go through a budget review, with everyone encouraged to test out weak arguments. Going for parity works well in the pitch because no executive wants to be average. They want to be exceptional. 

RC: So you've done this? 

HRBP: Oh yeah. Not at this company. You can't reuse the same word every year - that's too obvious. The first year you say you're simplifying the budget. The second year is parity. The third year is managed growth. And the fourth year you start talking about the impact on the broader market.

RC: And the fifth year?

HRBP: I won't be in this job in the fifth year. I'll be in the white robes with the bright lights.

RC: That's pretty well thought out.

HRBP: I got the idea from one of your columns, actually.

RC: You got it from me? I don't remember writing about that. 

HRBP: It was a while ago. You talked about a CMO and their firing event. 

RC: Oh yeah. I get it. It's all in the timing.

HRBP: Exactly. This shows progress in the department, regardless of the data.

RC: Pretty clever. But I have to ask - are you sure you want to use this data?

HRBP: What do you mean?

RC: Well - data-driven is great, but the data he presented on stage tells a story he might not want to spread around. 

HRBP: What could you possibly mean by that?

RC: He just insulted the entire audience, his profession, and all of corporate America. 

HRBP: That makes no sense. 

RC: Sure it does. Right from the beginning. He shoots himself in the foot and says he and his team are incompetent. 

HRBP: Okay. How exactly, did he shoot himself in the foot?

RC: What's the number one source of hire?

HRBP: Referrals

RC: There you go. 

HRBP: I'm not tracking with you.

RC: If referrals are the number one source of hire, there is no point in having a recruiting department. 

HRBP: Sure there is.

RC: Oh - you need HR, so your job is safe. But why would you spend money on sourcing, technology matching, or any interviewing if you already know that 50% of your hires are referrals?

HRBP: That's just being smart. You fish in the local ponds, and then you pay to fish in other ponds.

RC: Great point! But you undercut the idea of quality in recruiting if you mostly hire from referrals.

HRBP: That's not what we're saying at all.

RC: Sure it is. I get what you're saying, but for you to be accurate, you have to have the best employees who already know the best people to hire.

HRBP: We do have the best employees.

RC: You have absolutely no data to prove that, and I'm not sure there would be any way to prove it even if it was true. But you know what? I'll play along. Let's assume that you really do have the best employees. What is the number one source of hires at your company?

HRBP: Referrals. 

RB: What is the number one source for the speaker's company?

HRBP: Referrals.

RB: What is the number one source for every company that tracks their hiring.

HRBP: I'm going to guess referrals. 

RB: They can't all have the best employees, all of who just happen to know the best fits for the company.

HRBP: Employees do their job every day. They know the culture. They are our best ambassadors.

RB: If they are your best ambassadors, why do you pay recruiters and sourcers?

HRBP:  One, because our employees have other jobs to do, and two, to find people we don't know. 

RB: So - the best ambassadors are too busy, so you hire second-rate ambassadors to do the job.

HRBP: It's a different skillset. Our employees can't do everything, and they can't find people they don't know.

RC: But if you could, you're hire 100% referrals because your employees are better at matching and filtering than your recruiters are.

HRBP: That's not true. There are referrals who don't get hired.

RC: But there are far more sourced candidates that don't get hired. Clearly, your referred candidates are higher quality, which suggests that your employees are better recruiters than your recruiters, but you can't afford to have them do a low-level job like recruiting.

HRBP: That's twisting my words.

RC: Okay - let's try it from a different angle. If referred candidates are the best, do they show up in your matching algorithm?


HRBP: I don't understand. 

RC: If your recruiters are good at their jobs, they should be able to find the total pool of candidates that could do the job, and that includes the referred candidates. Your matching algorithm should turn up referred candidates prior to them being referred by an employee.

HRBP: That happens.

RC: It would have to happen every time. If referred candidates are better than sourced candidates, they should be turning up at the top of any matching algorithm you use. In essence, if referred candidates are actually the best people, you don't need to have them referred. They would still be the first people your sourcers identify. 

HRBP: I'm sure there is overlap.

RC: If sourcing, your ATS, that fancy matching algorithm, or your custom search engine had any value, your referrals would show up at the top of every search without a referral flag on their application

HRBP: But you have to treat referrals differently. 

RC: I agree. But in doing so, you're proving that your technology, your sourcing, and your interviewing are incompetent. You can't have it both ways. Either you suck at hiring, or you suck at sourcing. The #1 source of hire in any company is actually a negative performance review of the internal recruiting department.

HRBP: That doesn't make sense. What are we supposed to do, not hire referrals? Referrals cost less, are hired quicker, stay longer, and regularly are rated as better employees.

RB: Maybe you treat them better. Maybe the ones who take the job already have the internal scoop on what it's like to work for the company. If that's the case, then once again, you're failing to provide that kind of candidate experience to jobseekers who are not referrals. Again, if your referral candidates are not the top-ranked candidates in a blind taste test, you can't turn around and claim they are the top candidates once they've been given the red carpet.

HRBP: Referred candidates have an advantage because someone has already seen them work.

RC: If that's true, then your interviewing techniques for non-referred candidates have no value. If the fuzzy memories of working with someone at your last company is the best way to vet candidates, then there is no need for recruiters to interview candidates. 

HRBP: You're just trying to stir up trouble here. You know this won't fly.

RC: I'm just trying to be helpful. If it's apparent to me, it's going to be apparent to an executive one day. And if you indict the industry by showing that everyone agrees that referrals are the number one source and the best source, you'll have only yourself to blame.

HRBP: So what's your solution?

RC: Stop calling them your best source of hire. Treat referral hiring as a useful way to cut time to hire, but look for ways to contrast the performance of your sourced candidates. 

HRBP: hmmm.

RC: I can't help but notice that you got free consulting out of me there.

HRBP: It's not consulting if I can't sue you for E & O. And I'm sure there's an O there somewhere.

RC: Are we not using phrasing anymore? I really think we ought to get that back into the rotation.


Interview With Bob Bishop, The Marketing Recruiter

Bob Bishop is a marketing recruiter from St Louis, Missouri. Many years ago, we sat down and worked on how to use a blog to generate candidates and business - and Bob took to it like a fish to, well - he liked it and has kept it up. It's called the Perfect Fit, and Bob has been running it since August of 2008.  

At the time, local recruiting firm blogs were growing, but most recruiters gave them up or passed them off to someone else to write. There are only a handful left, poeple like Paul in Minneapolis, Will Thomson in Austin, and of course, Harry Joiner in Atlanta

Bob was not a trained recruiter when he started. He was a photographer and a marketer, and one day picked up the phone and started making placements with his deep knowledge of the industry. He does that most feared placement - the agency, and he does it well (for those not in marketing, it's feared because agencies try to hire based on prospective clients, which they aren't sure they need until the client is signed, and then they need a talented person immediately). 
 
Here's Bob, explaining in much better words what he does. 

Bishop Partners is an executive search firm specializing in marketing/advertising and Digital Media.  We consistently succeed in conducting searches from executive leaders to premier performers at virtually any level.  We're proud of 100% success with retained searches over the past 11 years.  75% of candidates are still at our client after three years. 

And now on to the interview:

1) Bob, I guess the first question, is just how hot is the market? Locally for you in St Louis, and then nationally?
 
The hiring market is the strongest it’s been since 2008.  Most in the recruiting business are optimistic that the hiring trend is going to continue and possibly accelerate!  My firm is seeing consistent new business opportunities from both the advertising/marketing agency side as well as the Corporate Brand side.
 

One other good indicator of the employment market (including the marketing community) heating up is that we’re hearing from new client prospects all over the Midwest and the South.  That’s a pleasant trend that I certainly hope continues!

2) Is that translating into higher salary requests? Or is it harder to get people to move? 

It’s safe to say that it’s not the same “employers’ market” that it used to be.  Employers now have to be very realistic about compensation when hiring someone.  For years, employees might be very happy with a lateral move, at the same level compensation.  Employers felt that they could get away with less comp, because there were so few Companies hiring at all.  
 
That’s not the case anymore.  Candidates are in a much stronger position to negotiate the compensation package.  Many are willing to stay where they are, without a bump in comp.  So, in that sense, yes it’s a bit more difficult because the candidates have higher expectations (which seems entirely reasonable to me!).

 

3) Do you see a shift in what candidates are looking for in the last four years? Is that a generational thing, or a normal market correction?

I think it’s all normal, in the sense that different generations have different values and goals.  We’ve all heard plenty about the Millenial ‘differences’.  I think much of what that generation likes, is valued by every other generation as well.  Things like being told they’re doing a good job, providing a clear career path for advancement, more realistic work/life balance all make a lot of sense.
 
 
4) Net migration from California to Missouri from 2001-2010 was something like 10,000 people, almost all families or couples looking to start families in their middle careers. How do you find new talent that moves to a market?
 
I talk with a lot of former Midwesterners who want to move back (from one of the coasts) to take care of aging parents or to raise their young family.  I find that talent to generally be very smart, ambitious and balanced.  They have a fundamental value system that seems to lead to reliability and stability in the longer term

We haven't figured that out in Dallas at all - so many people have moved, are moving, and you don't know it because they were internal transfers or posted their resumes in their old cities.  I do find people from St Louis here, but the KC-Dallas connection is much closer. But on to other questions.

5) You work in an office. Do you find that you can turn it off at the end of the day and go home? 

Generally, yes.  There are times when a candidate is interviewing after hours, or it’s the only time I can really have a longer phone conversation with them.  I try to shut “normal”  business off around 6:00.  I think there’s an advantage to being balanced and actually having a family life that one cares about.  You know what they say about “all work and no play . . . “
 
6) How much phone time do you clock in a regular day? 

Not as much as I used to.  It seems much harder to get a candidate on the phone.  In fact, I’m struck by the fact that so few people answer their phone anymore.  I still have a lot of in person meetings.  I probably send more than 100 emails and texts in a day.  Those same candidates who will not answer their phone (and in fact, have their voicemail boxes full!) will respond instantly to a text.  


7) How successful has blogging been for you. Is it useful to the business (do you know how much money you make from it yearly on average), or is it useful to you? 

Blogging has been very good for my business.  I know that candidates find it a valuable tool.  I’ve heard the same thing from clients.  I think it helps my credibility with both candidates and clients.  I like the feeling of trying to give back, with what I hope are valuable tips and advice about navigating around new career opportunities.  I’m glad I’m doing it.  Sometimes it’s hard to post as regularly as I’d like, but I believe it’s worth the effort.


8) What two positions are you masterful at placing? 

Roles of Leadership, whether agency or client, those senior executives who effectively lead teams.  
 
Bob - thank you - for being a friend, for carrying the banner of recruiter blogging, and for your time today.