Delivering the Systems and Expertise You Need to Confidently Make Great Hiring Decisions
As I was browsing through the Sunday paper last week there was one article in particular that really caught my eye. It was written by Paul Sullivan of the New York Times and it shared the findings of a new academic study Money Beliefs and Financial Behaviors: Development of the Klontz Money Script Inventory published in the current issue of The Journal of Financial Therapy.
Disclaimer: this is a heavy blog post but if you finish it I think you’ll understand why I found it compelling enough to share with you as a Hiring Manager.
He found that some people were under stress about having too little money while others were anxious about losing what they had or felt guilty for having so much. Some people immediately disliked anyone with money, while others would spend their money immediately without regard to the future.
The Klontz study asked 422 people about 72 money-related beliefs and then analyzed correlations among the answers. This produced four broad categories that Klontz called “money scripts”: money avoidance, money worship, money status and money vigilance.
- Money Avoidance: people who may be worried about abusing credit cards. They may believe that they do not deserve to have money and may sabotage their own financial well-being. People in this group tend to have low incomes and net worth. They also tend to be younger.
- Money Worship: the opposite of those with avoidance, but their behaviors are equally destructive. They believe that an increase in income or a windfall will make everything better and love the status derived from the things money can buy. This belief also lands people in debt because they use whatever credit they have to buy things that will impress others. “They believe money will solve all of your problems,” Klontz said. “This is the money belief pattern that afflicts the majority of Americans.”
- Money Equals Status: occurs when people’s self-worth is linked to their net worth. These people often take bigger financial risks because they want to have the stories of big gains to impress their friends. (Don’t expect them to tell you when those big bets do not pay off.)
- Money Vigilance: The only affliction that did not have an overwhelmingly negative impact on people’s financial future. People with this disorder do not like to share information about their income or wealth, but they also do not spend foolishly. Still, excessive wariness about spending can keep these people from enjoying the benefits of what money can buy. On the other hand, while they did not necessarily have higher incomes, they paid off their credit card bills each month. “Maybe some anxiety and vigilance around money is good for your bottom line,” Klontz said.
As Mr. Sullivan insightfully pointed out, “Not surprisingly, the four money scripts illustrate problems that have less to do with money than with what money represents.”
Most of the people in the study identified themselves as “middle class” during their developmental years. Another common thread was how people remembered a financially traumatic moment in their life. Klontz described a case in which a family was beset by debt and about to lose its house. In one case, the grandmother bails out the family. In the other, the family figures out a way to keep the house on its own. The outcome is the same, but the takeaway can be different.
“If grandma swoops in and saves the day, you could walk away from that thinking that you don’t need to worry about money,” he said. “Or where there was a lot of talk about losing the house, that could impact you so you live your life afraid of losing everything.”
What I found most interesting for you as a Hiring Manager was this: One of the goals of the study was to use the results to create a test that therapists and financial advisers could use to quickly understand their clients’ beliefs about money. Klontz estimated that administering the test could save therapists hours of conversation and help them understand how a patient came to a particular belief about money.
Conclusion: if someone you’ve got on your team grew up in an environment where their parents demonstrated destructive behaviors but got bailed out, don’t be surprised when that employee misses deadlines and expects someone else to jump in and save them.
Conor Neill, a close friend of mine and a prominent Entrepreneur in Spain, wrote this short story below for the Entrepreneurs’ Organization’s blog. It’s a great reminder of just how important attitude is in hiring.
Two men, Bill and Frank, begin working at a hotel the same day. They are intelligent, educated and ambitious. The manager of the hotel greets them and hands them both doorman uniforms. They are to begin opening and closing the doors, helping with bags, flagging taxis, etc.
Bill thinks “Doorman? I am worth more than this! I could manage this hotel better than the current guy.” But he doesn’t have an alternative offer and he needs the money, so he does the job anyway. He maintains a pained grimace on his face and deals with customers and other staff in a negative way because he is “better than this.”
Frank, in contrast, thinks “Okay, doorman. It’s not what I had in mind, but hey, I get to spend some time outside, get to meet the customers, and I’ll learn about how this hotel works.” He sets to work with a smile on his face and finds that he quite enjoys the small challenges he faces as a doorman at such a prestigious hotel.
After six weeks, a position at the front desk opens up, and the hotel manager immediately thinks of Frank. Frank is promoted and immediately brings his positive attitude to the front desk of the hotel. Several years later, Frank is the hotel manager. He leaves late one evening and there, opening the door with a hard-wired grimace, is Bill.
Is it luck, or is it fate? Bill will spend forever in a job that he hates and Frank will love every job that he is given. This story is such an inspiration, because it encourages me to always stay positive about my responsibilities and to find the reward in every remedial task. When hiring staff I spend more time exploring attitude and self-motivation than I do exploring capabilities. I also spend time looking to direct my employees toward challenges that are motivating for them.
When it comes to running a business, I’ve learned it’s not just about the results, but the work you put in. That’s where successful people thrive.
In case you haven’t noticed, the hiring freeze that seemed to overtake the our nation over the last 14 months is thawing, just in time for Spring.
Here are a few of the articles that I’ve noticed in the past few days that suggest it’s time for you to pay attention and get your act together because it’s going to be time for you to start RECRUITING instead of ABSORBING…soon.
- Upstaged by Younger Rivals, Google aims to Get Hip again [LINK]
- Demand for Programmers has returned and Start-Ups are out of luck [LINK]
- Microsoft is spending 10x that of Apple to Recruit and still struggles [LINK]
- There are more than 1,000 Job Postings with the word “Java” in them on Monster [LINK]
- The same keyword results in >8,000 on CareerBuilder [LINK]
The next BLS survey isn’t due until February 4, 2011 but the statistics will continue to hold true, while there is a nationwide unemployment rate of between 9-10%, the unemployment rate for college graduates is around 5% and about 2% for married college graduates.
It’s time to get your game faces on or you’re going to be forced into hiring people in the very bottom of the barrel.
And if you haven’t checked it out GlassDoor yet, you should. Your current and former employees are talking.
You’ve been warned.
Derek Jeter is one of the most well-known and well-respected players in all of Major League Baseball. This year, at the age of 36, his contract is up for renewal. As the Captain of the Yankees, many fans expected the Front Office to give him whatever he wanted so that he could finish out his Hall of Fame career in pinstripes.
But there’s a fly in the ointment: the Front Office does want to keep Jeter but Derek’s Agent is suggesting that he be paid $23-25mm per year for the next 5 years. His agent has said that Jeter can’t be valued the same way as other shortstops because of his leadership qualities. Why is that a problem?
- A Player is “in their prime” between the ages of 29-32. They’ve got more maturity, they understand how to keep their bodies healthy through 162+ games and they have enough youth still in them to match up against the strength of a 25 year old.
- There are only a handful of players making over $20mm per year – the list gets even smaller when you add the filter of being 36 years old or older. Oh, and the stats of Derek don’t come close to matching those of the players who are at this altitude.
- The 2nd highest paid shortstop in the Major Leagues is Hanley Ramirez who is 10 years younger, hit 30 points higher and hit 21 home runs to Jeter’s 10.
How does this situation possibly impact you?
More and more I’m seeing Business Leaders who are making what I believe to be a major mistake: they’re hiring people who are currently unemployed and offering them significantly less than what they were previously making. They Leaders are feeling quite proud of themselves because people are accepting the positions. Karl Scheible is a close friend of mine and a Sales Guru. For years he’s pounded into my head that people make decisions for 2 reasons:
- To run TOWARDS pleasure
- To run AWAY from pain
The pain of unemployment is more prevalent than the pleasure of waiting for the perfect role for many people today. Here my words of caution to the people hiring the unemployed at drastically reduced rates from 12, 18 or 24 months ago: THEY WON’T STICK. Why? Because people place a perceived value on themselves that is based on both reality (their top pay throughout their career) and their distorted sense of what they think the market should pay them. As an employer, if you’re not within 10% of what they have previously earned, I don’t think they’re going to hang around because we live in a hedonic society that encourages us to live beyond our means. If that new employee is accepting a 20% pay cut, it’s unlikely they’re going to be able to reduce their lifestyle costs by that same amount. They’ll live in pain and will want to run away from it the second they believe the economy has turned around or someone calls them and offers them even $1,000 more per year to change jobs. Don’t believe me? Check out this survey that was conducted 14 months ago (and the trend is going up). It suggests that 67% of people will look for a new position as soon as they think the market shows interest in their skills.
Bottom Line: While you may think that someone is only worth $X, if that person has earned $Y before and takes your job, expect them to be gone within 18 months or less.
I’ve been sitting on this blog post for a while thinking that its efficacy would get better and better as the economy and job market failed to recover at the pace that the economists thought (hoped) it would. It looks like my hunch was right.
Nine months ago, the Wall Street Journal published an article called “Only the Employed Need Apply“. The premise of the article was that many employers were only interested in talking to people who were already employed – even if the candidate who had applied had lost their job even after performing at a high level.
Bobby Fitzgerald, a partner in five restaurants in three states, says these days he gets two dozen or more unsolicited résumés each day at one of his Phoenix restaurants, the White Chocolate Grill. But Mr. Fitzgerald says his top candidates, for jobs ranging from servers to management, usually are people who are employed elsewhere. He currently has 50 openings across his five restaurants and has told recruiters to bring in only people who are working.
When you consider that in March 2010 our unemployment rate is still on the precipice of 10% and the average time that someone is unemployed is still over 1/2 of a year, it would appear that Business Leaders like Bobby Fitzgerald aren’t alone.
At Hire Better, we’ve seen a significant up-tick in the number of clients who want us to assist them in hiring salespeople. For those salespeople who we see as applicants, the statistics are NOT in their favor if they’re applying for a role in which Hire Better is involved. Here’s what we’ve found:
In a typical hiring cycle, assuming that we have 100 people to consider for a role:
- 82-85 will be Direct Applicants
- 12-15 will be People who are “headhunted” or from our Network
- 1-3 will be Referrals from internal employees at the client company
When we get down to the Top Three Finalists, they’ll look like this:
- 1 Direct Applicant
- 1 “headhunted” Candidate
- 1 Referral
And when the finalist is hired: The chance of the Direct Applicant goes DOWN exponentially as the salary and responsibility goes UP.
For a Sales role, the prospects of a Direct Applicant are even WORSE. The same statistics will apply to the Candidate pool as before but I have to expand the pool to 5 people when you look for Finalists:
- 1 is a Direct Applicant
- 3 are “headhunted”
- 1 is a Referral
And when this is the case, the Referral has more than a 50% chance of getting hired and the Direct Applicant has less than a 10% chance. In the case of sales candidates – I believe these stats are just about right. And they’re justifiable! If you’re considering hiring an unemployed salesperson or sales manager, you should be asking yourself “Why would a good salesperson be unemployed?”
If you have a 12 month sales cycle and an 8 month learning curve, it will take nearly 2 years to get your new salesperson producing consistently. In that 2 years, maybe you’ll pay out close to $150,000 in subsidies.
Using your average margin, how much revenue must be gemerated to offset that subsidy?
How much revenue must be generated to produce a satisfactory ROI?
How long must the salesperson stick around in order to produce that ROI?
To bring it all back together, if a prospective sales candidate (who, for the sake of this blog post is unemployed) has found him/herself in a new sales role every 2-3 years, what are the odds that anyone who is hiring them is going to experience a positive ROI?
When we look at candidates through this lens we find it’s a lot easier to not find ourselves getting “sold” during an interview by someone who has all kinds of great excuses for why “things just didn’t work out” at that last job they were in…
Tags: A-Player, A-Players, bad hires, Baseline Selling, challenges of hiring salespeople, Dave Kurlan, hire better, hiring, hiring manager, Interview, Kurlan, mediocre salespeople, Objective Management Group, recruit don't absorb, Recruiting, recruiting salespeople, Salespeople, talent acquisition, unemployment, unemployment rate, virtual bench
Today’s blog post comes courtesy of Brad Smart, the author of Topgrading. I remember reading his post in September of 2009 and thinking how powerful it was. When going through my list of topics for what made the most sense to blog about this week I realized that this was as timely and quite a bit more profound than anything I had come up with. He and Chris Mursau, the Vice President of Smart & Associates, write a great blog that you should definitely read on a regular basis.
I’ve taken the liberty of shortening the article down to apply more to a Hiring Manager than a job seeker so that you’re aware of the kinds of challenges that an A-Player might be having in clearly articulating how and why they’re exceptional.
A players are remarkably … um … inexperienced at job hunting, and they are remarkably inept at it.
C players, however, are nudged out of jobs and companies and they become masters at getting the next job. C players also become masters at imitating A players. They’ve read many books that teach them how to make their resumes look better and how to answer interview questions.
In this economic downturn thousands of companies have folded and hundreds of thousands of not just under-performers but high performers, A players, are out looking for jobs. The unemployed are from every industry and there are quite a few super sharp people out looking for work – sometimes for the first time in their career.
Here’s the problem: C players become masters at imitating A players; their resumes are full of hype and conceal negatives, and their interviewing behavior is well-rehearsed. So on the surface C players look like A players. And the poor A player who is looking for a job doesn’t know how to convey – “Hey, my resume is truthful and so is everything I say in interviews.”
Throughout their careers, A players needing a job have simply gone to their network and asked for connections to hiring managers. That historically has been a very productive method. “Birds of a feather …” and when A players contact their networks and say a super sharp A player they know is available … hey, job offers pop up.
- Rewrite your resume, tooting your horn. Keep it to 2 pages and list ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND SUCCESSES. I’ve looked at hundreds of resumes since the economic slide and I see A players being TOO HUMBLE. Don’t include much about responsibilities and don’t state your career objective (save that for the cover letter). Don’t puff yourself up – stick to the facts. But make it clear when YOU accomplished something and not just the team, of which you were a member.
- Rewrite your cover letter. Cover letters are usually boring and canned. Speak from the heart, say what you’re looking for, but here is the key…
- Make it clear that your bosses in the past decade would give you rave reviews. If you have received overall performance ratings that are tops, say so. Humble A players rarely do this – too bad because C players don’t do it for a different reason (it ain’t true that bosses gave them top ratings!).
- Offer to arrange personal reference calls with your former bosses (and subordinates and peers, too). Only A players CAN make such an offer and actually follow through, but again they are too humble. In the past their network got them a job and they knew that others were singing their praises, so they were simply their usual understated self. In this economy if you won Olympic gold metals, you’d better display them if you want to get on the team. It frankly impresses the heck out of recruiters and hiring managers to read and hear that your former bosses would praise you and that YOU do the work of arranging the phone calls.
- Don’t accept low pay. In the past few months I’ve seen some companies take advantage of people they are recruiting and hiring, knowing that even A players are desperate. Trouble is, when the economy improves, A players who KNEW they were worth more than what they were paid, leave. Companies you would want to work for won’t try to cheat you in the short term.
Brad writes that he’s interviewed more than 6,500 people over the years as his basis point for the credibility of his thoughts. I’d make the argument that I’ve seen more than 100,000 resumes in my career and maybe 0.1% of them were well written. Takeaway value = far too many hiring managers who made snap decisions about candidates based on just a resume even though resumes have a high likelihood of not telling anywhere close to the whole story about someone.
Tags: A-Players, Brad Smart, C-Players, chris mursau, hire better, hiring, hiring manager, Interview, job postings, resume, smarttopgrading, Topgrading, topgrading methodology, TORC, unemployment, unemployment rate
I’m a HUGE St. Louis Cardinals (and baseball) fan. It struck me with a huge amount of disappointment when the Redbirds announced that they had voided a contract that they signed with a 16 year old from the Caribbean who they had been working to sign for quite some time.
Why would they void a contract after beating out a dozen other teams and offering $3.1mm (a record for the Cardinals in signing an Amateur)?
Because, as it turned out, his Agent lied about the fact that the young man had a degenerative eye disease that was robbing him of his vision. They hid it in the hopes that he could get signed fast enough to just start playing and put the money in the bank.
Yes, I understand that most business owners and hiring managers aren’t dealing with salary numbers anywhere near the millions BUT, if someone’s been unemployed for a period of time, has a mortgage that’s overdue and has bill collectors calling every day, how honest do you think they’re being during their interviews?
Some things that you should be closely evaluating to be sure that you’re getting as close to the truth out of prospective employees during the evaluation process:
- Do your Job Descriptions give away too much about the job? In other words, if it was a personal ad, does it explain too much about your likes and dislikes so that someone could “fake it” on a first date?
- Are your interviews structured and planned in advance? If you’re making up your interview questions on the fly based on the answers you’re getting, are you getting to the meat of what you need to learn about a prospective employee or are you having great discussions about all of their strengths and letting them withhold their weaknesses?
- Are you conducting INTENSE Reference Checks? I’ve gotten a ton of positive feedback from a blog post from a couple of weeks ago about how to dig in during the Reference Process. Without really pushing to talk with previous hiring managers, are you getting the truth from candidates or just their half of the story?
- Are you running Credit History Reports on candidates to evaluate if they’re in such dire straights that they are more likely to tell you whatever you want to hear?
People in tough situations will often be pushed to do things that they normally wouldn’t do. Many times, we’ve seen that this includes bold-faced lies during their interviews and on their resumes. A prime example: just this past week we had an applicant suggest that she had 10 years of Business to Business Marketing Experience. She had such a good story that an inexperienced interviewer probably would have ‘bought’ it. Because the Hire Better Team Member who was interviewing her knew how to dig in further it was discovered that her 10 years were really only 9. And that B2B experience: working as the Office Manager for a Flower Shop that had a local relationship with 1-800-FLOWERS and a $500/month budget for Google AdWords.
Bottom line: expect the best from people but, especially in this kind of economy, don’t just accept what you’re hearing as the truth.
It’s not often I’m floored by the comprehensiveness of a Blog Post simply because too many people write them with speed in mind or just for Search Engine Optimization.
Today I was floored.
Gina Kleinworth is one of the Team Members at HireBetter. A significant amount of her role here is being responsible for combing the web every day to find articles that reinforce our goal of helping companies confidently make great hiring decisions. (Are you following us on Twitter? You should – we invest a lot of time in making you a better leader. We’re Tweeting 2-3x per day under the moniker of @HireBetter.)
Gina found an article today written by Auren Hoffman on his blog Summation. It’s title: “Why hiring is paradoxically harder in a downturn“. Its subtitle is what I chose for this blog post’s title: “Noise goes up but the quality remains the same”. You can also read it on the Huffington Post.
His comments rang true with me again and again as I read the blog 3 full times. Here are some of the points that he makes throughout this well-written post (read it, seriously):
“Great people are more likely to be employed with a company since a great person is often over 3 times as productive as a good person. Joel Spolsky argues in Smart & Gets Things Done that an A-player is anywhere from 5-10 times as productive.”
“In troubled economic times, anyone can get laid off, but a disproportionate number of layoffs tend to fall on C-players. This is because they are the lowest performing people in a company and there generally are more C-players at a company than any other caliber. Note that this isn’t always true, as evidenced with Yahoo!, a company that has recently experienced many layoffs but doesn’t have many C-players. In Yahoo!’s case, majority of the lay-offs fell on B-players and even some A-players. Yahoo! is an exception and is an exceptional company — most large companies, however, are chock-full of C-players.”
“There are A-players that are MORE likely to leave. Tough times often paint companies into a corner and force them into maintenance mode rather than continuing to innovate. Great players love to innovate and usually NEED to innovate. It’s usually very hard to keep these type of A-players caged-up and thus this presents a big opportunity for recruiting.”
“Great people are often first to leave sinking ships. They don’t feel they need to stick around for a severance because they are confident they can always get another job.”
“Unfortunately, it is really hard to tell the difference between an A-player, B-player, or C-player just from a resume. Which means you need to engage with candidates and therefore you’ll have far more candidates to deal with given this economic climate. My guess – for a standard job announcement, you’ll have three times the number of C-players applying, twice the number of B-players, and the same number of A-players.”
Tags: A-Player, A-Players, auren hoffman, B-Player, C-Player, hire better, hiring, hiring is hard, Interview, joel spolsky, Recruiting, Scorecard, talent acquisition, topgrading methodology, tweets, Twitter, unemployment, unemployment rate