leadership

Great Leaders Have No Rules

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Some people believe rules were made to be broken…then there’s New York Times Best Selling Author Kevin Kruse. He states that great leaders have no rules. Kevin is my special guest in this episode. We discuss changes that HR leaders, staffing pros, and hiring managers must make to be more effective. Make sure you check out and buy Kevin’s new book: Great Leaders Have No Rules. And you’ll also want to access Kevin’s free leadership development platform Leadx.

 

Scott WintripGreat Leaders Have No Rules
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Interviews Are Rooted in Lies. Here’s How to Stop Participating in the Deception

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It has been said of some salespeople that you can easily spot when they’re lying–their lips are moving. Salespeople aren’t the only ones giving lip service to the truth. Job interviews are frequently built on one or more lies.

The lying is happening on both sides of the table. Candidates misrepresent their abilities. Companies overstate the facts. Both parties omit details.

The farcical dance that defines many interviews undermines effective selection. Candidates accept ill-fitting jobs based upon incomplete information. Companies end up having good interviews that turn into bad hires.

Are the lies told by candidates and companies intentional? Sometimes. Often the deception is unconscious. People are simply doing things the way they’ve always been done, unaware of the consequences.

Stopping the deception requires understanding and interrupting these lies. Let’s take a look at some of the different types of lying common in the hiring process.

Omission
Lies of omission are the most common as people leave out details they believe could become a deal breaker. Candidates choose not to share a past mistake they think could end their chances. Interviewers avoid talking about negative aspects of the job out of fear they’ll turn off a talented person. Both parties neglect sharing the full truth hoping it will bolster their chances of a positive hiring outcome.

Exaggeration
Rooted in the truth, lies of exaggeration bend the facts in an effort to make someone or something look better than it is. Employers amplify advancement opportunities; candidates magnify the depth of their experience; both sides distort details. Instead of painting an accurate picture, companies and candidates take liberties that misinform and mislead.

Deception
Lies of deception are a form of hiring magic. Like a magician who diverts your attention to create an illusion, deception in hiring is an attempt to divert attention away from negative details. Jobseekers change dates on resumes to cover up employment gaps. Companies misrepresent job details to make a role seem more attractive. Candidates and companies engage in a hiring version of fake news out of fear of the impact of the truth.

Promises
It has been said that promises were made to be broken. That’s being lived out daily in interviews. Managers openly acknowledge an organizational problem, promising it will soon be rectified even though they have no authority to keep that promise. Candidates commit to improving weak skills if hired, knowing full well they lack the time and resources to keep the commitment. Promises in interviews are a common workaround for real issues that aren’t really going to be resolved.

Plagiarism
When in school, using ideas or work that is not your own will get you a failing grade. When hiring, plagiarism will get you a failed hire. Hiring-related plagiarism is being perpetrated by both parties. Jobseekers provide work samples that aren’t their own and have friends take online skills tests. Employers copy and use other companies’ well-written job descriptions knowing that these documents are a far cry from the job they’re offering.

White Lies
Believed to be harmless, white lies are relatively minor omissions, exaggerations, deceptions, promises, and plagiarism. Although minor, white lies still distort the facts thereby undermining sound decision-making.

Accuracy in hiring requires accurate information. Without that, companies and candidates end up making choices they later regret.

You can put a stop to these regrets by taking three steps.

Step #1
Commit to rigorous honesty
Teach everyone involved in hiring about the 6 types of lies, making it clear that these are often unintentional habits. Share how you’ve made these errors; your vulnerability can elicit the same from your colleagues. Support one another in a commitment to a hiring process that is grounded in rigorous honesty.

Step #2
Be appropriately transparent
Rigorous honesty doesn’t mean engaging in blind transparency. A productive hiring process should give candidates (and you) the details needed to make a prudent decision. Take time to determine the information that a candidate needs to know including job responsibilities, role expectations, company culture, compensation, and career development and advancement opportunities. Appropriate transparency that is rigorously honest will help them make an informed choice. 

Step #3
Clean up mistakes
You’re human and you’ll make mistakes, including when you’ve been in the practice of unintentional deception. Breaking this habit may take time, which means you may make some missteps along the way. Seize this as an opportunity. When you tell one of the 6 lies acknowledge it and clean it up. Remember that mistakes are your chance to demonstrate your excellence at problem-solving.

In a world filled with fakery your organization’s commitment to stopping all forms of deception is an opportunity. An opportunity to strengthen your brand, improve the hiring experience, and deepen engagement from the very first interaction. Those benefits alone are worth letting go of the lies.

 

Scott WintripInterviews Are Rooted in Lies. Here’s How to Stop Participating in the Deception
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Improving Employee Engagement Often Starts With a Divorce

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Do you struggle with letting people go? You’re not alone. Many leaders have some level of discomfort when it comes to firing someone. Yet, this uncomfortable responsibility is frequently what’s needed to improve employee engagement. In this episode, I share with you how to make the decision of whether or not fire someone easier.

Scott WintripImproving Employee Engagement Often Starts With a Divorce
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Get Jobseekers to Help You Speed Up Hiring

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Quickening the pace of hiring remains a hot topic and rightly so. The time it takes to fill a job grows year after year.

Many ideas on faster hiring are focused on the employer. But what about jobseekers? Sustainable speed can only be achieved if both sides of the hiring equation are addressed.

Here are 4 things jobseekers can do (and you can suggest they do) that increase hiring speed and improve selection accuracy.

Eliminate misinformation
Recurring media reports from a variety of sources indicate that two-thirds or more of resumes contain misinformation. This frequent inaccuracy has elicited a knee-jerk response by companies—it’s assumed that resumes have exaggerations or flat-out lies and that these lies continue during interviews. To manage this, companies slow down the process and dive deep to find these erroneous details. Instead of hiring being built on trust, it’s a tedious process filled with suspicion and doubt.

Combat this misinformation head on. Inform jobseekers that you’re not seeking perfect people, but people who perfectly represent themselves on paper and in conversations. Share examples of how you’ve hired less than perfect people and helped them advance their careers. Make your company a place where potential hires can be safely transparent.

Avoid spraying and praying
Like a farmer spreading manure to fertilize plants, many job candidates are spraying their resumes far and wide, praying one will take root and land them an opportunity. Employers end up buried in a pile of resumes, many of which are a crappy fit (pun intended). Sorting through this takes time, and time kills making good hires. Especially when a talented person, who was at the bottom of the pile, is snapped up by a faster competitor.

Encourage jobseekers to take a more targeted approach to their search. Start by setting and communicating boundaries early. For example, in the content on your job opportunities landing page make it clear that you’ll only consider and respond to candidates who match required qualifications. Repeatedly reinforce and re-communicate this boundary. Popular places for doing so are on the page where candidates enter work history and just above the final “Submit” button for their application.

Offer proof instead of promises
Talk is cheap, especially when answering questions during interviews. Answering an interviewer’s questions may create a feel good moment, but these answers offer nothing in the way of proof of fit. That’s why so many good interviews turn into bad hires. Candidates talk themselves into the role, one that wasn’t a fit after all.

Have each candidate offer proof in place of promises that he or she will fit in. Instead of letting a candidate tell you how she’d solve a problem, have her show you in a role play. Rather than asking about his top skills, have him demonstrate those skills by performing sample work. Require the candidate to go beyond sharing stories of how she works well with others and let her show you how she’ll collaborate with your current team. Showing, instead of telling, provides proof for making an informed decision.

Make better choices
Searching for a job is an emotional experience. Too often feelings trump facts, prompting the jobseeker to accept a role because if feels right versus doing so because it is truly the right fit.

Teach jobseekers how to make decisions rooted in facts instead of feelings. One approach is to ask the candidate to make a list of dealmakers (must-haves) and dealbreakers (must-not haves) and send it to you for discussion during a phone interview. Compare the list to the job and your company. Let people know where things match up and where they don’t. With eyes wide open, you both get to make an informed choice of whether to move forward or not.

Helping jobseekers should be a top priority for everyone involved in hiring. Putting people to work is one way. Guiding them in how they seek work is another. Seize every opportunity you can to inform and educate jobseekers about their role in increasing speed and improving accuracy during the hiring experience. Your role in hiring gives you a unique opportunity to exert your influence beyond just filling the next job. Use that influence to make jobseekers better at their part of the hiring process. You’ll be giving them a gift that serves them the remainder of their careers.

Scott WintripGet Jobseekers to Help You Speed Up Hiring
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Overcoming Resistance of Faster Hiring

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People often resist change, especially when you try to change a longstanding way of doing something. This is certainly true in recruiting and hiring. Speeding up the process can be met with intense resistance. Case in point…

At a meeting of the leadership team of a health insurance company, Paul thought the idea of fast hiring was “repulsive.” As we discussed how to plan the process, Paul started making passive-aggressive comments. After he said, “What’s next? We’re going to replace our employees with robots, like in that Will Smith movie?” I knew our discussion wasn’t addressing all of his concerns. I asked Paul to explain.

“People aren’t products,” he said angrily. “I can’t believe we’re even discussing such a dehumanizing approach. Picking the right people takes time. Interviews, even if they last all day, are a good investment of our time. We must make sure we’re picking the best people. Besides, good candidates won’t want to be rushed through the process. I’m finding this whole conversation repulsive. I’m sure my team will feel the same way.”           

Instead of trying to convince Paul to change his mind, I decided to let him change it himself.

“Paul, thanks for your honesty. I bet you’re not the only one with concerns about a faster approach.” Two other leaders nodded their heads in agreement. “What would you need to determine if this could work for the company?”

Paul thoughtfully paused before responding, “I’d need to see proof. Absolute proof that this will work for us.”

That led to a conversation about rolling out a faster hiring process on a limited basis to start. Two leaders, who didn’t share Paul’s concerns, agreed to test the process. Choosing a job common to both of their departments, we designed a plan and timeline that could be implemented without interrupting day-to-day business. Two other leaders, including Paul, were designated as auditors, outside observers who would monitor and document the pros and cons as the process was rolled out.

I met again with the leadership team after the beginning of the rollout. The two managers testing the process gave updates, sharing mostly positive news. They had made a few missteps along the way; however, both were upbeat. Both had filled two open jobs and lined up several additional candidates in their pipelines as potential future hires.

During their updates, I watched Paul out of the corner of my eye. He spent the entire time looking down at his notes. He appeared angry, even angrier than when he shared his concerns in our first meeting. I learned why when it was Paul’s turn to share pros and cons as an auditor of the test.

“I hate being wrong,” he said. “But, there it is. I was flat out wrong. There was nothing dehumanizing about a faster approach. If anything, it enabled interviewers to focus on people, not process. This shorter, simpler process allowed them to get to know each other better. Our new hires told me they loved our efficient process, and that it was a factor in choosing to work here.”

When recruiting and hiring, speed and accuracy are not mutually exclusive. Nor are speed and intimacy. A well-designed, well-executed hiring process allows people to be fully present and have conversations that matter. These interactions build trust as candidates learn they are dealing with confident professionals, and hiring managers discover which candidates are ready to make a job change. This trust becomes the foundation for the employment relationship, one built on a professionally intimate hiring experience.

To help navigate through resistance as you work to speed up hiring in your organization, do one or more the following:

Support people in changing their own mind
Trying to convince someone to see things differently is hard, sometimes impossible. Instead, let him or her do the heavy lifting. Ask a question like I did of Paul: What would you need to determine if faster hiring could work for your company? Integrate the responses into additional questions until you understand the root of the resistance and what will make it go away.

Suggest a limited approach
Resistance isn’t always about the change itself. There are times when people want to change but are fearful of the overwhelm it may cause. A limited scope can help. Start with one role; run a short-term test; bring in outside help to lighten the load. By working together, you can drive forward a faster hiring process without driving people crazy with overwhelm and fear.

Find a different path
Sometimes the path of least resistance is another person. Seek out an early adopter in your organization, someone who’s known for being first in line to implement new ideas. Work together to plan and execute the rollout. Make adjustments as you learn what works and what does not. Once the speedier process is in place and producing positive results, ask your early adopter to share their experience with others. Nothing enrolls doubters faster than proof positive.

Resistance is futile (yes, for you Star Trek fans, that was intentional), especially when you’re the one trying to overcome it. Don’t go it alone and avoid doing all the heavy lifting. Effective hiring is a team sport. Speeding up hiring requires a team effort.

Scott WintripOvercoming Resistance of Faster Hiring
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Rejected by a Talented Candidate? Do This

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It’s inevitable that someone you want to interview or hire will say “no.” However, that “no” isn’t permanent. You can get a talented person to change his or her mind by applying a powerful principle of selling.

I first witnessed this principle during a conversation with a longtime client. He called to say there was somebody else. Another company had approached him, offering similar services for 5% less.

My client explained that he had to watch his budget and decided to seriously consider making a change. He further explained to me that he didn’t really want to, but if I couldn’t meet that price, he’d have to go with the other company.

Now of course, I felt a bit betrayed. Rather than give in to this feeling, which was valid but unhelpful for solving the problem, I kept the conversation going.

“Harvey, I want to thank you for calling and being candid with me. I’m curious. What would it make it worth staying with us, paying what you are now?”

There was a pregnant pause. He didn’t just dismiss the question out of hand, which was a good sign.

“That’s an interesting question,” he said. “There is something. Our payables department has been on us about getting longer payment terms to help with cash flow. If we had a bit longer to pay, that might make it worth that 5%.”

Playing off his idea, I simply asked:

“Okay, what’s longer?”

“Oh, I don’t know. Maybe 10 more days?”

Harvey’s voice had gone from conciliatory and resigned to hopeful in a matter of seconds. Now, instead of prompting me to adjust my price or lose him as a client, he asked me for accommodations in order to maintain our relationship. This created a productive conversation in place of a “break up” phone call.

Harvey’s company had always paid on time and often, in less than 30 days so his request was by no means unreasonable. Now, I needed only one more question to close the deal.

“If I can get you those 10 additional days, then can we continue working together in the way we always have?”

“Yes, Scott. Thank you! That’s such a relief. I really wasn’t looking forward to the transition.”

I remember ending that phone call with a smile on my face. I had just experienced the value of allowing Harvey to sell himself on an idea, rather than trying to do the heavy lifting myself. I let the better salesperson sell. Him. Not me. He sold himself on changing his own mind.

Yes, I kept Harvey as a client. More importantly, I’d experienced a powerful sales principle. A principle that became an important focus in my recruiting and hiring. That principle:

Buyers always believe themselves, but only sometimes believe you.

Job candidates are buyers. They’re buying into opportunities. When they say “no,” they’re the most qualified person in the conversation to change it into a “yes.”

How does this work in recruiting and hiring? Well, there was the project manager who wanted a higher salary than we could offer. I asked, “What would make it worth taking the job for what we originally offered?” He talked himself into that number after asking for an extra week of vacation.

Then there was the accountant who didn’t want to drive across town for a job. I posed the following: “Under what circumstances would you consider commuting that far?” The accountant offered up the idea of a flex schedule sealing the deal for her to accept the role.

Candidates always believe themselves, but only sometimes believe you. Let the better salesperson sell, especially when it’s a candidate who just said “no.” If there’s anyone who can get them to change their own mind, it’s them, not you.

Scott WintripRejected by a Talented Candidate? Do This
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Want Your Team To Reach Its Goals? Change This One Thing

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One simple often overlooked action can shift your team from sometimes reaching its goals to crushing them on regular basis. In this episode, I tell you how to do it.

Scott WintripWant Your Team To Reach Its Goals? Change This One Thing
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Here’s When It’s Okay To Be Slow To Hire

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Being slow to hire often means a job goes unfilled for awhile. But it doesn’t have to. There’s a way to be slow to hire that’s fast and effective. It starts with understanding the real meaning of the idea.

The Unintended Consequences of Slow to Hire
The idea of slow to hire has been around for years. I noticed it gained traction as leaders became increasingly aware of the significant costs of a bad hire. The financial cost alone has been estimated as a five- to six-figure sum. Then there’s the lost time, missed opportunities, wasted effort, and added stress. Because of these costs, it made sense to make hiring decisions carefully.

That was the original intent of being slow to hire—taking the time necessary to make smart hiring decisions.

Unfortunately, the idea of careful hiring took on a life of its own. One or two rounds of interviews with prospective hires expanded to three, four, five, sometimes six separate rounds before making a hiring decision. Then there are additional steps including testing, reference checking, and background checks.

Finally, if all goes well, a job offer is made to the most qualified person. However, if that offer is declined and the second choice candidate has already taken another job (which often happens after a long, drawn-out hiring process) the whole process starts all over again. That adds more time, more effort, more expense, and more interviews, making slow to hire even slower.

Has this cautious approach to hiring worked? Not if you’re a leader with an unfilled job. Certainly not if you’re in HR and can’t find enough qualified people. Definitely not if you’re in staffing or talent acquisition and your best candidate was just hired by a faster competitor. The time it takes to fill just one job has reached an all-time high, and there’s been no improvement in employee turnover.

Because of this misunderstanding about slow to hire, the world has been operating on a faulty premise. People have mistakenly been equating time and effort spent on hiring with making a quality hire. The more take they take, the more energy they expend, the better the hire will be. It’s given them a false sense of control. Taking lots of time to hire doesn’t save companies from bad hires; it only saves people from making a decision they’re afraid may be wrong.

Slow to hire became something unintended. It turned into being slow to fill.

You can break your organization out of this cycle, while still taking a prudent approach to decision-making. You do that by being slow to hire and fast to fill. Here are 6 steps that will help.

Recruit ahead
Pick one role and start cultivating talent for it right now, even if there are no current openings. It’s not if that job will open, but when. You’re preparing for the when.

Build rapport
Let candidates know you hire differently, getting to know people before jobs open. You’ll typically find that talented people welcome this approach since this gives them an option for their future.

Interview actively
Just as you try on clothes before buying them, you can have people try-on opportunities. Invite people to experience your company and culture. Having them try out sample work lets you both determine if a role in your organization may be a future fit.

Maintain contact
Touch base with prospective hires at least monthly. Use the few minutes you spend to pass along valuable information, such as marketplace updates or news on a trend you’ve seen. This keeps your relationship top of mind while also making her better off just from having spoken with you.

Fill fast
When a job opens, offer it to the top person with whom you’ve stayed in touch. If she’s unable to say “yes,” offer it to the next best candidate on your list.

Repeat
As you maintain contact with candidates who are ready-to-hire, you can repeat these steps with another role (if you like). And then another. And then another.

Smart decision-making and a speedy process can work hand in hand when you’re slow to hire and fast to fill. This balanced approach lets your organization make prudent hiring decisions while filling jobs the moment they become open.

Scott WintripHere’s When It’s Okay To Be Slow To Hire
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