“You Are Too Competent For Us To Hire”


501

Interviewing with an honest employer rarely happens. And what I mean is that a completely honest employer would be sharing what is really going on in the organization and why they really don’t want to hire you. Having read between the lines often enough, please enjoy the following “honest interview” and maybe it will ease your stress of finding a job by laughing a little today.

 

So I read a job advertisement recently that I could have written myself for my work experience. It was close to home, stated a salary range that I felt was workable and fair, and the benefits package was quite complete. I was excited about the range of responsibilities and what appeared to be management’s accurate support of the learning function. I noticed I could apply using LinkedIn, so I did. Less than an hour later the recruiter is calling me.

This first conversation was how “well my key words popped on my resume” and she knew immediately I was a great candidate. She read the advertised job description to me, (I wanted to thank her since she no doubt thought I had been struggling with the big words) and asked what questions I had. I responded that it was clear so far, but I would probably have more detailed questions when I met with the hiring manager. She asked me when I could come in to complete a quick personality assessment, (no not online, in person) and the following day I was onsite filling out a two sheet assessment with 10 multiple choice questions.

After the grueling assessment was complete, she graded it in front of me. She was so happy when I got 100% correct, she marked an A+ with a smiley face on my paper! Grinning from ear to ear she said the next step was a panel interview with several line managers since the position supported all divisions they had a stake in finding the right person. That interview was scheduled for the following week.

I arrived for my panel interview dressed in my Sunday best, only to be greeted by 10 people dressed down for what I could only assume was Spring Cleaning Day. I had asked about what dress code was appropriate for this interview and was told a suit and tie was the norm. The group had set up a U-shape of tables and I was put in the middle on a swivel chair so I could easily rotate and face the questioners. Each person had 10 minutes to ask questions, so an hour and forty minutes later we were done. I was told they had 5 minutes left for me to ask a question. I said, “Would each of you answer this one question for me, what is the purpose of the learning function in a corporate environment?” I heard at least 4 of them say, “Huh?” Safe to say this was a very painful exercise for these 10 managers, but insightful for me.

Yet three days later the recruiter called me and said all 10 managers wanted to see me progress to the final interview with the hiring manager. I was pleased and eager to finally talk with my potential manager.

I arrived 10 minutes early. After waiting 20 minutes after the appointment time with no one arriving, I called the recruiter to find out if an emergency had occurred and we should reschedule the interview. She said she would check, and 10 minutes later she arrived with the hiring manager.

We were escorted into a conference room, sat down and that is when I noticed he didn’t have any notes, paper or writing instrument. No phone, tablet, not even my resume. He smiled at me and said, “you were here early, I’m always late to meetings.” I bit my lip and stayed quiet.

He begins, “so you are interviewing for what job?” And that is when it dawned on me he really had no clue what was going on, who I was, and what he was looking for in a job skill set. After answering with the posted title, he launched into what he no doubt thought was a great opener, “tell me about yourself” and I said, “that is a rather long book, is there a particular chapter about me you would like me to start off talking about?” He didn’t, so I chose a rather quick history of accomplishments in the field for this job, and asked if he wanted more detail about any of those points. He said, “wow, you have a lot of experience, is this job a good fit for you?” I responded that the printed job posting had a wide range of requirements and goals which would allow me to stay engaged. I asked him what his top priority was for this role, and he said, “I don’t know yet.”

He then launched into a series of questions that made me realize where his personal development plan would begin. “Are you married? Do you have kids? What ages are your kids? Do you have parents you need to take care of? How old are you? Do you have a wife or a partner? Are you planning to retire soon or do you need to work into your 80’s?” And my all-time favorite, “Can you use the men’s restroom, or are you conflicted? We only have Men’s and Women’s restrooms”.

The following day the HR Director called me, and said the hiring manager thought I was too competent, and that I would cause problems. He wants people that know less than he does, but can still get the job done. I responded that I appreciated the honesty, and empathized with her challenge to fill this role. I then asked if I could share some of the questions he had asked. I finished with an assumption that she knew these were illegal to ask an applicant and she said, “Really?”

After talking with my attorney, she said I definitely won’t have to wait until I’m 80 to retire now! My settlement check should last several decades!

 

PS – Was this a fictional experience or not? You tell me.

 

Advertisements

Time’s Up! – HR & Training Need to Become Indispensable!


clock

For way too many companies, the Human Resources (HR) and Training functions have been treated as completely dispensable cogs in the corporate wheel. They are staffed with less than competent people which only adds to their inability to add value so when things get tough, these functions are cut.

And here might be the greatest rub. If in fact these functions have allowed themselves to become dispensable, well they got what they earned! They need to be removed so better talent can be put in place. Sadly, many companies that close or scale down these functions does so because they expected nothing better based on their experience.

 

Explore with me a couple of examples that will lead to disasters in the future that I can pin squarely on the incompetence of these functions.

EXAMPLE #1

We have a company that recently had an unpleasant experience with a manager that was a little too friendly with an employee. The employee reported it; the HR department launched a full scale investigation and discovered the manager had been out of line. The solution was to put ALL managers through a sensitivity training program. No learning outcomes needed, just a CYA training program to mitigate future problems.

You may be asking if this company regularly trains managers in preventing workplace harassment, and/or do they train the entire workforce in what a harassment free work environment is and what to do if it becomes the opposite. The answer would be NO to both. No Training, only HR covering it up after the fact. HR is totally reactive and not proactive and therefore provides little value. How do you retain good employees when this is how HR has your back?

 

EXAMPLE #2

Another company where a manager is openly bullied by her manager has had enough and decides to report him to HR. Another full blown investigation that involves interviewing a dozen employees who witnessed the bullying resulted in an admission that it all happened like it was reported. However, the manager was required to continue working for the bully manager because, “although he did a lot of awful things, none of it violated our employee handbook policies.” However, the bully manager “was encouraged to retake their online harassment training.”

Another inept HR function with a training function standing around buying off the shelf compliance training THAT DID NOT WORK! Yet this is a big organization with over 10,000 employees. Guess what happens when something this stupid happens and HR fails to stand up for the company and protect their employees, they get sued. Oh, and not by just this one manager, this has turned into a class action because the behavior was endorsed by the HR department.

And one other result that I doubt will be expected is that news like this travels quickly. Not only are employees aware of the class action suit, other employees that belong to the Bully Club are feeling empowered. Heck with HR behind bullying behavior, they feel they have a free ticket to abuse their fellow employees. Fun place to work huh?

 

CONSLUSION:

Bottom line if you have a dysfunctional HR and/or Training function it is time to get them help. Or at the very least find better talent to replace them. Your company’s future is at stake, and as long as these functions are viewed to be dispensable, they will continue to meet that expectation.

If you need help, you need only email me at Jim@JKHopkinsConsulting.com

 

 

Last Week to Plan Your Vacation!


cruisesinc logoI once worked for an employer that at this time of year was requiring all employees to submit the entire year’s vacation requests by the end of January.  My wife and I would scramble each January to plan out what we were going to do with our 4 weeks and when we should take the time off.  It was nerve racking to say the least.

However, one of the reasons this employer had this requirement was to focus everyone on taking their paid vacation each year, and avoid skipping it for one work related reason after another.  To their credit, the world revolved just fine when we were gone and everything got done without anymore crisis than normal.  And everyone took their time off!

As a Vacation Specialist with Cruises Inc., I can tell you that the beginning of the year is a great time to setup your vacations.  The early bird not only gets the worm but a lot of other savings and extra perks.  Cruise Lines especially are handing out all sorts of goodies and incredible rates to fill their ships.

So even if your employer doesn’t require you to plan out your vacations in advance, you should for your own piece of mind grab an annual calendar and pick your days.  Shop now and put down low deposits to guarantee your trip and have events to look forward to.  Then the next time a really tough day hits you, imagine your time off and where you are going.

Drop by and see what a vacation planner can do for you at our Cruises Inc. website –  www.JimLoriTravel.com

Taking a “REAL” Vacation


White CCI Logo

How many of you spend your vacation at home doing chores? How many of you regularly skip vacations and work nearly every day of the year without a break? While sometimes bigger projects like painting are worth saving until you have more time off, if your only alternative to skipping vacation to avoid home projects is staying at work you are not doing yourself any favors.

Health wise, and mentally we benefit from checking out of the daily routine to decompress. Spending any vacation away from work is a good beginning. However, if you can step away from home too, and experience something new, you come back refreshed, and that is what vacation is supposed to do.

You don’t have to take your whole two weeks at the same time, but devote at least a week to an away vacation. With time away at a hotel and different food than the home kitchen, you are treating yourself to new experiences. Cruises, Land Tours and Resorts in varying degrees can transport you to new experiences and new places.

But if you are like most of us, you may have experienced a poor vacation. Hotel reservations that got screwed up, or air travel disruptions that caused delays. Maybe that driving vacation was going great until the car decided to die. Don’t let those times mess with you. Stuff happens, and the key is to find vacations that minimize the bad experiences.

Take cruising vacations as an example. We all hear about the ships that hit bad weather, miss ports, or have mechanical problems. The difference is the cruise lines make up for these very rare inconveniences. After 30 some cruises without incident, I found myself on a ship leaving Los Angeles that found the need to be towed back less than 24 hours later due to mechanical problems. It took 2 days to be towed back, and yet it was the healthiest cruise I’d ever been on with mostly fresh fruit and vegetables eat, and lots of sleep. We got a full refund and a free cruise for next time. It was an experience I would never want to repeat, but I ending up on the winning side of a bad stroke of luck.

Many people skip travel insurance, and yet it is inexpensive and covers delays, cancelations, lost baggage and medical costs to name a few, and one more thing that can save your vacation from disaster. How about taking tours on your own that get you lost versus professional tours with guides that don’t get lost and don’t lose you?

Now while I love to cook, I hate trying to decide where to go eat at each meal. I can nickel and dime a vacation into a rather miserable experience for my whole party. This is why I love resorts with meals included, or my favorite vacation on a cruise ship. The only work I have is packing and getting myself on the ship. After that they take care of everything and I get a real vacation.

If you have never had a really good vacation, or you wonder if you have paid too much for ones in the past, you may need a new Travel Agent. I would love to help you, so stop by my website – www.JimLoriTravel.com and you will be routed to my Cruises Inc. website. Call me or send me an email at jhopkins@cruisesinc.com and let’s put together your next “Real Vacation” – One you will remember!

Slamming One Door Closed and Opening a New One


Dream Vacation Logo

In one month from now I will be hanging up my Learning Development career, and jumping in with both feet into the travel business with a new franchise business. Some have asked if I’m sad about leaving training, and I respond, no, just disappointed.

The past 12 years I’ve been consulting and the primary reason I left the corporate world for a life of self-employment was so that I could leverage my time better and help more organizations get the most out of their training efforts. I found so many broken training functions that it encouraged me to publish two books on the subject of fixing the training function and I really thought I would have work for life.

Finding clients that actually wanted to fix their training functions has been my life’s obsession for the past decade, and while I have uncovered a lot of good leads, there have been very few organizations that put their money where their mouth is as the popular phrase goes. Often we would agree on the challenges, the solutions and that I was qualified to do the job, but few wanted to fix their problem. Nearly all of the time I found that leaving it broken was not going to hurt their career. No harm, no foul, so why bother?

Making a career change from what has been a deep passion of mine for 27 years turned out to require some help. I lucked out with a great franchise coach that worked with me for several months and she discovered that next to training, I loved to travel. And not just fly around to one hotel after another, but cruise vacations. I know cruising like the back of my hand, have sailed on 40 cruises, and take pride learning all I can about the different cruise lines and ships.

So after looking at a few options for getting into the travel industry, I landed on an old and respected organization called CruiseOne, part of the bigger World Travel Holdings organization. My wife and I purchased a newer brand of CruiseOne called Dream Vacations. Once I understood the value I could bring to people shopping for a dream vacation, I knew I had found my second passion. In some ways it is a lot like performance consulting as the more you understand about what makes a great vacation for your clients the better solutions you can offer.

Probably one of the biggest changes I am looking forward to is not having to convince people of the right path. With a vacation, the right cruise for example is just being honest with expectations. Training options always included cheaper but less effective ways to train so the outcomes differ greatly. With a cruise, you can have a great time no matter how cheap or expensive your choices. You are buying memories, and my job is to make sure you get as many memories out of the available time you are on vacation.

While my training business will remain open, I will not be looking for new clients. I remain available for past clients as a way of thanking them for their support these past 12 years. But for those of you that failed to act after 12 years, the reality is you never wanted to support me or your employees. But you can always buy my two books on Amazon or go to www.thetrainingphysical.com for more information.

Look for updates on our new Dream Vacations business the end of September 2017!

Bon Voyage!

Consequences of Unqualified Hiring


thT8EBKFKNIf you are the type of person that needs to be the smartest one in the room in order to maintain your self-esteem, you likely hire people that are less qualified than you. When everyone around you is less qualified to do their job, they have no other recourse than to fall back on your vast depth of knowledge and experience to survive. You remain the smartest person in the room by default because everyone else around you is incompetent compared to you.

And while everyone else in the organization sees you as indispensable, you have created a domino effect by setting the standard. The people you hire then hire people that are less competent than they are too, and the dumbing down of your part of the organization is well on its way to 100%.

I’m watching the fallout of an organization that normally does not hire like this and looks for people that are smarter and bring new talents to the organization. However, one senior leader is very insecure and staffs her department with people that don’t meet minimum job responsibilities, and must lean on her to solve work challenges. This makes her become indispensable because her team really does need her. Where it shows up most often as a problem is when she is on vacation or out of the office. Everything gets backed up waiting for her return.

I forget who said it first, but I have always agreed with the statement that “if I am the smartest person in the room, I need to add more people to the room.” I have always hired people with more expertise than me so my department not only survives in my absence, but we continually grow. While the direction may change with a new leader that replaces me after I leave, the team still functions because no single person was dependent on me for wisdom.

As a leader, if you hire someone that is totally incompetent for a job, you send a single that no one needs to be qualified to work for you and/or get promoted. Your managers will also mimic you and hire less than qualified people to remain looking indispensable themselves. Before long, the only person that can do their job is the one leader at the top; so what happens when they quit?

Odd Qualifications for TOO Many Managers These Days


employment-law

If you have children in their late teens to mid-twenties in the workforce, you may have heard a few dozen horror stories about their managers and thought they were exaggerated. Unfortunately your ears did not deceive you nor did your kid’s experiences get blown out of proportion. The minimum qualifications to become a Shift Lead, Assistant Manager or even the Manager are nonexistent; unless of course you consider the following requirements as standard guidelines these days.

 

“Managers Wanted For Hire”

We are seeking warm bodies with zero previous supervisory or management experience to lead our retail locations, restaurants, and revolving door enterprises. The following requirements are mandatory unless otherwise stated as preferred:

  • You must have zero knowledge of any Human Resources Policies, Federal or State Employment Laws, and be completely unable to identify Workplace Harassment (even if it happens to you).
  • If your staff members should have the audacity to report your management style to senior members of the company or Human Resources as “Hostile” or “Illegal” you have the assurance that these complaints will be fully ignored until such time as you are able to terminate these staff members.
  • In order to make your sales, service and expense goals, it may be necessary to work staff without paying them regular or overtime wages, skipping meals and breaks, and learning how to trick the time clock.
  • You should understand that your role makes you the superior life form in your location and all staff are considered your subjects and/or slaves and should be treated with very little regard.
  • Giving Directions and Feedback should come from your emotional stability at the time and never from your brain. Ripping an employee’s face off is a sign of a strong manager. If you are referred to as a Witch with a B, consider it a badge of honor and that you are doing things correctly.
  • Experience with Performance Improvement and Team Building is not necessary. If any employee doesn’t perform as expected within the first two days on the job, they should just be fired. You can always hire someone else to replace them.
  • You do need to be a proficient recruiter and interviewer with an emphasis on telling each person what they want to hear so they accept the job. You will not be held accountable for any promises you make as we put nothing in writing. We do not have a written list of prohibitive interview questions either and we discriminate in our hiring process based on each manager’s personal biases.
  • It is vital that you have never received any management or leadership training in previous positions and we make the promise to you never to require any such training nonsense as long as you work for us.

 

NOTE: While this blog was meant to be humorous in nature, unfortunately it is the sad truth that many employees are working for managers with these skill sets. Your friends and family are being subjected to poor management because these issues are allowed to exist up the food chain. If you ever wondered why a company only wants the younger employee and not older ones, it is because the older employee knows the rule of law and will not put up with this nonsense. They also are quick to report bad behavior and hire attorneys if needed to resolve issues. Parent need to be vigilant in their efforts to educate their children on proper workplace behaviors and rules.