Purple Squirrel Seeks Purple Job


ps

There is a term used by recruiters when being asked to find candidates that match a long list of requirements and only those that meet every single requirement can move forward. It is a search for a “Purple Squirrel.” The first time I heard it I found it absurd to think that management would put a recruiter through months looking for a perfect fit while the job remains open and unproductive. Yet I am told that it happens a lot.

Managers looking for a “Purple Squirrel” are not concerned with the missing role going without a person for months on end. In other words, either the job duties are insignificant to the operation, or management feels no regret in dumping the extra workload on the remaining people. While it happens that some jobs function well without an employee, most of the time if you are searching for candidates, you also need to hire someone too.

We are all “Purple Squirrels” with a list of talents, skills and experience. The difficult part is finding the “Purple Job!”  It used to be that it was encouraged to apply for a job even if you personally could not check off every single box on the job description. Yet have you noticed that when you do, the automatized system rejects you within second of submitting your application. Sometimes you receive the reject email before you receive the thank you for applying email.

Clerical Recruiters often are the ones that spend their time looking for a “Purple Squirrel” while experienced recruiters will spend more time with the hiring manager resetting expectations. Then they seek a good, but not perfect fit. Good recruiters will remind management that experience allows the job or expectations to change and the new employee will more easily adapt to the new focus.

While I wish the world employed less clerical recruiters that are in their first job themselves a lot of the time, and more recruiters that have had to manage processes and people before, that dream seems to be out of reach at the moment. Hence, this is why this “Purple Squirrel” is looking for his very own “Purple Job.”

Advertisements

Is There a Way to Get a Job Offer and Be Honest?


th7N2PIEAX

I have a reputation for being productive, and I hate spending time on activities that at best only provide window dressing for my function’s work. In fact I am a lousy window dresser because I do very little to show off because I am focused on getting work accomplished and moving the organization forward.

You might think that my brand of employee would be something that a lot of employers would be seeking, but sadly I am still looking for an organization that actually wants to build workplace competencies in their team members and understands the value of a focused learning function. When I meet with people to discuss what kind of potential they have in front of them with the right training leadership, I get these scared to death looks in return.

I’ve been told that to get a job offer, I need to down play my work ethic, and to barely speak of the potential for learning beyond the job description. Once I’m in the job I can work on building out over time bigger expectations. To these recommendations, I am completely at odds with deception and downplaying the benefits of a focused approach. I’m not being true to my own work ethic by playing the part of an underperforming employee.

My opinion is that the interview process should be honest. I know, silly me, right? But shouldn’t the employer know what kind of employee they are getting before they make an offer? So if I am unable to play games with my abilities, I am faced with limited opportunities. There are fewer organizations today than even 10 years ago that understand the purpose of a training function. Many leaders land up creating limitations for the training function because they don’t realize the potential.

My dilemma is that I want to work, and yet I find it challenging to be the perfect fit without being a skill more than is thought to be necessary. The minute I start to stand out I am “over qualified” and when I go in with just enough background I run the risk of “not being as qualified as another applicant.”

Any ideas?

The Quickest Way To Lose Customers


employee leaving

Are your employees also your customers? Most companies expect their employees to support them as consumers directly or even indirectly as referral sources. If you are a grocery store, I can bet your employees shop with you, and tell others about things that are on sale. If you are a bank, employees often have their checking account with the bank, and tell family members and friends why they should bank with you.

It is a given that once you are an employee, you will become a customer someday too. It would be very hard to support your company as an employee if you could not support them personally as a customer too.

So what happens if you turn away a qualified applicant as an employee and then aggressively market them as a customer? Do you think you are speaking to a receptive potential customer?

When you turn down an applicant that is not qualified for a position as far as skills are concerned, you are helping them realize that they should focus on opportunities that better match their abilities. However, when you summarily dismiss an applicant as unqualified because you didn’t take the time to read their application, resume or online profile, you are telling them a lot about the culture and what it takes to work for this company.

In recent blogs I have shared two experiences that I have had with companies that flat out only wanted female applicants. Blatant discrimination, but also that I am not valued because of my male gender. So when I recently opened my mail to a marketing package from one of these customers, I just tossed it. Yes, they may have been offering me a great deal, but why would I want to be their customer?

I doubt that the folks in recruiting have ever been trained to understand the ideal customer when sorting through applications. If I am applying for a job you want to dismiss me from pursuing, but you would still like me to be a customer, then there are ways to make both of your goals happen.

Yet anyone that is in sales and service will tell you that a great experience with a company is share with less than a handful of people, but a bad experience is more than double that number. The quickest way to lose customers is to treat your applicants as if they are disposable. Not only do you never get them as a customer, but they will make sure every family member and friend knows the truth about you too. Treating potential employees well from the beginning is a win for both of you.

“Diversity Candidates” Need Only Apply


dvsty

A Retained Search Executive Recruiter was advertising for a VP of HR that would be focused on the talent management, development and succession planning for his client’s organization. All interested parties should contact him directly for more information. And so I did.

He quickly responded to my application that they were only looking at “diversity candidates” and if that changed he would be back in touch.

What the heck does he mean by “Diversity Candidates”? And, so I emailed him back wondering if he was looking for a particular ethnic background, race, gender or language competency. I fully expected him to ignore my question, but he replied”

We are only looking at “Female” Candidates!

What the heck just happened? Did this person just tell me they are openly discriminating based on gender? What the heck happened to Equal Employment Opportunity? Oh, and this is California, where we have some of the toughest employment laws in the country!

I’ve since talked with a couple of HR Directors, both female, and looking for new opportunities, and both said they would have nothing to do with an organization that openly discriminated in hiring of all jobs the VP of HR. They also said the company is hiding behind the Executive Recruiter so if there is any fall out he has to take the heat.

So I replied to the recruiter to see why this client felt the VP of HR needed to be female. He actually emailed me back that the “company leadership is currently all males and they thought it would be a good idea to get a female’s point of view”, and that he personally thought “most females would find this a positive to be brought into a team that is willing to bring in ideas from women.”

I cannot believe it is almost 2017 with this kind of condescending nonsense being spouted off. However, what concerns me most is this is the second time in the last 90-days that I have been told that although I have the required experience and skills I am not female, so unfortunately I cannot be considered.

So what do you all think about this approach to recruiting?

 

Can You Be Thankful for Everyone in Your Life?


thanks

I am thankful for ALL of my family, friends and associates. While only a small few support me personally or professionally, I have learned that having hundreds of people in your life gives one perspective. It gives you the ability to separate those special people that go out of their way to help you, from those that never lift a finger to help you and disconnect from you because they never were really connected in the first place.

We all have family that we love dearly, and the assorted ones that we tolerate for the sake of keeping the peace. And yet I like to think I can benefit from each one of them. Much like those managers from our past that fight for positions of “least effective manager ever” I have fashioned my own leadership style from not only the most admired qualities of some managers, but striving to avoid the qualities of some of the worst managers. I think family relationships are much the same.

Think about the family member that gushes over you at the holiday dinner, but hasn’t said boo to you since the last time the family gathered for a meal. The utter fakeness of their gushing reminds us to be authentic with people. We need to monitor our behaviors so they align with everything we do. Seeing these people even a few times a year, reminds me to be the same person year round.

Close friends seem to get the whole supportive relationship, and the natural give and take. I have a small group of people in my life that live up to that expectation all the time, and it is easy to be grateful for every single one of them.

But the bulk of people that I know can’t qualify as friends, and are people that through the work environment I’ve got to know and value their individual expertise. While I support their professional endeavors when I can, most of these people are just cordial. Many of them cannot even be bothered to return a phone call, text or email. So can I be thankful for the majority of the people I know?

As I enter my 12th year of consulting, I have had to admit on several occasions that most of the people I know travel a one way street, headed in the direction they want to go. When they need something from me they are only too quick to contact me, gush about how time has flown by, and go right for what they need from me. I always respond in any way I can, hoping the Golden Rule will apply and that someday they will return the favor. I am usually disappointed by 99% of these return trips.

And while it may not be possible to replace a family member, we can pick and choose our friends. Hanging with people that bring you down is not healthy, and neither is staying connected with people that are just too busy to give you the time of day. People we have connected with in social media sites should be people we want to work with, but if they are unable to reply to you in any way it is time to disconnect.

I can be thankful for even the people that ignore me, because it reminds me that I am not the center of the universe and just because I have hundreds of people “following” me, it doesn’t make me special. I remain only unique and special to some people. But for the majority of the world I am just another warm body.

Happy Thanksgiving to Everyone!

This is Our Last Year in Business!


th0b9pl8dyFor many companies, making the decision to close the doors forever is by far the hardest decision the leadership ever has to make.  This has been the case for my own consulting business as I made that decision today myself.

For over 11 years I have been an independent consultant trying to build a sustainable business of helping companies build and rebuild their training functions so they work better and return on the investment.

During this time I have been blessed with partnering with some of the most humble and talented leaders in several different industries, as we worked together to improve their training operations.  Together we made a difference, and I will always be grateful that our paths crossed.

However, most of the time I have talked myself blue trying to encourage leaders to do what is best for their employees and ultimately their companies.  Conversations that fall on deaf ears has been a weekly agenda item for me for far too long, and I just can’t do it anymore.

A year ago I started to look for work in the corporate world and even though it doesn’t seem possible, I am both over qualified and underqualified for roles because I have been a consultant for too long.  My competition is younger and thus cheaper to hire, and since too many organizations don’t really care if training returns on the investment or not, I see the reasoning behind hiring people that cost the least.

So today marks the end of this blog.  I’m tired of preaching to an empty room most of the time, and not making a difference.  This is also looking to be my last year in business too.

My very best to all of you!

Jim

 

Why Do We Have Employment Laws?


employment-law

I found myself asking again why we have employment laws if following them is optional. Once again I have discovered a company that has decided that wage and hour laws among others are optional; and if you complain about it you will be terminated. The company gets away with breaking the law and there are no consequences for the law breaker.

If you are a Non-Exempt, hourly employee, California law is quite specific about meal breaks, and when you are unable to take that break the company owes the employee a meal penalty. If as a company you require employees to use a cell phone to communicate, and do not provide a company phone you are required to compensate a portion of the personal cell phone cost. If you require employees to use their personal car to transport products you compensate for mileage. And if you have employees out of the facility, but still conducting business, they remain on the time clock. You never have them clock out, so “in case they are in a car accident you don’t have to pay workers compensation.”

But in one Southern California business this is just the first few items on a very long list. But wait, I forgot to mention that this workplace is one of 15 owned as a franchise of a national chain. Although these issues are prohibited in the employee manual of the national chain, this franchise owner feels he doesn’t need to comply. In fact, he has taken the national chain’s employee manual, and removed the pages that he doesn’t want to comply with, and the remaining pages have become the only rules that need to be followed.

So when one of his managers decided to press the issues, they were warned that they would be fired. So this manager went to the national chain’s corporate human resources director and lodged a formal complaint. Two days later the manager is terminated by the franchise owner and there is nothing that can be done about it. The national chain’s HR is unable to do anything.

dollar signsSo I ask again, why do we have employment laws? We have them to force compliance of companies that fail to follow the laws all by themselves. This is also why employment law attorneys have such robust practices with multi-million dollar judgements.

This one franchise has over 150 employees, all hourly and all being treated against the will of the national chain, and the rule of law. Any attorney that wouldn’t launch multiple cases or a class action would be missing a very large payday. This particular chain has locations all across the country, and if they allow this one franchise owner to get away with this, then they are probably allowing it in all of their locations. In addition to lawsuits, which always catch the eye of the state and federal regulatory authorities, these same agencies will start their own investigations and levy mind blowing penalties to send a message.

Now once all this becomes news worthy, stock prices drop, and it is difficult to attract customers and new employees. Everything falls apart because a single franchise owner doesn’t feel he needs to follow the law.

Why do we have employment laws? Because they protect the employee from harm, and if they are followed, they protect the company too!