Tuesday, February 22, 2011

How Grunge relates to Recruiting...(Part 2 of many)

I have to admit I’m really enjoying this blog topic...it may lead to a whole new favorite lyric (regardless of genre) being related to recruiting but we’ll see how long I can keep this grunge thing going. So, here goes a few more Grunge lyrics and how I relate them to recruiting/HR:

I know someday you’ll have a beautiful life I know you’ll be star in someone else’s sky but why, why why can’t it be mine. – Black by Pearl Jam from the album “Ten”

I think this may be my favorite single lyric from the Grunge Era. I mean, it’s an amazing line from a truly amazing song. Really makes me think about those fantastic candidates that for some reason you just can’t hire. Either they don’t like your company, your team doesn’t like them…something just misses. BUT, you know, you absolutely know this person will be a star at their next company. Honestly, I think this is the most frustrating thing for a recruiter as you are powerless to change the outcome. I’ve actually taken to keeping in touch with these people just to see what happens and yep, you guessed it…more often than not they end up as total superstars in their next gig (not with you). Thanks Eddie Vedder, this one really rings true to use recruiters.

Through all those complex years I thought I was alone, I didn’t care to look around and make this world my own. – Cemetary Gates by Pantera from the album “Cowboys from Hell”

Ok, so Pantera isn’t really grunge, it’s heavy metal…I know, I know, but I love this song. I’d say it’s honestly, it’s one of my 10 favorite songs regardless of genre. Another song about death and all that stuff but alas, it has a great recruiting message to it. The message here, make the most of your opportunities. Doesn’t matter what they are or how you come across them….take the time to make this world your own. What does this mean? Well, lots of things really and I’ll break it down:
  • At your job –At your current job it means making the most our of your role. Have a chance to travel and your life makes it an option for you? Then go! See the world! Is your boss asking you to take on more leadership? Do it! Leadership will push you in ways you’d never imagined and force you to grow not only as an employee by as a person.
  • For your next job – This is easy. Take the time to talk to people. You don’t have to be “looking” for a job to come across great opportunities. Have coffee with people in your community. Talk to the dudes next to you on that cross country flight. Respond to that random Linked In request. Or make a connection with a former coworker. You don’t know what the world has in store for you unless you take the time to see what’s out there.
  • Personal – I usually avoid non-work type stuff in this blog but seriously, take time to enjoy your life. I have a daughter and every waking minute with her is precious. I can just watch her and giggle as she discovers the world around her…we all start that way, don’t lose it.


No one plans to take the path that brings you nowhere – Your decision by Alice in Chains from the album “Black Gives Way to Blue”

This isn’t 90’s grunge but it’s grunge. As you know, or will now know…Layne Staley the original Alice in Chains singer died of a heroine overdose. Sad, tragic really, he’s probably pound for pound the best singer of the Grunge Era and I’ll argue this with anyone (yes, I actually think he’s cooler than Chris Cornell) Also, this song is off their album “Black Gives Way to Blue” which was done with a new lead singer. William DuVall is the new singer, and he’s great especially when you pair him with Jerry Cantrell you just can’t go wrong. But, this is a recruiting blog…so, what’s the importance of this lyric. Well, you see a lot of resumes these days from people who were laid off in the early 2000’s and during the current downturn. The thing is, and we all should remember this….recruiters, hiring managers and just as humans frankly…no one and I mean no one takes a job and things “This is great, maybe they’ll lay me off”. Of course they don’t it would be insane….so, why do we always go “ohhhh” when someone says they were laid off? There is a stigma, and it’s unfortunate and I think we should do away with it. No one plans to take the path that brings you nowhere, that’s right, and without knowing the situation the person was in there is no way for us to REALLY understand what happened and why they were laid off. Some of the best hires I’ve made in my career were people who were “between jobs”….so let’s all get over it and give these people a shot and stop acting like a layoff is the worst thing ever. The fact is, it happens and most of the time the people most affected had no influence on the decision.

If we could see tomorrow, what of your plans. - Don’t Cry (Alt Lyrics) by Guns N’ Roses from the album “Use your Illusion II”

Again, I’m stretching the limits of grunge with Guns and Roses but Shannon Hoon from Blind Melon sings back up on this one and frankly the Alternative VersIon of this is so much better than the original its like a different song entirely different song. It’s so much better than the original version I won’t even talk about it. But anyway…if you could see tomorrow what of your plans? I absolutely LOVE this line for career advice. Do you have a Plan B if you lost your job tomorrow? How about a Plan C? In this day and age, you absolutely positively MUST have a plan for the future. I don’t care what that plan is or how you get there but you’ve got to be forward thinking. Complacency kills. Back in 2008 when lots of companies were laying people off I realized I had been very complacent with my career up to that point. What did I do? Developed Plan B, Plan C and started thinking about what Plan D would look like if I needed it. Certainly, I’m not saying you should be always looking for your next gig. Quite the opposite really you should be making the most of your current gig but in those quiet moments at home sitting on the couch it wouldn’t hurt to think about “What would I do if I lose my job tomorrow” and start putting some plans in place.

Until next time, happy hunting and don't forget to keep networking...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

HBR "Essentials" and Recruiting....

As some of you know, I’ve been spending a lot of time on planes and in airports lately. So, one of the things I did was read the Harvard Business Review “Essentials” which is a really cool collection of articles and a nice quick read.

A few of them really jumped out to me as relevant to recruiting. Sometimes I feel like people just assuming staffing is this black art and most recruiters would never spend time reading stuff like the Harvard Business Review and think about how to relay it to hiring. Well, you’re in luck fellow recruiters…after about 48 hours on planes and in airports I’ve read a few and will give a quick summary with a few thoughts on how we can all be better recruiters!

The first one that comes to mind was “Innovation – The Common Traps” by Rosabeth Moss Kanter. REALLY great article! It covers something near and dear to my heart too as I love innovation! I’m not going to do a full review but pull out a few thoughts on innovation that I really enjoyed…

1) “Add flexibility to planning and control systems” – I love this line. In my opinion, no better way to stifle innovation than to have rigid systems that cannot flex to meet business needs. As recruiters, we need to innovate and adapt to the changing competitive landscape. Adding flexibility to our systems is the only way to ensure we are innovating and looking to continuously improve what we do. Is your hiring process set in stone? How about your tools for measuring recruiters? How about team metrics like “Cost Per Hire”? If you are still using the same processes you used in 2005 it’s time to innovate and develop some new systems.

2) “Tighten the human connection between innovators and others throughout your organization” – I really think this rings true in large organizations. It’s hard to have your innovators building relationships around the team and creating a culture of innovation but it’s absolutely critical. One of the things that I’ve found is that people who are innovate are important not only because they spread the innovation energy but they also know HOW to innovate within the organization. They can tell you who else thinks like you do and how to get a team or project started. If you think about projects like Social Recruiting they require strong human connections to work within the organization to get the project started.

3) “Select innovation leaders with strong interpersonal skills” – Similar to the line above but slightly different. You need innovators who can also evangelize their ideas. Having a great idea but lacking the ability to articulate it won’t work. If you have a recruiter on your team who has wonderful ideas but they can’t seem to get them off the ground…put them on a team a fellow innovator who’s got world-class interpersonal skills and you’ll see results. What’s this mean? Want to create a new innovative recruiting strategy? Build a team about the most outgoing folks who can leverage the thoughts of the team and make the innovation a reality.

Clearly I didn’t go to Harvard but I’m trying…..until next time, happy hunting….

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

How grunge music relates to recruiting (Part 1 of many)

Being stuck in this snow/travel chaos I've been listening to a lot of random music...which has inspired me to actually just start blogging about lyrics that I think are cool and relate to recruiting. It's kind of funny because most of these songs have NOTHING to do with business and frankly most of them are dark and miserable...so, I figure, why not share some of my favorite lyrics from the "Grunge Era" and have a little fun with recruiting analogies! So, without further adieu here is Part One of Many on this topic....

You can’t understand the users mind, but try with your books and degrees – Alice in Chains


This lyric is from the song Junkhead by Alice in Chains on their very popular album Dirt. Its probably my favorite tune from the 90’s grunge era. It’s dark, it’s creepy and it’s about drugs. How can this relate to recruiting you ask? Easy actually. We as recruiters or hiring managers can try as hard as possible to understand our candidates but at the end of the day….people are people and they make decisions that we won’t understand. It’s true, as hard as we try to get to know a potential recruit we’ll never know the whole picture and thus we won’t FULLY understand their decision making process. So, when a candidate makes a decision (good or bad) that you just don’t understand….don’t worry, it happens and no amount of education or experience will help you understand how every candidate thinks.


Too much tripping now my souls worth thin – Big Empty - Stone Temple Pilots


This lyric is from a sort of Grunge Ballad by Stone Temple Pilots. Really great band that was kind of obscured by other bands like Pearl Jam and Nirvana…and they got a lot of crap for the Plush video but that’s for another blog. Really this is a great lyric from those candidates that trip between jobs. Ever see a resume from someone who switches jobs every 12 months? People talk about how it’s ok in this new economy but it’s not. Seriously, I realize the job market if volatile and I get it….layoffs happen and I don’t hold that against people but if you are voluntarily moving jobs every few months for a better job, more money, shorter commute whatever…..I’m unlikely to hire you because I’ll be just another stop on the subway of your career. If this sounds harsh, I’m sorry…but really if you decide to take a new job stick around a while and make the most of the opportunity.

Disclaimer: I realize that BAD jobs happen too. I’ve had one, ask me about mine sometime I’m happy to discuss. So, if you’re in one of those “must leave now” kind of jobs it’s cool I get it….but please don’t make a career out of bad jobs.


You gave me life now show me how to live - Audioslave


I realize I’m stretching the limits of Grunge here but Chris Cornell has enough street cred that I’m counting it. Audioslave was his attempt at a super band with the guys from Rage Against the Machine…really good, heavy cool stuff. I can’t say ALL of it is amazing, but this is probably another one of those Jeff Top 10 kind of songs.

Recruiting link? Well, it’s more of an HR link than anything. We as HR and Recruiting professionals spend a lot of time telling people why they should join our company or why they should be happy..but how often do we actually SHOW them what we mean? Not as often, and frankly it’s hard.

How do we remedy this? Well, it’s easy. And any of my hires, I hope will tell you this is exactly how I pitch a role. I give real examples of things the company has done that I think are cool and why I love the company. Ask me about The MathWorks? I’ll tell you about the summer outing, cookies on Friday, super technical software and really good co-workers. Ask me about Google? I’ll tell you about random raises, stock exchange programs, ridiculously great co-workers, my rock-star massage therapist and a host of other things that make it one of, if not the best place to work on the planet. The key here? I’m showing you how I live and love my job showing you with real examples of how I think you’d live too if you joined the company.


That's it for now...but I've got many more I'll share soon...hope you enjoy this as much as I do!