A Few Thoughts on Doing Things They way They’ve Always Been Done

Because We Have Always Done it That Way

Our economy is always changing and evolving.  Adults, regardless of age, can think of a product or service that we used 10 years ago that does not (or barely) exist any more.  When the companies that made the product go out of business it shows that they could not adjust to the changing marketplace.

What made me think of this was this article in the business section of the Los Angeles Times.  It’s about the electric car company, Tesla, and their decision to sell cars directly instead of through dealerships.  Basically, the auto dealers (who don’t even sell Tesla’s cars) are mad because they see Tesla’s approach as a threat to their business model.  History helps us predict what the final outcome of this will be.  Smart companies anticipate, or at least accept market changes and adjust accordingly.

HR providers need to also anticipate the future needs of clients and new technologies to deliver services more efficiently.  Running for help to preserve the status quo, like the car dealers are doing, is a short-term tactic, not a long-term strategy for survival.  When looking at present offerings, we always need to be looking at better ways to deliver them.  We also need to anticipate future valued services to be relevant.

For more information on leadership, please contact Warren at 310 670-4175 or [email protected]

The Battles Selection Specialists Fight and a Question

Imagine you are the V.P. of H.R. (or other position where you are responsible for the quality of people being hired by your organization) and your C.E.O is quoted in a national newspaper with the following excerpt:

Q. Give me an example of how you [get a sense of somebody pretty quickly in an interview].

A. You can see in somebody’s face if they’re nice, and if they have nice eyes. I think eyes tell you a lot about a person, and their kindness. And when they speak, do they speak with sincerity in their voice? That’s not about body language, but you can just tell when somebody’s sincere or not sincere.

There is nothing in that statement that can be supported (or negated) by data.  Nor is there a way to objectively compare candidates using that method.  Basically, the C.E.O. is saying, “Eh, if the person makes a good first impression on me I’ll hire him/her.”  In most organizations, I would hope that a first line supervisor or manager would not be able to get away with that.  But, we all know that things change when you get to the executive suite.  The challenge for selection specialists is how to get executives to use data as seriously as they do for most business decisions when they hire other executives.

What have you found works best when speaking to executives about using valid selection tools when hiring/promoting other executives?

For more information on pre-employment testing, skills assessment, and talent management, please contact Warren at 310 670-4175 or [email protected]

Debates and Leadership

I find that the presidential (and vice presidential) debates serve as much of a Rorschach test than anything else.  By the time they occur, nearly everyone who is watching has already decided who they are going to vote for, so the interest is in how their impressions are turned into reflecting positively on their preferred candidate.

A lot goes into the presentation of the candidates (tall, assertive but not violent, etc.) so that they’ll be perceived as leaders and the political consultants are well read up on this data.  But, how we perceive the candidates says as much about the choice we’ve already made than those running for office.  Your candidate is taking charge?  Then you prefer a leader who’s out in front of the crowd.  Your candidate is more deliberate?  Then you are looking for someone who is a consensus builder.

Besides exposing our biases towards the candidates, this also shows how flexible our thinking is in terms of leadership traits.  If we can so easily bend them during a 90 minute debate, imagine how easy it is to perceive someone we like as a leader, without really paying much attention to his/her effectiveness.

For more information on leadership, please contact Warren at 310 670-4175 or [email protected]

California HR Legislation—Fall 2012

CA Governor Jerry Brown recently took action on two human resources related bills.  They include:

  1. Veto of expanded rights for domestic workers.
  2. Signing a bill that allows some illegal immigrants to obtain a driver’s license.

The first one is important as home health care workers are a fast growing part of the labor market, and not just inCalifornia.  It continues to exempt these jobs from certain sate labor laws, just as they are at the federal level.  This means that employers will be able to maintain labor costs with these jobs.  However, the aging of the baby-boomer generation continues to create demand for these jobs that exceeds the available labor pool.  At some point, employers will have to up the pay and benefits to attract more qualified applicants.

Regardless of the politics, the driver’s license bill will make illegal immigrants (and possibly their legal family members) more reliable employees as they will have more stable transportation options.

Several other business related vetos, such as on specific pension issues, had more to do with his ballot proposition for higher taxes than the bills themselves.  As always,Californiacan be an interesting place to do business.  Then again, we are the trend setters.

Self Selecting Out

So, you have spent a lot of time recruiting for an open position.  You get some good resumes and some of those people you talked to actually sound as if they could do the job.  This group gets whittled down some more through your interviews and you want to ensure you make the best hire by doing a more formal assessment of their skills.  But, your best candidate hems-and-haws, puts off the assessment date and finally drops out of the process.  What should you do?

Send the person a present and a thank you note!  S/he has just done you a terrific favor!

We can hypothesize all we want about why someone doesn’t want to be assessed (found a better offer in the meantime, doesn’t want the pressure, etc.), but it all comes down to that they did not really want to work for you and by not doing so saved themselves and you a lot of heartache.  Whatever you do, don’t back off of your commitment to assess and evaluate your candidates just to make the process easier for them.  There’s a lot of research that shows that people who go through a difficult process to join a group are more loyal.  Also, we know that people who do well on valid assessments do well in their jobs.  Sure, it makes your recruiters’ work harder, but the quality of the talent that gets through the full selection process is worth it in the end.

For more information on pre-employment testing, skills assessment, and talent management, please contact Warren at 310 670-4175 or [email protected]

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