Archive for the ‘Human Resources’ Category

Service of the Humbling Job Hunt That Doesn’t Have to Be

Monday, July 22nd, 2019

Photo: careerbuilder.com

I remember an interview at a major PR firm years ago. I left walking on a cloud even though there were no jobs for me. The HR manager was spectacular–he made me feel great about my career and my prospects and we laughed a lot.

Encouraging job-seekers is the gold standard and should be the mission of anyone responsible for adding staff or is in even the smallest part of the process. Unfortunately, it’s not the case as often as it should be. A positive approach and refusal also goes for decision-makers inviting vendors to bid on a project.

I’ve covered the tribulations of job hunting before, most recently last December in “Service of Employee Behavior” where I protested how important a simple follow up to a scrubbed candidate is, especially after the person has prepared for and gone through an interview process. If for no other reason, it frees the conscientious candidate from making repeated follow-ups to no avail. It is respectful and reflects well on the company.

Photo: mediabistro.com

There are exceptions: when the reply is a putdown the recipient would have been better off with silence. An example was the arrogant response to a friend’s outreach to a communications company which inspired this post. He was told he “wasn’t a fit.” [Actually, he was.] The reaction of a colleague, to whom I shared this incident, was “at least he got a reply. Most people don’t.”

Another friend arranges her calendar around the many telephone interviews that are essential to her job hunt. She waited for one scheduled call, rang the person when the phone stayed mute for minutes after the appointed time. Eventually she called him and left a  him a voicemail message.  She never again heard from this person. Outrageous.

A top editor told me, after she was laid off and had become a freelance writer, how sorry she was that she’d been so abrupt with or unresponsive to writers who’d approached her with story ideas after she’d experienced how it felt to be on the other side of the ask.

Is self-importance the rule or the exception for those in the hiring business whether for a job or a project? Have you come across exemplary people in these roles or outstandingly nasty ones?

Photo: integrativestaffing.com

Service of Gut vs. Fact

Monday, April 29th, 2013

 Help wanted

In some fields, such as human resources, “New research calls into question other beliefs,” wrote Steve Lohr in “Big Data, Trying to Build Better Workers,” in The New York Times.

This research, called workforce science according to Lohr, “is what happens when Big Data meets H.R”

Lohr continued, “Employers often avoid hiring candidates with a history of job-hopping or those who have been unemployed for a while. The past is prologue, companies assume. There’s one problem, though: the data show that it isn’t so. An applicant’s work history is not a good predictor of future results.”

Email with magnifierThe next bit is scary: “Today, every e-mail, instant message, phone call, line of written code and mouse-click leaves a digital signal. These patterns can now be inexpensively collected and mined for insights into how people work and communicate, potentially opening doors to more efficiency and innovation within companies.” Rather than basing conclusions on hundreds as before, research can involve hundreds of thousands of employees.

Tim Geisert, the chief marketing officer of Kenexa, a recruiting, hiring and training company that IBM recently acquired, reported that “the most important characteristic for sales success is a kind of emotional courage, a persistence to keep going even after initially being told no.” This compares to the trait of outgoing personality that most people used to rely on.

I question the novelty of this “finding.” Persistence is the key to success in almost every specialty and task. Who needs a survey?

job applicantsEvery year, according to Lohr, “Kenexa surveys and assesses 40 million job applicants, workers and managers.” IBM bought Kenexa for $1.3 billion, he wrote, because of its data and strong qualified staff.

There are other companies in the Big Data business such as Google. This company no longer equates high SAT scores and college GPAs as it once did to determine a candidate’s success as a Google employee. Studies of its workers showed that “the most innovative are those who have a strong sense of mission about their work and who also feel that they have much personal autonomy.”

In yesterday’s Sunday Business section in The New York Times Matt Richtel wrote about the same subject in “I Was Discovered by an Algorithm.” He quoted Sean Gourley, co-founder and chief technology officer of a Big Data company, Quid: “When you remove humans from complex decision-making, you can optimize the hell out of the algorithm, but at what cost?”

big dataRichtel also writes about Vivienne Ming, the chief scientist at another such company, Gild. “Dr. Ming doesn’t suggest eliminating human judgment, but she does think that the computer should lead the way, acting as an automated vacuum and filter for talent.”

Do you see any place for instinct in big business hiring anymore or will gut-made decisions only be the realm of small businesses that don’t have access to or budgets for workforce science? Will it be easier or harder for people to get a job? How do you feel about having employees’ every action captured and analyzed?

Gut feeling

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