The Desk

October 22, 2017

Screening: How Much Experience

It’s an awakening time – again. But this time in another area.

Mistake One: Need-based Promotion

The first awakening was in the mid 1980s when I was a supervisor saddled with several rather mindless tasks that were also time consuming. One of them could be easily delegated. The receptionist wanted to grow out of her position and into something more responsible. She politicked. She told me about her endeavors in paralegal self study and how much she was reading. It seemed putting her into that administrative role could be helpful to both her and me as well as do the firm a service. I petitioned my supervising attorney who asked me to create a job description. He cautioned that her training and supervision was my responsibility. Accepted.

Her job description was written. It was given to her and she liked it. She accepted it. I thought she was doing well because her questions became scarce and she seemed busy. I was mistaken.

I was also responsible for training the securities paralegal and our new lawyers on handling corporate matters, especially forming a corporation. In the long run, I learned the receptionist who became the keeper of the library of corporate kits, was going to the securities paralegal (a 25-year-old, chauvinistic Bostonian man) for guidance and knowledge and then began considering him as her supervisor. She forgot that she reported to me. He felt he was superior to me and he had the support of a very popular securities lawyer.

Knowledge based on training

There were many issues that brewed in the office. So many that I forgot to monitor the growth of the corporate kit keeper’s knowledge and the depth of it. I should have kept better track of her work – even though there were many times when I found myself needing to work deal miracles. Perhaps I should have done a better job of teaching her new aspects of the work. But I definitely needed to help her realize that merely reading the book was not the same as being qualified to do the work. Perhaps more of an open-door policy with regard to learning opportunities would have resulted in a better outcome.

Doomed Destiny

There were other ethical issues that plagued all of the offices of that firm. The writing was on the walls and there were no erasers. The practices fed on themselves. One example was the lateral hire who was being interviewed from one office to another while carrying his plate lunch with him. Interviews continued as the firm’s convulsed its way toward its demise. Prudence dictated that interviewing stop, but it didn’t.

I was able to get out several months ahead of the collapse. Like a scorpion, the firm killed itself. But the collapse was because of the practices of many of the lawyers. There was also too much competitiveness and too many hidden agendas. There was also an enormous number of those who (like me with the corporate kit keeper) shirked their responsibilities in deference to billable hours and trying to hold down the fort.

We all should have been paying attention to the most important things. We should have been screening for experience and had a willingness to train if there was budget to do so.

Translatable Lessons

Screening for experience is something we do in many professions. The plumber brings their apprentice with them in order to train the learner about the proper way to use their tools and to identify what the issue is. The apprentice is not set loose on a project with no supervision until the trainer is certain of the skill that is going to be applied to the job.

The learner has seen the right way to do things. The conditions are explained to them. Also explained are the consequences and outcomes of taking a wrong step or making a bad turn. Terminology is explained so that both the learner and the teacher are conversing about the same thing. In that way, they can adequately talk to the client about the job, provide an estimate, form a contract for services, and then complete the job so that the bill is paid. Communication is a very critical element in screening.

Examples

How much experience does this potential worker have? Where are their references or testimonials? How many similar projects of this type have they done? Is this the first one? (Maybe they’re a volunteer who’s in transition and building a new portfolio.) Perhaps they have lateral experience that translates to what is needed for the job that’s open. Find out. Evaluate. Have them explain why this is a valid example of the type of work that can be expected from them. At the same time, you’ll be able to evaluate their ability to communicate, comprehend instructions, convey their appreciation and assessment of a situation, and depth of knowledge.

If they’ve merely been reading a book or simply talking (networking) with others in their target career option, that doesn’t necessarily mean they have the qualifications to be considered anything more than a newcomer.

Careful Evaluation

It’s one thing to read the book. That exercise provides the foundation for the knowledge. There’s more to learning than the mere visual intake of words. Learning comes in three ways: visual, auditory, and manual. Some people learn by using only one of those modalities. Others use two, and still other learners require all three.

Cementing the knowledge means actually using it. It’s best to practice the discipline before attempting to execute in the real environment. That’s why athletes and musicians practice and do drills. That why actors rehearse and block scenes. It’s why doctors and lawyers go through various stages of preparing for their discipline and developing their body of knowledge.

The motivation for getting into that career path and opportunity is evidenced by not just the portfolio of past accomplishments. That shows a history of experience. And that experience could have met with unexpected detours and interruptions. But the focused endeavors to practice the craft, science, art will have examples and work product. Where can those be found? If they’ve been deleted by some unethical hand, it’s a loss for everyone except those who actually saw or experienced it and can attest to its value. Another witness to experience is how well the candidate can discuss the project in detail. Perhaps there were no external evaluations that contained constructive critiques. Then evaluate how well the candidate did a self assessment and grew from that self counseling.

The amount of experience a person has is also evidenced in whether they’re capable of coming up with adaptations. Whether they’re successful or not is not the initial consideration as much as they have sufficient appreciation of the circumstances to enable them to come up with alternative methods of attack in order to reach the desired goal – ethically. It’s because they have a deep appreciation of the foundation principles that they will be able to identify a reasonable facsimile or substitute if the proper tool simply isn’t in the toolbox. They’re almost like MacGyver. Even if there are no longer work samples available, the knowledge (even long unused) is still there to benefit those who need and want it.

Enhancements, such as continuing education or next grade level training, will make the candidate even more valuable. Age is not so much a factor as is adaptability and depth of knowledge, as ability to move with change – or cause it because of that underlying experience.

Also keep in mind that now that we are a global society, we still use different terms (or labels) for things depending on where we are. What is call “The Plough” in the United Kingdom is known as Ursa Major elsewhere. So it’s important that the terminology or jargon is matching up between the parties.

How Much Experience Do You Have?

It would be nice to find credibility and proof of ability on the store shelf. Unfortunately, it takes time and practice to properly evaluate a candidate. Application of knowledge in projects directly related to the present goal or indirectly via a similar or lateral endeavor can prove to have enduring benefits. Repeated practice, with successes, build on the portfolio. Sending your employees off to a training and then never having them put into practice what they learned at the training is money thrown out the window three times over. There was the cost of the training, the cost of the personnel who covered the absence, and the wages paid while the employee was attending the training but left with no way to use it. Make that thrown out the window four times.

I’m not certain how a candidate can adequately convey knowledge and experience gained from being in the trenches. That type of insight provides a very deep awareness and appreciation of what the customer/audience wants and needs. It also gives a deeper appreciation of why one tactic will work compared with what the textbook said. Being in the trenches gives the practitioner more genuineness. When you pull out of the trenches, the landscape may still look the way it did when you entered it. But there have been changes on both sides of the picture.

Epiphanies

Incidentally, I’m finally about to embark on a long delayed step in my professional endeavors (which has spawned some of this writing). The handouts for a talk I’m doing later this month will be created as digital content. I’m learning about creating and publishing an ebook. The simple act of talking about “front matter” became a six-hour exercise of following instructions based on old technology and obsolete protocols. The updated information is now available. Meanwhile, there’s been searching for what was discussed under the old protocols. There’s been applying the principles to test runs. And there’s been time to recognize distractions and time management issues – in addition to the need for trial runs.

The term “front matter” is not the same in every genre. Which brings me back to terminology and jargon. Make certain you’re talking about the same thing as the experience is being discussed or described. Also be certain of what is considered proficient and standard in that part of the world compared with where the work is to be performed. Avoid throwing out the proverbial baby.

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June 27, 2017

Revised Healthcare Legislation

In May, the revised healthcare bill was presented to the House – and was approved. It was then sent to the Senate for approval and enactment.

We talk about the importance of transparency in business in order to gain trust and support. Apparently no one had that conversation with the crafters of the Senate’s version of the healthcare bill. The revisions were taken into a Star Chamber environment where the details were kept under strict secrecy.

We talk about the importance of diversity in creating product that appeals to a broader cross section of customers. That diversity provides for more input from different perspectives that result in a stronger product. It seems those conversations were also forgotten by mentors of Senate members. No women were included in the committee that hammered out the details of the bill.

Many have voiced concerns about matters such as women’s health issues (which present in a different manner than men’s), reproductive rights for women, pre-existing health conditions and coverage for them. Our veterans are concerned about coverage for disabilities acquired during warfare and military service. PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) is on the minds of many because of how that condition is growing. We need to be mindful of the fact that PTSD affects more than just military and veteran populations. Those who are survivors of major traumas and abuse are also prone to suffer from various forms of PTSD. However, that could now be considered a non-covered, pre-existing condition.

The House version of the healthcare bill had some major difficulties. Citizens raised their voices. The Senate version of the bill was modified but there have been many white knuckle days while the arcane revisions were crafted. The revisions did not satisfy the tastes of the entire Senate. Probably to the relief of many HR and benefits administrators, the vote on the revised healthcare bill has been delayed.

The costs associated with gaining coverage are skewed against the middle and lower classes of our population. According to an analysis on CBS This Morning, costs for those two income levels will eventually be four times greater than they are now while those in the upper class will enjoy tax breaks and premium increases that are not as draconian.

AARP published an article about the House version of the bill. It raised concerns and cited flaws in the bill. However flawed, the bill passed over to the Senate for review and approval; that is what brought us to this juncture in our review of things reaching The Desk today. The Senate version of the bill (formally called “Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017”) has problems. So many, in fact, that even the partisan support that was expected for it failed. There was simply too much secrecy. The bill failed to address the concerns of the greatest boss of the Legislative branch – The People.

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May 14, 2017

Conflict: Metrics cf. Performance

Filed under: Ethics,Management,Morale — Yvonne LaRose @ 1:57 PM
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The idea for it was probably spawned by fitness tracking appliances. Whether it becomes a standard practice embraced by employees remains to be seen. Right now electronic badges worn by employees can track their physiology and provide information about their performance and engagement in the workplace. The badges are also equipped with two speakers that track the quality of vocalizations (not the words) in order to detect tension. The only time the speakers aren’t in operation is when an employee enters the bathroom.

Employers and managers use the data provided by these trackers in order to determine who is performing and at what level. The question is whether these badges are then useful for determining who needs additional training or coaching or maybe even a transfer to a different department where the employee skills are better used.

What the trackers do provide is feedback to the employees who elected to use them. The data also provides them with information about what may have contributed to a good, productive day compared with one of those days when their performance wasn’t as stellar.

What are the ethics in using this type of tracked information? One argument is the badges are only issued to employees who are willing to use them. That is the PR statement. It doesn’t address the matter of how many employees submit to using the badges because they fear retaliation or negative consequences if they refuse.

Another thing to consider with regard to performance is the degree to which outside factors, such as family stresses, influence a worker’s performance or reaction to various stimuli. Health conditions can also figure into how people manage situations, health conditions that were previously a private matter. Still another critical issue is the level of ethical practices an employee uses in executing their job. An aggressive sales person will use many questionable tactics in order to close the deal. Concerns about consequences after the fact are negligible, if they exist at all. Obviously, those more aggressive tactics are not going to be reported to the supervisor or manager. And it may be that the manager is the one who set the example for the strategy.

Still, we are told it’s the data that is the payload for the founder of Humanyze. So there’s little incentive to make these badges a pricey item to add to the management toolbox and increases its desirability for increasing productivity, engagement, and more informed management strategies. It provides more information, metrics, insight into what makes the worker tick.

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July 23, 2015

About Anna’s Linens

A few days ago I passed by an Anna’s Linens store. To my surprise, the window walls were covered with “GOING OUT OF BUSINESS” signs. Goods and store fixtures were still behind the signs, which indicated the move was recent. I wondered whether it was merely the one store or the entire chain and made a mental note to check news about the business before I spoke of the siting.

Planning for success

Planning for success

Yesterday I found the answer to my question. There are quite a number of news stories about Anna’s attempts to be bought out by a stronger entity rather than file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The talks fell through; bankruptcy papers were filed; the entire chain is closing.

Before reading the news accounts of the business’s status, I speculated about what may have led to the closing. Their target market seemed to be a particular demographic by virtue of the location of their stores. It was typical to find them near or renting space from a discount grocery store in a heavily Hispanic and/or Black community.

Perhaps economic pressures contributed to the downfall. Although in the early days, goods were at bargain or reasonable prices, that practice did not hold true as time passed. The new order showed that the prices of goods were very much comparable to other similar vendors. In fact, it was entirely possible to get the same goods at a Target or Walgreens for a better price.

In addition to pricing, there was the matter of misleading advertising. The print ads lured customers in for the (for example) standard-sized pillow at 30% off. But once the customer entered the store, either the pillows were all sold out or the actual goods on sale were the over-sized pillows that were not on sale and at a higher price point. (A little bait and switch brought back to life.)

With the typical bait and switch, it appeared that was the lead-in training for questionable practices by the staff. They were helpful but it seemed they were too willing to look for that item the shopper really wanted while they no longer had it but something similar for a little higher price. After working in that type of environment, how much of the sales and business ethics practices became a part of the workforce psyche and how far was that cast? Second-hand learning could be passed on to children, friends, and siblings of the workers. Associates of the workers may have fallen victims of the practices used outside of the store, things such as trade items, collaborate on activities, or build terms of relationships. It became an environment much akin to “Big Brother” or “Survivor” and I finally had enough. I stopped shopping there and sought better bargains at places I felt were much more ethical.

News accounts say the company over expanded too rapidly. The act of gaining more funds and committing oneself to to many financial obligations stretched resources too thin. Most likely economic factors such as people no longer in possession of discretionary spendable dollars also contributed to the downfall. The fact that many of those in the business’s target demographic are existing on slightly more than minimum wage incomes probably didn’t help the circumstances for anyone. And now, as a nation, we’re talking about incrementally raising the minimum wage to $15 over the next five years.

The shelves and racks, the counters of every store, no matter the size, were always filled to overflowing. There was even more in the back in the unlikely happenstance that a particular style, size, or color was not on the sales floor. Perhaps that was yet another factor that played into Anna’s demise – too much held in inventory. It costs money in terms of plant space in order to store quantities of things that aren’t being sold. After a time, items become shelf worn and need to be cleared, even at a slight discount, in order to make more space. But when your inventory isn’t moving, that should be a major indicator that you need to re-order in smaller quantities and at less frequent intervals. It seems someone at Corporate wasn’t using that philosophy.

It’s good that they have been responsible and made arrangements for paying last wages to all of their 2,500 employees.

The question in the back of my mind is how to interview those people to legally screen them for the types of ethical practices one should use in your own business. It would need to be the type of screening administered to every person who applies for and is interviewed for a job with the business and at any rung of the hierarchy of the enterprise. That will take some consideration and conclusions based on decisions from HR, management, and legal departments.

So Anna’s Linens is joining the ranks of many other businesses across the nation and adding to the number of empty building walls abutting one another. Anna’s Linens is closing.

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November 8, 2014

Telltale Signs: Company Profile

A young man stood on the bus stop wearing a navy blue suit. He held a notebook-sized portfolio. His attire was impeccable. I ventured a guess and decided to test it.

“So how did the interview go?”

“Okay. But I’m not sure about them.”

“Just okay? Do you think you’ll accept the position?”

The more he spoke, the more I noticed excellent articulation and vocabulary. There were some physical features that were not very attractive. However, they were quickly dismissed as he continued his discussion of the interview and his analysis of the company and how he would fit into the organization, if he chose to. It was a restaurant and he was to be the host.

He talked about the glowing interview and the very attractive offer that was made. He expressed uncertainty about the acceptance and I questioned him, again.

“I’m not sure about them. There’s a lot of talk but they make me nervous. They’re cutting too many corners.”

Just as important to the recruiter is not only the candidate’s appearance on paper and in person but also how the client looks. And just as the candidate needs to present a good appearance and profile, so does the client. Care needs to be devoted to the quality that goes into the product in addition to the running of the company. Selection of those who appreciate those imperatives and can deliver in a professional, ethical manner is what needs to be reached.

The recruiter is looking for the best match for both sides. Very important to their livelihood is the client who has desirable attributes. A savvy executive management candidate, as well as the recruiter, will consider things such as amount of time in business, success record, office atmosphere, profit and loss statement, vision, planning, industry ranking and reputation, management, turnover rate, timely payment of debts and debt management, to mention just a few factors.

Cutting corners shows, no matter what the corners. When recruiting for the best, it’s important to put forth the best image possible. In the long run, you’ll attract the best and most loyal customers as well as the best candidates who will serve them to keep your business alive and profitable.

What is your interviewing style saying about your company?

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Republished from Career and Executive Recruiting Advice (October 31, 2002)
Republished from Suite101.com (June 5, 2001)

November 2, 2014

Do the Research

Entrances is a 360 networking forum on LinkedIn. It’s for an exchange of information and for networking with others in order to develop new connections and awareness of new opportunities. The purpose is to gain better insights about another part of the employment sector other than your own space so that better choices are made based in feedback from the other players. One goal is developing relationships that can lead to referrals.

Entrances-Faces of the workplace

Entrances – Making sound choices based on informed networking

While it isn’t a forum for political speech, there are a series of videos running that are produced by ColorofChange.org based on their #IfTheySpeakForMe theme . They show by various examples of what ensues if others make choices for you because you didn’t do your research; instead, you were passive and took whatever you got. In this weekend before midterm elections, the videos emphasize the importance of doing good research before embarking on an endeavor or entering into relationships.

With those compelling ColorofChange messages are scenarios of hair care dictated by a stranger and being hijacked in a taxi. Those are similar to taking on employment with a client or employer you haven’t researched.

I encourage you to do the research this weekend that will help you make the right choice for you in the voting booth. Remember to vote. Exercise your rights.

Who Is This

That being said, remember to do some research, ask meaningful questions, about where your livelihood is or will be. Find out who the potential employer is. Determine whether the recruiter is the right one for you. What does the recruiter want in terms of a “qualified candidate” and how can the resume writer or the career coach help you them reach your goals. Maybe they simply are not the right fit. Maybe their philosophies are (and never will be) in consonance with your own ethics or beliefs in good practices. Consider the video wherein the hairstyle of several women is determined by a total stranger who contravenes the women’s wishes and relationship with their hairdresser.

We’ve talked about hair in Entrances from the perspective of what is accepted by the other side of the employment desk. It was intended to look at the various styles, colors, whether it constituted good grooming, and whether hairstyle is a valid hiring criteria. A few interesting views were expressed.

Making Impressions

Has someone impressed you with their words? What did they do to make that impression? How reliable are they? Would you be willing to refer them to something that may be a good match for what they have to offer?

Bottom Line

Which is the more important emphasis? Know who the employer is. Know their product or service before going on the interview or taking them on as a client. Recruiters are held liable for the misdeeds of their clients. It is a recruiter’s duty to guide a client along the more ethical path if they are erring in their decisions or execution of their business practices. But it’s imperative to know all of these things before getting involved or else having a delicate but compelling reason for taking a different, better path to open the right door and make better entrances.

September 8, 2014

The Minimum Wage Push

It was May 23 that I said we need to increase the minimum wage and that it would happen. By June 1 I was back on the increase minimum wage soapbox. The Federal Congress didn’t seem to want to listen to me. A few weeks later, they said “no” to increasing the minimum wage. Ah, but that was June and July. This is November.

It seems as though more than just dear George are listening to the populace. Among the election revelations was that several additional states voted to increase the minimum wage. It appears the federal government will adopt a resolution to increase the minimum wage.

This minimum wage increase issue is still being fought tooth and nail. Commentary on this morning’s news brought out the fact that for each 10 percent increase in wage there will be an accompanying 2 percent decrease in number of jobs available. The spokes person advocated for retaining the minimum wage. The logic is that it provides a great bottom-line entry-level wage for new workers. It is not fair to increase the wage and then cause minorities and especially minority youth to lose their opportunities at gaining work experience at entry-level wages. Unfortunately, the spokes person did not take into consideration that there are veteran workers who still slave at minimum wage and work three and four jobs at that wage in order to support them selves and their families.

What’s interesting about the conservative argument is that it so profoundly and adversely affects the minority communities. Imagine having someone from any one of those communities turn to you and say they cannot escape from the blight in which they live because they are force to live on minimum earnings, if that. Additionally, they foresee that business in their community will die out because “you can’t buy anything if you don’t have anything to buy it with.” No discretionary income means no spending on entertainment. It means hold the standard low for learning and achievement. It means kill the potential for qualified skilled workers. It means the American Dream will become welfare and less than meager existence. Sloth.

Yes, adjustments will have to be made because of raising the minimum wage. No doubt the cost of goods will be increased in order to absorb some of the cost. The increase will be so marginal compared with the opportunity value of the wage increase that those affected by price increases will hardly complain. In fact, they’ll rejoice at the fact that they are able to purchase and enjoy.

Salary increases are not the means of retaining good personnel. But good, livable wages are the way to attract willing workers who are interested in doing a good job. And those livable wages are a means of saying “thank you” to those who are willing to do their part in contributing to Domestic Product.

[Republished from The Desk (on Recruiter.com), Trends and Forecasts, November 9, 2006]

September 13, 2009

Social Responsibility

The September 11 observances were so moving. Some of the people who posted to my Comments on another site shared remarkable things. Some who wrote to me privately told of things that can be proven. Their statements show the bad faith and puppeteering of the day’s events. Just as with learning that the re-election of Bush the Younger was an inevitability, I was disappointed but no longer shocked at the news.

Explanations for the Inaction

Perhaps that loss of shock and social indignation is the reason so many of us allowed the snowballing effect of allowing our rights to be usurped. That was probably accompanied by (as in the Nixon regime) being overwhelmed with so many social, economic, and career upheavals that the only thing we could do was simply try to make the band-aid work to patch the gaping hole in our social fabric and livelihood.

I received many posts from a fellow in Morocco. The posts show the effects of the bombings and uranium that contaminates the environment. The quotes he provided and the anecdotes of life in the war zone(s) make me hate the fact that we, like sheep, accepted the increasingly fascist rule under the Reagan/Bush/Bush regimes and that we never had the motivation to exercise our rights as citizens to remove the ones (especially the last one) from office for failure to do the will of the people. Indeed, the majority of the people were willing to swallow the swill passed off as patriotism and a worthy national cause as truth. We blindly marched to the edge of the cliff and our own destruction in lemming style.

Racial Damnation

The fact that minorities, especially Blacks who are doomed to live out their lives in the ghetto, existing with poor education, lackluster values, their only hope contained in the deals they’re able to do to earn more than minimum wage and overcome the restrictions of welfare is consciously devastating to me. The fact that there are those who would, by example and deportment, damn others who are not of that ilk (and never were) is also disappointing to me.

The fact that Blacks carry such a burden from one generation to the next for eternity is not a curse but a test of how resilient the race can be. It is a test of each person with any part of an identity with that race to show the best of who they are. We are leaders, all of us, and we must lead by example.

When can we stop and relax? Only when behind our own doors and still being the best we can be for our own selves and for the sake of proving to our God that He has made a good steward in us to carry out His works in marvelous ways. Each time we go slack, we invite those who would keep us under their foot and in social bondage, we confirm their low opinion of us. We sin against ourselves. More importantly, we confirm that we are an example of what can be expected of the race — the poorest in personal habits, language, work product, knowledge, and everything else.

I still remember the words of my Second Grade teacher. I can’t remember what caused her to make the pronouncement. And in the mid 1950s, elementary school classes were a mix of colors and races, all children simply there to learn and be part of the mix without regard to the differences. But she told her charges, “. . . because you are Negro, you will have to be twice as good [as the Whites] in order to be considered half as good.” Her words were to encourage us to learn as much as we could and to put that knowledge to use in all aspects of our lives.

Where are those values today? Do we teach those values to the youth of today? I think not. I believe we teach them to expect to be subjugated and cut out of the race to be best. They then opt for their own entrepreneurial path, not realizing they do not have the training and knowledge to embark on such an endeavor. Thus, they stumble and do business in a poor and slipshod way, thereby setting an example that minority, and especially Black, business people are not a good choice for goods, services, advice and so on.

How should we survive? Will we overcome?

April 22, 2007

This Isn’t Kansas Anymore

Filed under: Ethics,Recruiting — Yvonne LaRose @ 9:52 PM

There are some things in Life that just flat out scare me. They leave me with knocking knees, chattering teeth, and whites of the eyes the size of half dollars. While “Aliens” may have qualified for this category the first time around, it no longer deserves that position. It was fiction. Movies have an ending. Even when they’re part of a series, there’s always an ending to the one you’re watching. And, it was fiction. It was make believe. It wasn’t real.

That’s why there are some things in Life that just flat out scare me. They’re real and people actually believe what they’re doing is not only right but laudable.

Recruiting Bloggers Are Journalists

Let’s look at the first thing that scares me. It’s blogging recruiters. It looks like time is passing faster than I can keep up. It was almost a year ago that the California Court of Appeal held that bloggers are journalists. That is to say, bloggers are purveyors of news. Because of that status, they are entitled to protect the identity of their sources.

Randy Dotinga of the Christian Science Monitor put the issues precisely in the eye of the reader when he pondered whether bloggers have the same responsibility as journalists with an “obligation to check facts, run corrections, and disclose conflicts of interest? Or are they ordinary opinion-slingers, like barbers or bartenders, with no special responsibilities – or rights?” Dotinga’s analysis was written a year before the Court of Appeals decision. Notably, Dotinga ponders whether along with the rights of a journalist, bloggers will also take on the responsibilities of one.

Eugene Volokh looks at the Court of Appeals decision and sees that it is a victory. He discloses his conflict of interest perspective by stating outright that he was one of the amici briefs in the Apple case. Apple argued that bloggers “are not members of any professional community governed by ethical and professional standards.” Excellent point, Apple. But I’m getting ahead of myself in regard to things that scare me.

To be sure, there are good recruiting blogs on the Net. There are good HR blogs out there, as well as consultants, and other parts of the employment industry. Some are written with care and consideration of the thoughts put forward as well as the quality of the information and its value. There are others that seem to challenge the reader to keep up with the syllable count. Things are dashed off for the shock value. And in some “communities,” what you find is a lot of gossip among a bunch of buddies trying to top the other, without regard to the consumming readership (except for the numbers).

Judge Volokh instructs us that “Under the California journalist’s privilege, all those who communicate to the public in a relatively regular way (as opposed to speaking only occasionally, or speaking only to a few friends) are protected, and are covered by the language ‘newspapers, magazines, or other periodical publications.'” The act of a recruiter who maintains a blog and keeps it updated makes them a journalist. The court sidestepped the issue of whether the content is legitimate or illegitimate news. the issue is that there is a regular communication to the public. It doesn’t matter whether it makes sense or not nor whether others are able to interpret what it says. And as to “illegitimate” news, I guess that could be considered lies? Not valid information? Gossip and conjecture? The court refused to address it.

There are those who care about the content that they publish and its value to the public that reads it. There are those who are not cut from the “give me the money” cloth. They apply critical thinking to the concepts they ponder and provide usable information. It is, therefore, the public’s responsibility to do careful reading in order to find the legitimate news and patronize it. Perhaps it is encouraging to realize that 34% of bloggers see what they’re doing as having journalistic form and strive to uphold those standards.

As controversial as my words have been deemed to be, perhaps I, especially, should be glad that my status is that of a journalist for several reasons. And I am allowed to draw the analogies I do from other situations in comparison to recruiting, staffing, retention, and all the other disciplines that go into the employment industry formula because of my status as a blogger and therefore as a journalist.

But I’m still scared. It appears there are not many in the recruiting industry who are capable of drawing analogies. This fact was unequivocably demonstrated earlier this month as a Bush press conference made its impression on me and I shared the thoughts and equivalencies with the larger community for discussion. The response was essentially, “Don’t rock the boat!” I’m scheduled for beheading very soon.

Recruiters Are Ethical

For every single negative, it takes ten positives to compensate for it. That is to say, a 1:10 ratio is necessary in order to maintain a status quo.

There are recruiters who are driven by numbers and only numbers. The numbers may be amount of bodies they took from one location and put into another. The numbers may equate to how many days it took to make the transitions. The numbers may be dollars and cents that were derived from getting the warm bodies into the new site. Or the numbers may equate to how many times they were able to get their words and name published on a particular website. It’s just about the numbers and nothing more.

There are some recruiters who don’t care what they have to say in order to win. If it means they need to lie in order to be in the front of the pack, then that’s what it takes; it will be done. If it means manufacture some loose translation of history as fact in order to get what they want, then the cloth will be woven. Some recruiters will create a distraction in order to make it seem that they’ve been wronged and therefore deserve the award. After a time, the purpose of the antics is lost and there’s just a drive to keep up the behavior because it’s become the accustomed thing to do. To the extent there are those who will support this or else pander to it in order to just shut up the noisemaker, there is encouragement and the system will spread.

Not all recruiters are like this. But it makes you wonder if there are sufficient numbers to not only maintain the status quo but also tip the scales to the positive side. So I guess I’m not really scared in the traditional sense of the word. Unethical recruiters do not scare me. They disgust me.

Unethical leaders do not scare me. They disgust me. The reason is because they counsel their selves and their followers to do unethical things to the detriment of anyone and everyone in their way. They care not the consequences of their actions. They care about the big payoff that they gain. The payoff could be money, power, prestige, control, website traffic, advertisers with more revenue, money, power, prestige. Oh, I’m repeating myself. If these leaders cannot show others how to follow the very rules that they have set out for their organization, how is it that they can in any sense deem theirselves to be ethical and good leaders?

There are some who would say they believe in diversity. Yet when it comes to hiring a person with a disability, that person is passed over in deference to one who has no impairments. The person of color is negated but the person of the leader’s ethnicity is hire even though not as qualified. Women are in the organization but in support roles. And women are encouraged to be petty and sniping; professionalism is discouraged. Skimming is encouraged and stealing log notes so that candidates can be claimed who are actually part of the Rolodex of someone else.

Yet another example of poor ethics is taking content and shopping it around a community before publishing it. Thus, it looks like an also-ran rather than the original content that was intended. Meanwhile, the shoppers have had time to opine on various aspects of the content and appear to be quite insightful and astute. Yet another is pretending to be a student and asking for help on a project. It’s actually a means of getting someone else to do all the research while the fake intern gets credit for the work. Have you seen someone ask for a project and then prevent the person who is to do the work from learning about the process? It’s a little difficult to write a report when there’s no knowledge and barred access. But it’s easy to point a finger and say that the person who was to do the assignment failed and didn’t follow through. What a reference!

So what scares me is the thought of having the negative side of recruiting be in charge of setting the rules and steering the recruiting ship. What scares me is leadership that doesn’t understand the very rules they’ve written. What scares me is that the negative side of recruiting is very capable of using all the tricks in the bag to defeat those who are ethical and then leave us in a jungle of snakes, venom, and flying bullets. If that’s the way the system begins to work all of the time, then maybe it’s time for us to abandon the system and not use it at all.

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