Moving Day! The End of the HR Schoolhouse

george-jeffersonYou and I have had a great run here at the HR Schoolhouse.

This blog was started in 2010 as a place where I could share my thoughts about HR and work, poke a stick at stuff I found absurd or ridiculous, and find solace in the blank page.

I still intend to do those things…I’m just going to be doing it under my own name.

From a practical standpoint this allows me to bring multiple sites (my blog, my business) together. The whole “who I am and what I do” has merged quite nicely since I stepped away from corporate HR leadership and went the entrepreneur route but it’s not like I have all day to be updating multiple websites.

So thanks for being a loyal reader and/or subscriber to the HR Schoolhouse. This site will stay up and running, but I hope you’ll come and join me starting next week at

Peace out.

The Community Has Spoken – #truBatonRouge

global-communication-background003“HR people and recruiters sure think differently, don’t they?” (quote from #truBatonRouge attendee)

They sure do; and I’ve talked about it quite a bit. I feel somewhat able to pontificate on the subject as I’ve not only worked for an agency, been an internal recruiter, and managed corporate recruiting teams, but have also held numerous HR leadership positions over the years.

If we imagine we’re just one ginormous agrarian society, the recruiters are like the hunters and gatherers who track down the talent; they’re out there fishing in the pond where no-one-else is fishing. The HR practitioners are back home tiling the soil; waiting, as it were, for the food to come to them.

It’s endlessly fascinating to me why these two groups – all invested in finding the right people for the right jobs at the right time – have such differing views on what talent attraction and acquisition looks like. So often, I continue to find, the HR leaders/practitioners in an organization operate via the ‘staffing’ model; let’s open the req, confirm the job description, blast an advert of some sort, and assume the people will come to us. Make the offer, close the req, and wait until the next person quits and we have to fill the same job all over again.

Is it a matter of time and resources for many HR practitioners? It can be. One of the #truBatonrouge attendees was from a rapidly growing organization with 600 employees where it’s no doubt a challenge to create a strategic sourcing and recruiting strategy when there are 3 people in the entire HR Department and they also handle payroll, benefits, comp, FMLA/ADA/WC, employee relations, etc. etc. etc. Out of necessity, perhaps more than anything else, they’ve migrated to a model where the hiring managers are fully empowered to handle all their own hiring; HR manages the process, workflow, and tools, but is hands off unless specifically asked to participate.

Without a dedicated recruiter the 25+ open positions they have (I checked) are, more than likely, being blasted to job boards in an attempt to get as many warm bodies loaded into the recruitment funnel as possible.

It’s the HR way.

And I anticipated this sort of tension – if that’s the right word – to rise to the top when I planned the event. Knowing the market here in south Louisiana the attendees were a varied bunch: we had a handful of recruiters, a gaggle of HR professionals (generalists who have recruiting as one of their responsibilities), some entrepreneurs, a health care executive, a bunch of organizational development folks, and a few communication/marketing professionals.

So what did we talk about?

I led a track on the “The Problem with Job Interviews” which focused on exploring things like uselessness due to lack of planning and our focus on hiring for “fit” when we don’t even know what that really means. We dove into the impact of bias – with confirmation bias being one of the biggies as we seek to confirm our initial gut feeling from the first 90 seconds with an applicant. We chatted about the use of data. We conversed about how many interviews is too many; one attendee reported he had multiple visits and met with 15 interviewers for a job. Sweet fancy Moses.

Casey Kugler led a track on “Recruiting Tips from a Corporate Recruiter” and discussed sourcing and searching strategies. He shared the results of an experiment he recently conducted to see if taking the time to personally construct LinkedIn communication (“Hi Joe…I see you like Pearl Jam!”) garnered more results than generic messages (note: he saw a 3% improvement). Darren Sherrard, Associate Director for Recruitment with the VA, discussed recruitment marketing and specifically chatted about paid vs. earned media as well as the evolution/merging/blurring of PR and recruitment marketing.

We had a track called “Fear and Loathing in Succession Planning” and dove into the topic “Are YOU the only one who cares about your Performance Management Program” with Sandy Michelet. The latter discussion was interesting; enough HR/OD people expressed a desire to hang on to numbers, rankings, ratings, and forms that it appears the shitty performance appraisals we’re often saddled with aren’t going anywhere soon.

We wrapped up the day with a free-wheeling discussion merging all sorts of topics together with a focus on how HR/Talent professionals can, perhaps, innovate; wellness (ugh!), use of technology, the digital divide, and spirituality in the workplace/business environment all landed on the table.

It. Was. Awesome.

We held #truNOLA in 2012, but I wanted to hold an event in Baton Rouge to gather more people together who have an interest in talent, recruiting and the evolution of work. I wanted varied experiences and differing opinions. I wanted people to meet and connect and build community.

And we did.

Thanks to Devin Lemoine and the team at Success Labs for providing the space and hosting us for the day, and thanks to my friend Bill Boorman, founder of #tru, who believes in building this global community.

“Those HR people and recruiters can get on the same page after all.” (me)

Desperate, Sweaty, SWM Looking for ‘Love’

DatingGameThe dating/recruiting comparisons are endless and we’ve been drawing parallels for years. The conversation will continue for some time; we’re waiting, after all, for the much-anticipated eHarmony launch of its recruiting/assessment/matching platform later this year.

One thing I’ve never seen dissected though is how one’s approach, to either the dating process or the hiring process, impacts the final outcome. Maybe it’s because at some point enough people find their match, job-wise or romance-wise, so we kind of lose interest. (“Thank God Mary finally found a man. I’m so tired listening to her ramblings about the losers she’s meeting.”) Or, of course, they just stop trying. (“Bob has stopped shaving and just sits around his house in his underwear. All he eats is Papa John’s pizza.”) Either way we’re thankful for the silence when they stop blathering on about how they can’t find “the one.”

But all this starts with some sort of goal-setting, know what I mean?

Let’s take dating. People join dating sites for any number of reasons. Some are laser-focused on finding a spouse or forming a significant relationship while others want companionship so they don’t have to attend events or work parties as the lone single gal/guy. There are folks who just want a partner with whom to sip wine and go for walks on the beach. Quite a number, let’s face it, pony up their hard-earned cash with the goal of satisfying hormonal urges.

As for job seekers, the individuals who take the time to create a lengthy profile on a job board or the soon-to-be-launched eHarmony recruiting site presumably do so for the same reason: to land a job. A job they love! 

People in both camps may be desperate; the out-of-work guy in job search mode needs to start bringing in some income. The why-am-I-still-single? 36-year-old gal who enjoys spinning pottery and singing in the church choir is bone wearingly exhausted being the +1 at couples’ events. Plus she has urges…if you know what I mean.

Candidates and single-people with hopelessness oozing out of every pore. Who hasn’t run into them?

I’ve sat across from job applicants who have begged for a job. “I’ll do anything,” said Rhonda-the-applicant. “I really need to work.”

I’ve also, back in my single days, sat across from sweaty dudes who plied me with cocktails and begged for companionship. “I’m ready to settle down,” lamented one crunchy-granola weirdo hipster dude as he chugged his sake at the Thai restaurant during our first (and last) date. “You want to come and see my house? I brew my own mead and raise earthworms in the basement.” (note: after I feigned an emergency and raced for the safety of my car, I watched him unlock his bicycle and wrap his pants leg with duct tape before he peddled back home to his earthworms).

Where’s the line that one crosses? At what stage does someone move from having a desired (and achingly unrealized) objective into wretched despondency?

Is there a point at which the lovelorn hit a critical juncture and can’t reverse their path? Had earthworm guy, once upon a time, been a tad more circumspect in his quest to snag a woman? Did he change after stumbling through young adulthood on some sort of creepy refection-filled journey?

I dunno.

But I do wonder if the mysterious magical eHarmony recruiting tool will assess “desperation.”

I also wonder if that would that be good … or bad?



Why @Victorio_M is Awesome! #timsackettday

VictorioWhen I think about my friend Victorio Millian I have strong visual recollections. I see the beautiful photos he takes of his beloved NYC and the smiling faces of his two kids and their mother. I remember the times we’ve been able to sit down and have a chat and a bit of fun at various events over the years. I remember that the first time we met face to face (as people are wont to say) was in an elevator. In 2010.

Victorio is a human resources professional. And a damn good one. As with most exceptional people who work in HR he is an unsung hero; working tirelessly behind the scenes to not only make organizations better but to also keep the “human” front and center. I’ve seen him hit the high notes in both the art and the science of HR; formulating strategy (science) and implementing strategy (art).

So today, on #timsackettday, I am thrilled to salute a great HR professional who works his tail off, fights the good fight (for ALL people), and is just an all around superb guy.

Find him and talk to him and you’ll know exactly why I feel the way I do:

Victorio on Twitter

Victorio on LinkedIn

Victorio’s Creative Chaos blog


about #timsackettday: several years ago Laurie Ruettimann started a meme to honor HR professionals who get it done without seeking fame and fortune. Previous honorees have been Tim Sackett, Paul Hebert, and Kelly Dingee. And It’s always a surprise to the honoree…even more fun!

Happy #timsackettday Victorio!