Stop Being What You Were And Start Becoming What You Are

When it comes to a motivational speeches, I often fall short. It may stem from a personal belief that motivational speeches are good for one time, short time lapse events. My philosophy has always been to persist, adapt and move forward every single day in some small way instead of trying to take giant leaps forward on rare occasions. That works but sometimes people need a little pick me up. So this is as close to motivational as I will get.

Starting My Movie Speech Right (3, 2, 1…) Now

January 1st is a great time for people to look back and reflect on the past year, right. I could have made a long post all about how much I accomplished this year and how this was the best year everâ„¢!

It wouldn’t have been true but it would have sounded nice. Professionally, I moved on from one of the best jobs I’ve had to one of the most challenging and difficult positions in my career. I made significantly more money than the previous year but more of it was eaten up courtesy of medical bills. I started a different website, merged with a social network but I am anxious to take it up a notch and deliver something with more “pow.”

People who had a great year want to do a 2008 year in review of their life because things were awesome. People who had a crappy year want to look forward to 2009 and hope that the things that sucked in 2008 will no longer be there. The people who have great perspective will talk about where they are now (only in slight relation to the past or future). Why do I think that’s great perspective?

January 1st Is Just A Date

People who get it know that the present is the most important state. So whether you evaluate your life on January 1st or May 12th or September 23rd, you still have to do something about it. The problem is if you are only evaluating where you are once a year, you aren’t getting a full year’s perspective and you don’t have much experience in adjusting yourself incrementally.

January 1st is another day. It isn’t a new beginning any more than any other day is. If you fail on your new year’s resolution on January 2nd, start again on the 3rd. When you fail again, start again. You are always one year away from being one year into your resolution.

Your goals and resolutions are destined to fail. Over and over again. If you can’t stand failing consistently day after day, forget about a new year’s resolution.

Don’t Resolve To Do It, Just Do It

I drive past Nike World Headquarters nearly every day and their slogan is “Just Do It.” You aren’t yesterday and you aren’t tomorrow. You are today. What you are doing right now? That’s you. And if you don’t like waking up to the you of today every morning, then it doesn’t matter if it is January 1st, May 14th, June 22nd, September 3rd, or any other date. The you of tomorrow can’t do anything because there is always tomorrow (with only one exception). The you of yesterday can’t help because time travel is fictional no matter how many times you watch Back to the Future.

Unfortunately, the you of the present has to take care of business. And the only way that person can take care of business is if you do like Nike suggests. Take your lumps, failures and set backs and keep doing it.

Why Do You Care Ghost of New Year’s Past, Present and Future?

Is this turning into a New Year’s version of A Christmas Carol? Fine, I’ll get to it. Every year, people I come into contact from all walks of life want to change something about their life. Many of those changes revolve around their career. Some want a career change, a promotion, a lateral move, a raise, whatever… Nine times out of ten? Failure.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Every day is your January 1st. It is going to be a new challenge every day. Simply acknowledging that it is going to be an on-going process and you are going to fail often and spectacularly along the way of reaching your 2009 goals and resolutions is a difficult mental transition. And if you are still reading at this point, I have to acknowledge the fact that most of you who agree with this advice won’t change your thinking starting January 1st.

There are no quick take aways here other than the fact that I am annoyed by New Year’s resolutions and I want people to cut it out. If you aren’t making goals consistently throughout the year and if you aren’t taking the temperature of them along the way, you’re not only going to fail (which isn’t bad), you’ll also never progress.

2009 Predictions From Other Bloggers

Note: This is part three of a three part series on my predictions for 2009 (see part one and part two). I will be covering predictions for blogging, HR and those made by others as the new year approaches.

For the third and final segment of this series on 2009 predictions, I wanted to turn it over to my colleagues blogging elsewhere and see what they are saying. If I forgot to ask you, I somehow missed your contribution or you just feel like participating, throw your comments below or write your own post and send the link over and we’ll get it in the post.

Now for the predictions for 2009:

HR Minion of (surprisingly) HR Minion says: I predict that more HR people will be driven to blogs due to the economy. Whether they go there for advice, community, a place to rant, or because they discover the increasing importance of social media and networking to HR, they will come. We have built it, so they will come. :)

Sharlyn Lauby of HR Bartender says: Customer service is the new marketing. People might see economic stimulus money next year but there are no guarantees where they will spend it. Consumers want good service and they will seek out and embrace companies that provide it. Businesses need to take a hard look at what they offer in terms of customer service and use training as a way to stay competitive.

Dan Schawbel of Personal Branding Blog says: In 2009, personal branding will be a commonly used vocabulary word. When thousands of resumes are tossed in a recruiters face, they may all end up in the trash. How do you end up in a pile that they read? How do you differentiate yourself? The answer, as I’ve stated in this blog many times, is personal branding. Turning to proven tools and methodologies is a great way to get yourself on the right career track and turn your passion into money, even in a poor economy.

Benjamin Yoskovitz of Standout Jobs says: Strategic Recruiting becomes a priority. Transactional, shotgun recruiting has been diminishing in value for some time. A recent report indicates that Monster’s revenue will drop 37% in the coming year as companies abandon or lower their job posting contracts. Companies need to look at recruiting strategically and what that means for budgets, time to hire, etc.

Joel Cheesman of Cheezhead says: Yahoo sells-off HotJobs

Kari Quaas of CoolWorks says: My hope and prediction is that more employers jump on Facebook and realize the value of connecting with their staff where they are.

Jason Seiden of says: In tough times, “noise” levels grow, so the people around you become important not only for support, but also as filters. For HR, this means that fostering relationships will become a critical role: with candidates, with managers, with outside resources, and with senior leaders. When things are hard and I’m under stress, I don’t want an answer from a website, I want the name of the person who can solve my problem, and I want that name to come from someone I respect and trust. I want to know I’m part of the neighborhood.

Lisa Rosendahl of HR Thoughts says: I predict an HR Blogging Explosion, coaching finding it’s way in to more and more performance management plans, and HR professionals reaching out to HR students via blogs etc to provide valuable industry insights and learnings.

Alexandra Levit of Water Cooler Wisdom says: My prediction is that more organizations will implement formal and informal flex time programs, and, as it becomes pricier and pricier to recruit and retain full time employees, that the use of part-time consultants will explode in fields like media, finance, and technology.

J. William Tincup of JPIE says: Personally, I’d like to see a greater emphasis on human capital blogging communities and/or multi-contributor blogs rather than more stand alone human capital blogs. I think we should work hard to build more of a sense of community in 2009.

Lousie Fletcher of Blue Sky Resumes says: 2009 will see the first high-profile lawsuit charging discrimination as a result of something posted on the Internet

Chris Ferdinandi of Manager’s Sandbox says: I predict an increased focus on the use (and hopefully engagement in) social media as a talent management tool. I’d love to see employers really embrace the technology more thoroughly in developing employer brands, communicating with employees, and spawning innovation.

Chris Young of the Maximize Possibility Blog says: 2009 will be the year of “adding value” in the workplace. Employers will be adding employees only if they can bring measurable value to the workplace. Employees who are not adding real, measurable value will be at serious risk of joining the already long unemployment lines.

Dan McCarthy of Great Leadership says: There won’t be any American auto companies or financial institutions on the 2008 “Top Companies for Leaders” list.

Laurie Ruettimann of PunkRockHR says: I predict job descriptions will become 140-characters and go out, Twitter-style, directly from companies to job seekers. Buh-bye, Monster and CareerBuilder.

Some really great stuff here. Anything major left off here?

Predicting HR in 2009 May Be Hazardous To Your Health

Note: This is part two of a three part series on my predictions for 2009 (see part one and part three). I will be covering predictions for blogging, HR and those made by others as the new year approaches.

Admittedly, Christmas Eve probably isn’t the best time to post (anything) but I really have to get this out before the new year. So consider this my Christmas present to you.

I’ve learned from watching countless hours of sports broadcasting that trying to predict the future before the game starts is a hapless endeavor. For example, right after the 2008 NBA finals, people started discussing who was going to win the 2009 NBA finals. The only big negative is hearing Bill Walton prattle on and on about his predictions throughout the year like the late Jerry Garcia whispered the gospel to him from the big guy in the sky. If you got that joke, thanks for reading my blog Kris Dunn.

The thing I have to remember is that if I am good, it will be remembered. If I am bad though, I can just excuse things that don’t go my way. So when I put together my predictions for 2009, I decided to push all of my chips in and go for the gusto.

Where will HR stand at the end of 2009? We are going to examine the players, the companies and the people aspect of HR to get the feeling

The Players

This includes organizations like SHRM and our government that have broad influence.

  • SHRM – SHRM will continue being SHRM. Count me among the doubters who think that change is not coming quick to this cash rich organization. I personally have decided not to renew my membership with the organization until they stop telling their members how to lobby, how to practice HR, what’s effective, what’s not and start listening to their regular members. Maybe I don’t want to lobby my representatives the way you want me to! Ever consider that? The best vote I have right now are my dollars.
  • The Federales – The federal government is going to be much more involved in workplace matters. I know this is a surprise but that involvement won’t fix anything. The first bits of government involvement in 2009 (ADA and FMLA changes) have already shown that they still don’t get it. Many of the changes will be overblown by HR pros (like EFCA) because I think the end result won’t be effective in giving the unions superpowers.  Unfortunately, I can’t just stop paying taxes like I can with SHRM though.
  • The State and Local government – Outside the state of California, I think overall activity is going to be surprisingly low at the state level. I’d be very thankful for that if it were the case. I am guessing some states will adjust their leave and disability laws to fall into line with what the federal government is doing but I think we are going to be relatively free of major regulatory hurdles at the state and local levels.
  • The Economy – This will continue to impact employers throughout the remainder of the year. Stability in the economy will not be achieved in 2009. There may be improvement (hopefully!) but it will still be far from stable. Unfortunately, all of the people who think they are in control (the government) aren’t the ones actually in control. The millions of decisions happening daily by businesses worldwide? That’s significant.

The Companies

What will companies be doing with their HR talent?

  • HR ROI (Get Used To These Initials) – If they haven’t done so already, companies will increasingly demand that HR justify themselves as a value to the organization. With budgets continually tightening, decision makers will look at that overhead in HR and ask “Why?” If you aren’t ready with an answer, pack your bags and update your resume. Hopefully you have answer though, right?
  • The Seat At The Table – That proverbial seat at the table? It is still going to be there in 2009, just like it was in 1999 and 1989. My prediction is that if HR hasn’t taken their seat at their company’s table by 2008, nothing in 2009 is going to trigger that. It is still about HR creating value in their organizations and taking the seat.
  • The Era of Specialists – The death of generalists will be pushed back a year. Thanks to the economy, people with broad knowledge of multiple areas will be needed when HR staffs are cut back. Specialists who serve in niche areas will need to broaden their knowledge still. At least until the economy stabalizes.
  • Utilization of Vendors – This one is going to be interesting. Vendors who can show value and return on their product will be given first billing. But if you are spending 100 big on a wellness program that doesn’t work, I’d be just slightly worried.

The People

How will HR professionals be adapting in 2009?

  • We’ll Still Be Pushing Paper – The administrative tasks aren’t going away…yet. Even though I think this would be an optimal time to look at how we can take some of the paper pushing processes out of HR, companies are still too worried to make this major d. So if your HR jobs involves a lot of taking pieces of paper from one stack and putting it into another, congrats (I think).
  • More Will Question SHRM – And any organization for that matter that tells us how to manage our careers and education (for their own profit). HR professionals will start looking for support and groups outside of SHRM. Good for them too.
  • We’ll Stop Being Scared of Social Media – Maybe my most ballsy prediction yet. HR people will stop being scared of social media, start getting involved (quietly at first) and then push for or support current social media endeavors.
  • We Won’t Find Our True Identity – I believe HR people need to find their place in an organization and make it their own. They need to paint the walls, put up some pictures, rip out the carpets and own the employee processes that make companies work. It means standing up and saying you’re not going to plan parties more than any other department and that there is no need for a highly trained HR pro to be pushing mountains of paperwork around (when other departments don’t do that). We’re not willing to stand up for that yet so I don’t think this will happen in 2009.

What do you think? Part three is coming next week.

Stay Home, You're Really Not That Important

Are you a firefighter, police office, rescue worker, doctor or road maintenance worker? Well first of all, thank you for doing an extremely important job during one of the toughest times of year. Second of all, this post isn’t about you.

For anyone else, read on!

There are some nasty storms moving across the country right now and I am fairly certain they won’t be stopping. If you’re in an area like Portland, winter weather means being completely paralyzed. And while the drivers here in my fair city are partially to blame, the road crews here are woefully unprepared to deal with the more serious winter stuff that comes our way once every four years.

I went to school in a place that had snow on the ground from late October through finals. They knew how to deal with it there and they were equipped. Even in well equipped areas though, some nasty stuff would shut things down once in a while. My in-laws received two feet of snow in 24 hours.

In all of these situations, there always seems to be these people that feel their job as an accountant, public relations specialist or human resources manager necessitate the need to risk their life and try to get to work in vehicles  inadequatly equipped to deal with the weather.

Here’s the deal: if you can’t drive in crummy weather and you don’t have the mass transportation system necessary to carry you to work, don’t try to go to work.Your job isn’t that important.

Stay in, drink a cup of hot chocolate and even play with your cats if absolutely necessary. Nobody should blame you for not going to work in dangerous conditions and if they do, you have my permission to get in their face about it.

What I advise companies to do in this situation is pretty simple:

  1. Have a clearly written inclement weather policy that everyone is made aware of.
  2. In that policy, state that you will always be open except in extreme weather conditions and tell them resources you’ll use to communicate a closure.
  3. Those who can use mass transit or walk will get to work.
  4. Empower your employees to make the call for themselves and back them up on their decisions.

That’s it.

Do you have experience with anything else that works?

What Blogging Means To Me (And You)

Note: This is part one of a three part series on my predictions for 2009 (see part two and part three). I will be covering predictions for blogging, HR and those made by others as the new year approaches.

I was one of the celebrity judges for Brazen Careerist’s blog contest that asked “How has blogging impacted your life?” It was extremely difficult to judge as quite a few people had compelling cases as to how blogging had impacted their lives. After my first read through of all the entries, I ended up with ten finalists (and I wanted to pick two!). I eventually wittled it down to my two thanks to an afternoon of snow and ice here in Portland.

It reminded me of why I started blogging and why I continue to blog (two very separate things by the way) but it also made me think of how blogging has impacted my life since then.

How Has Blogging Impacted My Life?

There are three distinct ways that blogging has impacted me:

  1. It has made me more thoughtful – Many people think blogging means you have to go out on a limb and say something sexy every post. My experience has been the complete opposite. People appreciate advice that is interesting, unique and thoughtful. Some people who give career advice seem almost glib at times and others give perpetually boring advice. If someone says you should wear a top hat to your next interview to stand out, that’s just entertaining but not useful. If someone says you should work on your handshake, that’s not entertaining but it is useful. I’ve tried to say things that are both entertaining and useful. So when you wear that top hat, make sure you give a really great handshake.
  2. It allows me to learn – There are some really smart people in the blogosphere that I have been fortunate enough to interact with in-person or through telephone, e-mails and comments. This is why I couldn’t possibly do all of my 2009 predictions without including feedback from the great people online as well. Since I started getting involved with blogs (a lurker for four years and contributor for more than two and a half), I’ve learned about subjects I never would have even known about. It is truly amazing.
  3. It has expanded my brand – When I was blog-lurker Lance, I got the minimum amount of benefit from blogs. I got the information without the interaction and credit. Now that I maintain my blog (under my name) and interact with the community (and use my blog for this), I get the full benefit of being involved in the community. I have always encouraged people with great comments to start a blog.

What Does This Have To Do With 2009?

Fine, fine, I’ll get on with it! My prediction is that YOU (a.k.a. lurker who reads a few blogs a day but never comments) will slowly but surely start coming out of the woodwork and getting involved. First you’ll comment on a few blogs. Maybe you’ll start a twitter account and interact directly with other bloggers. Slowly (but surely), you too will start recognizing the real value of getting involved.

Something will have to spark it and I think 2009 is rife with opportunities to spark your conversion from lurker to blogger. And it won’t (necessarily) be much:

  • Your friend will start a blog – Peer influence is a huge reason why people start blogs. If you already have built in network when you start, that rough patch as you get started is a lot easier!
  • The economy will compel you – Let’s face it, the economy will not turn around overnight. That means if you are ready for the next step, you need to differentiate yourself from the thousands of other stiffs trying to steal your next job. A blog can do that.
  • Life will happen – Something will happen with your life or your career that pushes you into writing a blog. Unfortunately, I think 2009 will be full of these sorts of instances so a major life change may push you into writing and connecting with people who are in similar circumstances.
  • Someone will post something stupid – It could be me but at some point, you will read something you think is off the charts stupid. You will start to comment and it will turn out to be blog post length. Then you’ll figure it out: the only person benefiting from your super long comment is the person who initially infuriated you!

Or any number of other triggers. At some point you will want to be part of the conversation. And if that’s not enough, here are some of my favorite posts from my judging that you should check out: A Reflection: How Blogging Affected My Life by Meg Roberts, Blogging’s Impact on My Career — and My Life by Thursday Bram, Changing the Direction of My Arrows by Carla Blumenthal, Just Keep Blogging by Milena Thomas, How I Found Our Voices by Holly Hoffman, Forget Careers. Blogging Changes Lives. by Nisha Chittal, and This Changes Everything by Tiffany Monhollon.

Employee Performance Made (Much) Easier

A couple of months ago, I talked about how important managing employee performance was to the overall success of the business. If anything has changed in those last two months, it is that employee performance is a bigger deal than ever. If you own or operate a business during these challenging times, you absolutely must get this right.

So right after my post about putting performance management first, I wanted to get with the post sponsor (Halogen Software) and see what their product could do in comparison to some of the other products out in the market. Having seen some of the other products and knowing some of the conventional ways this is tracked at smaller organizations (pen and paper tracking? Please!), I feel comfortable acknowledging that this is the most comprehensive, off-the-shelf solution available.

eAppraisal And Your New Performance Dashboard

Halogen eAppraisal is the core of the company’s entire performance management suite. As I walked through the software, it occurred to me that after you got the system initially setup, the training couldn’t be that difficult. As I was following along, the entire interface was precise and easy to navigate. This is a big plus for supervisors that will interact with the system on a less frequent basis than your HR team will.

Regardless of your position as an evaluating manager or a HR pro, you’ll be presented with a dashboard that will keep you on track. At the very top of the page, you will see your pending tasks. It should be noted that many of these tasks can be automated simply so that HR and managers don’t have to remember that Bob in accounting needs to be reviewed again.

How eAppraisal Helps to Accomplish Effective Performance Management

I listed five reasons why it was important to put employee performance management first. How does eAppraisal help you accomplish this?

  1. It helps facilitate regularly scheduled communication – eAppraisal acknowledges that we are in fact human. We forget things, important things that need to happen. That’s why that in addition to a dashboard, the software sends out automated e-mails that remind you when a task needs to be completed. Also within easy access is a performance journal that you can use to keep track of an employee’s performance.
  2. It sets the bar high (for both employees and managers) – You can customize your employee evaluation forms in whatever way you like. Halogen showed me how this was done in the demo and it is super easy. The program emphasizes goal setting and tracking.
  3. It helps standardize the process – As anyone who deals with employee performance appraisals knows, it is difficult to standardize review procedures and measurements across a diverse organization. I am not saying eAppraisal will magically solve that for you but it is a key in that puzzle.
  4. It helps get a full performance picture – It not only helps you consolidate all of an employee’s reviews but it also helps higher level managers to understand where their organization is performance wise. eAppraisal includes easy-to-use reports that can quickly bring a manager up to speed on the performance status of their organization.
  5. It works – eAppraisal is extremely easy to use on a day-to-day basis. This is incredibly important for your supervisors since that can often determine the success or failure of a performance management system. It is customizable, has easy-to-use reminders to document and present performance and helps HR and the management team get a grasp on how your performance management function is working.

What More Could You Ask For?

product-lineeAppraisal also works in conjunction with a variety of HRIS systems as well as their own platform of add-ons to the performance suite. This includes a compensation, succession, training and 360 degree feedback modules that all work in conjunction with one another. They also have software that is specifically designed for healthcare, financial and professional services fields.

Having evaluated all of these factors, I recommend that you give eAppraisal a try to see how you like it. You can sign up for a demo or for a free trial of the product. Compare it to your current solution and I’m confident that Halogen’s software offering can help you take it to the next level.

This post is being sponsored by Halogen Software who specializes in Talent Management. Halogen offers a complete suite of web-based HR software that lets you automate, simplify and integrate employee performance appraisals, 360 degree reviews, compensation management, succession planning and learning management.

The One Thing You Should Do Today

More than a few people have asked me what can they do to survive in the rough economy.The sentiment is wide ranging and far from unique. Here is a taste of what I’ve heard:

  • I know layoffs are coming so how can I avoid getting canned?
  • If my boss doesn’t like me, does it put my job in jeopardy?
  • I don’t understand how they can cut our hours now?
  • How can I get HR to help me so I don’t get laid off?

Stop asking me these questions. If you lose your job, I can give you resources to use. If you are having an issue with your boss, I can help you fix it. If your co-workers are being passive aggressive morons, I can suggest a few things (maybe an elementary school note stating “Passive or Aggressive. Pick one :-)”)

But why can’t I help you?

Simple: Your question boils down to “How can I avoid being scared?

I can’t help you with that question. I can’t ease your fears. The best I can hope for is being a sounding board. And if you force me to answer, the one thing you need to do today is stop being scared. Stop being so terrified of the worst happening that you can’t figure out a solution to these questions.

When my wife was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, it scared me. I kept running through the worst case scenarios in my head and it was only made worse knowing that my wife was a worrier too. She was probably thinking all of these same things too. We sat down and talked about it. She was anxious about it and it hurt her performance at work. I would get into HR mode and try to “fix it.” That didn’t work. You know why?

I couldn’t fix scared and that was the problem. I had to stop being a HR guy and start being a husband and support her. Ultimately she had to rationalize and figure it out on her own. Obviously I helped her through that process. And when she stopped being scared, everything in her life picked up. There was no change in condition that precipitated this attitude change either. Just simply the declaration that this fear of the uncontrollable would no longer control her.

It was great but it was ultimately her struggle and her victory over being scared. Even if there was a legitimate reason to feel that way. Even if sometimes she feels scared.

So if you know layoffs are coming and you might get canned, stop being scared and move on (whether that be by pulling out all stops at work or all stops on your job search). If you’re scared that your boss not liking you might impact your future job, stop being scared and move on. If your hours are going to be cut and you could lose valuable income, stop being scared and move on.

And so on.

Ultimately, the process is simple: remove fear and act as you would have before. You have to make the decision to remove fear though (not me). Nobody will blame you for being scared during economic times like these but if you let it dominate you and become you, then only you can fix that.

Until then, stop asking me the questions until you do that one thing.

Find your next job at Job Search USA.

I Don't Need Your Two Cents

Are you searching for a blog topic? Looking for something that is timely and relevant?

Why don’t you write about the economy? Nobody is doing it (heh) and really we need more people telling us what’s going right, wrong and how we’re (not) fixing it. Even more, we really need more people who have no idea how the economy works to tell us how the economy is shaking down.

Opinions Are Like …

I’m not going to spend this post being a hater but it seems like everyone has something to say about the economy. Unless you are the Wall Street Journal, you are going to have to put an interesting or relevant spin on it for me to even read through it.

Laurie wrote about this phenomenon earlier about the person in your family that wants to tell you how the Federal Reserve is bogus or how the answer to our struggles is to throw the auto CEO’s into prison for life. Save it for Rush Limbaugh or Air America, pal.

You want to talk to me about the economy? Tell me how it is impacting your business. Tell me how it is impacting you. Tell me how you are coping with it (or thriving in it). And if you are interested, I’ll tell you that about me too.

What Is Your Competency?

Of course, this all goes back to your career. Doesn’t everything?

When employees or managers dabble in HR (or any other department for that matter) and they don’t have the expertise, they better have something that is interesting or relevant to add. When they don’t, they look like the fool who works at a truck stop and tries to tell you about the solution to the credit crunch.

And if you work in the truck stop industry, please forgive me but it is an example of people being monumentally less interested in what you are saying than what you think. When somebody comes to me with a federal law and starts to lecture me on its application, I listen politely. When I have to inform them that they are incorrect because there is a state law that supersedes the federal law in this case, they wasted a lot of time for nothing.

Still Want To Dabble?

Do you want to be interesting and relevant at work? Do you want to learn about areas of the business you are unfamiliar with? There are four really easy things you can do:

  1. Stop giving your opinions
  2. Start asking questions
  3. Listen to their answers
  4. Add only when necessary

Warning: This may cause you to gain increased respect and authority at work. Use with extreme caution.

If you want an example, I have one for you.

Let’s say you are an HR person for a sales organization. They want to do a campaign but they need more staff in a couple areas and need to realign some of their other employees into different areas. How do you know this? You shut up for a couple seconds and asked them a few questions. You said you could help them put together a plan for reorganizing the department and hiring new people. You ask more questions that help you accomplish your part. You add your opinion once you have grasped the situation.

When you leave that coversation, nobody thinks of you as the truck stop talking, politics spewing guy. And really, that’s a good thing.

VoiceScreener Can Help Reduce Time to Hire

If you are like me, you’ve spent a ton of time on phone screens. When I have a stack of resumes to do, it can be a daunting task of spending a few minutes talking to someone on the phone hoping to get the right impression to move forward. On top of that, you can often have scheduling difficulties that turns the search for a 15 minute time for a phone call into a three day ordeal of trying to schedule, then reschedule and so on.

VoiceScreener may be the solution to some of this. HarQen, the parent company of Voicescreener, gave me the opportunity to try the product out. It is easy enough to set up an interview and to send out invites to complete the phone screen (without referencing FAQ’s or the help section). After someone has completed a screen, you can listen to it repeatedly and send it to colleagues. All very cool.

“Our goal is to start a conversation with savvy HR professionals and gather feedback on VoiceScreener’s usability, feature set and interface,” noted E. Kelly Fitzsimmons, co-founder and CEO of HarQen. “We are looking to start a dialog with the HR community and fine tune our offering.” They want to know how they can improve their product so they are reaching out to us to help them out.

I am going to throw out what I see as potential issues:

  1. It may seem impersonal. Okay, it IS impersonal. Phone screens are often an inexpensive and time efficient way to reach out to potential employees (even ones who aren’t hired). Since we rarely see people drop off resumes in person, it is the first time in the process they get to know someone at the company. In any case, you lose this opportunity.
  2. You might find some people are camera shy. You may act different in front of a camera than just talking to someone else. Same thing goes for a recorded phone call. You may not do as well in a recorded setting as you do just talking with someone over the phone. This could lead to more false negatives (in a process that can already be heavy on that).

Of course, one could say that the application process turned impersonal a long time ago or that having the availability to do the phone screen at any time could help reduce the impact of having the call recorded. I still don’t know if I would use this for a higher level position but when I worked on staffing a call center, I could see the real value behind this. The only limit to how many people you could put through the phone screen is how long you have to listen (not any of the other headaches). That’s a big deal for those in positions where both quantity and quality are needed.

In any case, VoiceScreener is going into a private beta and is allowing you the opportunity to try it out for free. This will give you the opportunity to use the platform for six weeks as well use up to 50 call credits (enough to run a full campaign or two to try it out). Pretty awesome, right?

What do you have to do to get this? Go to their sign up page and enter the promo code YOURHRGUY. This is only good for the first 50 people so what are you waiting for? Jump on it!