Not everyone loves hiring. Does anyone love hiring? Does anyone like hiring? Some parts of it can be fun: the excitement of bringing in new people and new ideas, imagining the possibilities, the hilarious typos on the resumes. But it can be a slog. Especially right now, many job postings will lead to a flood of resumes and applications. That’s a good thing, right? Well, not exactly. According to Barry Schwartz, the author of The Paradox of Choice, having too many options makes us humans pretty unhappy. We suffer from fear of missing out and agonize over the best choice. Of course, having too many choices as a hiring manager means a LOT more work. You want to do it because you want to find the best person for your sales team, but you also have other things to do.
What if you didn’t have to start from zero every time you hire? What if -- instead of dealing with job postings, sifting through the virtual stacks of resumes, making the calls, and struggling with the anxiety – you just picked up the phone and made a call to the right person, and a couple of weeks later, they just started?
There is a way. Creating a talent pipeline can save yourself a lot of work, uncertainty, and, yes, even unhappiness!
What is this magical time saver?
According to HR (Human Resources) Technologist, “A talent pipeline is defined as a ready pool of potential candidates who are qualified and prepared to step up and fill relevant key roles within the organization as soon as they fall vacant.”
In other words, you have a waiting and willing list of people you can call on as soon as you have an opening. Ideally, they would be clamoring to join your team, they will have been moderately vetted in advance, and they have the skills, experience, or attitude (or all three!) you want.
Here are 5 steps to building your very own talent pipeline.
There are steps you can take to start building your talent pipeline right now. The sooner, the better. Because let’s be honest, a lot of people have baked a lot of sourdough bread these past few months. There are going to be some award winners out there.
There’s no way to hire right without putting in the time, effort, and money. The task often requires coordination (anyone who’s ever arranged a panel interview knows this only too well!), organization, and perseverance. Although many job seekers secure positions through the hidden job market, highly qualified candidates don’t just fall out of the sky.
So you put in the work, went through a thorough selection process, and your shiny new employee joined the team last month. Great news, right? Unfortunately, your good feelings of accomplishment were short-lived, because you just found out that this person lied on their resume.
So, just how common is lying on a resume? According to multiple studies, very common. A 2017 CareerBuilder survey found that 75 percent of HR managers have caught a job applicant lying on their resume about work experience. A HireRight study from the same year reported an even higher number of 85 percent.
In some cases, lying on a resume about work experience is easy to spot. Consider some of these amusing examples from CareerBuilder’s survey:
In most cases, however, it’s harder to know when someone has lied on a resume. Setting aside situations where someone has accidentally lied on their resume (due to a typo or forgetting an exact date), several subtle lies often slip through the cracks throughout the hiring process. Some of the more common lies include fudging dates to cover employment gaps, claiming accomplishments that actually belong to others, and faking degrees and other credentials.
Yes, the job market is tough, and more than one employer has been accused of searching for that “purple squirrel,” but even a little lie (or two) on a resume can signal big problems. That’s why ignoring your discovery isn’t an option. However, rushing into action could complicate the situation even more.
Technically, it is not illegal for an applicant to lie on their resume because a resume is not in itself a legal document. There are, however, many related legal consequences that could result from lying on a resume. This is particularly true where the federal government is involved. Someone who claims federal work experience could be charged with fraud if they used those lies to gain security clearances or other financial benefits. Falsifying degrees or certifications to support resume lies is considered document forgery in most states and can carry serious legal penalties, up to and including time in prison.
Perhaps you heard through your network that an employee didn’t really earn that impressive MBA or was actually fired from their last job for a cause rather than laid off. When faced with the possibility that an employee lied on their resume, the first step is to move from rumor to fact.
It’s become standard practice to receive consent for and perform background checks on candidates during the hiring process, but things can get a little trickier for current employees. According to the EEOC, while such searches are permitted, employers must remain mindful of employees’ rights. For example, if the employee’s original consent doesn’t extend to a background check for retention, promotion, or reassignment, it’s probably not wise to do a “lied on resume background check” without letting the employee know what’s happening first.
When it comes to light that an employee lied on their resume, the employer basically has two choices:
Depending on the scope of the deception and the employee's performance/potential, retention – and not termination – might make sense. If the employee accidentally lied on their resume or lying on their resume about work experience amounts to little more than creative exaggeration than outright falsehood, then the situation may be salvageable. On the other hand, lying on a resume about a degree or fabricating work experience constitutes a serious breach of trust and ethics. In such cases, termination might be the only wise option.
The point is, a careful weighing of the facts is needed before moving forward. While it can be frustrating to learn that someone who lied on a resume got the job, it’s important to follow a transparent and legally defensible process (more on that in a moment). Knee-jerk reactions are not recommended.
While it may be uncomfortable, it’s important to confront the employee directly once the facts are revealed. Tell the employee what you learned and give them a chance to clear the record. Be reasonable, be respectful, and remain calm.
If it becomes clear that the situation isn’t the result of a mixup or miscommunication, additional steps are necessary. Tell the employee if you intend to perform a background check at this time and what the potential consequences are likely to be if he or she lied.
Just because an employee lied on a resume doesn’t mean employment laws no longer apply. While most states are “at will,” there are plenty of exceptions to the law, and you don’t want to violate any. Before you take employment action based on the information you’ve received, make sure you’ve assessed the potential risks. And along those lines…
It’s normal to feel disappointed, exasperated, or even angry after discovering that an employee lied and that the lie may have significant consequences for the organization. However, don’t permit your temper to overcome you. It’s a mistake to take your employee’s alleged dishonesty personally.
Lying on the resume about work experience or degrees can seem like a terrible abuse of trust, and perhaps it is. Still, smart employers will proceed carefully when they learn about the deception, which is the only way to ensure that any decision promotes the company’s long and short-term interests. While the employee will most likely be dismissed for lying on their resume, it’s important to gather as much information as possible before taking action.
There seems to be a tradition of animosity between HR professionals and hiring managers. Like it or not, the recruitment process reveals aspects of the corporate culture that are often bureaucratic or even counterproductive. It is the company's face to its professional communities and the geographic community in which it is located. Dissension or a lack of communication between HR and hiring managers can expose problems for all to see.
In a tight job market with a flood of applications to online job postings, it may appear that this is not a problem. However, even if a company’s various recruitment channels are bringing in strong candidates, this IS a problem.
You want to present a united, harmonious front to potential hires, especially the cream of the crop who are most in demand. You want to attract the best candidates, not annoy them and make them so disgruntled that they question their decision to apply and even contemplate withdrawing their names from consideration for the position.
Here are five suggestions to foster better relationships between hiring managers and HR, resulting in better hiring decisions:
In the end, both the departments desire the same thing: the timely hiring of the best person for the job. This is easier to achieve with a thoughtful, harmonious relationship between the hiring manager and HR along the way.
Are you promoting a positive and productive work environment for your employees? Being a generous leader doesn't mean you have to give away the farm! Every so often, I’ll encounter a stingy manager, and it gets me thinking all over again about what makes these individuals tick. Don’t they understand that inclusive, generous management leads to trust, high levels of engagement, loyalty, and increased productivity? No? What a shame!
There’s nothing to be gained by being a stingy leader. What do I mean by “stingy?” I’m so glad you asked!
(Please DON’T do these)
1. Low Employee Ratings
Rate everyone low or medium on performance reviews because a high rating means people are “perfect” and have nothing else to learn.
Are indifferent to the career aspirations of their staff. Stingy managers don’t offer stretch assignments that enhance the employee’s resume unless they think of it first or see the assignment as a personal “win.”
3. No compliments for you!
Hold back on compliments and positive feedback. Rather than focus on employee strengths, they focus on employee deficits that need “fixing.”
What’s behind all this? It depends. Some managers fear that being “too nice” will make them look “weak” and encourage employees to take advantage. We all know that “nice” doesn’t equate to generous, but the concepts are often confused. While it's true that a boss does not need to be well-liked to be productive, the best, at a minimum, carry the respect of their teams.
Other managers believe there’s no reason to be generous. Generosity is simply irrelevant. Employees come to work, do the job, and get a paycheck and benefits in return. What else is needed?
And then there are the truly troubled. These managers enjoy deliberately withholding positivity because they’re mean. They might also believe that the only way to build themselves up is to make others look bad, an easy way to stand out that comes at their employees' expense. There aren’t too many of these, thank goodness. If you happen to work for one, don’t expect any support. Stingy managers are notoriously bad at supervising others. Just earn what you can while learning what you can and get the heck out.
How can you learn to be a more generous manager? Self-awareness is a great start! Knowing your personal leadership style and the individuals' motivators/demotivators on your team is an education worth pursuing. Generous managers have the potential to inspire intense loyalty, which, in turn, causes their staff to work “above and beyond” regularly. Tap into this loyalty by learning how to communicate with all the different personalities on your team effectively.
And not to mention -- generous management is a humanitarian, sustainable way to lead. Why wouldn’t a manager want to do whatever they could to help an employee reach their career aspirations? It feels great to do that! And in truth, a high-performing team can only make a leader look good. Finally, keep in mind that today’s progressive manager is more of a coach and mentor than a “boss.” Yes, the buck needs to stop somewhere, and there’s a time to pull rank, but generally, that’s not every minute of the day. In fact, in the modern workplace, rank pulling is for special occasions only.
(And while we’re on the topic, don’t mistake genuine, generous management for the favoritism that permeates authoritarian cultures. Giving out goodies like raises, promotions, flexible schedules, plum assignments, and extra perks to the office favorite (while ignoring the needs of other employees) is not what we mean by “generous management.” There’s nothing generous about misusing company resources toward a selfish end.)
But back to the original question – how can you be more generous in your management? Simply put...practice those behaviors that stingy managers avoid:
(Please DO these)
1. Don’t hold back the praise.
If an employee does something worthy of a thank you (or better), say so. Whether it’s public praise or a quiet email, everyone likes to hear it.
2. Don’t make employees wait to receive tangible rewards.
If you need someone to step up permanently, don’t give them the work without the raise, elevated job title, etc., until they prove they’re “worthy” of it. You asked them to do the work, and that means you think they’re worthy already. Reward them in kind and stop being so stingy. You couldn’t get away with that behavior with an outside consultant. Why do it with someone who’s already on your team?
3. DO be a mentor.
Help your employees get to the next level. There doesn’t always have to be a direct line between the next job and this one for you to offer support, resources, and encouragement. And remember, this attention will pay off in increased retention and loyalty.
If I were to sum all this up in one word, that word would be “advocacy.” Unfortunately, that’s a scary word for some managers who believe their role is to be as neutral as possible. Not so. Neutrality has its place, of course, but advocating for your staff to receive what they need to (1) do their jobs and (2) develop as professionals is definitely within the job description of the generous manager!
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were more than 136,000 HR Manager jobs in the United States in 2016. And why not? Every company over a certain size needs an HR department to handle benefits, compliance, risk, and the inevitable employee relations snafus.
Of course, your department could be doing so much more. And if your mind draws a blank (or worse) when you think about HR, then odds are you’re not using your department to its full potential.
What a shame! It’s time to correct this oversight by rethinking and redirecting your HR strategy. Here are a few tips to get you started.
You have to know what’s wrong before you can make it right. Now’s the time to conduct an in-depth analysis of your HR policies and procedures. How effective is your HR department at recruiting, onboarding, and developing talent? Are your employment policies up to date? Are your files organized and in compliance? What kind of reputation does the department enjoy? Is the staff known for efficiency, creative problem solving, accuracy, responsiveness, and follow through? Are there services HR isn’t providing (perhaps because no one has ever asked) that your employees would like? It’s time to find out. An efficient but underused department can probably conduct its own internal audit. However, don’t be afraid to hire a consultant to guide you through this process if that makes sense for your organization.
Develop a plan now to close the biggest gap between desired outcomes and typical outcomes. Maybe your HR team needs expertise they don’t possess, and it’s time to invest in training or additional staff. Maybe non-essentials like event planning need to be delegated to some other department. Maybe your team needs to be unleashed – that is, given the support and bandwidth to do something great.
Figure out the most important thing you could be doing that you aren’t doing and then give your team the resources to do it. And please, don’t micromanage! A plan is essential to get from here to there, but let your team drive the plan's creation and don’t hover. That’ll be the quickest way to drive them back underground.
Here are two HR truisms: (1) The HR department can’t carry the load managers should be carrying, and (2) it’s not realistic to think you can change everything at once.
To that first point, your HR department isn’t responsible for managing your staff, and HR can’t create and maintain desirable workplace culture. Sure, HR has its part to play, but culture starts at the top, and only those holding the carrots and sticks can really enforce change. A good HR department can help you design the carrots and sticks, but you’ve still got to wield them (and responsibly, please).
To that second point, be practical about how much change can occur and over what period. Setting a goal of, say, overhauling your performance review system, developing a managerial training program, implementing a new HRIS, revamping the personnel files, and starting a mentoring program all within six months is probably too ambitious. Make way for your staff actually to succeed at the tasks you assign.
When I peruse the job boards, it’s obvious that employers are becoming more and more discriminating in their requirements for HR professionals. That’s good because, for the longest time, it seemed that the prevailing wisdom was that anyone could do HR, and that’s not true. Like all professions, human resources requires certain knowledge, skills, and abilities. Make sure your new HR hires are up to the task by incorporating behavioral assessments into your hiring process. Better yet, build the team by having everyone take an assessment now. You’ll gain great information about each worker’s motivations and behavioral traits.
Solid, knowledgeable HR staff are value-added for every company. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to maximize your staff’s effectiveness to the fullest! Follow these tips to get the most from your HR department.
HR has come a long way from the days of being called “Personnel,” but in some ways, the old stigmas hold strong.
Some of the blame rests with the HR profession itself. Now, I know many in my field would strenuously disagree, and they’re certainly entitled to their opinions. However, I stand by my assertion. If you count my jobs as a teen (and I do), I’ve been in the workplace for more than 30 years, and my interactions with HR have been mostly underwhelming. At least in the circles where I’ve traveled, HR still struggles to demonstrate core knowledge, think strategically, and gain trust.
On the other hand, HR is routinely and unfairly held accountable for things no HR department can control, like poor performance management, lack of transparency (especially within senior management), inequitable wages, workplace bullying, and managerial favoritism. News flash, folks – HR operates within the same system like everyone else and is bound by the same rules. Put another way; HR can’t change the company culture. If the culture sucks, HR is as much a victim as anyone.
And yet, I always come back to this inviolable truth: companies need HR. They really, really do. There’s many people stuff that requires attending to in the world of work, and individuals suited for and trained in HR are the best folks to attend to it, hands down. Whenever I enter a new company and assume the function previously handled by a CFO, COO, or other operating/finance expert, I discover a fine mess – no matter the talents of that CFO, COO, or other operating/finance expert. I realize this is my experience, but I’ll bet $10 that somebody reading this article can relate.
HR is a defined skill set, and not everyone can do it. We generally recognize that with other professions (marketing, finance, communications, business development, sales, etc.), but not so with HR. Instead, we hold off on hiring an HR professional until things have reached a boiling point. That’s a mistake. HR is so much more than a necessary evil. Allow me to elucidate:
I could go on and on (seriously, I could), but suffice it to say that progressive employers get that good HR is integral to sustainable business growth. Now that’s far from a necessary evil!