Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Are Today's CEO's Stupid About Hiring?

Clueless is the first word that comes to mind. A major paradigm shift has occurred in hiring practices over the last decade. HR people are working from their computers instead of seeing people eyeball to eyeball.

Perhaps, I am reminiscing about the good old days. You used to be able to walk into a business and apply for a job. Now, you are told to go to an impersonal web site and apply. Here is the problem in a nutshell. If you never see a person or speak to a potential job candidate in person, then good candidates get needlessly thrown into a huge online dark pool. At this point, your HR person’s job has shifted from finding a good candidate via the interview process to looking at a dark pool on a computer. This is nuts and dare I say it, stupid.

Here is the brutal reality. Your HR people are the ones responsible for looking at online submissions which may total in the hundreds. After a while of perusing these submissions, guess what happens? Their eyes glaze over. Suddenly, every candidate looks the same. Everyday, another 30 candidates submit their online application. At this point, the HR person shuts off the application process.

With this HR hiring practice, the HR person has never seen these people. They do not know about their appearance. They do not know if their resume is a lie. They do not know if their resume was prepared by a professional which may hide the fact that this candidate is disorganized and has poor skills. Nor do they know how they handle themselves in a face to face interview. They are tasked with finding a good candidate, so what do they do? They ask people they know if they are aware of a good candidate for the job opening. Eventually, they blow off the online candidates altogether. 

This whole online hiring rigmarole is a joke and a bad one at that. As the CEO, you are asking your HR person to make a hiring decision from this madness called online application submission! Do you really believe that they want to stick their neck out on a potential hire from an online dark pool versus asking an existing employee if they know someone who might fit the bill? Which choice will they make? If you know the answer to that question, then why have this online cesspool application process in the first place? Oh, I know. Your lawyers told you to do it this way.

Lawyers will tell the CEO’s that they must post these jobs online in order to satisfy the equal opportunity employment regulations and laws. HR people have to look at resumes and try and figure out how old someone is based on their college degree or high school degree that is on their resume. However, they cannot discriminate based on age. Nevertheless, they do it everyday.

They can also discriminate based on race. If a candidate went to an all black college, then it is likely that that candidate is black. If the HR person wants to discriminate based on that fact, then they certainly will.

CEO’s are looking at their talent pool of employees as a way to cut costs. Once someone gets into their 50’s, then their job becomes at risk. The CEO is a business person with a lot of skills. Yea right. They decide, secretly I might add, that “I can hire two young people for what I am paying for this one person who has been here for twenty years.” (I'm on to you CEO's.) The CEO shortly thereafter makes the order to layoff a department of experienced skilled employees and replaces them at a later date with young people. These new employees come in albeit at lower salaries, but without a lick of training or experience. The CEO thinks that he or she is smart making this decision. The reality is that the CEO is an idiot for making this decision. 

It is even worse when the CEO is not involved and is relying on the Head of HR to make these decisions. What is happening is that these companies are dumbing down their talent pool to save money. The problem is that they have now a much less experienced pool of employees who do not have any loyalty to their firm. These new employees will jump ship at the first opportunity for a bigger paycheck that comes along. Now, instead of having loyal employees who are experienced and know what to do in a crisis, they have non-loyal employees who could care less and will not stick around.

Now these so called smart HR people, both inside and outside the company are going to Facebook and LinkedIn to find out about potential job candidates. These HR people think they are being really smart by doing this, too. Well let me tell you how really stupid they can be. 

I routinely get “recruited” because of my background on LinkedIn. I have lots of professional designations, experience and have held a multitude of licenses. I know that I am being arrogant, but I can run circles around most of my peers when it comes to industry knowledge. My secret is that I read and study topics way more than anyone else.

These HR recruiters have no clue anything about me other than what they read on LinkedIn. I’ve been recruited by big name firms that I will not name out of respect. These HR recruiters will contact me about a job that is a stinking joke. By a joke I mean a job where I sell one companies brand only. For example, a financial services company living in dinosaur land thinking that their company is the best and to hell with all the rest. These firms want you to buy investments from their firm based on the standard “let’s stick it to the customer for all we can get”.  Do I even have to respond to these recruiters? In most cases, I am polite. The poor HR recruiter doesn't even know their own stupidity.

I have also been recruited by numerous firms that sells only insurance products. In almost all cases, these jobs are sales jobs with payouts ranging from 30 to maybe (and this is a stretch) 50% of the commissions. Dear HR recruiter without a clue, I can get 100% of the sales commission as an independent, if and that is a big if, I wanted to sell nothing but insurance. The last time I checked, 100% is a whole lot more than 30%.

If these HR recruiters had a clue, they would know that I would never even consider such a piece of junk job, never mind the fact that I OWN MY OWN BUSINESSES! These idiots actually believe that I would leave my own businesses to help their crappy company make money? Just for fun, the last HR person that tried to recruit me, I told him that it would take north of $250,000 plus perks, before I would even discuss it. Of course, they quietly went away. I had fun with that one. I think I will make this my standard answer going forward.

Other recruiters think that I manage Ultra High Net Worth Clients money and have over a billion dollars in assets under management through my firm Rick Johnson Family Office, LLC. These HR recruiters take a cursory scan of my LinkedIn page and or my Facebook page and think they know me. If they only read my full disclosures that are stinking everywhere, then they would know this is not true. Are you getting this picture CEO’s? If they are treating me this way, then the odds are, they are doing the same with other candidates from LinkedIn. Any light bulbs coming on yet?

Now as a CEO, you have put your companies future in the hands of these inside and out HR people who are overwhelmed by the shear number of online web applicants. When people get overwhelmed, they freeze up and do nothing. At this point, they go through the motions until a senior HR person puts pressure on them to fill a position. In the meantime, good candidates are sitting out their losing their homes, their credit, their marriages and everything else. God bless these people. Even if no one else does, I care about your plight and I am making a small, perhaps feeble attempt to do something about it via this blog article.

What I want to know is are there any CEO’s with any leadership skills out there, man or woman, who will make another paradigm shift in their hiring practices? Hire good candidates via an eyeball to eyeball interview process and ditch this online cesspool application process. Anybody? Any takers at all?

Unfortunately, most CEO's just go through the motions never once considering a better way. I think these CEO's like having young, non-loyal employees instead of keeping good employees in their 50's and hiring good candidates via a face to face interview process. I do not want to hear about all the online candidates you have either. You got nothing with that online process except a guarantee to fail. You created that stinking mess by subscribing to that as your firm's hiring practices! When are you going to wake up?

Here is a better idea. When you have a job opening, have a job fair where people come in, you take their picture, you take their resume, and you have a brief chat with them. After that, you call the good candidates back in to your firm and narrow down the choices. The job hiring process will be shorten tremendously. People will have a better chance of keeping their homes, their good credit and their marriages intact. Your firm will actually hire good candidates. Now there is a novel idea!

Ditch that stinking online application process for good! The end result will be that your HR people will be back to doing their job of actually hiring people (imagine that) instead of hiding in a their cubicle looking at a computer screen. Your company will find more success in your new hires and just maybe, you will find some loyal people who want to help your company succeed. Wouldn't that be nice?

By the way, if you want an outside consultant to help you figure all this out, then my fee will be $250,000 plus perks.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Se ha dado cuenta de que todos los jugadores de beisbol suspendido eran Latinos?

This title translates into "Did you notice that all the suspended baseball players were Latino?"

Today was what I would call a conflicted day in Major League Baseball.  A dozen MLB jugadores accepted their punishment without any appeals. One jugador, however, has said he would appeal his 211 game suspension and his name is Alexander Emmanuel Rodriguez.

The nation's sports reporters have talked endlessly about Mr. Rodriguez, but none so far have said anything about the jugadores being all Latinos. I am not being politically incorrect in noticing this fact. Rather, my curiosity is more of . . ."how are all these players tied together?"

I am fascinated by how this happened? Was one player the one who knew every other player on a close enough level to not only tell them about the Biogenesis clinic, but also trust them enough to risk their career by telling them? How did it progress from the very first athlete who decided to use performance enhancing drugs from the Biogenesis clinic? How did the second guy become a Biogenesis client and then the next one and so on? How did this expand to a group of jugadores?

A-Rod was born in New York. He moved with his parents to the Dominican Republic when he was four years old. Later when he was in the fifth grade, his parents had split and Alex moved with his mom to Miami. He would win the state baseball championship for his high school and of course, move on to be one of the best baseball jugadores around.

He lied to Katie Couric in an interview about using PED's, then later admitted to lying about his use. He claimed to have only used then from 2001 - 2003. Which brings us to today.

I have in my Google Drive a copy of the Joint Drug and Enforcement Program between Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association. After a review, I question whether the MLB Commisioner's office has a case based on blood samples, or based on witness testimony. The Joint Drug Agreement or JDA talks about blood tests and urine analyses. Was there a blood test that Mr. Rodriguez failed? If not, then how can he be suspended for 211 games as a result?

The JDA says clearly 50 games for a first offense, 100 for a second offense and lifetime ban for a third offense. Although Alex publicly admitted prior steroid use, the MLB Commissioner's office never suspended him for the prior use. Yet now they want to not only jump over the 50 game and 100 game suspensions, but impose a 211 game suspension? Not only does this seem kind of screwy, but where is the failed blood test?

Further, in the JDA there is a confidentiality clause that applies to all people involved. This confidentiality clause was not only violated in Mr. Rodriguez's case, but also the other player's confidentiality was brutally violated. There were a lot of people talking well before the final punishment was handed down. In fact so much so that everyone knew the result, even me, in advance.

Here is what I see from a legal perspective. The JDA shows rampant violations from all sides. If the Commissioner's office does not like the fact that they did not previously suspend A-Rod, but now feel "justified" in the best interest of baseball, then too bad. That was their mistake. They had a failed blood test in 2003, but that was before the JDA went into effect. Whether they like it or not, that doesn't matter. The JDA was agreed to by the Commissioner's office and doesn't expire until 2016.

Secondarily, the JDA says that a first offense is 50 games. Like it or not, this is A-Rod's first offense. The Commissioner's office doesn't have a clause in the JDA that gives them the authority to impose a penalty of 211 games. My detractors will say that they gave Ryan Braun a 65 game suspension and that number was not in the JDA either. However, the critical difference is that Ryan Braun did not appeal his penalty. As a result, the Commissioner's office got away with a clear violation of the JDA. 

The other critical legal issue is where is the blood sample that was administered according to the JDA procedures? This is not a JDA blood process administered case. Instead, this is a case where a clinic operator at Biogenesis was threatened with legal action if he did not cooperate with the Commissioner's office. It doesn't matter whether this guy said, "Yes, I personally injected and supplied A-Rod with banned substances."  It also doesn't matter if he claims to have given him a boatload of these drugs. I would only have to remind you of the guy who claimed he injected Roger Clemens, but to no avail as Clemens was found not guilty of lying to Congress. It doesn't matter that you or I do not believe Roger Clemens. The facts are what they are, in that Clemens was acquitted.

The Commissioner's office was using intimidation by floating out to the press a possible lifetime ban against A-Rod. The truth is they could not jump to the third failed test penalty, because there has not been three test failures, or even one if my suspicions are correct. It was patently obvious now that they were simply trying to put pressure on A-Rod and his legal team to cave. This is typical legal maneuvering. Threaten the worse possible penalty to force an outcome that favors your position. Attorneys use this play book everyday. It appears at this point that A-Rod's attorneys are advising him correctly. They actually read the JDA as did I. Their interpretation as is mine is that A-Rod may be able to get his penalty reduced. 

The Commissioner's office is obviously looking at this like we are going to try to enforce the harshest penalty we can on A-Rod. From their point of view, they will have succeeded in tarnishing A-Rod's reputation and probably nixed his chances for the Hall of Fame. They know full well that nobody likes a cheater.

What I do not like is selective enforcement. Barry Bonds was vilified for his alleged PED use, but he never failed a single test, nor was he ever suspended either. Barry's punishment was to come from the Baseball Writer's of America who are the guys who vote players into the Hall of Fame. Baseball is held in such high regard compared to other sports. We only have to look at this weekend for proof. The NFL enshrined Christopher Carter this weekend. A truly great NFL player, but with a troubled past. The difference is that the NFL players vote other players into the NFL Hall of Fame. In baseball, Bob Costas and newspaper writers vote in the players. Seems a little ironic doesn't it? I think the NFL has it right. The players know each other better than Bob Costas or any other sports writer ever could. Something for the Major League Baseball Players Association to think about, no doubt. 

A-Rod's punishment is already baked in the cake as far as the baseball writers are concerned. However, whether the Commissioner's office is going to win their case based on the JDA is up for arbitration. If the arbitrator follows the JDA, then you should see a reduction in the 211 game penalty to 50 games. The only thing that would change that is an out of arbitration settlement.

It is in the JDA that the arbitrator can reduce the penalty, but to no less than the minimum. The minimum in this case is 50 games. This is my prediction baring a settlement. 

For the record, I do not like unethical people in my field, but I do believe that even those people are entitled to go through the process to defend themselves whether that be arbitration or through the courts. It is not up to you or I to be their judge.