"Simply hitting a bucket of balls is not deliberate [useful] practice, which is why most golfers don't get better.
"Hitting an eight-iron 300 times with a goal of leaving the ball within 20 feet of the pin 80 percent of the time, continually observing results and making appropriate adjustments, and doing that for hours every day - that's deliberate [useful] practice."
You take a recruiter training seminar. The teacher tells you that there is a good way to approach someone you don't know when you are calling her on the phone for the first time.
Are you going to be able to go home and use that right away? Probably not. You have to practice using it to be able to do it well. That means doing it a million times.
But, according to the principles of Deliberate Practice, that's not enough. You have to break the call into its component parts and focus on practicing each one individually.
Let's say that there is a pause built into your initial phone gambit.
The trainer says, "Ask her this question then say nothing. If the candidate does not respond, wait until he does." Now, let's say that this show-down makes you uncomfortable. It seems rude.
You called a stranger and now you are trying to corner him into answering a question he might not want to answer. You aren't going to do that or you won't do it well.
In addition to all the words you are saying, that pause has to be practiced regularly. So when you are delivering your message, you don't try to improve everything at once. You just focus on that pause.
When you can do that well, you can move onto another part of the presentation.
It got off to a bad start. I was ready to call in on Skype when I discovered that BlogTalkRadio doesn't offer a direct connection via Skype anymore. You have to use their DirectConnect service.
It hadn't been that good in the past but maybe it improved so I was ready to use it but the site told me that I should switch to Firefox or Chrome if I wanted a good sound.
Now, I use the Pale Moon browser which is Firefox tweaked for Windows but I thought that maybe it wouldn't be recognized as Firefox so I opened a new browser and logged in there without logging out on Pale Moon.
Unfortunately, DirectConnect wouldn't let me in. It kept processing me and processing me until I gave up and tried to call in to the host phone number using Skype. But I kept getting a busy signal.
I was a bit frantic by then because BlogTalkRadio was telling me that the show had already started so I called in on the phone but maybe it hadn't started. I don't know. Anyway, I didn't have time to review my intro before the show started so it might seem a bit stilted. It's about building rapport with candidates and clients based on this article by Scott Morefield in StaffingTalk.
That's not the end the technical problems, of course. Matt Charney apparently tried to connect via Skype as well and when he couldn't he decided to call in on his mobile phone and his sound was really, really bad. I wasn't the only one complaining this time; others did too so you know it was true. I had to go over the recording after the show and amplify every single thing he said. The sound's not great but at least, now, you can hear him. Jim Durbin had a bad connection, too, so I amplified everything he said, as well.
Enough, you're saying; why do I have to hear about this stuff? Well, let me tell you, when you can't hear what the other guy is saying it affects the conversation. Even if you can kind of hear him, your mind is focused on making out what he says instead of being free to think about what he's saying.
Now, to the subject. I planned the show around Matt's ebook about content marketing. It's a free 35 page pdf and I thought it was pretty good. One of our longest conversations was about sending candidates content at every stage of the hiring process. I thought from what he said in the book that there was more to it than there is.
The thing I found most interesting was Matt's announcement that Glassdoor is spending millions on Google keywords. He also told us about a new job description tool called Textio.com.
Matt referred people to Hubspot's resource library to get information about Inbound Marketing. He said that the process has already been perfected and adapts perfectly to the ongoing supply of information to candidates during the hiring process. Matty also wrote a little ebook on Inbound Marketing himself.
With all of those things going wrong, the show was a bit of a mess. Plus, Matt hinted that I waste a lot of time with my monologue and the singing and banter at the start of the show. So, I've solved that problem. I managed to extract a fair number of clips from the wreck and you can access each one individually here.
Aaron Rector, a Director of Social Recruiting, was the guest on The Recruiting Animal Show on July 29, 2015. In case you don't know Aaron, he looks like Randy Fishkin and sounds like Jeremy Roberts. (I'm sure you know them well).
Anyway, my good friend, Maureen Sharib, says that I hate every show until I've listened to the recording. That's not always true but this one was in that territory. Near the end of the show, I complain that I'm running out of material and I scold poor Celinda Appleby for not helping me out since social recruiting - the topic of our discussion - is her specialty.
But, then, I listened to the show and although I saw all sorts of questions I had missed, I still came up with 25 clips so it couldn't have been that bad. In fact, some of the stuff I thought was particularly weak during the show were the parts I found most interesting the second time around. For instance, our strained conversation about Aaron's wedding video and the relationship of personal to professional posting on social media.
Aaron picked a song about a thug that I didn't like but I must say that he sang it himself and that was very unusual. Even more surprising was that Michael Cox joined in. He thought it was good music. Also on board were Alejandro and Blake Cannon.
My introduction was about an important issue in recruiting right now: first contact emails. In the recording, final line has a stutter that blanks out the meaning. I said, "The planners say that one careful shot is worth more than ten wild ones."
One day I was talking with one of our best engineers. Before the layoffs, he’d managed three engineers, but now he was a one-man department working very long hours.
I told John I hoped to hire some help for him soon. His response surprised me. “There’s no rush—I’m happier now,” he said. It turned out that the engineers we’d laid off weren’t spectacular—they were merely adequate.
John realized that he’d spent too much time riding herd on them and fixing their mistakes. “I’ve learned that I’d rather work by myself than with subpar performers,” he said.
The best thing you can do for employees is hire only “A” players to work alongside them. Excellent colleagues trump everything else.
I asked the CEO what the most important value for his company was. "Efficiency," he replied.
“OK,” I said. “Imagine that I work here, and it’s 2:58 PM. I’m playing an intense game of pool, and I’m winning. I estimate that I can finish the game in five minutes. We have a meeting at 3:00. Should I stay and win the game or cut it short for the meeting?”
“You should finish the game,” he insisted. I wasn’t surprised; like many tech start-ups, this was a casual place, where employees wore hoodies and brought pets to work, and that kind of casualness often extends to punctuality.
“Wait a second,” I said. “You told me that efficiency is your most important cultural value. It’s not efficient to keep coworkers waiting because of a pool game. Isn’t there a mismatch between the values you’re talking up and the behaviors you’re encouraging?”
It’s a particular problem at start-ups, where there’s a premium on casualness that can run counter to the high-performance ethos leaders want to create.
I often sit in on company meetings to get a sense of how people operate. I frequently see CEOs who are clearly winging it. They’re working from slides that were obviously put together an hour before.
Laura, our bookkeeper, was bright, hardworking, and creative. She’d been very important to our early growth, having devised a system for accurately tracking movie rentals so that we could pay the correct royalties.
But now, as a public company, we needed CPAs and other fully credentialed, deeply experienced accounting professionals—and Laura had only an associate’s degree from a community college.
Despite her work ethic, her track record, and the fact that we all really liked her, her skills were no longer adequate.
Laura reacted well: She was sad to be leaving but recognized that the generous severance package we were giving her would let her regroup, retrain, and find a new career path.
If we wanted only “A” players on our team, we had to be willing to let go of people whose skills no longer fit, no matter how valuable their contributions had once been.
Out of fairness to such people—and to help us overcome our discomfort with discharging them—we learned to offer rich severance packages.