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About a month ago, I had a conversation with Tim Sackett that went something like this.

Laurie: You know Vala Afshar?
Timmy: No, I mean, I guess.
Laurie: I don’t think he is real. And I want to figure his posting strategy out.
Timmy: I don’t see where you are going with this, Laur. Explain.

So here is my explanation.

Vala Afshar is a guy on Twitter, but more importantly, he could be any guy on Twitter who wants to be recognized as a leadership and management guru. He shares articles that he doesn’t write, and he tweets about leadership and technology.

It feels like he uses an algorithm to write his wteets. They are almost perfect.

Is he real? Yes. What does he do for money? It doesn’t matter.

This guy could be a computer. He could be a woman. People love his stuff.

So I did what Vala does, to some extent. I went on vacation, but I’ve been posting daily tweets that lack substance.

No creativity. No engagement. No authenticity. My clicks, retweets and @mentions are all up. Way up. Off the charts.

All it takes is a keen eye for the obvious and a twitter account.

Can you imagine if I did this, like Vala, multiple times a day? I would be #1 on all of those management guru lists. But I would also be an asshole. Nobody wants that.

So after playing with my “management guru” tweeting strategy, I am killing it today. And I’ve been thinking of some of my smart friends who have thoughtful social media strategies.

* My friend Sarah White no longer takes photos at conferences and guards her privacy. Her personal brand now reflects important things in her life: work and family. She says that Twitter is a platform where lonely people talk to themselves. I resemble that remark.

* Jennifer McClure talks about personal branding, authenticity and social media in our little community quite a bit. She has great things to say about developing a personal brand and leveraging key sites — Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook pages, Slideshare — to build your online reputation. I am with her, too. You should use these tools to your advantage when they serve your purposes.

I think most of us occupy the grounded middle. There is probably a place where we can be on Twitter and offer smart things to say about our areas of experise. I haven’t found that place. I’m still sorta looking.

But if you want to make a deal with the devil and hang with other management gurus, the simple technique is to schedule meaningless tweets throughout the day. That’s it. Write things that are opaque and emotional. Be a vainglorious bastard. Gain a bunch of followers for no apparent reason. Buy your own hype.

It works.

But I think we can all do better than that.

Why does everyone hate HR? Join the movement to fix that. Download the new e-book, “I Am HR.” http://ow.ly/xIRbQ Click to tweet.

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It’s a beautiful day. #NSW

A photo posted by LFR (@lruettimann) on

I’m headed home from Australia. I had a great trip.

At one point, my husband and I took a semi-private tour of a secluded island. We did some snorkeling and hiking. We knew we were in trouble when our tour guide, upon hearing that we worked in the pharmaceutical industry, told us that he could show us the cure to AIDS and HIV in the bush.

“It’s an aboriginal cure. They don’t want to give it to white people because we gave them cholera.”

If they can cure HIV and AIDS, why can’t they cure cholera? Never mind. Tell us more, dear tour guide.

He obliged and told us to call him the Little Steve Irwin. He’s tan and Australian, so he’s either Steve Irwin or Crocodile Dundee in my GenX eyes. Our guide also told us about his experiences with crocodiles, and went into a lengthy discussion about how climate change is a lie that made Al Gore rich.

(Well, part of that might be true.)

Also, our guide once made Matthew McConaughey apologize to a local waitress at a bar. He played soccer with Hugh Jackman. When Nicole Kidman came to his island to film a movie, she rented an aboriginal child because she missed her kids who were under the control of Tom Cruise.

“She has more money than sense.”

Other things? When a butterfly or dragonfly lands on you, it’s a dead person trying to communicate with you. (I like that one.) And there’s a bush called a black boy, but it’s not politically correct to say “black” in Australia — but no one has a gun to his head. He doesn’t celebrate Australia Day, either.

The massacres in Syria and the Ukraine? Those happen on a green screen. The media are in bed with the government and will fake all kinds of things. Candy crush and TV are drugs of social control, and drones follow him on the beach to watch him, btw.

I didn’t pay for any of this, of course, and one of the women on the tour complained. Our tour guide told her to keep walking on her own. Then he apologized and took her into the woods — to a particular place that is sacred to Aborigines — so they could hug it out.

She survived.

And the tour guide felt like he had to explain all of this to me in great detail because I have an open face and I’m the world’s older sister.

Jesus.

Ken and I were like — well, that was something.

At first, I wanted to complain. But this guy needs a job, and he’s clearly passionate about Australia. He can swim, he can keep people organized, and he knows the lay of the land. This job is perfect for him, and it probably keeps him out of trouble.

Customers suck, people complain too much, and Americans feel like they have to have a Disney-like experience when the go on vacation. Frankly, it’s kind of nice to have an insane tour guide who says bat-shit crazy things. My husband and I have a story. We had fun with this guy. And nobody got hurt.

I don’t want this guy fired at all.

The next time you want to complain about poor customer service, think about this blog post and ask yourself — is something so awful that I ought to complain?

Probably not.

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So you want to be disruptive and innovative, eh?

You fools. I’m barely disruptive, but when I write something different, people say things like:

1. Oh, Laurie!
2. Isn’t she something?
3. Gotta love her!

It’s so condescending and meant to diminish my contributions. It’s beyond cynical — and sometimes rooted in the institutional sexism in my industry.

Oh. Fucking. Well.

I chose this path. I brush dirt off my shoulder on a daily basis. I can do this because I have good mentors who lead by example. But I can’t tell you how many times people tell me that they’re longing to be recognized as more disruptive and innovative at work — especially in human resources and recruiting.

You don’t want that.

Disruptive and innovative employees have good ideas that nobody wants to hear. They don’t speak in a quiet tone. They don’t fit in. They are not good cultural hires.

Nobody likes disruptive and innovative employees, by the way. They are mocked. They don’t get invited to fancy dinners and private parties. They are often fired.

Disruptive and innovative people are influencers, but they don’t care for recognition. They know who they are. They teach us, and they inspire us despite our great protestations against their refreshing ideas. They are influential on a subconscious level, but they don’t need to be told that they are influential. They are courageous and bold. They stand in front of a room full of strangers and offer an informed and controversial opinion — even if those strangers don’t deserve that kind of brilliance.

Do you still want to be disruptive or innovative? Listen up.

There is no roadmap for disruption and innovation — especially if you work in human resources.

Want a map? Make one for yourself. And don’t complain when you are not invited to the party.

Why does everyone hate HR? Join the movement to fix that. Download the new e-book, “I Am HR.” http://ow.ly/xIRbQ Click to tweet.

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Forgive me for the inside baseball, but I have something to say.

Every year, several hundred human resources nerds across the world vie for an opportunity to speak at an event called SHRM’s Annual Conference and Exposition.

Much like an RFP process — with no ROI for anyone involved and no transparency — SHRM selects speakers for mega sessions and concurrent sessions. Nobody gets paid, but airfare and hotel are included for a few nights.

This year, SHRM selected its speakers in its normal veil of secrecy. I’m not complaining because there are some new names on the agenda, which is great. Unfortunately, among the people who were not selected in my little HR community, there are some sour grapes.

I looked at some of the comments online from people who are clearly aggrieved — but don’t know how to set their privacy settings on Facebook — and I thought that, in light of what I know about the professional development of my colleagues in the HR social media community, SHRM did okay.

You didn’t get chosen to speak? The HR coach in me wants you to look inside yourself and think about the reasons why you weren’t selected. The legacy HR blogger in me wants you to say something nice about someone else who was selected. And the HR leader in me wants you to come to Las Vegas determined to learn, grow and contribute in a different way.

But mostly I just want you to suck. it. the. fuck. up.

Be gracious. One day, you will be selected to speak. You wouldn’t want people saying nasty things about you, would you? (I wouldn’t tolerate that, either.)

So please snap out of your #shrmennui. Lighten up. And live to speak for free at a different mediocre conference on another day.

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Hello from Sydney. It’s awesome here. I am having a great time. Before you know it, I’ll be in Rome. What a busy month!

So what’s happening in Australia? Well, lots of splashy consultants are walking around this conference talking about the future of the modern workforce.

“Things are different, Laurie. Everyone should learn to code. The very nature of work is changing, and human resources has fallen behind.”

Hm.

When I hear someone lecture me about the 2020 workforce, I can’t help but think of my friend, Sarah White. She recently reminded me that 2020 is just about as far away as 2010. The 2020 workforce will look a lot like it does today — stupid and chubby.

Sarah said something like, “We can see 2020. It’s now within our planning capabilities. Freak out about something else.”

I like that kind of sensible thinking.

Yes, the world is always changing. Some of us use mobile devices. Some of us work at treadmill desks. These are crazy times. But 2020 looks a lot like 2015 in that 70% of the jobs created in America will be created in the restaurant and hospitality industry. The need for reliable home-healthcare workers to bathe and care for old and sick people is at an all-time high. And the gap between the rich and poor doesn’t seem to be shrinking anytime soon unless you’re a C++ programmer or a Java developer — and maybe not even then.

So how exactly is work changing? Are kids wearing hoodies? Facebook??! People want to talk about their feelings? GenY? iPads?

Pfffft.

Much of this garbage has an agenda.

While work is allegedly changing, work has always changed. We no longer use our hands and stones to make flour, do we? The need to pay people a fair and decent wage — and treat all workers with respect — has not changed. The need to protect the health and safety of our workforce is not changing. And the need to protect the civil and human rights of our workforce has not changed.

So keep 2020 in mind when you do your strategic HR planning, duh, but maybe think about pressing needs of your existing workforce. Do something about that. Work is changing, but your shitty PTO policy has not changed in eight years.

Fix that. Move forward. Fix the next broken thing. That’s how we do HR in 2015 and beyond.

Why does everyone hate HR? Join the movement to fix that. Download the new e-book, “I Am HR.” http://ow.ly/xIRbQ Click to tweet.

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I had no manners back when I was a novice runner.

People would tell me about a great accomplishment — a 5k, half-marathon or marathon — and I would inevitably ask a coarse question.

“What was your time?”

I didn’t know that, just like weight or age, the time in which you finish your race is personal.

Your race time cannot be compared to the results of other runners. It’s apples and oranges. And when someone asks you for your time, it’s either out of naivete or because they want to compare your results to someone else.

Those comparisons are for suckers.

But that being said, I blew my planned marathon time by an enormous number. Ugh. After paying for four marathons and running two, I was happy to finish. It’s an accomplishment. But I aggravated an old injury at mile 15, and my analytics dashboard shows how much it hurt my overall time.

While it still sucked to miss my goal, I am okay with the experience. Why be mad? I saw friends all over the place. I met a few new people, too. For awhile, I ran with a former NFL player who hurt his foot. He was fifty-one years old and told me I look 29. He also told me that I should just be happy that I was doing the impossible.

I thanked him for his motivational speech and passed him.

I accepted water and hugs at the Black Girls Run water aid station around mile 25. I stopped looking at my watch. I crossed the finish line smiling, but then I saw my time. Ugh. The final marathon photo sums up my failure to achieve my time-related goal.

Screen Shot 2014-11-16 at 6.45.15 AM

(Christ, I need to lighten up. I’m just short of having an Al Gore failure beard in this photo.)

But the race is over. I’ve already picked my next marathon. I didn’t fail. I tried my best. I finished. That’s what counts.

But please quit asking me — or any other runner — about my overall time.

I would rather talk about my weight!

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It’s no lie that recruiters and hiring managers dismiss your resume — and your appearance — within 11 seconds of coming into contact with you. (Google it.)

People make snap judgments based on hair, weight, color, gender, age and font. That’s science, which is rooted in the ugly side human nature. But just because it’s science doesn’t mean that it’s fate.

We can overcome the ugly side of human nature and retrain our brains to consider the content of someone’s character over the content of a stupid resume.

We don’t have to spend 11 seconds on a resume. We can spend thirty seconds. We stop lying to ourselves that we’re so busy. We can plan our work better. We can opt out of the busy-trap and be more deliberate with our schedules.

But I’m not here to just indict HR.

As job seekers, you fail yourselves on a regular basis. You don’t bring your best selves to an interview. You are cynical and depressed. You are not ready to clearly articulate what makes you special and unique. You don’t wear clean clothes, you don’t brush our hair, and you might have a drink or a smoke before the interview to settle your nerves.

Job seekers should seek, when possible, to make their appearances neutral in order to draw attention to their shining skills.

But I still blame human resources professionals and managers for being simplistic assholes. Group-think hits us like a ton of bricks when assume positions of power. We start judging people for niggly shit that doesn’t matter. And just because we assumed a position of power doesn’t mean that we passed the “sniff test.” We forget that we probably got our jobs because we knew someone who knew someone who knew someone who gave us a chance.

We are more than what we look like.

HR professionals need to lose five pounds. Hiring managers are too petite or too tall. And some job seekers are missing fingers, toes and limbs. That’s life. People do fine while living life with blindness, deafness or downs syndrome. Candidates can work for you while fighting cancer. And older workers aren’t desperate and pathetic.

Take a few minutes. Look deeper. And stop being so judgmental.

I want to you to adopt a level-headed approach to hiring and stop judging people on the easy stuff. Just as you are more than that shitty hair cut or Coach bag, dear HR readers, your candidates are wholly differentiated human beings who are more than their superficial resumes suggest.

Why does everyone hate HR? Join the movement to fix that. Download the new e-book, “I Am HR.” http://ow.ly/xIRbQ Click to tweet.

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I have a ton of friends who work for job boards. All of them want me to spread the word that job boards are more than job boards. I wonder if you know anything about job boards.

What’s a job board?

A job board is a website where you can look for a job.

Give me some examples, Laurie.

Monster. CareerBuilder. Dice. Indeed. LinkedIn. All of those sites and more. If someone can find a job on the site, it probably falls under the “job board” definition. Alumni associations have job boards. So do many professional organizations and local Chambers of Commerce.

Is it anything more than that?

Yes and no. Some people think job boards are like the old-school classified section of the newspaper. Other people think job boards exist to repurpose your data and sell it to advertisers. That’s true. But job boards have access to a treasure trove of economic data. They can predict economic trends faster than many governments, so job boards employ economists and advisors to make sense of this data.

They also innovate in different ways. Some job boards own economic modeling software companies. Still others have software tools to make recruiting easier. A few job boards are part of larger recruiting companies. And others have forums for niche talent pools who want to talk about their jobs.

Why do I care if the job board is more than a job board?

Well, I dunno. I work on projects for CareerBuilder, and I want you to know that I work hard to make sure that CareerBuilder offers helpful content to make HR professionals better. So in that sense, it matters because I want you to get smarter. My friends at Dice have an excellent product called Open Web that might make your life easier as a recruiter. Nobody is paying me to say that. I just want you to get your work done and spend more time on my website. That also matters to me.

I hate it when people only see the superficial aspects of a business — or life. Is Coca-Cola just a cola company? Does Hershey just make chocolate? Was the Titanic just a boat? Is the Declaration of Independence just a sheet of parchment paper?

A job board isn’t just a job board.

It’s a tool on the front-end of the employment life cycle, and it’s a tool on the back end of the life cycle when you want to improve your game as a human resources leader or advisor. I always tell my young HR trainees to dig deeper and look for greater value in the products and services that are out there. I give that advice to you and one thing more: don’t be so dismissive of things you don’t understand.

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What is your company doing for Veterans Day?

Whatever it is, put those plans on hold.

The best thing you can do is hire a veteran. The second best thing you can do is stop assuming that all veterans suffer from PTSD. The third thing you can do is stop trying to gain favor with veterans because you have a cousin who served in Afghanistan or Bosnia or wherever.

I know you and your company are well intentioned, but you either treat veterans well every day or you don’t.

There’s no middle ground on this issue.

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You guys, I just finished a month of writing about the candidate experience for CareerBuilder’s Talent Advisor Portal.

What is this all about? What is the candidate experience?

The candidate experience is about fairness and communication. It’s about people in power — leaders, hiring managers, human resources professionals — giving a damn about job seekers and applicants.

Why does it matter?

Tim Sackett says it doesn’t. What the hell does he know? The measure of a civilization is how it treats its weakest members. That’s a famous quote attributed to about 15 different people, and you don’t get much weaker than a job seeker in 2014.

What’s so special about job seekers?

Job seekers are your future talent pipeline. I’m not asking corporations to throw a party every time someone applies for a job. There are pitfalls to avoid. I’m asking you — as a talent advisor — to acknowledge when resumes hit your system. Optimize your ATS and CRM systems. Maybe act like a human being and keep job seekers in the loop when you’ve considered for a position with the company.

Crazy, I know.

Can any of this be measured?

Good grief, yes. I’m all about evidenced-based decisions. Gerry Crispin thinks it can be measured. He’s not dumb. Jennifer McClure will walk you through the ROI of the candidate experience.

What else?

What do you mean what else?! That’s it. This is not hard, people. Get on board with the candidate experience or be a jerk and lose great people in the hiring process.

Start here by downloading this e-book on the candidate experience. Or don’t. Nobody can make you treat people well if you have a cold, cold heart.

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