SHRM Day 3: Video Interviews and Nipping Hot Shot Leaders in the Bud

Well, it's been a long three days, but we've finally reached the conclusion of the 2015 SHRM conference and exposition.

Tuesday marked another interesting day here in Las Vegas, as the exposition flowed with people and attendees took in a number highly engaging breakout sessions. For me personally, Tuesday presented themes on two distinct fronts: recruiting and leadership.

Video Interviews

Early in the day I met with Lynn Knight, president of Talent Function, a recruiting consultancy. Knight works mostly with clients as they wade through their technical issues around recruiting, most notably the online candidate experience and applicant tracking system functions. These have been notably bad for companies in recent years, as the complication  and "black hole" effect have left candidates angry. But thanks to the work by Knight and his firm, lots of companies have drastically improved their online candidate experiences.

One of the topics Knight and I discussed was how the use of technology in the recruiting process has made it better or worse. Obviously, in most cases the more technology being used the better, as technology does tend to streamline operations and make things more efficient. But as plenty of job candidates will tell you, in terms of applying for big companies online, sometimes more technology is not more better — because the added steps can make for a more complicated and convoluted process.

Nevertheless, one of the things Knight said has improved thanks to technology — and is of increasing focus and use to Talent Function's clients — is video interviewing. As we all know, the more people are working remotely and for global organizations, using video over an Internet portal opens up recruiters to a crop of candidates they otherwise would never have had access to. Thanks to a proliferation of vendors operating and integrating, video interview platforms into talent management technology systems, recruiters are able to interact with candidates from far-away places and almost get the same interview experience as if they were talking to them in person.

Still, the use of video interviews in this light may raise some legal questions, Knight acknowledged, as incorporating use of video more broadly opens up the possibilities that implicit bias may creep into recruiters' decisions. Even so, Knight said this is "something for the lawyers to figure out," and in most uses video interviews shouldn't cross such a stark ethical line. In other words, it shouldn't be something for recruiters to worry about — yet. 

Hot Shot Leaders

The other key meeting I had on Tuesday was with Stephen Paskoff, a former EEOC trial attorney and now CEO of Eli Inc., a consultancy that works with companies on workplace ethics and compliance training. Paskoff is also a blogger for Talent Management's sister publication Workforce, where he writes about ethical issues companies are dealing with at work and how to fix them. Read his most recent blog post here. Paskoff is also putting the finishing touches on a book planned for the fall that hits on the topic of bringing so-called "hot shot" leaders and executives back to earth.

Hot shot leaders, in Paskoff's view, are people who, essentially, think their poop don't smell. And because of this, they end up treating people, well, like poop. 

We've likely all encountered someone like this. These are the leaders who degrade and dismiss most of what those working for them think and say, and they don't just dismiss it but do it in a disrespectful way. As a former EEOC trial attorney, Paskoff has dealt with the legal implications surrounding many of these types of leaders' actions. However, as Paskoff said, in most cases the legal system is not always going to be the solution for clamping down and correcting for these types of leadership behaviors. 

This is because, in most instances, while their actions may be disrespectful, the things they actually do and say doesn't cross the legal boundary that would provide for grounds for a lawsuit.

Paskoff said while many corporate cultures inevitably breed hot shot leaders — the financial industry, for example, is often cited as a breeding ground for leaders with lack of respect for their superiors — this sort of leadership style is quickly running out of steam. Leaders simply cannot afford to act as if what they do and say is the be all end all; companies have become more proactive in sniffing these leaders out and putting their own core values of respect forward, Paskoff said.

Paskoff said talent managers need to nip these sorts of behaviors by installing a corporate culture that simply doesn't allow for it. Because in mosts cases these leaders act the way they do because that is how they were treating coming up in their profession.

The End

That about wraps it up for Talent Management's official coverage of SHRM 2015 in Las Vegas. I'm hoping what I provided these last few days was helpful as you either navigated through the conference yourself in person or was unable to attend and looking to tune in from home or work.

While I wrote about some of the interesting meetings and things I learned from the conference, that only represents a sliver of what actually happened. Stay tuned for the stories and great content we've got coming, both in Talent Management in print and at Talentmgt.com, in the coming year, plenty of which came thanks to connections and conversations had at SHRM 2015.

Viva Las Vegas!