Carol Schultz’s new book is as definable by what it does, as by what it doesn’t do. What it does do is put a humanistic touch on otherwise cold, corporate tactics, however upgraded for an increasingly postmodern and digitized workscape. What it doesn’t do is what I’ve seen other well-intentioned books of this nature succumb to: cheap rhetoric, worthy ideas that sadly find themselves undercut by proverbial filler rather than statistical backups and clear, concise exampling. She’s able to have the cake, and eat it too.
For that we’re all better off - her as a reliable, factual, and trustworthy narrator, us in the position of being able to understand fully the nature of the implementations. “…too many books about hiring and recruiting are written by people who don’t have any experience doing it,” writes Schultz in a key passage of Powered by People: How Talent-Centric Organizations Master Recruitment, Retention, and Revenue (and How to Build One). She continues, “Many others are written by people who worked for a few companies and did some hiring for their department, and then declared themselves experts.
They might have decades of HR experience, or some kind of counseling or coaching skill set, but that doesn’t necessarily qualify them as a skilled professional recruiter. They have theoretical ideas that haven’t been tested in the trenches to determine whether they work with real people. A book can’t solve your problems but it can point you in the right direction. No matter how much we can learn from books, the problem remains that books aren’t two-way conversations.”
“Technology can’t solve your hiring problem, either. Take the audition tape interview method, for example. Employers send candidates a list of questions and they record a video of themselves answering them. It’s kind of like providing an employer with a demo reel. It might feel like a conversation, but it isn’t. There’s no back and forth. Like a book, it’s one-way communication.”
Humanistic words like relationship or communication reverberate heavily throughout the read. As far as Schultz is concerned, this is because it is the employee base - not the singular vision of the employer themselves, or perhaps the CEO - that is so paramount to an enterprise’s success. Establishing a good morale is dependent upon, and crucial to the continuation of, effective communication skills. Whoever would have thought that the cold nature of the word ‘business’ now wants to implement something idealistic - maybe, even, somewhat holistic?
“The real problem is that we’re moving further into non-communication territory,” Schultz states. “Technology is helpful. Books are helpful. Profiling tools are helpful. AI and machine learning are helping. But none of those replace the effectiveness of two humans having a one-on-one conversation. Call me a dinosaur but nothing will ever effectively take the place of two human beings having a real conversation, going back-and-forth to connect with and understand one another.”
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