I am not a window

I love all the talk about transparency. And it’s been going on for some time. But the more I hear it the more I want to “call BS” like Talent Anarchy did at ILSHRM. I see statements like:

“It’s ALL about transparency.”

“Relationships are built on transparency.”

“Companies need to ensure transparency in their talent communities.”

Nope. If relationship and communities were all about transparency, we’d go on first dates in plastic wrap, let our kids roam the neighborhood as they pleased, people would be honest with their prayer requests at church and no one would have a need for drapes on their windows.

Think I’m simplifying things? I’m not. Marriage is a relationship, your neighborhood and church are a community and bottom line, nowhere in human nature (except zoos) are we totally transparent. The social structures and gates we’ve erected as humans, as families, as neighborhoods, and as companies are sometimes for the best. And while transparency around some things (hiring processes, company culture) are fantastic, transparency around proprietary company information, learnings, competitive intelligence and your company’s “before makeup face” don’t drive business objectives, they drive people away.

Speaking of driving, can we talk relationships? I was and AM a huge proponent of relationship building. It’s important, it does drive business and people want to ultimately work with folks they like. However, if you base all of your efforts on relationship building and growing and none on hiring (here I am speaking to the talent community manager and/or recruiter) then you’ve done nothing to drive your business forward. AND THAT IS YOUR JOB. So, cautionary note, don’t get so wrapped up in being transparent and building relationships that you forget these two tenets of human nature.

- My husband wouldn’t have asked me on a 2nd date if he knew how crazy I was on the first. (Total transparency- bad idea. Let them fall in love with you first)

- It’s not called “show friends” it’s called “show business”. You don’t have to be a shark to keep your eye on the bottom line.

  • http://twitter.com/mattcharney Matt Charney

    I think that’s the first time ever someone from Omaha use the line “It’s not called “show friends” it’s called “show business.” Well played, Alexander Payne. And great article. I agree the term transparency is becoming a buzzword, but any other synonym just doesn’t work as well. Like “see through.”

    • marenhogan

      Heh. I tend to eschew blanker statements like “it’s ALL about…” because it’s never ALL about anything. And I’m careful to guard against definitions that don’t mean anything, just look at the mess we’re in with “Talent Communities”. It’s exhausting just to get a definition, much less have a cohesive conversation. In terms of transparency, I just don’t think it’s useful as a catchall term for companies not being jerks in the hiring process, which is how I read it. You know I think you are brilliant and agree with a lot of what you say, but I don’t think transparency is something companies should aim for, much less attain. I don’t want to see them in a hot tub.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000971661397 Richard Stefan

    Maren:

    You are absolutely right…. The Makeup face of most companies are little 20 something air head chicky poos who can ask serious question like If you were a pencil what color would you be?

    I am just disgusted with the term HR “professional”…..it doesn’t exist in America. Once companies got rid of the adults who knew how to answer a phone or email properly, or would invite you to stop by and drop off a resume and get 5-10 minutes, if you are going to be in the neighborhood after It’s driving say 100 miles, because your experience has a direct relation to the needs of the company. It’s RARE today to find anyone that on the ball.

    My take is the little airhead is doing the boss behind the wife’s back and its to only place to put her. Don’t you think we know this?

    ——————
    competitive intelligence and your company’s “before makeup face” don’t drive business objectives, they drive people away.

    • marenhogan

      Richard, sounds like you’ve dealt with some rough companies. I’m not trying to stereotype here and rest assured, I know a lot of great HR pros but then I’m pretty lucky. I remember being frustrated in my job search too, so I know the women (and MEN) of which you speak do exist. But it’s not fair to paint an entire profession with one brush. As tools have gotten more sophisticated, many people are taken aback by face to face interviews before they’ve scheduled them. It sounds like this happened to you and that stinks, but remember recruiting is only part of what many HR professionals are expected to do, so sometimes they don’t have time to see you on short notice or have a prioritized list of requirements from the hiring manager to deal with.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000971661397 Richard Stefan

        Maren:

        Thats where the double speak comes in….tools have gotten more sophistacated???. I think they have been dumbed down just like putting pictures of McD items on a cash register.

        I wish it was sophistication, the online forms are a joke at most companies….and they want you to explain all gaps in the resume…Its there…. but the average airhead can’t read and think at the same time.

        This is why its manditory to get adults back into the process…Remember I am recruiting YOUR company too…so what if I am put off by the stupidty of your HR rep?

        So If i drive 100 miles and call you a few days ahead, and you cant find 15 minuters when you have a job that is advertised and I can do …what does that scream to the pubilc about your professionalism? Not much……

        Hint: maybe i WANT to move to a new area and a new JOB……ever thought of that? See Maren most HR people are not very bright today.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000971661397 Richard Stefan

        Its just frustrating day after day you can’t communicate with HR because of the dumbed down ATS you use.

        Most ATS are designed to aggrivate potential employees, so you wind up with just the kind of dumbed employees you are really looking for….and of course I dont fit in.

        8 times I have tried to get a job with Sirius radio..each time you have to fill out the whole damn forms…you cant just use the resume i have on file…..how DUMB is that?

        So if I leave someting out or change the focus for the job will they comapre the resumes and pick 1 liitle minutia and reject me?

        Its all about being severley stupid….and I am having a hard time dealing with it. I long for the days i could meet someone really smart in HR who can have a conversation with.

        Remember Maren: “Overqualified” really means you want to hire MORON

  • http://twitter.com/keithprivette Keith Privette (@keithprivette)

    All I can say is I 1000% agree with you about all this transparency talk! It is unrealistic and based in pixie dust theories. I am a Door that can be opened to a large great room, but need to open other doors based on trust in the relationship. There will be certain doors that will always remain closed, expect if you have the key. Those keys don’t get handed out on a regular basis!

    • marenhogan

      Nice analogy Keith!

  • http://twitter.com/DavidSmooke David Smooke (@DavidSmooke)

    Hey Maren. This talk of transparency – good, bad, when, how to, how to not – seems to be everywhere. I didn’t get the pastic wrap first date dress code as a reference to people being more transparent with each other, but the lack of drapes on windows is very apt example of transparency being inappropriate. But given that sharing of personal information in the public domain (the internet) is growing at an exponential rate, I would argue that who was a door ten years – may not be a window – but is now – at the very least – stained glass.

    P.S. Great Photo Choice. I can’t quite see through the water!

  • Milos Puaca

    The introduction of Talent Acquisition was a marketing (or other glib) term that “changed the paradigm” when most people did not get the point of recognizing, seeking, and keeping talent in the first place.

    There are few metrics for talent. It is an ability to perform in a circumstance. The more consistent you are in your performance, in spite of the adversities, the more valuable you are as a _______ (insert job title here). In fact, the inability to even compose a job description demonstrates the inability to recognize which end of the horse we usually examine.

  • Pingback: Around the Web October 2011 | Annie Anderson | Blog