Do you ever drive by a mall or old business and see a labelscar?
You probably didn’t realize there was an actual term for what you saw. A labelscar is when a sign is taken off from a building, and the dust and fade marks still show in the shape of the old sign.
Drive around many cities, and you will see labelscars for Sears, KMart, Blockbuster, Toys R Us, and Theranos too.
A labelscar does not look good on a building, but at least you know a little bit about the history behind what was once there. Parlay this into recruiting, and many times a new job has scars from the predecessor. The problem is that you can’t often see the labelscar left over from the predecessor.
The question I like to ask a hiring manager is simple but often overlooked, and that is–“why is the role open?” I want to know what happened and assess if there is a deeper problem in the organization. Did the person leave for pay? Was it culture? Commute? Issues with leadership? OR maybe the predecessor didn’t perform.
There are label scars in work processes too.
People get hung up on a detail of a process, and it can leave scars. The other day I had a client’s HR pro say that I was not allowed to share the last name of the hiring manager with a candidate. WTF? Apparently, three years ago, one candidate stalked the hiring manager on LinkedIn, and now they can’t share last names until later in the process.
A Draconian practice and yes, that will leave a scar.
In recruiting there is no visible labelscar to tell you what was left behind, you have to dig in and find it. Sometimes the predecessor has been squared away, leaves no scars and is riding away in the sunset. Other times you need to hire someone to clean up the mess and work over the labelscar.
I have a thing with scars. I have a few from a car accident years ago, and I tell myself that they build character. Whatever the case, a scar will remind you that something happened at that spot. Many of us are just trying to do good work and leave our own (positive) mark on the company or with a client.
What labelscar will you leave behind?
Ben Martinez – family guy, coffee critic, planker, and HR & Recruiting journeyman. He has successfully worked in HR leadership roles around the US and Mexico for Fortune 500 companies (Pepsi, Honeywell, and Energizer). Most recently he was the VP of People & Culture for HireVue, where he hired 400+ people in almost five years using video, social media, and created the employment brand, VueNation in partnership with HireVue.
Ben now runs his own consulting company, Ramp Talent, where they ramp recruiting and HR for startups. From recruiting ready-to-go talent to implementing ongoing best practices to preventing legal headaches, we build the first HR and recruiting systems for fast-growing startups.
PS – coffee is for closers – Ben founded an e-commerce subscription coffee company focused on re-imagining coffee in the workplace and home – Sumato Coffee Co. They only roast your beans within 48 hours of your order.
Ben lives in the SLC, Utah area.