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August 7, 2013
Dear HR: An Open Letter
 
Dear HR Person:
 
You know that rock star who's moving up the office ladder like a rocket?
 
You know that miscreant that sucks energy from the room and makes everyone question their judgment?
 
You might have hired both of them.
 
You might say you did your best. You might say that these things happen.
 
I say, there's a better way. A better way to hire, a better way to feed the best energy of your company.
 
But the bad news: you're not enjoying a great reputation in this industry. Your reputation is based on countless reports from professionals whose potential was not perceived, and based on those people who were hired whose subsequent, negative energy destroyed the vibration of a large office in less than three days. 
 
Hmmm. I'm going to write something for candidates, too. Soon.
 
But back to you, and your success, O HR professional.
 
This is the way to hire better people, to do better for your company, to do better for yourself. This is the way to learn to see the invisible. To learn how to see and read the real, true, inner potential of another human being. 
 
Try these questions and techniques and discover something you might have missed before.
 
1. If your company needs followers and order-takers, ask candidates who makes the decisions in their home and life. Take your hand and make an OK sign and tell them to make one, too. Place the OK sign on your cheek as you tell them to place theirs on their chin. Voila; you've discovered if they react or respond, whether they think or just do what they're told.
 
2. If your company needs creative innovators, ask them about their homes. Ask them if they have anything unusual in them. Ask them about the strangest item of clothing, DVD, or CD they own. 
 
3. If your company requires long hours, weekends, and overtime, ask candidates about their hobbies and passions and if they are aiming to climb the ladder at your firm and earn their way upwards by going the extra mile. But is this truly a part of your culture?
 
4. Want to really find out if this position you're offering will be seen as a paycheck, a job, a career, or a calling? Ask these questions: Ask them if they knew they would be dead in a week, and had all the money in the world, how they would want to spend their last week. See if doing your company's work shows up in that week. Or month. I have countless times, and I find out more valuable, meaningful insights about people this way.
 
5. If you could, you'd ask to see their home and find out what they're really like, but you probably can't. So assume the candidate wants a paycheck, a raise, and some ego gratification, and find out what really motivates them. Ask them the last time they got really angry, the last time they sang out loud, the last time they cried.
 
Ask them about their life goals, their loves, favorite foods, movies, music, their heroes, etc. and watch to see how their faces light up and then compare that to how their faces light up or remain dim when talking about work.
 
And always explain (IF your company has such a clear vision) that you want to find people who can take the company higher and further. Or conversely, tell the truth and say that it's a highly repressed, political organization and you want to know if they'll take abuse and orders without whining.
 
HR is often only as good as the company itself. I'm suggesting you can be and do far better. Reach for the essence of a person; be creative, innovative, sensitive, and human yourself.
 
That's worth saying again: be human yourself.
 
Good luck and please share your comments and ideas below. We all benefit when HR gets better and better. We all benefit when the very best people get hired and loved.
 
Good luck to you.

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As a strategist, writer, designer, producer, director, actor, musician, performer, teacher, trainer and speaker, creative marketing was a potentially ideal career for Paul. Yet after years of winning dozens of global creativity awards with various agencies, Paul gave up the awards pursuit and became a professional human being.

Paul launched the1101experiment in 2001, focusing on bringing top-level strategy, creativity and multi-dimensional success to global brands, but with an added emphasis on positive ethical and social opportunities. Paul's thinking has been published worldwide and has predicted many global cultural shifts long before they happened. 
Paul leads a mastermind network of friends, colleagues and multi-talented professionals from around the world who are strategists, writers, artists, web, social and interactive specialists, who are involved on all client work.
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