How to hire the best talent…

kat cole cinnabon ceo
photo credit

Recall the people that you’ve hired. Who were the best?  The worst? Who were the ones that surprised you, good or bad? From my time as a Recruiter, I realized that the best hires didn’t always have the skills or experience, the worst sometimes did, and the greatest determinant to their success was attitude and fit, and an intangible quality that I call heart… also called drive, passion, motivation, fire, grit, etc.

sometimes, during the hiring process, we get set on specific requirements to check off the list… a box of requirements to be filled, but i really dislike boxes. they are constrictive and limiting. it’s hard to have growth when your capacity is that of a box.

  • Bachelors degree in _____
  • 5 years of experience ______
  • 10+ years of management
  • 5+ years experience using _______

we are all different in very amazing ways.  it took me less time to learn to ride a bike than the girl down the street, Felicia.  Was she better at it than me, because it took her longer to learn, and therefore she must be more proficient?  I was a hands-free bike riding queen… she didn’t even like to ride down the hills and that was the best part. “Bye, Felicia”.

Joe and Rob both received bachelor’s degrees in business, but Joe got straight A’s and Rob barely passed his classes. Rob was a social butterfly, and had a great network of contacts after graduating. I on the other hand opted to be debt free and gain real world experience through working.

Lastly, all three of us work in similar industries, but none of us worked on the same projects or with the same people or had the same challenges. my point is we all have very different experiences.  we learn differently, fail differently, overcome and think differently. not one way or the other is better, but there is a better fit for certain roles.

the hard truth is when we look for talent using a check box then are options are limited to what’s in that box.

Stay open minded during the hiring process.  Don’t get stuck on experience & whether or not someone has done something before.  If opportunities are only given to those that have done it before then nobody would ever grow or learn new things. We’d all be stuck, and that would suck.

This article was inspired by “How Kat Cole Made It“, by Daniel Roth. A former Hooters waitress who is now CEO of Cinnabon.


3 simple ways to stop office gossip in its tracks…

arabian proverb omy

we’ve all been here… trapped in the work break room, trying to dodge gossipy “Gail”. in the moment, wishing you would have opted for that smaller water bottle you were eyeing at the store…

water break small talk is great for morale and building relationships with coworkers.  But if it turns to gossip it’s counterproductive.  Have you ever noticed that after your ears are “exposed” to gossip, you feel a bit less positive and excited? that’s because energy is contagious, and gossip is a negative energy.  it adds no value, and it simply creates an untrusting environment hindering teamwork and productivity.

As a naturally curious person, I love listening, but hate gossip because of the way it makes me feel.  I always feel bad for the person who is being talked about. Here are a few tips I’ve learned along the way for the next time you’re caught in a “gossipy” situation…

  • Change the subject.  Simple enough, right? Don’t engage. Don’t validate the information. Be sure not to listen too long or even shake your head in agreement.  Interrupt, if you must.  A good way to do this is by asking a work related question the gossiper is knowledgeable about.  For example: Oh Lisa, I actually needed your help with this project.  What software did you use for…?
  • Ask the gossiper, “how do you know that”?  This can catch them off guard and throw the conversation off giving you the perfect escape route to change the subject.
  •  Leave the room for that meeting, phone call, etc. you must take care of.  Or if stuck at your desk, let them know you have an important call to take and will have to chat later.

There is nothing greater or more valuable than your time.  Make sure you use it wisely.  If you find you’re the subject of gossip, don’t get down or feel the need to get even. Your actions will speak to your character. Show people who you are, and the naysayers won’t have much to stand on. How do you handle office gossip?  What has worked and what hasn’t?  Do you like when people share gossip with you?

Would you still hire a candidate who chewed gum during an interview? What would be your reaction?


A recent discussion on LinkedIn about  interviews and gum chewing has me curious to find out what your thoughts are on gum chewing in an interview.

Here’s the scenario:

Imagine your hiring for a position at your location.  The candidate who is coming in to interview shows promise.  After introductions and a welcoming hello, you both sit down.  Suddenly, you notice the candidate is chewing gum.  What would you do?  Would you still consider the candidate for the position?

My thoughts… People are far, far too quick to formulate the wrong impression. I find it a bit ignorant not to hire someone based on this alone. I’ve personally witnessed candidates who make “mistakes” during the interview, go on to be top performing employees. If the candidate has the ability to do the role and be a good “fit” then a simple conversation is too easy.  in most gum chewing cases, it was probably last minute forgetfulness due to being nervous for an interview.

Interviews are a time that we must measure people against others and make decisions based on what we know.  It can be hard for people to see past small, easily corrected behaviors.  I would encourage anyone who makes hiring decisions to be open minded, empathetic and honest.  We are all just human after all.  We make mistakes.  We live. We learn. This world would be a terribly boring place if we were all perfect.

Chewing gum is not considered appropriate professional behavior for an interview.  I say why not.  If it’s not distracting or taking away from the conversation. Don’t let what is dictate what has to be. Question the status quo. Advocate change.  Otherwise, we would still be living in caves, or supporting injustices such as slavery.

How would you handle a candidate chewing gum?  Would you still hire them?  Have you ever chewed gum at an interview or workplace?

4 inspring Spartacus quotes


spartacus 3

A gut wrenching tale of love, honor and justice based on true historical events has been my on demand go to this week.  in the tale of Spartacus, a man without a penny to his name, with not even freedom to call his own, believes in something greater than himself and changes the fate of history. and if that wasn’t enough, the characters are very easy on the eyes.

4 inspiring takeaways from Spartacus:

  1. “I believe in opportunity.  And the power of reason to seize upon it.” In all things there is opportunity.  If only we have the ability to look for it and the courage to take action.
  2. “A man is never too weak or too wounded to fight if the cause is greater than his own life.” Nothing will stand in the way of a man/woman who believes with all their heart. Nothing is stronger, and I would hate to be the force that stands in the way.
  3. “There is always a choice.” period.
  4. “And maybe there’s no peace in this world, for us or for anyone else.  I don’t know, but I do know that as long as we live, we must stay true to ourselves.” Your life is not of chance.  Be you.  Share your talents.  Dream, believe and change the world.

If you haven’t had the chance to watch Spartacus.  I highly recommend, especially if you are a fan of Game of Thrones and/or Vikings.