Thinking about #Recruiting Assessments> Don’t Miss #FOT Webinar


The gang at Fistful of Talent is back with some more recruiting gold.  If you are in HR, Recruiting, Leadership and like talking about sports, this webinar is for YOU.

Join my pals, recruiting experts, R.J. Morris and Kris Dunn as they present(drum roll…)

Free Agent Nation: Using Talent Assessments To Build Your Superteam!

In this webinar you will learn:

–How to research/implement assessments (and avoid getting sued) and sell the concept of leveraging external assessments to the company bigwigs

–How to use the profiles of your existing team to understand the candidates in your recruiting funnel that have the best chance at succeeding AND raising the overall performance of your team. You need performance. You also need someone that can blend with the team you have and make it better. We’ll show you how to use existing team profiles to spot the right fit.

–How to use your assessment platform to give your managers incredible leverage to onboard their new hires, with a focus on what makes each employee special – as well as what could hurt them in your unique culture.

–A roadmap for how your managers can embed behavioral observations into their performance coaching – a must if you want max performance!

As all Fistful webinars, you won’t want to miss this.




HR Pros need a win-win-win? Join me and ClearCompany in Napa.


Want a win-win-win?  Want to hear great people talk (win 1) about great talent strategies (win 2) while drinking great wine (win 3)?  Of course you do.  Join me, Kris Dunn, William Tincup, Kyle Lagunas, Maren Hogan, Laurie Ruettimann and a host of others in Napa Valley, CA, for the ClearCompany Talent Success Conference.   

HR Pros–  Smart is as smart does.  To bring continued credibility to your HR function you have to actively pursue opportunities to soak up the knowledge.  I know, you’ve  got a million things shakin’, your conference budgets are limited, and you need a vacation. Well, the ClearCompany Talent Success Conference will provide you the very Nectar-Of-The-Gods you’ve been waiting for.  The conference will share tasty bits of knowledge, for a great price, in a location most love to vacation.   See?  Win-win-win.

Are you with me?  You know you are. Want to learn more?  Here are my pals Kris and Laurie to give you the skinny on their great session.  I’m an Oprah/Grinder mix BTW.  See, now you want to know more!


Hope to see you there.  We’ll toast to you!


Career Page Need A Lift? Daxko’s Got You Covered

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Come on folks.  You know your careers page needs an facelift.  You know first impressions to candidates mean a lot. You’re not sure where to start.  Never fear…

Yesterday 2 of my Daxko People Team Members, Beth Wolfe (Talent Acquisition Specialist) and Janna Bradt (Talent Marketing Manager) hosted a webinar for Silkroad, a top software provider specializing in onboarding.  Daxko was a winner of the Silkroad Golden Portal award, recognized for having a terrific career portal for candidates and onboarding system for new hires.

Although the content does share SilkRoad specific items,  most of the content is good for all audiences.  So, If you want some great tips and tricks — checkout this webinar. 

I’m so proud of these ladies!  (sniff)


Burke Bedside Chat: Can I Discriminate Against Boring People?

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Every Tuesday I conduct my Burke Bedside Chat live on Facebook.  It’s me and my trusted side-kick, hubby Bo Burke, sitting in bed doing what old-people do…we go to bed early and talk about random stuff on Facebook. Live.

Along with talking about po-boys, Hamilton, Pokemon, mushroom villages and football, I naturally throw in HR, Leadership, Recruiting, and Talent Management Stuff.  

If you want to join in– hit me up on Facebook.  Message me “Burke Bedside Chat” and I’ll set you up.

This week’s question:  Can I Discriminate Against Boring People?  If I’m interviewing you and can hardly keep my eyes open, can I disqualify you?  If you submit a video interview and I’m feeling my head nod, can I say sayonara? If you talk in monotone Lurch-style for the entirety of your interview, can I give you the hook?

Lot’s of people chimed in.  To see what they said, and to hear about grits, green beans and other things— check it out.

10 Songs To Survive Open Enrollment

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As the great Bob Marley said, “One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain”.

Well that’s GREAT because one thing that can be pain-inducing for everyone is open enrollment. And just like marathoners need a little music mojo to get them to mile 26, we need some music mojo to get us through all the planning for our busiest month of the year…and to help us celebrate when it’s done. So if you’re looking to get off the Crazy Train, Kickstart Your Heart, or just feel like one of the Shiny Happy People (it gets worse, folks), here are my recommended open enrollment jams.

#1. Stronger (Kelly Clarkson). I promise you, open enrollment will not kill you. Shhh..shh..shhh…. take a deep breath, breath into a paper bag, think happy thoughts. You may feel like death warmed over when your broker tells you your account manager just quit. But when you hear Ms. Clarkson preach, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”, you’ll be out of the woods.

#2. Shake Your Rump (Beastie Boys). HR Ladieeeeez (and gents)! Bring sexy back to enrollment with this funky classic. Any song with “Rump”, “Most Mackinest” and that sticky, super-low bass will make folks universally love you. Trust me.

#3. Changes (David Bowie). If you didn’t see this one coming, you need to get thee to Spotify, pronto! No, you didn’t expect a 28% year-over-year cost increase change to your benefits. Yes, your employees will want to throw a tomato at your head when you tell them changes included their doc being dropped from coverage. But you’ve gotta “turn and face the strange/strain” head on.

#4. Gin and Juice (Snoop Dogg). “With my mind on my money and my money on my mind”.   Not all benefit changes are bad. Some will save your home slices real money. Can you say higher corporate 401K match!? Can you say new health savings account!? Can you say flex-spending account!? Your employees will be “laid back”.

Read the rest of my post (and the other 6 great open enrollment songs) on the ALEX Blog.  

HR needs to Chop Wood; Carry Water

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Some days just are awful.  I mean really awful.

You hear of a team member’s passing.  You become overwhelmed with workload.  A good friend disappoints and rejects you. Your husband leaves you.  Your wife doesn’t trust you. You learn you have to lay off 1/3 of your workforce.

Humans have remarkable resilience.  But also have a deep need to help, solve, connect and save.  If there is one group of “savers” in an organization  – it’s HR. And it can be overwhelming.

I went through a divorce, wow, in 2007 (so a long time ago).  I was overwhelmed.  Although the divorce was very amicable, AND we didn’t have kids (which makes it a lot easier), I was still incredibly sad and overwhelmed.  I mean, holy crap, 1 week after we parted my computer crashed.  My ex always handled that s**t, and he’s not here and I don’t feel like dealing with this but I have to pay my bills and I need my computer to do that and I’ll get behind on my mortgage and I’ll lose my house and people will think I’m out of control ……


Or, I just got through handling an acquisition, and now half of the leadership team has left and 2 of my team members quit and if I don’t get help we’ll overlook that important employee relations issue and then we’ll get sued and then our new equity partners will fire me and then I won’t be able to pay my mortgage…..


My friend said, “Dawn, today you just need to chop wood and carry water”.


“Chop wood and carry water. Today you need to do just the essentials.  If you were stranded on a desert island, to survive you would just need to chop wood for a fire/shelter and carry water to drink.  That’s it.  The rest needs to go into a box for you to open up later.”

“Huh.  Really. That’s it.”  

Yep.  That’s it.

So the Zen phrase actually goes, “Before enlightenment chop wood, carry water…after enlightenment chop wood, carry water.” Essentially, there are times you must break life down into the simplicity of the present moment.  Do only what is necessary.  Don’t multitask. Stay present.

HR Pros.  Some days you just have to compartmentalize.  Handle what you can.  Just do the essentials.  Don’t get ahead of yourself.  Don’t panic.

Chop wood; Carry Water.











Your Best HR strategy: Give Up Being Proactive

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I’ve been in Sr. HR for sometime.  I’ve sat in countless strategy sessions.  Something I’ve noticed most execs (including HR) state emphatically is the need to be proactive.  Some even pine for proactivity, treating their inability to wrap their arms around a proactive strategy like a shunned teenage victim of unrequited love.  If only there was more time to be proactive! (Cue theme from Love Story).

Well, after a very long time working this gig I’ve come to the smart conclusion HR is not and never will be a proactive business.  To be a great HR pro, you have to be able to work within the very exhilarating yet stressful life that is completely an utterly reactive.

  • Somebody in a critical, high-profile role quits — you react.
  • You get hammered with a 23% year-over-year benefit cost increase — you react.
  • You’re told you have 45 days to turn around all due diligence on a potential acquisition — you react.
  • The police show up for one of your employees – you react.

Some will say, hold up.  Good strategy includes assessing trends, understanding the landscape enough to predict barriers to success and proactively putting processes in place before the other shoe drops.  Sure thing.  Makes sense.  Should help. But my friends, both shoes dropped long ago.  I mean with a thud.

I have yet to see a proactive strategy actually work within 6 weeks of implementing it.  Why? Because at the end of the day, human emotion doesn’t follow any typical or predictable pattern you can trend forward. Do financial markets follow trends, yes. Your competition, yes.  How people buy your product, yes.  But what is going to piss off an employee royally, no.  Who unexpectedly (yet joyfully) gets pregnant and decides to move 5 states away to be closer to family, no.  Who’s gets diagnosed with Stage 3 cancer and must understandably take FMLA leave, no.

Also, if you are an HR team who doesn’t have, doesn’t want, or doesn’t know how to get strategic talent management information funneled to you before the rest of the company — then you better tie up those two Adidas (you know , the “other shoes” that dropped a month back) and start running after the problems.

Although i think it imperative HR does everything it can to assess trends to predict outcomes, we just have to do that in tandem with the shoe dropping. And guys, this is OK.  Really, it is.  It’s the gig. It’s what makes the job an adventure.  So get this.  I went to an executive leadership training at UNC-Chapel Hill where one of the professors had a unique definition of what strategy truly is.  He said strategy isn’t what you plan to do — it is what you ACTUALLY do.  

For instance, when someone asks you, “what is your strategy?” most will pull down a big spreadsheet or their Q3 goals or some such stuff and say “see, right here, halfway down page 1, this is our strategy”.

“So are you doing this now?”.

“No, not quite yet. We plan to do this soon”

Well then it is not your strategy.  And before you beat up yourself or HR about being too reactive.  Guess what?  SO IS EVERYONE ELSE.

So what can you do to help be effective in a reactive job?

  1. Hire people that can think and react well.  Yes, react. Well.
  2. Always know what your top priority is.  Notice I said priority. Singular. That will be the one thing you will work on outside of all the items you will be reacting to.
  3. Buy technology that will help you simplify process and communicate quickly.
  4. Buy technology that will allow you to gather feedback and in real time and spit out some bite sized pieces of data to analyze in real time.  You don’t need a CSV file with 20,000 rows. If you do get a CSV file with 20,000 lines, then take that data to finance, buy your Director of Finance a beer and ask her to walk you through the numbers. Finance will know that s**t quick.
  5. Demand time with senior leaders to understand corporate decisions before they are announced to all employees.   I mean, ideally, you’ll be part of the decision making process.  But if you aren’t, then you only need ONE thing from leaders.  A heads up. That is all.

So, although a nicely packaged proactive strategy may be ideal, remember we didn’t get into this gig because it was a neat, clean and predictable job.  And if you did get into HR because you wanted neat, clean and predictable, then I suggest you proactively begin a new job search.