Paul Falcone’s Blog

Paul Falcone writes about critical HR topics, and his bestselling books and scores of articles have been profiled recently in Forbes, Inc. Magazine, CBS Money Watch, the New York Post, and HR Magazine. Visit Paul’s author page on AMA Playbook for blog articles on stimulating creative teams and increasing innovation, career change strategies, sample scripts for performance reviews and tough conversations, and more! His blog here covers such areas as Effective Interviewing and Hiring, Performance Management, Leadership Development, HR Essentials, and Career Management.

What a Successful HR-Client Partnership Looks Like

April 14, 2017
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“One of the biggest mistakes that HR leaders make early on is failing to get the buy-in from front-line operational leaders,” said Don Phin, attorney, executive coach and chairman at executive coaching firm Vistage Worldwide Inc. in San Diego. “HR …

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Viewpoint: There Are New Limits on Disciplining Employees

April 14, 2017
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Employers historically have had a huge amount of discretion when it comes to dealing with employee misconduct. Times are changing, though. “In truth, the National Labor Relations Board [NLRB] has taken an exceptionally aggressive stance in terms of limiting …

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Interview Ice Breakers: 7 Questions to Segue into Meaningful Candidate Conversations

April 13, 2017
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“The relationship [between interviewer and candidate] isn’t ready to dig into details right off the bat,” said Gabrielle Bowden, HR director and assistant controller at The Bridges Club at Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. Taking the time to build rapport, establish …

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What All Senior HR Executives Wish Their Front-Line Managers Knew About Effective Leadership

March 7, 2017
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As a leader, you can give your company no greater gift than a motivated, energized and engaged workforce. Spikes in turnover may happen from time to time, but what’s critical is your response, the counsel you seek and your …

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The Leader-As-Coach: 10 Questions You Need to Ask to Develop Employees

March 1, 2017
Leader as Coach

Too many companies spend time and energy tending to the lowest 10 percent of performers via progressive discipline and the like. But don’t neglect your top performers only to find yourself struggling through a counteroffer once someone has given …

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Viewpoint: Caught in the Middle…What to do when two subordinates keep dragging you into their problems with one another

February 21, 2017
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Sharon is an HR generalist for a 100-employee public relations firm, and she reports to Laura, a CEO who prides herself on her leadership, communication and team building abilities. However, there is a nagging problem that consumes too much …

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Naming Names: When to Identify Co-Workers in Corrective Action Documentation

December 15, 2016
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Nina is an employee relations manager in a hospital, and she’s faced with a dilemma: A group of employees from one department has come forward to file a complaint against their director for being rude, crass and confrontational. Nina …

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Generic or Specific Termination Letters: What’s in Your Company’s Best Interest?

December 8, 2016
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Like so much else in human resources, it depends: Providing accurate and specific termination letters may be in the company’s best interests because details of the situation serve to demonstrate that the termination was legitimate, consistent and based on …

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The Written Warning: What If An Employee Won’t Sign It?

December 6, 2016
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Issuing corrective action is always a manager’s least favorite thing to do. After all, no one wants to sit down with a team member and issue a formal written warning outlining the employee’s substandard job performance or inappropriate workplace …

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Employment-at-Will vs. the Discharge-for-Just-Cause-Only Standard: A Critical Employment Law Distinction

October 8, 2016
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Janet is an HR manager who was recently challenged by a department manager, who demanded that an employee be fired on the spot. The reason? The individual’s performance had been an ongoing challenge for the past year, and it …

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Viewpoint: Firing for Cause Beats Position Eliminations Every Time

October 8, 2016
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Managers who want to avoid the confrontation associated with progressive discipline and terminations often look to the path of least resistance—a no-fault layoff—because it appears to provide a quicker solution to ending employment. With a layoff, however, there are …

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When Documenting, Beware: Missteps Can Sink Your Ship in Court

October 8, 2016
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Sally, an operations director, is frustrated with John, an employee on her team who uses foul language, publicly berates subordinates and demonstrates intimidating behavior toward co-workers. She prepares a final written warning for inappropriate workplace conduct, and because she …

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7 Creative Interview Questions to Ask Millennials

July 23, 2016
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There are 90 million Millennials that were born roughly between the years of 1980 and 2000, and this massive demographic bubble is even larger than the Baby Boomer generation that preceded it (roughly 77 million strong). More significantly, Millennials …

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Viewpoint: 3 Caveats for Paying Employees to ‘Go Away’

July 17, 2016
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Separation packages can be effective—but be careful—they have several hidden risks. The solution is to take a deliberate course utilizing  corrective action documentation. That restructures the context so the employee sees the situation as accepting a separation package as …

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Do’s and Don’t’s of Behavior-Based Interview Questions

June 7, 2016
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MANY companies have taken to relying on behavioral interview questions as their primary method of candidate evaluation. Their goal is to get away from the flat question-and-answer format that plagues interviewers who aren’t sure how to delve more deeply …

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Mix It Up: The Benefits Of Talent Rotation For Leadership Development

April 6, 2016
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Talent rotations can go a long way in improving team performance and communication with internal boundary partners. Rotations are also an excellent form of leadership development because they raise awareness and help emerging leaders gain a stronger grasp of …

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Communicating Bad News for the First Time During the Annual Performance Review

December 23, 2015
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Are you having trouble delivering bad news during your employee’s performance review? In this article Paul Falcone shares his thoughts and recommendations as outlined in his  book, coauthored with Winston Tan, The Performance Appraisal Tool Kit: Redesigning Your Performance

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How to Legally Justify Employee Termination

December 23, 2015
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In the world of wrongful termination litigation, there’s a tremendous distinction between an individual’s performance review and any progressive disciplinary or corrective action documents that the worker may have received. Picture this presentation of evidence as if you were …

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How Often Should You Give Performance Feedback?

December 23, 2015
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For most companies, the overwhelming answer is annually. But as Paul Falcone pointed out in his book 2600 Phrases for Setting Effective Performance Goals (AMACOM 2012) and Paul and Winston Tan recommended in The Performance Appraisal Tool Kit (AMACOM …

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Attention Graduates: Tips for Avoiding Pitfalls That May Derail Your (Early) Career!

October 25, 2015
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“I wish someone had told me . . .” isn’t the line you want to use to end your first job out of high school or college. However, many unsuspecting and fairly naive recently-minted graduates have a serious misunderstanding about …

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How to Make the Most of Your Relationship with Your Outplacement Service Provider

July 27, 2015
Evaluation

If your company is experiencing a reduction in force (a.k.a. layoff) and you’re providing employees with outplacement services, then you’ve done so for a number of very healthy and caring reasons. But how do you ensure that you’re getting …

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Executive Coaching: How Do You “Coach to Normal”?

March 5, 2015
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How do you stop these roller coaster patterns from recurring in the workplace? How do you raise executives’ attention to the fact that they’ve got a significant perception problem on their hands? And how do you stop these types …

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5 Key Questions to Ask (or Avoid Asking) During a Job Interview

February 7, 2015
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Ever wonder how many questions or what specific questions you should be asking an employer towards the end of your interview?   In this article we look at five smart questions that will not only help you gain important additional …

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“Stay” Interviews: 6 Practical Questions for Key Employee Retention

February 5, 2015
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The job market is heating up, and many top performers who may feel like they’ve been treading water career-wise since the Great Recession of 2008 began may now sense that the momentum is shifting, and new opportunities are coming …

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Correcting for Grade Inflation on an Employee’s Annual Performance Review

February 3, 2015
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It’s performance review season and time to kick off the New Year with formal staff feedback and goal setting for the upcoming calendar year. But what if you find out that a manager on your team assigned the wrong …

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Staff Motivation: Core Truths about Raising Employee Engagement in the Workplace

November 11, 2014

There are many books and articles available on how to motivate staff without money, how to reinvigorate weary teams in light of the ongoing changes and challenges in our competitive workplace, and how to encourage others with awe-inspiring leadership …

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Three Steps to Great Staff Meetings

November 11, 2014
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Published on SHRM Online. A one-hour team check-in could be the most valuable time investment you make. Be sure to make it count. Opening the lines of communication with your staff begins with healthy group dialogue. The best place

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Supervisors: Put HR On Your Side To Protect Yourself From Personal Legal Liability

September 21, 2014
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As line managers in corporate America, it’s important for you to understand a few things about maximizing your relationship with your company’s Human Resources team. After all, when done right, HR can be an incredible resource – both for …

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Letters of Clarification: Between Verbal Coaching and Formal Written Warnings

August 25, 2014
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Published on AMA Playbook – As a manager in corporate America, you’ve no doubt been frustrated at times by employees whose problematic job performance or behavior falls just below the threshold of violating a specific company policy. The Letter …

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5 Critical Job Search Strategies for Executives in Career Transition

July 26, 2014
5 Strategies for Executives in Transition

Executives in career transition face many challenges in this daunting job market, but there are a number of options that they can actively pursue thanks to their strong track records, technical skills, and education.  The five search strategies below …

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5 Simple Tips for Writing Better Resumes

July 12, 2014
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A lot has changed in just the past few years in terms of resume writing and posting expectations. Turn to these five short tips to save time and get answers to some of your hottest questions as you spiff up …

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Decision-Making Leaves: Dramatic Performance Turnarounds without a Lot of Drama

June 9, 2014
Decision-Making Leaves

One of the greatest workplace challenges to supervisors and managers lies in turning around workers when their conduct or behavior consistently disappoints. A decision-making leave, also known as a “day of contemplation,” could be just what the doctor ordered. …

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Researching Publicly Traded, Privately Held, and Non-Profit Companies Prior to Your Interview

May 25, 2014
Company Research

Job search candidates at all levels realize that it’s important to research an organization where they have an upcoming interview, but outside of looking up the company’s website, they’re not quite sure where to look and what to look …

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Small Companies: Know Your Employment Laws!

May 17, 2014
Employment Law

 If you ever feel confused by the vast array of federal laws and regulations that govern your organization, rest assured you’re not alone. Still, many smaller companies often assume that all laws apply to them when, in fact, organizations with …

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Employment-At-Will vs. Progressive Discipline: Understanding the Legal Dichotomy

April 26, 2014
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Why does a company have to offer its employees progressive discipline if they’re already employed at will? As an HR professional, you’ve probably been asked that question a number of times throughout your career, especially when one of your …

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Avoid the Preemptive Strike

March 18, 2014
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One of the challenges about managing people in corporate America is that troubled workers sometimes look to manipulate a company’s Human Resources (HR) department to their advantage. Workers are very sophisticated consumers, and whether they figure this out on …

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Travel Time, Waiting Time, and Training Time: 3 Wage & Hour Landmines for Unsuspecting Employers

January 25, 2014
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Managing overtime properly can be quite a daunting task for many managers who may not be aware of some of the intricacies and traps that await them within this specific area of wage and hour administration. If you’ve ever …

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Investing in Your 401(k) in Your 20s

January 18, 2014
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You may not realize it, but your 20’s is the most important investment decade of your life! I’m not a financial planner—I’m a human resources practitioner—but I’m writing this article for my children and their friends as they make …

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Ten Practical and “Street-Smart” Rules for Conducting Internal Workplace Investigations

December 18, 2013
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There are a number of important strategies for conducting effective workplace investigations. Unfortunately many organizations lose sight of the fundamentals before moving to termination, only to learn in the post-termination litigation process that they failed to conduct a thorough …

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Creating a Vanity URL on LinkedIn in 5 Easy Steps

December 5, 2013
LinkedIn Vanity URL

There’s a common question in resume writing about including your LinkedIn address at the very top of the page under your phone number and email address. While there’s no general rule that says you should or shouldn’t include your …

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