Entrepreneur Contributor Fails at Snowflake Test and Business

I’ve learned that in the world of business, there’s always going to be someone who tries to ride your wave of success.  And in doing so, resorts to trolling to try and make themselves relevant.

Enter:  Heather R. Huhman, contributing writer for Entrepreneur.com.

Heather was apparently so triggered by The Snowflake Test that I make prospective employees take that she decided to write an article about how terrible it is. (Here, Heather, a shameless plug to your piece to raise your average views above 37.)

So … it’s go-time.  Because in the game of business, all is fair when you decide to publicly call someone to the table.  I hope Ms. Huhman has a safe space waiting in her home office.  Because it’s about to get ugly.

Research

If you’re going to try to pass yourself off as a journalist, there are a couple of key components you should try and incorporate into your writing.

First … both sides of the story.  Ms. Huhman could have simply picked up the telephone and asked me about some of the questions on the test.  Had she done so, she would have realized that the basis for every one of her arguments in her article is massively flawed.  But who needs journalistic integrity when you’re writing for Entrepreneur.com just to drive clicks to your own website, right?  No biggie.  I get it.  I live in that world and it works out nicely.

So let’s, for just a second, think about branding … because it’s obvious that Ms. Huhman is more interested in branding her business than actually having integrity.

This is where it begins to get fun.

In her article, she essentially suggests that the test is horrible for doing background research.  She would apparently know.  According to her own biography, she is a “career expert, experienced hiring manager and president of a content-marketing and digital-PR consultancy for job search.”

An experienced hiring manager who made a catastrophic mistake in her article.  Follow me for a second.  You’re going to love this.

On her website, she suggests hiring her company because “research reports are widely considered the most effective content format for marketers, but they are also among the most difficult to produce. In addition to being effective with current and potential customers, journalists love research reports, too.”

Ms. Huhman must be a master at research.  In fact, she did SO MUCH research that she didn’t even know how to spell my name in her article.

It’s interesting, because in her piece, she states that the test “attracted considerable media coverage.”

She’s right about that.  But you’d think that after hundreds of media interviews in national and international media outlets, she would have known that my name is Kyle REYES, not Kyle REEVES.  I suppose research isn’t as important to her as she suggests it should be to YOUR company.

But hey … trust her to vet candidates out for YOU before you hire them!  She knows how to research!

What Company Culture Is

Ms. Huhman obviously missed the basic idea behind the test.  It’s a vetting process.  60% of the applicants are so triggered by the word “test” that they drop out of the process … which means they don’t have the hustle or the fortitude to work for a company like mine.

Now she, of course, doesn’t have the backbone to say what SHE thinks – that it’s “discriminatory.”  So she asks someone else to say it for her in her article.  She taps in the president of the board of directors of Whitewater, Wisconsin. (Huh?)  In her “in-depth” interview with Lisa Dawsey Smith (i.e. one question) she suggests that I’m “attempting to hire individuals who only align with his political inclinations.”

Fail.

The majority of my staff does NOT align with my political inclinations.  Had this “research expert” done her homework, she might have realized that and not been left with egg on her face.

Group think is real, and dangerous.

I take it Ms. Huhman doesn’t run a company with actual employees.  If she did, she’d actually understand that it’s not about “group think” – it’s about ACTUALLY vetting employees in advance.

I don’t hire – nor do I want to hire – people who all think the same way.  What the test effectively does, however, is show the ability of a prospective employee to apply logic and critical thinking skills to how this person formulates responses to questions.  The answer itself is almost irrelevant.

Critical thinking skills.  They are apparently something that Ms. Huhman lacks.  If she had them, she might have understood that her recommendations were based on a lack of research and a true understanding about the test. Oh, correction, the recommendation of the people she interviewed because she lacked her own expertise.

The “recommendation” under this part of the article was to “instead figure out how candidates think and problem-solve.”  Which is, of course, exactly what the test does.

Homework, Ms. Huhman.  Homework.

Job-seekers lie.

Ms. Huhman suggests that job seekers now “all know what type of answers he’s looking for now.”

Gee, because we didn’t consider that at ALL before putting it out to the media.

In her article, the suggestion is made to offer a “trial period” instead.  That’s great, business owners.  Take every single applicant you have for your company and instead of asking them questions to get to know how they think … pay them to join your team for a few weeks.  THAT won’t disrupt your business environment at all.  It’s totally cost-effective.

What world does this woman live in?

The test is built on fear.

“The point is, the snowflake test only serves to determine surface value while simultaneously potentially degrading people,” Todd Mitchem, whose title is managing disruptor at the executive coaching firm, Todd Mitchem Companies, in Denver, told me. “A leader’s job is to motivate, inspire and uplift a team to combined success. [Reeves] seems to do the opposite right from the start, and, more importantly, builds a culture of fear.”

Thank God Ms. Huhman turned to a “managing disruptor” to school me.

Too bad neither she nor Mitchem could actually justify the argument that I’m “building a culture of fear.”  The argument would fall apart the second you interview a single one of my employees.  Which, of course, they didn’t do because that would cause their entire premise to fall apart.

And who the hell names a company after themselves and then calls themselves a “managing disruptor” anyway?

Couldn’t Ms. Huhman at least interview some legitimate companies?

Hiring is a science.

“Who knows if the people he’s hiring are even capable of doing the work?” Kris Boesch, founder and CEO of Choose People, in Denver, said tod [cq] me. “Based on his snowflake test, he doesn’t evaluate performance. They just need to be ‘followers’.”

I’m glad someone who has never even heard of us before – or, once again, talked to us – “tod” you that.  But let me let you in on a little secret.  You actually can NOT “evaluate performance” of someone who does not yet work for your company.  You only evaluate performance AFTER you hire them.  And you hire them based on a vetting process that weeds out the good and the qualified from the bad and the unqualified.

In Conclusion

Ms. Huhman does have a smart approach that I’ll break down for you.

When nobody reads your articles, interview a whole bunch of people for your next piece.  Then tell them they’ve been quoted in Entrepreneur.com and watch as they share your story.

I suppose when you run a “research” company but can’t even do a basic level of research before writing a piece for Entrepreneur.com …tapping into people who actually have more than 261 followers on Facebook is the best you can do to remain relevant and bring eyeballs to your business.

Damn snowflakes.