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William Tincup

William is the CEO of HR consultancy Tincup & Co.

William is one of the country’s leading thinkers on social media application for human resources, an expert on adoption of HR technology and a damn fine marketer. William has been blogging about HR related issues since 2007. He’s a contributor to Fistful of Talent, HRTechEurope and HRExaminer and also co-hosts a daily HR podcast called DriveThruHR

William serves on the Board of Advisors for Insynctive, Causecast, Work4Labs, PeopleReport, Jurify, AppLearn, StrengthsInsight, The Workforce Institute, PeopleMatter, SmartRecruiters, Ajax Workforce Marketing and is a 2013 Council Member for The Candidate Experience Awards. He also serves on the Board of Directors for Chequed.

William is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a BA in Art History. He also earned a MA from the University of Arizona and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University.

Visit tincup.com and give him a shout… he won’t disappoint. You can also find William on Linkedin here, Twitter here, Facebook here, and read some of his thoughts about HR on Fistful of Talent here. Not up to speed in the social media game? Reach out via email (william@tincup.com).

1. Most job postings cite “X” years of relevant work experience and specific education criteria as requirements to be considered for the position. With this in mind, what prior work experiences and degrees/certifications/training helped prepare you for your current role?

From a “work” perspective, I learned everything about business at Wal-Mart. I spent many years at wally world and the experience of interacting with customers on a daily basis was the foundation of damn near everything I do today. At the end of the day… we serve someone… clients, customers, employees, channel partners, etc. How do we relentlessly keep that in sight? I think it is extremely useful for younger folks to take roles that are customer facing. Retail, restaurants, tech support… whatever… get in and mix it up with customers. It won’t kill you AND it will make you better.

From a formal education perspective… my degree in Art History was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I mean… memorize 11,000 works of art while also learning the history of the world. Not easy. Decidedly not easy.

From an HR perspective, taking and passing the SPHR has given me more of an appreciation for our industry. It’s the hardest test ever. I’ll never let the cert lapse. Never, never.

1B. What (if any) additional knowledge or skills that you don’t currently have would make you even better at your job?

In my world, innovation happens every.single.day. So, the additional knowledge is actually never allowing myself to stop learning about our industry. Part of that is having daily conversations with smart folks. Part of that is paying attention to the market… what is happening and why. And part of that is not becoming a know-it-all. Confidence is cool, arrogance is not. When I have arrogant moments… I want my friends and colleagues to politely kick me in the teeth.

2. Some jobs require the incumbent to be very analytical. Others require one to be a strong communicator, and others still require traits like patience, the ability to multitask, self-directedness, comfort with ambiguity, and exceptional attention to detail. Are there any behaviors and/or attributes that you would say are essential to performing the work that you do?

Three things come to mind… (1) passion, (2) ambition and (3) intelligence. For me, you can’t fake passion. Maybe short term but not over the long haul. You HAVE to be passionate about the industry / profession. If not, do everyone a favor and get out of the game. Ambition is really a fancy way of saying zest for learning – pushing oneself. Never getting stale. Always pushing myself and those around me. Static people suck. And, I don’t suck. In terms of intelligence… well we can define that about 100 different ways but truth is, you know when you’re interacting with something that is stupid. Define that as you will.

3. Jobs guru Lou Adler says there are only 4 job types of jobs in the world (producers, improvers, builders, and thinkers). Which type of job are you in?

Lou Adler… he’s still alive? I kid of course. As a consultant… ahem, chameleon… I have to be all of those for my clients. Depending on the situation and /or client need… I have to have the ability to fluidly move between those four. If left to myself… I’m a status quo breaker… which is prolly an improver in Lou’s model.

4. Does your job involve either directly or indirectly supervising or managing people? If so, how many direct (or indirect) reports do you have?

Solo practitioner… thank goodness. The biggest team I’ve managed was about 500. I’m most comfortable with about 5-7 direct reports. I’m a better mentor the smaller the number.

5. How does what you do impact the business? Think complexity (different types of impacts) and scale (degree of impact). Put another way: Who and what would be impacted if your job wasn’t being done well, and why would it matter that they were impacted?

Most of my work never sees the light of day. I work in the shadows. Because of the nature of consulting in general… it’s hidden. The outputs can be public but rarely do I get “credit” for work completed or ideas that make it to market. That’s the gig. In terms of how it would be done if I wasn’t here… the work would either not get done or another consulting firm would do it. Not as well of course. Again, I kid. Well, kinda.

6. Is your job safe? Rate its safety on a scale of 1-10 with 1 being “seated all day in an air conditioned vault” and 10 being “I’m an astronaut going into space”. If your job isn’t safe, what working conditions (specifically) make it hazardous?

No job is safe. Ever. I’ve been working for myself for 15 years. And it’s not a safe world either. But at the very least… it is in MY hands. By the way, safety is overrated.

7. Is there anything I missed that people should know about your job? Is there anything else you want to say about what you do?

Being a consultant is great. I live a sexy, lavish life. That’s generally what people think. Truth is, you give your clients your best… advice, insight, knowledge, etc. They pay handsomely for that… but they also pay for the ability to NOT do what you say and for you to go away.

As always, please share your thoughts in the comments section below.