‘Failure Is Giving Up on Yourself’

ERE member Suzanne Lucas talks about HR thought leaders, failure, and Carrie Underwood.

Article main image
Nov 7, 2023

Welcome to the latest installment of our series in which we spotlight talent acquisition professionals within the ERE community. The series’ aim is to showcase individuals not so much for what they do but for who they are. In other words, the focus is less on what people are doing in their roles and more on how they view work and life.

Meet Suzanne Lucas. If that name looks familiar, it’s because you may have seen Suzanne’s byline on numerous articles for this site, where she is a regular contributor. Additionally, Suzanne is an HR consultant who has spent over 10 years in corporate human resources, where she, in her own words, has “hired, fired, managed the numbers, and double-checked with the lawyers.”

A writer and speaker on many talent issues, Suzanne is known on social media as the “Evil HR Lady.” I recently spoke to the evil one — who is not actually evil! — about her views on success, failure, and the state of recruiting.

What is your best personality trait?

I can see the positive in just about everything.

What is your worst personality trait?

I am a procrastinator.

What is the biggest assumption people tend to make about you — be it wrong or right?

That I live in the United States, but I live in Switzerland. People are always shocked.

What do you love most about working in talent?

I really like talking to people, learning about people, and hearing people’s ideas. I love that through my work I get to meet fascinating people of all sorts.

What do you like least about working in talent?

People! For example, there are so many people with really strong opinions and no facts to back up their opinions. They just wake up one morning, think of something, and put it out there. You’ve got these influencers out there who constantly say things that are completely false.

What is your greatest fear in the workplace?

As someone who is self-employed, I’m always concerned about hitting my revenue targets.

What do you value most in the people with whom you work?

Honesty, integrity, and a good sense of humor.

What is the most overused or overrated thing that recruiting pros believe about themselves?

They believe that they thoroughly read every resume. They do not.

How do you define success?

If you have a roof over your head, food in your cupboard, and friends and family, then you are a success.

How do you define failure?

When you give up. I’m not talking about things like quitting a job. That’s not failure. I’m talking about giving up on yourself to do what is best for you.

What’s your biggest failure?

It’s not so much a failure as it is a mistake. The most consequential mistake that I made was when my husband got a job in Switzerland, where we were going to live for only two to three years while I stayed home with the kids. It turned out to be much longer than that so by the time I needed to go back to work, it was a challenge because I’d been out for a while. So that was a mistake.

What is your current state of mind as it relates to the current state of recruiting?

Recruiting is super-weird right now because you have blue-collar and entry-level roles that companies can’t hire fast enough. They can’t get enough people. And then you have a white-collar people who are out of work. In my field of HR, for instance, there are so many professionals out of work.

Name one person who works in talent, besides yourself, who people need to know?

Everyone should know Katrina Collier because she’s very innovative and on top of things. She’s also very funny and very nice.

Most important question: What’s your go-to karaoke song?

I don’t do karaoke because I’m wimpy, but I have a theory that I would like to do karaoke, and the song would be Carrie Underwood’s “Before He Cheats.”

Finish this sentence: Suzanne Lucas is…

Really happy.