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 Kate Bischoff. Kate is a former legal columnist for ERE who continues to contribute regularly to this site, speak at ERE events, and share her views in the ERE Facebook Group. She describes herself as an “overly enthusiastic, sarcastic, and opinionated management-side employment attorney and human resources professional.” Kate works closely with management, HR, and technology companies to improve organizations and make it easier to recruit and retain talent through easy-to-understand policies, easy-to-use technology, and easy-to-explain compliance initiatives.
Prior to starting her own business, Kate served as the HR officer for the Consulate General in Jerusalem and the U.S. Embassy in Lusaka, Zambia. She has also been recognized by The New York Times, CNN.com, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, National Public Radio, and other journalistic sources as a leading authority on harassment, technology in the workplace, and employment law.
I recently spoke to Kate about her greatest feat in the workplace, her definitions of success and failure, and more.
ERE: What is your best personality trait?
Kate Bischoff: My propensity for laughter.
What is your worst personality trait?
My propensity for anger.
What is the biggest assumption people tend to make about you — be it wrong or right?
That I’m a scary lawyer because…I’m a lawyer! People think all lawyers are scary, but I would like to think that I’m not scary. I’m much more of a teddy bear than anything else.
What do you love most about working in talent?
That I am dealing with people all the time. I love it because people are weird and complicated and funny and creative, and I get to figure out ways to address issues that are best for everybody.
What do you like least about working in talent?
What is your greatest fear in the workplace?
That I’m going to give advice that is going to result in violence. For instance, I might recommend termination of someone and that person will come back with a gun. I hate the thought of putting someone at risk because of a recommendation that I’m making. Even though the recommendation would still be my best advice, I’d beat myself up for years if something violent were to happen.
What do you most value in team members?
Honesty. I want to hear what’s working, what’s not working. I want to know when someone does not like a decision I’m making because that really helps me to ask better questions.
How do you define success?
My kids are fed, my kids are sleeping relatively well, and I can go on trips.
How do you define failure?
The heavy brick that is in my belly following an interaction that didn’t go well as a result of not having met someone’s expectations. It’s that pit in my belly that needs at least 10 to 15 miles of me walking to go away.
What is your current state of mind as it relates to the current state of recruiting?
Recruiting is still an absolute necessity; yet it gets served up on the chopping block too often when things get scary.
Name one TA person who people need to know?
Kristina Minyard. She knows her stuff and feels strongly about it. Kristina will tell someone if an idea is great or if it is dumb. She has strong opinions and backs them up better than anyone else in recruiting. I’ve seen her do amazing things and fight for the right things — and win.
Not long ago, TA expert Keirsten Greggs also cited Kristina, so who else you got?
Andraya Lund. She has been in recruiting but transitioned into HR. Andraya has a great sense of purpose and a great sense of a way to do better for her community and her organization. Sometimes she can get herself in a smidge of friction, but she sticks to her guns and is great.
Most important question: What’s your go-to karaoke song?
“More Than a Woman” by the Bee Gees.
Finish this sentence: Kate Bischoff is…