How to Ruin Your Reputation in Human Resources

Human Resources (HR) is a field that I love. I chose to pursue a career path in HR because I found the function to be the intersection between being able to help people and growing a business, two things that I am passionate about.

But HR doesn’t always have a good reputation.  When I tell people I’m in HR, I’m greeted by story after story of ineffectual, mistrustful, and useless HR people.  It’s always disturbing to me to hear these HR horror stories about HR people ruining the reputation of my chosen field.

If you’d like to ruin your reputation in HR, follow these easy steps:

Be old school.  The field has changed maybe more than any other business function over the last few decades.  You can ruin your reputation by embracing the ways of the old “personnel department”, focusing on files and paperwork and forgetting about being an advocate for employees and management.

Act like a “Hall Monitor”.  Put on your HR police badge and start roaming the halls looking for evil doers. Discipline people for coming in late, taking a lunch that went a little too long, and checking their Facebook page.  Two demerits for them!

Ignore the business.  Hey, you’re in HR – you don’t need to know anything about how the business runs, the customers, the market, or other business functions like Finance and IT.  You just stay in your office processing payroll and filing your I-9s.

Be a corporate spy.  Watch your employees like a hawk and report to management on every move they make.  Don’t ever try to coach an employee through an issue – just go and tattle on them to their boss.This will go a long way in ensuring that you never have positive relationships with employees.

Plug your ears.  Don’t listen to people.  Just toe the corporate line and show no empathy to employees.  They’re just employees – it doesn’t matter what they have to say, right?

Keep your mouth shut. You weren’t hired to advise management as to how to have effective relationships with people, motivate their workforce, and improve their performance.  Never speak up to senior leadership about what you think is right.

Stay in your office all day. Never socialize with employees.  Show no interest in their careers, development, or comfort in the office.

And the list goes on…what other advice do you have for HR professionals on how they can ruin their reputation?  I’m sure you have an HR horror story…let’s hear it!

 

This post originally appeared on the Personal Branding Blog.

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7 Things Confidential Job Postings Say About Your Company

I always snicker and shake my head when I see a job posting listed as “Company Confidential“.  “Don’t these people get it?” I say to myself.

A job posting is one of the most frequent forms of advertising your company – and perhaps the number one way to represent your employment brand – you know -the image you project as to whether your company is a good place to work or not?  By publishing your job postings confidentially, you not only miss the opportunity to spread your employment brand, but you actually hurt it!  Plus, you’ll just delay the time it takes you to fill with your really bad version of grown up Hide and Seek.  Here’s what posting your open jobs confidentially  says about you:

  1. You don’t get talent! Candidates are leery about applying for confidential postings.  You’ll potentially miss out on the one by hiding who you are.
  2. You’re sneaky!  Do you already have someone in this role and you want to try and back fill them before they are out the door?  Would you post my job without talking to me someday? Are you conducting interviews in dark alleys?
  3. You’re ashamed! What are you hiding?  Shouldn’t the name of your company draw in applicants?
  4. You’re cowardly! Are you trying to avoid internal applications and the difficult conversations associated with having to let someone down?
  5. You’re old school! You think people should be lucky to work for you and have no other options.
  6. You’re not resourceful! You’re missing out on referrals from your employees and network.
  7. You’re lazy! You don’t want to “waste your time” wading through so many resumes so why not limit the amount you receive?

Sure, we can think of benefits to posting jobs confidentially…I’m talking to you staffing agencies who can’t hunt us down and blow up our phones…but the benefits nowhere near outweigh the detriment to your employment brand and your talent acquisition strategy in the global fight for talent.  Post confidentially, and you’ll enjoy less resumes, less talent,  and longer time to fill.  Enjoy!

You Pretend to Know Me – This is Why You Are Unemployed

Earlier this month, I received an unsolicited e-mail from a job seeker about an hour after posting for a specific job in New York City.  No problem – right?  I mean I’m trying to fill the job…so what’s wrong with that.  Nothing, generally…except for the fact that this job seeker pretended to personally know me!

Here’s the e-mail!

Hi Mike
Im not sure if you remember me, but I just wanted to say keep up the
phenomenal work. We should reconnect if time allows. I started grad
school, studying Psychology at Brooklyn College in my 2nd semester.
Im still in Philadelphia though, I commute to NY the nights I have
class, Its terrible driving 2 hours each way, but I decided not to
move without having a job in NY first. So Im in NY every Tuesday
Thursday, Lets get together soon if you are available and in the area.
email me here or my mobile XXX-XXX-XXXX Keep me in mind should you have
any HR related openings.

(- Hope the photo helps put a face with the email)

First – thanks for recognizing that my work is phenomenal!  Second – let me introduce you to the apostrophe! And ok – so the poor thing is doing a crazy commute to NYC from Philly for school.  I guess there are no schools in Philadelphia.  That’s gotta be tough.  It’s the last line in the paragraph when she really gets to the point.  “Keep me in mind should you have any HR related openings.”  And notice the last line – she posted a photo of herself to make it seem even more like she really knew me.  Here’s the picture with the head removed to protect her privacy!

I don't know you.

One of my weird skills is that I remember everyone.  Always name, usually face.  When I first got her e-mail I knew that I did not know her name – plus it is a somewhat unique name.  When I popped open the picture – I was absolutely sure of the fact that I had never met this woman.

So I wrote her back:

Dear XXXXX:

 Thank you for reaching out.  I apologize, but I do not recognize your name or photo – how do we know each other?

Best regards,

Mike

She wrote back claiming to have been an intern at a place I used to work about 8 years ago in Boston.   I asked her for her resume, and she sent it and of course the “internship” was on there.  But so was her high school, and dates of attendance of high school (2001 – 2005).  She graduated from high school in Philadelphia in 2005 and wants me to believe she commuted to Boston for an internship at a small no-name non-profit in Boston when she was a sophomore?  You have got to be kidding me.

Needless to say, that was my last bit of correspondence with this one.  To be honest, it kind of freaked me out and made me wonder if all this “sharing” through social media (LinkedIn, etc.) is a good thing – I mean – essentially, she was able to look at my LinkedIn profile (which she did) and completely make up a story about how we “knew” each other.

This is why you are unemployed!

BUSTED! Don’t Be an Interview Liar!

A job interview can be an anxiety causing situation – you want to make a good impression, you want (or need) the job.  So something happens inside you – you’re not the same person – you start to exaggerate your experience – and then – BAM – you’ve gone too far! 

Bad idea, mon frère!  We HR folks are pretty crafty – and it’s our job to smoke out the liars.   Recently, I conducted an interview with a candidate and asked them a question to see how they would describe a very technical concept to a non-technical person.  To be fair to them, I first asked if they knew the difference between Concept A and Concept B – to which they quickly said “Yes, I do”.  I then asked them to explain the difference to me as if I did not understand the technical jargon.  This caught them off guard and the person struggled to explain something that they clearly did not understand.  Ultimately, as the candidate stumbled through their answer, they finally came clean and said they did not know the difference.  They also said they weren’t expecting to be asked technical questions in an interview with an HR person.  Oh no you didn’t just underestimate me! 

The truth is – I wasn’t asking the question to see if they knew the difference between the two concepts – I was asking them to see how they would explain something technical in an easy-to-understand way.  The problem was not that they didn’t know.  The problem then became that they LIED about their knowledge, assuming I wouldn’t ask a deeper follow-up question.

It amazes me how many people don’t recognize that a good interviewer is going to ask follow-up questions.  When asking about computer skills, I start off asking the person to rate their skills for various Office programs on a 1 – 10 scale.  When a person rates themselves high – like a 9 or a 10, I probe further, asking for them to tell me about the most complicated spreadsheet they ever created, or to tell me about the advanced features they know.  Surely, if they are a 9 or a 10, they must know some advanced features, right?

One more example, I interviewed a candidate for a position that would have required the person to work with Spanish-speaking workers.  The person claimed as a strength their ability to speak and understand Spanish.  Being an intermediate Spanish-speaker myself, I asked him to tell me something in Spanish.  He couldn’t do it.

While this type of questioning does give insight into the candidate’s knowledge-base, the main purpose is to see how honest and how willing to admit their mistakes they are.

Recruiters – what liars have you BUSTED in your interviews? Did you hire them?

Job seekers – what lies have you told to get the job?  Did you ever get BUSTED?

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