Tag Archives: hr jobs

first hr hire

How to Hire Your First HR Staff Member (and who NOT to hire)

first hr hireLast week I had a great conversation with a $10M startup company about how to make their first HR hire, and I thought those ideas would be worth sharing here. Many of you are already HR leaders at your own firms, but you probably haven’t given much thought to this idea of starting up an HR function from scratch, and it’s a good discussion to have. Plus, I’d love to hear from you!

  • What skills are most important?
  • What would you look for if you were hiring your first HR person?
  • If you’ve started up an HR function, what are your best tips?

Where to Look for your First HR Hire

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HR’s Bad Reputation is Discouraging Me from an HR Career

My good friend Alison Green over at Ask a Manager passed me this question she received because it’s HR-centric. I think many of you will get value from what could have been just another private email conversation, so I’m sharing the question and response here. If anyone else has comments PLEASE add them below, because we’re all better when we help each other, right?
Dear Alison,
I’m currently in my final year of high school and strongly considering pursuing an HR designation in post-secondary. Reading through your blog, I am very often reminded that HR exists primarily for the company (preventing lawsuits, attracting and retaining talent, etc.) and issues that employees have are resolved with the company’s best interests in mind. As such, I can understand why HR can sometimes gain a reputation for being useless (even if I do find it somewhat discouraging).
That being said, I would like to ask you for your input on what an effective HR manager should be like in terms of going above and beyond to support employees when the job description may not ask for it.
I’m thinking especially on how you would advise someone on the HR side to handle a situation where, for example, a department manager is out of control (but not doing anything illegal) and because of nepotism, is safe from consequences or intervention? If HR’s hands are tied, how could HR still go on to assist the employee even though the root cause isn’t solved?
How can HR still be supportive to employees in situations where the company calls for neutrality (or even to side with the company when it is ethically at fault)? And vice-versa?
I think overall I am just experiencing a sense of helplessness when I read stories with negative experiences with HR. On one hand, I can understand that there may be certain legal and logical restrictions to what an HR rep can do that sometimes the employee can’t see. On the other hand, I don’t want to be someone who just throws her hands up and says, “There is nothing I can do for you.” and adheres to the bare minimum requirements.
Is this something that will get better once I have more experience? Am I just being too emotional or naive about my job expectations? If so, any input on helping me recalibrate?
-J

Thank you for being very clear about your questions and concerns, J.

HR does exist to protect the company, and this is still prevalent thinking in many organizations. However, it’s also true that many forward-thinking firms are offloading these compliance-related functions to legal and are focusing more on how to improve employee performance, create better working environments, drive worker engagement, etc.

5 characteristics of a great HR manager Continue reading

The Side Gig: How to Monetize Your HR Passions

I originally wrote this for a friend over at Horizon Point Consulting. I think it’s going to be interesting for you guys as we head into the end of the year and start thinking about our careers, accomplishments, and the path ahead. Enjoy!

I couldn’t sleep. It was 4:17am and I had stared at the clock for half an hour. Might as well get up and get started. I rolled out of bed with a big smile. It was my first day as the new owner of Lighthouse Research, and I felt like it was what I had always been preparing for all throughout my career.

This scene played out a few months ago when I took over an HR technology research and advisory services firm, but I’ve been an entrepreneur for quite some time now. I started the journey back in 2009, and I have continued my “side hustle” over the years. Looking back, it has been an incredible joy. I’ve taught myself many new skills, had the opportunity to work with and meet some very interesting people, and grown by leaps and bounds professionally.

I completed some research in October 2016, and the number one thing that my audience was curious about was how to get into contracting/freelancing either as a part time or a full time opportunity, so I know this is top of mind for many people. Maybe you’re one of those people as well? If so, I’ll give you some helpful advice and insights that I have picked up along the way.

Handling a Second Job/Gig/Activity

As I mentioned, I’ve been doing something outside my “day job” ever since 2009. For most of that time, it has been this blog/business. However, I’ve also done speaking, training, HR certification study instruction for one test prep company, freelance writing, HR consulting, etc. Up until a few weeks ago I was working part time as an HR consultant to help stay plugged into the HR community, because I left my practitioner position back in 2014 to become a technology analyst/researcher.

Handling that second position is not always easy, but it’s doable. I have four kids. I go to church. I volunteer. I have other responsibilities, and I make sure they all get taken care of. Here are a few things to consider if you want to start your own side hustle:

  • Does your day job take up more than 60 hours of your week? If so, you probably can’t fit in additional work. It’s time to back that down, find another job, or put your side hustle dream on hold. Be willing to talk with your boss or explore other opportunities if it means you get to pursue the dream you’ve been holding back on.
  • Do you enjoy working on projects, connecting with new people, and wearing the “business” hat? I know that accounting, billing, etc. is one of the least favorite activities for many independent workers, but it is a part of life. Today there are many tools to help make this easier, from apps for tracking business mileage to online banking for keeping your business expenses/revenues separate from your personal funds.
  • Are you self-motivated? This is touched on below in the “passions” discussion, but it’s important that you can make something happen when it’s time to get to work. Some people don’t have the discipline to focus when nobody is standing behind them, and if that’s you, then you will have trouble making the transition to self-employment.

How to Monetize Your Passions

The first part is obviously to know your passions, right? Yet I see so many people that start off with the thought, “How can I make some money? What’s hot right now?” That’s a torturous path, because you can only work so hard at something that you don’t truly care about.

In my case, I started with something that was top of mind for me, but it also tied to an activity I love. Back in 2009 I earned my HR certification. During my preparation, I started writing my thoughts and study schedule online as a way to hold myself accountable. One week, I got off schedule due to a personal issue, and I received several emails from people asking where that week’s blog was! It was then that I realized that this was bigger than a project to keep myself on track—others were interested as well.

After I received my certification, I took my study notes, added some lessons learned, and started selling it from my website as a $19 eBook. I’ve sold hundreds of those since 2009, and I actually took it down a few years ago when I started selling a higher priced course that expanded upon the eBook content. I’m passionate about teaching and helping others, and I’ve received dozens of great testimonials and comments from students over the years that found value in the work I created.

That’s just one example, but hopefully you start to understand how this kind of business works. Questions? Feel free to hit me up at ben@upstarthr.com and I would be happy to help however I can.

Want More Information?

Do you want more information about a specific area of interest for you personally? Maybe you’re interested in learning more about the opportunities ahead? Do any of the following sound familiar?

  • I’m an entry level professional trying to find out how to make your mark on the world
  • I’m a mid level professional ready to advance to a leadership role
  • I’m a senior level professional wanting to do some speaking and consulting

Whatever your current position, I want to help give you actionable ideas and insights for how to move to the next step in your career journey from a series of experts who have already demonstrated success in your area of interest. Just enter your email below and I’ll be in touch soon.

 

How to Get a Job in HR When You’re Not Working in HR

Over the last week I’ve received more than half a dozen emails from people looking for their first foray back into the HR realm after making a move to a new city, taking time off for childcare/maternity leave, and other similar stories. It’s a challenge, but this is easier than breaking into HR in the first place if you have some sort of track record to point to. Often, those early experiences (whether in HR or outside) can help us by illuminating the activities we don’t want to do just as much as highlighting those thing we do want to do. Today I’m going to offer some practical tips and strategies to help those of you that are on the outside trying to get back into HR.

get a job in HR

The Local HR Group/Chapter

Let’s talk about networking. What? You’ve heard of it? Well, good. It’s a primary component of my advice for those people trying to break into HR. But I realized this week that I have a more radical view of networking than others. And no, not in the “annoy everyone around you all day every day” kind of radical view. I’m talking about the kinds of ideas and opportunities I create around me to find and connect with other smart people. Note: I hate talking about myself, but this is a good story that illustrates the point. If you have a good story, please leave a comment on this post so others can learn from your example as well!

When I was getting into HR back in 2009, I was much more shy than I am today. I didn’t have anything of value to offer the HR community. I was just one of many recent grads with a degree and a job that didn’t fit my long-term goals. So I went to my local SHRM chapter (CIPD for those of you across the pond).

Yes, this is a common step for many people. But what happened next is not.

Instead of going to events and trying to meet people, I decided to make people want to try to talk to me (remember, super shy here). I emailed the webmaster for the local chapter and asked if there was a way to help with the website and other duties. He readily agreed, and I started attending board meetings with a small group of smart, connected individuals in the local community.

Because I was a board member, the others quickly got to know me and my credibility grew. And I started connecting with others in the chapter over time.

About a year after I started volunteering one of the board members had a job opening. It was a stretch opportunity for me, but because she got to know me through my volunteer work, she knew I would be a good fit.

And then I stopped, gave up the whole networking thing, and forgot about it forever.

Heh, not really.

The next year, I decided to do something that nobody had done before in the local chapter. I started an HR book club as a way to connect to like minded individuals, learn some lessons, share some expertise, and read plenty of books.

Through the book club, I forged stronger relationships with some of the people I already knew, and I also extended my reach to others in the chapter that were interested in developing themselves through books. That year-long experience was a lot of fun, and I still talk regularly with one of my friends that I made in the group.

There have been other initiatives within the chapter I have participated in, but those are some of the ones that stick out as particularly innovative.

Find an HR Technology Vendor

This is another option that is completely different from pretty much anything you’ve ever been told, but it’s worth a shot (especially if you’re in or near a large city). HR vendors sell technology to companies, but their primary audience is HR leaders. I think approaching a vendor with an HR degree, certification, or background would make you more valuable than someone just coming off the street with no knowledge of HR, recruiting, and those aspects of the business.

The caveat here is that you’re probably going to have some level of technology savvy to pull it off. I’m not saying you need to be a code jockey, just that you can use technology and find your way around without a lot of fumbling and help.

There are providers across the world that offer these solutions, but if you’re in areas like Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Atlanta, etc. there are probably quite a few companies to pick from. If you want a list of company names to give you a head start, check out my How to Learn HR for Free post.

The Bottom Line

The one thing I want you to take away from this conversation is this: applying online, submitting resumes, etc. should only be 10-20% of your job search efforts, not 80-90% as is the norm. It will require you to get quite uncomfortable in many cases, but it’s also the key to creating the career path that serves you best.

What other questions do you have around the topic? Anyone else have a great story of how you’ve made it happen? 

A Day in the Life of a Recruiter

This is the second in a series of posts on a day in the life of an HR pro. Today we’re turning our sights to the recruiters out there. Below I have profiled several readers who recruit for a variety of industries and companies. If you missed it, the first edition focused on the work of a human resources manager. Read on below to learn about what recruiters do all day, including some funny comments, in-depth descriptions, and other helpful details.

a day in the life of an hr professional
The Life of a Recruiter

Kyle

  • Company/Industry: Telecommunications
  • Years with Current Company: 7 months
  • Years in HR: 10
  • Degree/Cert: N/A
  • Average Day: I’ve always been one of many hats and my role continues to be that with my current employer. I love working for a company that places the customer front-and-center of everything we do! The ability to find the right person for the right position is priceless.

Alicia

  • Company/Industry: Staffing Agency
  • Years with Current Company: 4 months
  • Years in HR: 4 months
  • Degree/Cert: Certificate in HR Management
  • Average Day: I spend most of my day recruiting on active positions that my clients have an urgent need to fill and plan for 2 hours out of my day to proactively recruit great candidates. My day consists of phone screening, interviewing face to face, prepping candidates for their interviews. Its competitive, fast paced and a ton of fun. The other side of my job is building relationships with my candidates and hiring managers, for example, taking them out to lunch or breakfast. I love that every day is never the same.

Sharon

  • Company/Industry: Healthcare
  • Years with Current Company: 15
  • Years in HR: 17
  • Degree/Cert: Certificate
  • Average Day: A typical day in the life as a Professional Recruiter typical begins with a checklist of priorities. Filtering through emails and notifications of hiring requests. Almost on a daily basis I review the status of new hires and where they fall in the on boarding process, i.e. pre-employment physical clearances, background checks, references and education/employment verifications via our database linked to the vendor we contract with for this service, Tabb Inc.Many days I may find myself working through lunch or eating at my desk depending on the activities I am juggling with, providing wrap around services to our hiring managers and potential candidates. phone screens phone interviews, scheduling in person interviews seeking potential candidates. Our applicant tracking system is our primary resource in our selection process as well as Monster’s resume database. On average I can recruit for up to 75 requisitions across the board from professional, technical, clerical and support services.Finally, my days generally end with checks and balances noting where I left off and what I will plan for in the coming days. I usually set aside 1 to 2 hours towards the end of the business day to manage applicants in our ATS/Monster. Email follow up and other correspondence as needed.

    I work in a fast paced, high volume organization where each day can bring the unexpected. You adapt and rise to the occasion with confidence and poise. It can be a very rewarding and self fulfilling having the ability to change and impact lives for the better. The ability to offer employment opportunities is what makes me want to report to work every day.

Alison

  • Company/Industry: Healthcare
  • Years with Current Company: 7
  • Years in HR: 10
  • Degree/Cert: SHRM-CP
  • Average Day: Our tool is disfunctional so I spend 50% of my day doing transactional items. We are working towards a consultative recruiting model. 1/4 of the day I do phone prescreens with the top applicants. The other 1/4 of my time I spend with managers. Any left over time I am digging out of my overflowing email box.I really like finding a good fit for an applicant and manager. I dislike all the hoops we have to jump through to make it happen.
  • HR wit/wisdom: Sometimes it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.Be careful who you trust, if someone will discuss others with you, they will certainly discuss you with others.If it’s really funny, it’s probably harassment.

    It’s the moments together that change us forever.

    HR Dept: will work for doughnuts. :-)

Carly

  • Company/Industry: Financial Services
  • Years with Current Company: 3.5
  • Years in HR: 2
  • Degree/Cert: N/A
  • Average Day: I spend a lot of my morning sorting through resumes as I sip on my breakfast protein shake. Since we are currently recruiting an average of 10 positions with no ATS, needless to say, my inbox is a nightmare!Much of my afternoon is spent on initial phone interviews with qualified candidates. I schedule blocks of time each day for these meetings, pack them in back to back and and cross my fingers that everything sticks to schedule. I don’t know why I am still surprised by how many candidates are late or stand me up completely – but thats another story for another interview.What’s left of my day is spent going back and forth with hiring managers to get more clarity on what the h-e-double hockey sticks they are looking for in a candidate (changes daily) or talking them off the ledge of a potential bad hire.

    And that’s just the Recruiter side of me as I wear a lot of hats in HR.

Coming up soon we’ll have other HR roles and responsibilities, but I appreciate the participants for sharing! Let me know in the comments below what you think about this series or what specific roles you’d like to see highlighted. 

A Day in the Life of a Human Resources Manager

I have been thinking a lot lately as I cross the six year threshold of blogging about human resources management. I started this as a tool for the entry level HR pros, but now I also teach about some fairly advanced concepts. One of the things I don’t do enough of is sharing about the community. There are more than 20,000 monthly readers on this site and about 5,000 email subscribers (the numbers still boggle my mind!). Who are these people? What do they do?

Let’s find out.

Today will start off a series where I talk with some of the HR pros in the audience to find out what they do and what they enjoy about HR. I hope you like the series, and as always, I’d appreciate your feedback. Want to be profiled yourself? Click here.

a day in the life of an hr professional

A Day in the Life of a Human Resources Manager

Anne

  • Company/Industry: Holding Company
  • Years with Current Company: 4
  • Years in HR: 10
  • Degree/Cert: MBA-HR, SPHR, SHRM-SCP
  • Average Day: My average day is a standard Director role. I spend time counseling my team of 26 on how to interact with their companies. I also manage our benefits program.
  • HR wit/wisdom: Expect each day to be different. I’ve seen too many young, promising, talented professionals burn out too quickly because they couldn’t adapt to the constant changing chaos that is Human Resources.

Juanita

  • Company/Industry: Banking (Credit Union)
  • Years with Current Company: 5
  • Years in HR: 10
  • Degree/Cert: Master’s in HR and Organizational Management
  • Average Day: A typical day in the life of … well me, would be one that involves A LOT of talking and interacting with my peers. I feel that when you build a bond with employees, they will come to you with anything and also help you connect with the person your looking. A quarter of my day is spent in meetings brainstorming the next best thing and finally, the rest of my day is spent finding new ways to energize our organization through our new amazing wellness program (that I control … mwahahaha).
  • HR wit/wisdom: I have two!  “I don’t fire you, you fire you.” and “Yes. Doing your job is part of your job.”

Bobbi

  • Company/Industry: Government Contractor
  • Years with Current Company: 5
  • Years in HR: 7
  • Degree/Cert: BS in HR, SPHR and SHRM-SCP
  • Average Day: No two days are the same. I spend part of each day working in benefits, compliance, HRIS implementation and employee management.
  • HR wit/wisdom: Network often, so when the auditor knocks on the door, the manager wants across the board terminations, or the employee decides to tell everyone about his weekend exorcism you have a group of people on speed dial to ask questions to and to share with – we can’t do it alone!

Ryan

  • Company/Industry: WebLinc
  • Years with Current Company: ~2
  • Years in HR: 5
  • Degree/Cert: B.S. Industrial/Organizational Psychology, PHR
  • Average Day: I largely spend my time recruiting, or actives related to our recruiting efforts. Next would be employee relations, internal resourcing, and org management. Beyond that it gets chopped up quite a bit day to day, I am a one man army in HR here :)
  • HR wit/wisdom: As an HR professional, my advice to anyone is to never forget how much rules suck.

Leeanne

  • Company/Industry: Freight Forwarding
  • Years with Current Company: 2
  • Years in HR: 6
  • Degree/Cert: Graduate Diploma in HR
  • Average Day: I am the only person in HR in my organisation, which has 370 staff, therefore a majority of what I do is reactive simply due to the volume of work. I recruit without agencies whenever possible so can end up spending a lot of time reading CV’s when I have multiple roles to fill. I interact with our company directors and managers on a daily basis, although it’s usually the same 4-5 managers due to the size and nature of their teams. I am involved in all performance and disciplinary meetings along with the manager. At least once a week I am told by someone that they don’t envy me in my role, but I honestly love it, and can’t see myself doing anything else for a long time to come yet!
  • HR wit/wisdom: Be the reason people want to get into HR, not the reason they hate it.

Coming up soon we’ll have other HR roles and responsibilities, but I appreciate the participants for sharing! Let me know in the comments below what you think about this.

HR Lands at #71 of the 100 Best Jobs

Recently the list of the 100 best jobs was published for this year, and HR was again on the list. This time it ranked number 71 out of 100. It’s always fun to look at these lists to see how they compare, because we all want to think we’re working in a field that others see as important and valuable. It’s difficult to do that in HR, because many people have never run across someone working in human resources that truly cared about their wellbeing and success.

human resources 71 top 100 jobsSo, what were some of the 70 jobs that beat it out?

Jobs that are (supposedly) better than HR

Accountant. (Even during tax time, this somehow managed to beat HR?)

Meeting planner. (I thought planning events was an HR function…)

Compliance officer. (Ditto-doesn’t HR do compliance? Also, how in the world is compliance better than human resources?!?)

Bill collector. (Wow. Calling people to harass them about money they owe is better? Really? Now we’re just getting ridiculous.)

How to get an HR job

From the article:

If Segal was hiring a new specialist, she says she would consider “someone who is smart, understands that HR is part of the management function, has business savvy and a keen analytical mind.” Like other areas of business, HR focuses on innovation and return on investment, she says. “HR needs creative, innovative thinkers to take us past the traditional paper processing and compliance focus to show our value and ROI in the global economy in new ways,” she says. In addition to having fresh ideas, Segal says you must demonstrate good writing skills, be able to work with financial data and have a solid understanding of your industry. “Being in HR in a startup tech company is not the same as being in HR in a bank or a manufacturing company or in the entertainment industry,” she says. “While there is some obvious overlap, if you want to be truly effective, be seen as more than a paper pusher and have a seat at the table, you need to show that you understand the business you’re in and how HR can support the bottom line.”

I agree with some of this for sure, but it’s also funny to see that some of these comments still don’t align with how a large portion of the HR population works and thinks even today. Many of those in this profession don’t put any stock in reviewing/analyzing financial data or even having a firm understanding of their industry. They are content to make policies, fight to keep fun out of the workplace, and collect a paycheck until they retire. It’s why blogs like this one have become so popular–because people like you realize that there is more to this profession than what we were told when we started. There’s certainly more to life (and HR) than what meets the eye.

More on breaking into HR, for those who are interested. Also, if you want to check it out, the US News article is here, and you can learn about all kinds of other positions, including finance jobs, banking jobs, and more.

What are your thoughts? Is this job better or worse than the ranking they assigned? Why?