Tag Archives: reader question

ways to learn human resources

Do I need an HR degree to apply for an HR job? [Reader Question]

I get a lot of questions from readers about HR careers, job searching, HR certification, and more. If you have a question you’d like to see answered here, please send it over! See other questions I’ve answered here.

Is an HR degree required to apply for a job in HR, or are graduates with other degrees also considered for these roles? -Dominique

Hi Dominique!

Six months ago, I would have said no. Right now, I’m going to still say “no” but with a caveat. This changed everything in the job market: Continue reading

Leadership-it's about asking tough questions...

I’ve Done HR But I Don’t Have an HR Job Title [Reader Question]

One of my favorite things to do is answer reader questions here on the blog. If you have a question you’d like answered (I answer as many as possible!) just shoot a note to ben@upstarthr.com. 

Question, Questions, Man, Head, Success, Lamp, Brain

Hi Ben,

I’m a Business Administration major. I’m in my last year and I’ve chosen 5 Human Resource courses as my electives to assist me with gaining a basic knowledge of the career I want to pursue.

I have some experience with the recruitment process. I worked as a Assistant Leasing Manager for 9 years, and the company was small I would use social media and job platforms to search for Maintenance candidates, make the calls to schedule interviews, process their testing and applications and assist with completing their W2’s , insurance, and set-up their employee file. I assisted the company with setting up new payroll systems and establishing employee profiles.
Long story short Ben is could this be used to assist me with gaining access into a entry level position. Every time I apply for a position, they want 1 to 3 years or more of experience. I have never worked with HR systems before, but have encountered them them course work. How do I get firms to consider me for positions in this career? I have bits of experience but have missing parts needed to qualify for them.

Please , any advise you have would be beneficial to me. Can you point me in the right direction?

Sam


Before I dive into an answer here, I want to let everyone know that I’m going to be recording a podcast series on We’re Only Human focusing on HR careers to help share these kinds of answers in a broader way, reach and help more people, and get some outside perspectives as well. If you have any ideas you want to share about what you think might be helpful or things you might want to learn yourself, please weigh in here

Now, as for the question today, this is such a common question that I want to address here for anyone that’s trying to get into HR.

One of my long-time recommendations is to “do HR where you are.” If you are in retail, find ways to help set schedules, train other workers, or coach new people. If you’re in an office environment, help to welcome interviewees and show them around, work with new people on orientation, etc. Anything you can do that extends your capabilities into the realm of HR is a good thing. The next step is to take any of that experience and translate it onto your resume.

Sam, I would revise the resume to prioritize your HR-related skills, because everything you listed in your experience above is something that an HR pro would do at a larger firm (recruiting, onboarding, new hire paperwork, etc.) If you have to explain your role/title as “Leasing Manager and On-site HR Support,” that would be accurate based on your job duties even if it wasn’t your technical job title. You can explain that in an interview but right now the leasing job title is preventing you from even starting a conversation with a potential employer.

I have written a lot on this topic and these resources will help you to think about this, but I think changing the resume is your best bet as a starting point. In the big scheme of things, the resume is about starting a conversation with an employer. The interview is about really selling them on your capabilities. If you are applying for early career/entry level HR roles and you have these experiences you mention, it should be easy to convey in an interview. Right now you just have to get over that resume-to-interview hurdle and then you can really show off what you can do.

You’ve got this! Good luck and go make it happen. See other reader questions here.

If anyone else has advice for Sam, feel free to share below!

exit interview

How Can We Fix the Exit Interview Process? [Reader Question]

When I left my last job, I had an exit interview where my employer asked me all kinds of questions about my satisfaction and why I was leaving, but I didn’t answer honestly because I was already leaving. Do they actually use that information or was the exit interview a waste of time?

exit interviewThe Value of Exit Interviews

Exit interviews are the process by which employers talk with exiting employees anywhere from a day to a week before they depart the company, asking questions about their satisfaction, issues, or areas to improve.

As an employer, I very much appreciated exit interviews. They gave me insights that were tough to get from the day-to-day interactions with people. While I did hate having to have conversations with people who were leaving, I tracked each answer they gave and created a system that categorized the information to make it as meaningful and actionable as possible.

Sample Exit Interview Questions

  1. Why did you begin looking for a new job?
  2. What appealed to you about the new job, company, and/or culture?
  3. What could have been done for you to remain here?
  4. Did you share your concerns with anyone here prior to leaving?
  5. If you could change anything about your job or the company, what would it be?
  6. Would you consider coming back to work here in the future? In what capacity? What would need to change?

The Issues with the Exit Interview Process

The biggest problem with exit interviews is that people are not often honest in how they respond to questions (which can make the data useless). For instance, asking someone why they were looking for a new job will often net the response of “I’m just looking for a new challenge” or “I needed career growth.” Those can sometimes be code for “My manager is a terrible person and I can’t stand it anymore.”

So, why are people sometimes less than truthful, since they are leaving anyway? The biggest reason is a fear of burning a bridge in case the new job doesn’t work out like they hope. If it turns out to be even worse, the person might want to come back, and answering the questions truthfully may seem like they are slamming the door, locking it, and throwing away the key forever.

Potential Solutions for Fixing Exit Interviews

That said, there are a few techniques I’ve learned over the years to improve exit interview data collection and the experience for the person on the receiving end as well. If you want to have a great exit interview, here are a few of my go-to requirements these days:

  • Send a survey form via Google Docs (it’s free!) at least two weeks AFTER the person takes their new job. They are already rooted in their new role and will usually give you more honest answers, especially if they don’t have to do it face to face or via voice.
  • Do a follow up phone call a month later asking deeper questions and reinforcing the responses they already gave with any additional detail. By now they are six weeks into their new job and they know if they are going to stay and be happy, for the  most part. This means they can be more open and honest about the conditions and experiences at your company, offering more helpful data points to support decision making.

The other important piece is to try and use the data you get. If a manager is consistently losing people but nobody will say the manager is the problem, you need to dig deeper, because statistically managers are responsible for 70% of an employee’s satisfaction on the job. It may be pay or it may be benefits, but the majority of the time it’s actually their direct supervisor that is the issue.

Why Do Companies Pay Cost of Living, Not What the Job is Worth? [Reader Question]

Another reader question today, this time on compensation. If you have questions you can always email ben@upstarthr.com and we’ll fit it into the queue if possible!

Why do companies pay employees by cost of living of the city/country that the employee is working from rather than the cost/value of the work? Can employees game this system to earn more money?

This is an interesting question, but the truth is it’s not either/or–it’s both. Employers must consider both internal equity and external/market equity when building a compensation structure.

Employers pay what the job is worth, or they will never be able to hire anyone. Try offering a software engineer $10,000 a year and see if they want to work for you. This is about internal value and equity–what value does this job have to the firm relative to other jobs? There’s a general hierarchy in terms of pay rates, which is why an administrative assistant earns less than the CEO.  Continue reading

Does #HR care more about employees or protecting the company? [Reader Question]

I love answering questions from readers, because they encourage me to explore topics I might otherwise not touch on, such as today’s discussion. Have a question of your own? Share it and I’ll try to work it into the schedule!

Does HR care more about the employees or protecting the company?

HR’s Primary Role

When someone is hired into the HR profession, their primary role is to support the “people” functions of the company, such as hiring, training, and retaining employees. It’s funny if you think about that being the primary responsibility set, because we know that managers select candidates, often recommend workers for development, and are the reason that 80-90% of workers leave the organization, Regardless, that’s our job: tie the business objectives with the people process objectives to the degree we can.  Continue reading

sick leave

Can We Dock an Employee for Using Company Paid Leave? [Reader Question]

sick leaveWe get all kinds of interesting questions about HR, talent, and the workplace, and today is no exception. Have your own question? Shoot it in to us and we’ll keep it anonymous!

Can an employee be docked on a yearly/scored performance evaluation for using their paid sick leave benefit for legitimate medical appointments?

The Purpose of Employer Paid Leave

Continue reading

How to Legally Avoid Paying Overtime Wages [Reader Question]

I’m trying out a new Q&A format for some questions I’ve received in the last few weeks. Let me know what you think in the comments or by emaiing me your own question to ben@upstarthr.com

overtime clockLast week I got a question in the mailbag that was short and to the point.

How can we avoid paying overtime to employees?

My answer was short and sweet: Continue reading