Getting Entry Level HR Positions (Video)

The only people who seem to know about getting entry level HR positions are those who already have an entry level HR job.

It’s a crappy system, and it needs to change.

As I said yesterday, we have to stop setting people up to fail. We need to help the next generation understand what it will take to break into HR and getting entry level HR positions. College isn’t preparing them. For the most part, parents aren’t preparing them.

Who will take up the call and join me?

Today I’m going to teach the newbies in the audience about entry level HR positions. Everything I know is based on my own experience over the past few years, both my own and helping others with getting entry level HR positions. In the short video below I share some basic ideas that have helped me immensely any time I had to look for a job change within my HR career. The three keys?

  • Networking
  • Professional Development
  • “Doing HR” wherever you are

Video: Entry Level HR Positions

Click here to view the video on YouTube.

Digging deeper

getting entry level HR positionsI have developed a video course to help entry level HR pros find and get their first entry level HR positions and then knock them out of the park. If you are an entry level HR pro or someone looking to get their first HR job, I highly encourage you to check it out!

The course is made up of over an hour of video content, several bonus eBooks, and weekly articles and assignments to help the training “stick” for the long term. These skills will carry you through your entire career; you just need to take the time to learn them!

It’s easy to learn how to get a job in HR, but it isn’t necessarily easy to do it!

How to Prioritize Work Projects (Video)

Learning how to prioritize work projects isn’t something you pick up overnight. I was reminded of this when a friend reached out recently and was looking for information on how to make use of a very limited time frame and what equated to an endless list of projects.

How to Prioritize Work Assignments (Video)

In this short video (embedded below; subscribers need to click through to view) I discuss some of the keys to prioritizing work while keeping your managers and project stakeholders happy.

In case you weren’t making notes, those three key points in the video were:

  1. Setting deadlines (and asking for them)
  2. Getting manager feedback
  3. Communicating more often than normal

Nothing earth-shattering in the video, but you’d be amazed at how often the little things like this will make you look like an outstanding professional compared to those who don’t take the time to do this well.

CEO’s Speak Out on How to Prioritize Work

In a previous book review (Perform Like a Rock Star) I pointed out the results of a survey of numerous CEOs:

CEOs rate the top two qualities they say will help someone advance in their career quickly as:
1) the ability to separate the relevant from the irrelevant
2) the ability to get the job done quickly

So, in other words, being able to prioritize and do work quickly will (statistically) be something that your CEO would appreciate. Keep that in mind–it’s a skill you must develop.

How to prioritize work in HR

In the above examples I was talking about some fairly straight forward items. But I’d like to think that HR has a unique twist. How do you prioritize between a safety training class, conducting a sexual harassment investigation, recruiting for a key opening, and answering open enrollment questions?

Yeah, welcome to HR.

Let’s take a consulting role with an outsider’s perspective. Assuming no serious safety or critical legal issues, how do you prioritize work that is a big, jumbled mess? Check out this short paraphrased conversation I had with a friend this week for how I would start approaching a large number of competing priorities.

Hey, Ben. I am about to fly to an out of town location to meet with some of our remote HR people. The last time I spoke to someone in HR there, they indicated that help was needed in their recruitment, onboarding, health/safety, employee engagement and retention, etc. The trouble is that I don’t know where to begin since it sounds like EVERYTHING needs an update Any advice? -P-

It’s a fairly common problem in the HR field to have this sort of thing, so I tried to offer a valuable response without prescribing too much since I am making judgments from a thousand miles away.

This is such an amazing opportunity for you! Wow. The hard part, of course, is prioritizing the various needs and working on the highest impact items first. And how do you prioritize between recruiting, health/safety, and retention? That’s the real question.

Since you’re coming in from the outside, you’ll have to rely heavily on what the people on the ground know and think about the situation. Ask them what key area you need to start with and go from there. One of my favorite questions to ask in that scenario is “What is your biggest frustration with how things are going now? If we could wave a magic wand to change it, what would be the ideal outcome?”

Sometimes with that pair of questions you’ll hear them tell you exactly what you need to start with. It isn’t always that simple, but I’m amazed at how many times it’s worked for me. Most of the time it just takes the right person to ask the right question at the right time. And I think that’s your role in this!

You might also point them to some of the resources on this page. If they are serious about making improvements then I can guarantee they’ll find at least one idea for making positive change within their work group.

Let me know if that helps or if I can answer more. This is such an amazing opportunity for you and I can’t wait to hear how it goes.

Again, that’s my view from outside the organization, but I think it’s a safe place to start and still have the opportunity to get the local HR staff working in the same direction.

Do you have a specific method for how to prioritize work projects? How do you do it?

Vendor Management Guidelines-Leveraging Corporate Culture

Vendor management guidelines? What? Isn’t this an HR/recruiting/leadership blog?

Well, yes. Yes, it is.

However, all of us have to deal with vendors, consultants, and other service providers at some point in our careers. I’ve been talking with our own Contracts/Subcontracts management pro at work, and we were discussing ways to help our vendors understand what we need from them. No, you don’t have to create a 50 page set of vendor management guidelines and rules to force them to align with your every desire (good luck with that if you try).

So the question remains. How can you communicate the importance of your core values and what matters to your organization in a way that your vendors, consultants, and suppliers understand and want to partner and support your goals? We talk about all that and more in this video.

Subscribers click through to view.

Communicating vendor management guidelines in a friendly way

(source link on YouTube)

So, what do you think? Are a set of vendor management guidelines in order, or would we be able to carefully and intentionally share our core values, culture, and interests in a way that helps to develop a strong partnership with our external resources?

Human Resources Entrepreneur Lessons For Better Performance

4 Tips from the Life of a Human Resources Entrepreneur

human resources entrepreneur-secret identityShhh. I have a secret identity. When I’m not working on my blog/business as a human resources entrepreneur, I’m wearing a tie and going to a day job. I love the dual hats I am able to wear, and the experiences from both working a day job and working for myself are doubly exciting.

I also think that I get to make mistakes twice as fast. :-)

I’ve learned some great lessons that I think apply to my daily work in HR. Life as a human resources entrepreneur life isn’t always easy, and there are plenty of pitfalls. I’m going to talk about one of them that translates especially well to the HR profession and then I encourage you to check out the video below for the other three human resources entrepreneur lessons.

Working “on” vs. working “in”

I’m guilty of it. Let’s start off with that.

Do you ever get so bogged down in the day to day that you don’t take the time to step back and make sure that you’re seeing the big picture? I know I do. It’s easy, really. We get comfortable, even when project deadlines are bearing down on us and we feel like we’re fighting a forest fire with a wet towel. We lower our heads and plow through instead of taking the time to work on process improvement or how we can make things better by putting systems in place.

It’s easy, even when work is difficult, to work “in” the department. It’s not just in human resources. Entrepreneur life includes the same challenge.

In the revolutionary book The E-Myth, Michael Gerber talks about how small businesses often fail because the leaders fail to work “on” the business. People get into business for themselves because they enjoy doing something specific–making soap, cleaning houses, or even blogging.

So they focus on that (working “in” the business). At some point they run into a problem and they keep trying to solve it by doing what they’ve always done; however, it’s not the answer. If the entrepreneur doesn’t stop, take stock, and decide what the business needs (working “on” the business), then it’s destined to fail at some point. That’s a simple example, but you get the picture.

If we as HR pros don’t stop and take stock once in a while, then we’re going to be left in the dust. Marketing, finance, IT, etc. all take the time to plan for the future. They look at how they fit into the organization and plan ahead so they are leading the charge, not trying to play catch up. If you’re not making time to work on your HR team (maybe a “state of the HR union address” would be in order?), then you’re going to be left behind.

It might not be today, and it might not be this year, but there will come a time that you are going to wish that you’d taken the time to rise above the daily shuffle to plan ahead and ensure that your work was congruent with the organization’s goals.

I think I’ve made my point on that one. Check out the video for three other lessons learned as a human resources entrepreneur. This life has taught me much (mainly through making plenty of mistakes and learning from them!).

Video: Human resources/entrepreneur lessons

Subscribers click here to view.

(There’s a little bit of echo and the cam shifted to chop my head off after I set it up, but it’s still pretty darn good compared to the early days. I’ve since fixed the echo and head chopping, so there’s a great example of process improvement right there!) :-)

So, what do you think of the human resources entrepreneur lessons I’ve shared? Are you guilty of any of these? Did you learn any lessons that you can take with you into your day job to do it better? Any plans to work “on” the HR function instead of just “in” it?

Employee Productivity Management

Employee productivity management is normally seen as a manager’s job, and that might be a good thing. Recent research has shown that some managers can achieve up to 10% increases in productivity among their staff.

In the video below I discuss this phenomenon and what it means for HR professionals and business leaders. I also talk about a book that has some crossover between the research on employee productivity management and how it actually played out in another study of manager impact on employee engagement, performance, etc. The third piece I discuss is a philosophy of author/speaker that HR’s last great unexplored frontier is employee productivity and how to get more from our staff. I think that’s a key piece of why engagement has become the hot buzzword in recent years (it sounds cooler than employee productivity management), but they both mean basically the same thing: how can we get more work out of our people for the same amount of money?

If it was an easy answer, we’d have answered it already. The book that I talk about in the video covers some amazing concepts for how to develop a culture of belief that is so strong that it drives employee engagement and profits. I highly encourage you to check it out if that’s something you are interested in.

Check out the video and let me know what you think!

Employee productivity management show notes


So, what do you think? How can HR professionals best impact employee productivity?

Want more? Check out the free employee performance management guide!

#HRevolution HR Improv Session Videos

HR Improv was a session at HRevolution where participants had to present on a slideshow that they had never seen before and somehow tie it back to employee relations, recruiting, etc.

Please forgive the shaky portion of the videos. I grabbed the camera halfway through the session when I realized how hilarious this was going to be. I didn’t have a tripod, so I did the best I could with what I had.

Sean Conrad

Sean Conrad of Halogen Software was one of our volunteers. The random presentation we drew for Sean wasa slideshow invitation to vacation in Nnoordwijk, Holland, and he had to try and relate that to the recruiting and talent management process. The first few minutes of his session were cut off, but this was the winner of the contest, so I wanted to get him a little love anyway! Continue reading

How to Read a Resume for Culture Fit

Have you ever wondered how to read a resume to get the best understanding of the candidate’s fit for the job? What’s the most important part to focus on?

Is it the objective? Is it where you went to school? Maybe it’s your last employer?

Google’s staffing director discusses how to read a resume

It’s not any of those things. Well, not according to Todd Carlisle, Director of Staffing at Google. He believes the most important part of the resume is the bottom portion, where people normally list things like hobbies, activities, volunteer experience, etc.

Candidates\’ early work experience, hobbies, extracurricular activities or nonprofit involvement—such as painting houses to pay for college or touring with a punk rock band through Europe—often provide insight into how well an applicant would fit into the company culture.” source

I think that’s a great idea, and I’d have to agree that it could be valuable for ascertaining a person’s culture fit. Many professionals drop those kinds of information from their resume in order to fit in the valuable experience gleaned at other positions, so you could be missing plenty of them with a great history of volunteering and social activities if you’re only scanning resumes.

That’s where the next point comes in…

Stop reading resumes altogether

In the video below Jerome Ternynck, CEO of SmartRecruiters, brings an even more radical approach to the one above: get rid of resumes and use “profiles” instead. I like the idea, but I don’t know how feasible it is. Frankly, it’s easier for any company to sort through ten resumes than it is to sort through ten profiles for candidates.

And despite there being hundreds of great career resources on the web, some job seekers still have ugly resumes, poor interviewing skills, and no real career plan. Then again, that does weed the technically ignorant folks from the hiring pool (at least until they catch on). Check out the video below for more ideas on how we can get rid of resumes once and for all.