Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Dear Job Seeker in Human Resources

Over the last few weeks, my colleague and I have been conducting a job search for an HR professional for a company here in Atlanta. I have been so surprised by a number of things as it has been awhile since I have conducted a job search for an HR professional.

The first surprise came when we sent out 2 emails to our email network and received over 100 resumes, just in the Atlanta area. The resumes for the most part are for very talented individuals. Many applicants are coming out of some of the biggest corporations in this country. So, the number of talented HR people out of work really hit home for me and that worries me.

I wasn't sure whether to be excited that we had such a great applicant pool or to cry because of what that says about my profession in Human Resources. The scarier idea is that I am not so sure all those big SVP HR jobs will come back as the economy recovers.

My next surprise was around what I will call interview basics. I would think that given the current economy everyone would be on their very best behavior. NOT! Here is just a sampling of what we experienced over the last few weeks:

1) We actually had a no show. I mean the interview was scheduled and confirmed. The phone screen went well and then nothing. Blew my mind!
2) When you phone screen please do not wash the dishes I can hear that in the background. I know it shows you can multi-task but I could not hear how strategic you were from your bowls hitting your frying pans.
3) Please do not name your resume attachments anything other than your name___resume.doc. The HRsuperstar.doc and everythingandthekitchensink.doc does not get my attention.
4) Study your alphabet. It is FMLA not FLMA. It's not URISA it is ERISA.
5) When asked a question about HR strategy do not respond with, "I was very strategic at my last job, when I started tracking turnover for several departments"
6) SPELL CHECK-IT MATTERS. We all make spelling errors, I do it all the time, even in my blog. But in a resume that is your one chance to get noticed; get someone to proofread it for you.
7) Be careful of the language you use. "Our morale sucked" is not what I would call professional speak.
8) If you have a linked in profile make sure it matches your resume. If not, that sure does throw up a red flag.
9) Do a Google search on yourself. We do. Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, YouTube all come up and they are all very interesting. (HRsuperstar sure can party!)
10) Be prepared to send samples of work documents. "They are in the garage on a floppy" does not make me think you are technically savvy or current.

As an HR professional myself, I know I am overly sensitive about some of these things. But, these are the basics that should be common sense. I also felt a lot of desperation with some of the candidates. I hate that, it is a terrible feeling to need a job and the number of available jobs being so scarce.

The competition is tough out there. You have to articulate your value proposition to the company. Don't let some of the things above get in the way.

Don't let the interviewer see you sweat, be confident and be professional, that is the entry to the next round of interviews!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the entertainment and the reminders. Great piece!

Unknown said...

Thanks so much, I appreciate you reading!

Theo Gilbert-Jamison, PHR, Atlanta, Georgia, USA said...

Cathy, you have enlightened us. There are still many things concerning interviewing (even of HR Execs) that we should never assume.

Unknown said...

Thanks Leo, I belive I will follow this post up with what is effective in an interview. We have seen some GREAT candidates!!!

Unknown said...

I meant Theo, I am so sorry for writing Leo instead!

Kim Z said...

WOW! Thanks Cathy for the insights...sad but true!