Are You Busy or Idle?

Lately, I’ve found myself saying the word busy a lot in conversations with others. I’ll go out with my friends and tell them how busy I am at work. I tell my boss I’m so busy the filing couldn’t get done today. When companies calling trying to sell me something, I’ll tell them I’m too busy for the month.  Being “busy” seems to be a way to let people know you’re working, without telling them what you’re actually working on.

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However, I also find myself being very idle in certain moments of the day. I have a to-do list a mile long that ranges from completing that filing – can you tell it’s my least favorite part of the job? – starting a new blog post, doing homework, or studying for the SHRM-CP, but I feel like I’m not actually completing anything.

As an #HRNewbie there is so much to learn that I sometimes feel very stagnant in my role.  I’m unsure if I’m doing enough or I’m worried that I’m not taking the time to truly understand a lesson that’s in front of me. What’s even worse, I’m not exactly sure how I arrived at this space.

#HR – are we busy making productive changes or just busy looking busy?

Image result for confusing words memeThink about that questions this way, are we spinning our company in circles trying to push a new policy, agenda, or system onto them? Or are we too busy looking busy, that we are holding the company back from advancing? What is the perfect balance?

HR tends to be the go to department to blame when nothing is happening, we aren’t pushing out the right type of product, customer service, or training to take our employees to the next level. Or we’re taking them too fast on the business side and need to hold back and spend more time on operations.

We went from talking saying “oh HR needs to ask for a seat at the table” to “oh HR is changing” but what is actually happening? Are we too busy being idle in our current position of business? Of our careers? Our lives?

Young Professionals – what are you doing to create change or break into the HR world?

#HR, are you busy or are you idle, what’s your answer?

Until Next Time …

Part 4 of the Dear Applicant Mini Series Coming Soon!

Dear Applicant 3 – Let’s Talk Callbacks!

I believe callbacks hold a special place in the hearts of the #HR recruiter life, that’s the best way to describe them.

Image result for job callback memePersonally, I’ve had a lot of experiences with callbacks, both making them and receiving them. They aren’t my favorite part of the job, I’ll be honest about that, however, they are very important. After a background check and interview is completed for a new job, you’re eager to hear back from the company and find out if you have the position or not. So when an applicant doesn’t hear from the company within 3 hours of that interview, they pick up that phone.

Dear Applicant: Don’t pick up the phone within 24-48 hours of the interview, send a thank-you card instead and wait at least 3 days before calling. 

When you killed that interview and know your background check is clean, you want to sign that dotted line and start your job immediately, but that’s not how it works. In the blog post Dear Applicant … A Mini Series I explained that we don’t control the time frame it takes to receive the background checks. Some will come back the same day, sometimes depending on how many places you’ve resided, it could take a week or more. While you’re waiting take the time to write a quick thank-you note to the interviewer and company. Mail it the same day of the interview and we will receive it, normally within 2 days. We receive plenty of phone calls every day, this is another way to set yourself apart from the competition. This is not about being an inconvenience in HR’s day, this is what we are here for, but finding a way to show you understand the process.

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I once had an applicant call me back to back for a week straight asking about his background check, this not only made me very skeptical of hiring him, but it also made me even more upset when I received the results! There is nothing more annoying than getting a background check back and it has a list of violations that the applicant did not disclose, especially when they’ve received our company policies on the application.

It is also important companies understand callbacks and not to skip this part of the process. No matter if you’re going to hire that applicant or not, pick up the phone and give them an update. I tell my store managers all the time, we may not hire them, however, everyone is a customer and everyone is a reference for your company. We help decide if the information they give to others will be great or damaging.

Until Next Time …

Comment below and let me know how you’re liking the Dear Applicant Mini Series. Share, like, and subscribe for more information.

  1.  Dear Applicant … A Mini Series 2. Dear Applicant 2 – Interviewing 101

Dear Applicant 2 – Interviewing 101

Here we are the 2nd post for the Dear Applicant Mini Series discussing the joys of interviewing.

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I’ve given a lot of interviews in my years, more of them have been given as an assistant manager than as an HR pro.  I’ve learned a lot about people by conducting those interviews and figuring out how to do that has not come easy. For example, trying the Stabler and Benson approach to get an interviewee, to tell the truth, yeah, it’s not good for business.

(Believe me, I know a great Law & Order Meme would go here, but I couldn’t find the perfect one!)

When you finally get that call from the HR department or the recruiter asking you to come in or have an interview over the phone, you want to be prepared. I think practicing your interview skills is just as important as keeping your resume updated. I hate to tell you to be prepared to answer the normal questions that managers or HR professionals ask because having an automatic rehearsed reply is can hurt you as bad as sending a cover letter with the wrong company name. But it is important that you’re able to answer these top 4 questions:

  1. Tell me about yourself? – I love this question, it’s my favorite of all, and I’m going to ask it at every interview. I want interviewees to tell me about who they are as a person, not that they “work hard”. I’m sure that is going to come up at some point, but tell me you like skiing or race car driving. Anything that’s not the norm and that will get a conversation going. Interviews are no longer 2 people staring at each other just asking hypothetical questions. Be careful not to overshare, but don’t just make it the response we hear every day, stand out from the crowd.
  2. Why did you leave your last job? – Please do not spend this time bashing the company that you previously worked for, it makes me think this is exactly what you will do when you’re tired of this position. Instead, tell me why you’re looking to advance in your career, that the growth you were ready to pursue was not available at that position.
  3. Why do you want to work for us? – I hope you’ve researched the company before the interview if you have the chance. I was hired for my HR position through a temp agency and had no idea the company I was interviewing for. When I was face to face with the VP of HR, my current boss, I had to use the big company as help to answer this question. Instead of being specific to this franchise, I told her the company was the best in its industry and I wanted to be associated with a company that believes in its product and its people.
  4. Why should we hire you? – Although the meme below is very fun, this is not a good answer. Tell me what you’re going to bring to the company and how you’re going to help us expand. What benefit will we receive from adding you to our team?

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These are just a few suggestions that I like to give people preparing for an interview. It’s not perfect, a matter of fact, some HR pros will tell you my answer to #1 question is exactly what they don’t want to hear. However, feel out the room and the individuals, be ready to have a conversation, not just answer questions.

Another tip is to have a few questions lined up for the company. Simply asking about the team or culture in the workplace or what exactly they will be expecting you to be as a team member.

What questions or tips do you have for interviews? Comment them below!

Until Next Time …

Dear Applicant … A Mini Series

This is my 20th Blog Post !!! I’m so excited that I’ve made it this far in the HR blogging world and very thankful to everyone that has come and supported the blog.

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It hasn’t been 20 years or even 20 months, but 20 is a big deal and it’s normally around the age that most people enter the “adult” career world. I’ve been working since I was 16, but of course, those were part-time jobs that paid minimum wage and while it gave me experience, I knew I did not want to work in a call center forever.

I decided for my 20th Blog Post on the HRJazzy Blog, we will start a mini theme, named “Dear Applicant”. When most people turn 20 they are realizing that college graduation is near, if they choose that route of life, and trying to find internships, jobs, volunteer roles that will help give them experience. “Dear Applicant” is here to answer questions that new people coming into the workforce may have and inform them on what HR and recruiters are searching for every step of the hiring journey.

Let us start with an easy one …

Dear Applicant: When filling out an application, read over the entire application, fill out the entire application, and do not lie regarding your background. 

I work in a small franchise company and I receive and review all of the applications that come into the stores and office. We have paper and online applications because most of our applicants are actually customers first, we get more paper applications. I read over ever application before I run a background check to see if anything is missing and has not been completed. I understand that this is a part-time position for potential employees and that for most of them, this is their first job, but you have to pay more attention to the details when completing the applications.

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Before you submit the application online or in person, read over each page. If you have a question, contact the company, do not wait to see if the company finds the missing information and reach out to receive clarity. I would rather you contact the manager of the store or myself to ask questions or explain concerns you have, before turning in the application. Also, please know, HR will not run your background report if the paperwork is not completed the correct way. This means you are increasing your wait time to receive a follow-up interview or job offer.

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The paperwork you receive and the information from the manager give clear information that the company will be running a background check. Companies have very strong policies regarding background checks/criminal records and one of the worst things an applicant can do, for me personally, is to lie about what will be found or the extent of situation that happened. All companies will not decline your job request simply because of what is found on the background check if you are honest about the situation when we contact you for discussion, we may be able to process the information better and find the perfect fit for both parties.
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Please note that all company, state, and/or federal laws are not the same. This is just a suggestion of what most people are expecting from an applicant filling out an application.

If you have a question or suggestion for a job seeker, comment below, or reach out to me. Helping people achieve their goals is one of the main reasons HR exist. We are not just for the company, employee awareness must play a major role.

Also, there were just so many good memes for background checks, as you see, I could not resist.

Until Next Time ….

Students of HR

Summer school is officially in session. I always find myself extremely excited to start a new course on the journey to my Master’s Degree. Normally I go out and buy a lot of new pens, even though this is an online based course. I pick out my new notebook, the paper is one thing I am really OCD about, if there is one fold or tear, I’ll rewrite the entire page. Then I’ll print out all of my assignments to get a head start. I’m sure you can imagine the number of pens I have in my office.

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I began my program in July 2015, I have 4 more courses (including the one starting today) until I finish my degree. The one major problem I’ve noticed is a primary absence of the experience all employers are looking for in any career. Let me explain exactly what I mean.

  1. Papers – Papers Everywhere! Yes, I know how to format a paper in APA, but in a year and some change of working in HR, I’ve never had to write a real paper. I’ve had to write out responses to lawyers, decline job offers, write out unemployment claim denials, etc. I’m not saying I will never have to write a paper in my career, but I don’t think that is where the primary focus should be. Give me examples on writing to lawyers, federal agencies, bring real life examples into the teachings.
  2. Discussion Questions – I like this area, it allows the students to come together and answer questions and have conversations. But I don’t think the questions are really relevant to today’s world of HR.
  3. Social Media – I have yet to have a class that tells me to get involved in the social media world of HR. I understand everyone doesn’t like social media, but seriously 8 of 12 courses, and not a mention in 1? I don’t know about my fellow students, but in this age of social media, I think the instructors are not reaching out of the classroom enough to expose their students to more.
  4. SHRM – this is because I’m in HR, but whatever your career choice is, your school should give you every opportunity to explore the organizations that are created for that field. I’ve read all of the syllabuses I will have courses for, only one of them, the very LAST course I will take, requires students to become members of SHRM. This is an HR degree, and the very last course is the only one that actually mentions SHRM?

Give me experiences that I can take into the workplace, not just another topic to write a paper on. Give me topics to research that are relevant to the advances happening today. Give me different forms of media to reach out and learn more than what I’ll get just reading a book. Teach me subject matters that will help me obtain my certification in HR.

Breaking into HR is a difficult task and it’s time for the education system to step in and give real life experiences to the students that are paying thousands of dollars. I have a mound of student loans that I have to pay back and no exact plan on how to get it done. If I’m spending all of this money to obtain a degree, I should know that I received the education that will help me have all of the experiences my field wants entry level career seekers to have.

I’m not here to place the blame on instructors or universities/colleges. As students we should be reaching out to obtain these experiences as well and not waiting for information to fall in our laps.

Do you think education is playing a big enough role for the HR newcomers?

Until Next Time …

Remember to check out the About Me Page!

What About Me?

You can’t pour from an empty cup …

You clicked the link don’t run away now.

Emotions at work can be a hard pill to swallow for some HR individuals, managers, and company executives. It’s one of those topics that we shy away from or outright ignore and expect people to discuss off of company property and time. Well get over it, it’s not going to happen, and as HR Pros, we shouldn’t want it to happen.

“If your emotional abilities aren’t in hand, if you don’t have self-awareness, if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can’t have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far.”

-Daniel Goleman

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Emotions are difficult and I will be one to admit, I’m not the best when dealing with others emotions, I’m learning. It’s been a subject on Twitter for a few weeks now regarding #HR self awareness on how to deal with our own emotions, while handling others.

 

When do #HR Pros get the opportunity to say, “What about me”? Think about the fact that we truly never stop what we are doing. I haven’t met too many HR pros that will tell their employees to just deal with whatever is going on. While attending #SHRM17, you could find many #HR pros on their phone, computer, checking email, trying to fix a situation, or checking in on the company. We were still at work while also being in attendance and learning. .

I saw a lot of #HR pros going back to work on the Thursday after the conference, and I have to applaud you’ll. I love my job, this is truly the happiest I’ve ever been with a company, but … No. I had to take the time to rest, I understand everyone isn’t able to, but we cannot allow the job to control our life or our emotions. This will make us a lot crazier than what the world believes #HR is already.

For me, there is nothing better than being able to get in my bed and read a good book. Whenever I feel like too much is going on, I run to my bed, it’s basically my safe haven. However, I am learning that running to other #HR pros, when I have an #HR problem is very helpful, because I can get advice instead of sitting in my head for hours.

I want #HR Pros to find their group of people who they can just vent to in a moment, but not just to vent, to also check up on and make sure everyone is ok and have non #HR conversations. Tamara Rasberry, Kristina MinyardCarlos Escobar, Steve Browne, Janelle Rodriguez and countless other HR/Cool Lawyer Pros have been tweeting and/or writing about keeping in contact with the real life connections made at #SHRM17, and to still reach out to those you still want to meet. I want you to find something YOU enjoy, besides work, and make it goal to start doing that activity at least once a month, once a week if you can and it’s not too crazy. Even the strongest introvert understands the importance of people.

Always be the safe haven for your employees, but find a safe haven for yourself.

Until Next Time …

It’s #FF remember to follow the #HR Pros you want to reach out to, it’s important that we take the time to uplift each other.

Creating Change from #SHRM17

After the #SHRM17 conference, I had a lot of time to think about how I could create change in the workplace. However, I haven’t been in my role for a very long time with my company and I’m not exactly sure how to create change in an environment that is already built.

While attending an “Ask Anything Lunch” Take 10 session at #SHRM17, I asked the pros how to go about creating change in the workplace. Heather Kinzie simply told me to “find out the why”. Being new to a company, I haven’t questioned many things in the organization. I always thought the best thing to do when you’re new, is to find out how they currently handle situations and daily work, and then slowly start expressing opinions.  See, all millennials don’t come in the door thinking we’re the boss, after a while we show you why we should be though.

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Change from the HR department usually has a lot of push back, in any organization, but change is also the one constant that your business should be ready to handle. It is important how we communicate the change to our peers, managers, and team members to receive a successful outcome.

#SHRM17 gave me inspiration for multiple situations that I could take back to work and use personally as well, but I’m not sure how to implement the change. One of the changes I want to add to our company is a simple suggestion box in each store location. Creating this small change to the workplace on my own, can show an employer that I’m willing and able to provide solutions and not just present problems. We are a family oriented company, strong in our roots, and stand behind our team members, but I don’t think we take every opportunity to actually listen to what ideas they may have to offer.

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I’ve decided to create a PowerPoint presentation of everything learned at #SHRM17 and when presenting it to my boss, the VP of HR, I will have a few suggestions about ways I think we can create a positive change in the workplace.

What change do you want to implement in your company and what solution will you give to implement the change? Give me some ideas in the comment section below.

Until Next Time …

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