Saturday, August 29, 2009

Five Weeks Into My Search for an HR Assistant

Looking for an HR Assistant in 2009 has been interesting to say the least!

I ask candidates to share their favorite HR discipline and the most frequent answer is, “Helping people.” I’m sure they really do love helping people; so do I. But helping people is not one of the established HR disciplines. (I'm also thinking: if you want to help people, start with me, your future boss!)

Seriously, don’t tell me you love people, explain how you will advance our organization’s business objectives through your mastery of benefits, compensation, technology, etc. Show me you 'get' what HR is, that your understand your role. Tell me how you'll crank out the work, 'cuz there's a lot of it.

Why do I bring this up? Because if applicants were doing more of activities recommended in my next post, they would have the HR foundation to give an answer that has me thinking “yes, yes, yes” instead of “next, next, next.”

Another angle is the social media boom since I last hired an HR assistant. This time around, I check out web footprints of promising candidates. I stay away from FaceBook, but I google to see if they blog or are on LinkedIn or Twitter.

What am I finding online? Not as much as you’d think. No carousing, profanity, offensive behavior….but not much of anything else, either. Most had a LinkedIn profile, but none was especially robust or active. Some applicants’ information was outdated, most had few connections and few if any group affiliations or other signs of life. I found a couple people on Twitter, one person who started a yahoo HR group, and no blogs, not a single comment on anyone else's blog, either.

This was a bit surprising to me. I meet so many earnest people who want to get into HR and profess to be absolutely passionate about it. Yet many of them don’t seem to be taking advantage of the technology that would connect them to HR leaders, colleagues and groups at great advantage to their careers.

As you can imagine, I have some thoughts about that and also five tips (plus a freebie) for developing your young HR career. More about all that in my next post: So You Want to Work in HR?

flickr photo by Michelle13

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