HR Practitioner & the Hiring Manager

Working the relationship

All too often, we, as HR Practitioners fall into the trap of ‘owning’ the entire recruitment and staffing process. Is this because we want the control, or, is it because the supervisor does not want to take it on? After all, it is HR’s responsibility to ensure that the process is done effectively from the very beginning, before a vacancy is even created, to the very end, when the successful candidate is in place and working with the equally successful hiring manager.

We do all of the work and yet, final decisions are, typically, not in the control of the HR Practitioner.

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Our challenge is to find ways to work effectively with the hiring manager in order to ensure that good decisions are made. HR recruiters, as noted in the article above, need to work and understand what managers are looking for, and also, to whom they are connected. HR may have a central role in any organization, but we may not have expansive knowledge about business practices or required expertise to fill specific roles as positional or subject matter experts.

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Sometimes we impose our own HR processes and timelines on to the overwhelmed and overworked hiring manager, who does not understand or appreciate why ‘our’ processes and timelines are important. If the HR Practitioner is able to make pro-active connections with each hiring manager, then there should be mutual benefit for both.

Discussion Questions:

  • Do you agree that there can be mutual benefit for both HR practitioner and Hiring Manager, if proactive connections are made?
  • What steps can you take when assigned to work with a hiring manager who is too busy to commit to ‘your’ HR processes?
  • What can you do to pro-actively encourage a positive decision-making result when working with a hiring manager?

HR and the Interview Setting

Should HR Practitioners know what they are doing in an interview setting?  Whose role is it anyway?

As Human Resources Practitioners, we are often called upon to be the organizational role model for employee behaviour. It’s easy, then, to become the target for how to do things wrong, when the expectation is that the HR Practitioner should always be doing things right.  Right?

Why is HR expected to be perfect? It is because it is so important to organizational success!

A great example of this comes from the following article which reveals that twenty percent of HR practitioners were involved in asking illegal interview questions!   How is that even possible?   If HR cannot get it right, what are supervisors expected to do?

man with fingers crossed
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The article states that, in some cases, HR practitioners are involved in asking questions that focus on religious preferences and practices, disabilities, and gender based issues. When this occurs, the article recommends correcting the situation immediately by addressing the question of concern and ensuring that the person being interviewed knows that the question asked was inappropriate and is not an acceptable practice. Is this solution a little bit of “too little, too late”?

The article has some great comments – many of them harshly critical of the role of HR in the interview process, including the perception that HR practitioners are ‘liars’ and, “Liars are not leaders”. If HR practitioners are regarded as liars then what does that say about the rest of the organization as represented by HR?  The article and the comments may make for uncomfortable reading and show how quickly HR can lose credibility if we do not know what we are doing!   If HR does not have credibility, then what is its value?

Discussion Questions:

  • What are three practices that HR must include in preparing for interviews?
  • How will I address members of an interview panel when they go ‘off script’ or outside of legal boundaries?
  • Have I been in an interview where the HR practitioner has made me feel uncomfortable?
  • How will I lead in the role of HR to avoid being called a liar?
  • How do I continually improve the credibility of HR?
  • What will I do to address issues of accommodation when they come up in an interview setting?

 

 

The Painful, Yet Important, Job Analysis

Why is Job Analysis so important and yet, so very very painful? Ask any HR Practitioner if they would rather; a) do a complete job analysis for every single position in their organization or b) have dental surgery performed without any anesthesia or freezing agent? Absolutely guaranteed that the answer will always be the latter. Job Analysis may not be fun, but it is a crucial step to ensure organizational success.

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Job Analysis is a fundamental tool that every HR practitioner must understand and/or use at some point throughout their career. It provides a cornerstone to ensure that job specifications are built from a neutral perspective, job descriptions can be created, effective recruitment processes can be built and put into place, and good decisions can be made based on good processes established from the beginning.

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Good job analysis resources are available through an number of live websites including, the one provided above. There are not a lot of varying opinions about the need for job analysis.   This is one area of HRM where the ‘just do it’ approach comes into play. What may be an on-going concern for the HR Practitioner, however, is access to useful tools, methods and processes when taking on the task of Job Analysis.

Discussion Questions:

Given how critical job analysis is, especially when related to formulating a recruitment strategy, why are there limited professional perspectives on effective job analysis?

  • How do we, as HR professionals, ensure that we fully comprehend the importance of this approach?
  • How do we explain and use job analysis effectively when we engage with hiring managers as partners throughout the recruitment process?

 

The Candidate

Sometimes, the interview process can be deadly dull for everyone involved. Heineken, the Dutch brewing company, is noted for its unique and creative media campaigns when it comes to advertising their beer related products. They’ve taken the extra step and have applied that creativity to their hiring campaigns and documented it in this video clip “The Candidate”.

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It’s fun; it’s inspiring; it’s heart-warming. But is it effective? How do you know?

All too often HR practitioners get lost in making sure the ‘right’ questions get asked and/ or the ‘correct’ tests are administered to ensure that the ‘right’ candidate gets hired based on standard Knowledge, Skills and Abilities requirements. Does the Heineken approach allow for an opportunity to get that elusive ‘fit’ requirement between the candidate and the company? Does this process make the decision to hire the right person easier at the end? Are there other benefits to this approach?

If nothing else, this clever recruitment strategy provides a great promotional opportunity for Heineken to elevate brand recognition and to ensure vast international interest for future recruitment strategies. It also challenges other employers to step up their game when it comes to interactive recruitment processes in order to ensure that the best candidate gets the job.

Let’s recognize that Heineken, as a vast global organization, has the money and resources to put this recruitment campaign into place. Most employers would not have access to do any of this kind of recruitment on such a huge scale. Having said that, all employers, with the guidance and support of an effective Human Resources team, want the same result – to recruit, select and hire the best person for the job.

Discussion Question:

  • How will you as the HR practitioner make sure that the best hiring fit is ensured no matter how big or small your organization may be?

Working Moms and Family Status

If working moms are more productive, how can you ask the question about “family status” in an interview? Babies on the wall and all!

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This article seems to fly in the face of asking questions related to family status. If working moms are more productive, how can HR practitioners ensure that entire recruitment process is still fair and equitable to all applicants?

Businesswoman With Daughter
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As HR practitioners, we use the interview process to make sure that the ‘best’ candidate comes forward through each stage of the recruitment process. At the same time, we need to be wary of treading into preconceived ideas as to who is more effective as a worker especially when we start dealing with ‘typical’ labeling or stereotypes based on what is trending or current in dealing with workplace issues.

Supermoms may exist. So do Superdads. Does having children matter when we look to a commitment by the individual when they make a decision to join your particular workplace? Maybe we should be clear about what type of work environment the candidate is walking into so that they (the candidate) can decide whether or not the work that is required best suits their own lifestyle and work-life choices.

Discussion Questions:

  • Is it ever okay to ask the question regarding family status in an interview?
  • How do we evaluate potential employee productivity during the recruitment process?
  • What kinds of scheduling considerations should the HR practitioner put into place when dealing with employees who may have parental obligations?
  • What kinds of workplaces would be best suited to providing a ‘child’ friendly work environment?
  • Does having family friendly HR policies cause levels of discrimination?
  • What are the policy considerations that the HR Practitioner should be developing?