19 August 2013

Special for Employers: How to Write a Proper Job Posting, or Several Common HR Mistakes


Used to work in Human Resources long ago, before I caught my big break in silly blogging.  I learned a lot of lessons, some the hard way (through internet surfing) and some the easy (guesswork).  To help you avoid making the same mistakes I made (and then blogging about them before I do), here are some of my top several HR mistakes and the horses they rode in on.

Failing in your job post to clearly advertise the soul-crushing monotony of the 'opportunity'.  There is nothing more disappointing to the prospective employee than to undergo the rigorous application, screening, and interviewing process, negotiate an acceptable salary and arrange for the termination of previous commitments, and so forth, get all the ducks lined up in order to take the exciting new position, only to quickly discover that the job is a death sentence, the manager and colleagues insufferable morons and the whole operation tottering on the brink of insolvency / insanity.

Passive candidates are all the rage, but be careful they are not too passive.  You should punch each candidate hard in the shoulder (or whack them in the back of the knee with your sourcing pipeline) and if their response is somewhat or entirely passive, politely end the interview, call for a stretcher and move on.

Hiring a person named Betty for a job requiring someone named Margaret.  While not as bad as hiring someone named Archibald, hiring Betty to do Margaret's job is bound to lead to trouble sooner or later, especially if discovered by Mr. Bilderberger.

Career Fair tips.  Bring little gifts such as rabbit's feet or clam spurts (freeze-dried), with of course your company logo and contact information emblazoned thereupon.  Your promotional materials should be at least twelve feet tall and not overemphasize your Tarantino fixation.  Fine tune your marketing message for your local audience (no tamales in Syracuse, for example).

Applicant Screening.  Perhaps the holes in your applicant screen are not properly sized, allowing potential top performers to slip through while you repeatedly interview the pettifoggers and troglodytes caught in the wire mesh.  Conduct a thorough quantitative and qualitative assessment of your six sigma process, liberally applying unguent to all afflicted areas.

Don't Fall in Love with the Candidate too Early in the Hiring Process.  I made this mistake more than once.  A certain candidate catches your eye, the interview is a joy and it seems like fate.  I just wanna spend the rest of my life supervising this guy, grow old and retire together…  But don't let your love for the candidate blossom, at least not until you have interviewed all the other candidates with an open mind, had their parents meet your parents, re-thunk the job description, consulted your life coach and spent at least one long weekend together under adverse conditions.

After the interview, do not neglect to attach a tracking device to the candidate so that he/she can be continuously tracked by your applicant tracking system.  Best if applied under the skin or through a bone, as many candidates will attempt to get rid of the device by rubbing against a cubicle wall or thicket.

Networking.  Networking is not only done on the subway these days.  Just networking with other funeral directors or cartographers or whatever is not enough.  Look outside your little black box, network with people you hate, get back at them by joining their network and then networking with their best friends and former lovers; network with people you meet on trams, with the guy who played Al in Happy Days; in a small town, know the dog catcher and you have access to his or her entire network right there.  So many people focus on building the network, which is the easy part, and neglect to maintain their network, which is damn near impossible, I mean how are you supposed to make small talk and pretend to care about the family life of someone you chatted with for 10 minutes during a long-ago conference coffee break?  So you have to make time for your contacts, find common interests, for example make play-dates to build model train sets together, or see how many members of your network can squeeze into a phone booth or a Ford Focus. If you make time for the people in your network, they will make time for you, just remember that time is money and just as it takes money to make money, it takes time to make time.  Do what I do: block out an hour on Wednesday afternoons for nothing but taking time to make time, then use the time you have made to make more time to network, plus record your results and review them regularly, a critical oft-overlooked step to really building the living heck out of your network.

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