Friday, February 08, 2013

Guest Post: My First Experiences with HR

The guest posts roll on this week with Michelle's post about her first experiences in HR--and how they reminded her that the interviewing process is very similar to the dating process. Without further ado, here is what Michelle had to say:
So I was thinking back to one of my first experiences with Human Resources and it was when i was trying to get my job secured while i was still in college. I was in touch with the HR director of the agency that I worked for right after college but I remember how hard it was to reach her and to get a definitive answer. I had all my interviews (traveled to New York City and back to Boston all in one day to get them all done) and followed through with HR every week or so to see if there was any confirmation of my hire. I would usually get her voicemail and not receive a call back for a few days. When I did hear back, she would always say something like "we're still in the process of finalizing your position"

After a while I got incredibly frustrated (I really wanted to have my job in place before I graduated). I felt like i was being strung along and i also remember feeling like "why would i want to work for an agency that can't get their act together?"

In other words, I felt that her lack of a definitive answer for so long reflected poorly on the agency. And I also felt like because she was the only person from the agency that i was in communication with, I remember feeling like she was the person who represented the company.  In other words, she embodied the company.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that before you start working somewhere, the HR person is inevitably the only person you get to communicate with. That's why it's important for them to be in open dialogue about your job's status etc, because in the end, you get an impression of the company based on the only person that you are in communication with. Had this HR director handled my job status better, I would not have started having doubts about the agency as a whole.

I was thinking it could be good advice to HR managers when they realize that they are the face to the company for someone who is applying and it is therefore important to handle/manage expectations properly during the whole interview/hiring process. If the manager is hard to get a hold of or they are not sharing concrete information, it can make you feel like the company as a whole is not some place that you would want to work at.

Also, this fits with my whole theory about how applying for a job and interviewing at a company can feel like dating--did the recruiter/HR person like you during the interview (analogy: first date)? will they call you back for a 2nd interview (analogy: second date)? There are so many similarities: from the way you dress to make a good first impression to the thank you (kind of like after a date you write a "thank you" text saying you had a good time and you hope to see the person again). A bad first impression, though, can be a long way to saying "no thanks" to both a prospective job and a prospective relationship.

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