The Joys of HR

This is my favorite commercial ever.  Bar none.

This is not an endorsement of the vendor, but they do have great stuff.

March 21, 2014 at 1:44 pm

First-Time Manager Blues

It’s a very special privilege to be promoted from your peer group into a management role.  However, it can have a difficult down side – your peers are now your reports.  It’s a balancing act that requires delicacy.

The Crucial Skills blog has a great post today on just this topic.  Including this quote from restaurateur Danny Meyer:

“Fire is used in many ways—all analogous to your new duties,” he teaches. “Fire can warm. Your duty is to encourage people. Fire is light. Your job is to teach. Fire can cook. Your duty is to strengthen and feed. Fire is a gathering place in many cultures. Your job is to build the team. Fire can also burn. There are rare times when you will need to use your power to give hard feedback. But do so carefully.”

Check out the entire post for some practical advice on navigating through the transition.

February 13, 2013 at 2:45 pm

Punk Rock Pixie Strikes Again

My favorite HR blogger by far is Laurie Ruettimann of Cynical Girl fame.

Today she talks about avoiding HR.  She’s right.  By the time you get to HR, things have often gone too far to fix.  And HR people really don’t want to manage your employees for you.   We’re happy to teach you how to manage better, hear your ideas for solving problems, and help you with your management strategy.  But, we don’t want to do your job for you.

HR’s true function should be focused on workforce planning based on company goals.  We are advisers, coaches, and yes, enforcers.  But we hate the enforcing part.  We’d rather help you prevent the pain in the first place – which explains why we get cranky when you want us to clean up your mess.

So, check out Laurie’s tips for avoiding HR.  They might change your world.  Or at least your day.

January 29, 2013 at 12:49 pm

Understanding The Role of Assessments – 9 to 5 Guest Post

This is a complete re-post of my interview with Aimee Fahey on her Ecogrrl Consulting blog.  Thanks, Aimee for a great topic of discussion!


Today I’m excited to welcome back Pamela Moore of Compass Human Resources for another guest post.  You may remember her fantastic guest post last year onnegotiating pay.  This time around, I wanted to get her recommendations for those who are hiring managers, and want a little help in answering that age-old question, “but how will I KNOW if this person will fit with our team?”.  While we don’t have a crystal ball in the HR world, there are a number of great tools that can provide greater insight into your candidates that you are considering hiring, and I’ve asked Pam to tell us more.

Psst – to the job applicant…this is great insight into the hiring process!

Why should I consider using assessments during the interview process?
The best candidates know how to perform well in an interview.  They also know how to put together a great resume – or hire someone to do it for them.  Having an expert recruiter designing behavior-based interview questions can mitigate some of that.  However, interview questions simply can’t get to a few things:

  • How will the person react under stress?
  • What kinds of situations will cause them stress?
  • How emotionally stable are they?
  • What is their management style?  Not what they say – what they actually DO.
  • What values drive their choices?
  • Do they have issues with authority?

Assessments can be extremely helpful in getting to the things that are below the surface.

Are there any legal issues I should keep in mind?  Aren’t personality tests illegal?
Assessments aren’t illegal providing you can show that they are relevant to the position, are administered consistently, don’t inadvertently discriminate, and are administered by a professional who uses them in a variety of situations and can interpret them well.

Use a well-known assessment with scientific data behind it.  There are a lot of shady assessments out there that measure things not relevant to work.  Many of them have very little data compiled to support their results.  Do your research.

There are a ton of assessments out there – how do I know which one is the best?  What do you recommend?
Which assessment you use really depends on your needs.  I have used several:  Myers-Briggs, Personalysis, DiSC and Hogan. Each looks at slightly different things.

  • Myers-Briggs is a true personality assessment.  I find it works best in a clinical atmosphere.  It’s difficult for participants to apply to work situations.  Also the reports and output are structured differently depending on which consultant you work with.
  • Personalysis is used to assess communication styles.  This works great for teams because 90% of the issues I see in ineffective teams are caused by poor communication. The reports are very visual, which participants absorb well.  I probably wouldn’t use this for selection, though.
  • DiSC is a work style assessment.  It will vary slightly depending on the person’s role and how long they’ve been in the role.  The results you get at hire may not be the same in six months.  This tool is great for both individuals and teams.  It’s very visual and easy for participants to apply.  I’ve seen it create a common language for team members that makes it easy for them to talk about interactions.  Creating a team composite report is very easy and extremely useful.
  • Hogan is a personality and behavior assessment.  It measures some things that other assessments do not:  emotional stability, personal values, etc.  It provides a level of detail that is very useful when working with high-level employees.  Also, Hogan is one of the few legally defensible tools out there.  It has been scientifically proven to have predictive validity.  Hogan can be used for both individuals and teams, and they offer a report specifically for selection purposes.

In my business, I use DiSC for non-managers or first-time managers, and for teams.  I like Hogan for experienced managers and executives.  Because these tools can be used for so many related purposes, they give you high value for your money.

Should the rest of my team do the assessment?
If you’re building a new team, you might wait until the team is built to have the existing employees complete the assessment.  However, if it’s an established team, you may want to do it before the new hires come on board.  Then you have the ability to do a team facilitation that will help everyone come to a common understanding of styles, needs, and team dynamic.  This can prevent a lot of turmoil as the team grows and changes.

What is the best stage during the recruiting process to administer assessments to my candidates?
These assessments are not free.  You will pay for the assessment and the consultant’s time to analyze results.  Have a budget ahead of time.  In order to keep costs down and to avoid assessing people who may not truly be viable candidates, I recommend doing assessments before final interviews.  Assessing two or three candidates that you feel strongly about is most effective.

However, you should be sure to let candidates know at the beginning of the recruitment process that finalists will be asked to complete an assessment.  Normally, the recruiter tells me who the finalists are, and gives me their contact info.  I then send the assessment to them and the results come back to me.  I analyze the results, then meet with the hiring team to review them.  We talk about the pros and cons of each candidate’s profile in relation to the job description.  They can then construct final interview questions designed to delve into any areas of concern.

The assessment should be just one item used to make the hiring decision.  Interview questions, resumes, etc should also be used. Candidates should not get a copy of the assessment results.  That is part of the job file just like the interview questions and selection criteria.

I’ve never done these before – how hard is it to interpret the results?
Good question.  Some hiring managers think that because they have taken a particular assessment themselves, that they are qualified to interpret them too.  That is NOT the case.

In order for assessments to hold up as a legally acceptable part of the hiring process,they need to be administered by an expert – someone who uses them as part of their work, who has gone through the education process offered by the assessment organization, and who has experience using them in many different situations.

In the case of DiSC and Hogan, there are combinations of traits that indicate very specific behaviors/styles.  The average person would not be trained to recognize and interpret those subtleties.  Hogan actually requires consultants to be certified in order to administer their assessments.

Want more information, sample assessments, or help in choosing an assessment? Contact Pam directly at:

January 28, 2013 at 1:21 pm

Is That a Chihuahua in Your Lap?

Twice in the same week I have been driving in a major metro area during rush hour and followed people who had small dogs in their laps.  Which got me wondering whether that is more or less distracting than using a mobile device while behind the wheel.  So I did a little research.

The most common “distracted driving” activities are:

  • Texting
  • Eating and drinking
  • Grooming
  • Using GPS
  • Adjusting sound system
  • Using a mobile phone
  • Talking to passengers
  • Reading
  • Watching video

(no mention was made of lap dogs)

Here are some disturbing statistics:

  • In 2010, 3,092 people were killed – and 416,000 injured – in distracted driving crashes.
  •  Texting while driving increases crash risk 23 times.
  •  Texting takes your eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds. That’s like driving 100 yards at 55 mph – blind.
  •  Using a phone while driving reduces your necessary brain activity by 37%
  •  25% of US drivers regularly use a phone while driving.  That increases to 75% in the 18 to 29 age group.
  •  9% of drivers regularly text while driving. 52% of drivers 18 to 29 text while driving

Many states are enacting hands-free laws, but that hasn’t been shown to reduce risks compared to hand-held use of mobile devices.  So what is the answer?  My recommendation:  leave the chihuahua at home.


Center for Disease Control

November 1, 2012 at 12:37 pm 1 comment

Dealing with Politics at Work

This election year is jam-packed with topics that are close to our emotions: healthcare reform, education, same-sex marriage… things that will directly affect our everyday lives.  While we want people to actively discuss and participate in the political process, how do we keep things from getting overly distracting in the workplace?

Fisher & Phillips has two articles out this week that give some great guidelines for the workplace.  And, that clarify some points of free speech that I bet you weren’t aware of.

My quick tips are:

  • Understand both employee and employer rights and boundaries
  • Have a clear policy and educate your employees
  • Focus on work at work
  • Err on the side of caution

When in doubt about a specific situation, contact your attorney.

October 2, 2012 at 12:11 pm

Recruiting – A Positive Experience, Or Just An “Experience”?

When was the last time you sat down and really considered the candidates’ points of view during your recruiting process?  Are they treated with courtesy and respect?  Is their time valued?  Do the people that DON’T get the job still have a positive opinion of your company?

I asked my recruiting guru/goddess, Aimee Fahey, to give me her perspective on making recruiting a positive experience for everyone.  And how that can really benefit the organization.

PAM:  Define “recruiting experience” from your point of view.

AIMEE: As a recruiter, I take ownership of facilitating the process from start to finish, and therefore I feel it is my responsibility to ensure a positive recruiting experience.  As a recruiter, I am the face of my company, and work with all parties to ensure the right people go into the right jobs at the right time. To me, the recruiting experience assesses satisfaction from three perspectives – that of the candidates, the hiring teams, and yes, the recruiter.  If one or more are dissatisfied, the process needs to be examined.  Everyone needs to be on board and feel good about the hiring process.

PAM:  How can the recruiting experience negatively affect employee retention?

AIMEE: The hiring process is all about (or should be all about) giving both the candidate and the hiring team a realistic preview of not only the job, but the working relationship as well.  If you’re not focusing on the right areas in your questions, not providing good service, you’ve already started off on the wrong foot.  I’ve been in jobs myself where it’s been a complete 180 from how the position was represented in the interview because the hiring manager was too busy selling the employee – it’s a disservice to everyone.  In addition, employees who are part of hiring teams dealing with poor organization, lack of communication, and/or dysfunctional relationships?  Well, they stop wanting to refer good people – and they start looking elsewhere.  Why?  Because hiring has to be an organization’s first priority.  The people make the product who make the company – people always have to (genuinely) come first.

PAM: How can it positively affect retention?
AIMEE:  A former mentor of mine used to say, “our employees are our best recruiters”.  Give them a great experience and they’ll have a greater trust in you as the employer because you were honest with them upfront about the job, the culture and the team, and because from day one they were justifiably excited.  In addition, as you can imagine, happy employees refer more applicants (because they love it there), and “pay it forward” – giving an honest picture of the environment and the job, as you had for them.

PAM: What do you feel are the top 3 success factors in a positive recruiting experience?
1. Communication – Great communication among all members of the hiring team – everyone’s got to be on the same page not only with what their roles are, but understanding themselves what the job is, what’s expected of them, and a shared belief in how their company takes care of candidates.
2. Customer Service – Great customer service to ALL applicants from start to finish (I say applicants to include those who do not make it to interview status), from giving them the information they need about the job, the team, and the company; to handling the logistics efficiently; to selling the company throughout the process; to making them feel not just welcome, but respected for their time investment.
3. Content – The interviews have to give a realistic portrayal of the job, ask questions that are not only relevant but help interviewers get a stronger picture of their potential to succeed, and involve the people they’ll be interacting with both on their team and in a cross-functional capacity.

PAM: How have you constructed your business to ensure that candidates have a positive experience, and how does that reflect on your clients?

AIMEE:  For me, I’ve been around long enough as a recruiter and human resources professional to know what does and doesn’t work in hiring the right people (rather than “filling requisitions”).  My reputation is based on the candidate experience, and facilitating the hiring process from start to finish.  When I first meet with a client, we discuss our philosophies around hiring, what we each believe the recruiting experience should look like, and – if that’s a fit – then talk about how I can make their lives easier and get them the people they need more effectively and efficiently by allowing me to guide the process and trusting my expertise and experience.  I rely on them as the subject matter experts on the jobs we’re hiring for and the culture they’ve created, and they rely on me for my expertise when it comes to matching the right people with the jobs, where I find them, and how I partner with their team.  I am always clear about expectations from the beginning when it comes to turnaround time, customer service, interviewing dynamics, and other aspects I think are important in hiring.

Thanks, Aimee!  As always, your perspective is fresh and timely.

So everyone, how does your recruiting experience stack up?

August 29, 2012 at 10:00 am 1 comment

Older Posts

Like Us On Facebook

Enter your email address to follow this blog

Join 5 other followers

Older Posts

%d bloggers like this: