Thursday, January 17, 2013

Advice to HR People at Career Fairs

The Captain has a lot to say about human resources, none of it good, and like him, I hold a dim view of it as well. While I have not had the (dis)pleasure to deal with all the worst aspects of it, I do know that out of all the interviews I have ever done, the ones with HR are my least favorite. Interviewing with the employees is great because they ask you important questions, interviewing with management is a mixed bag, sometimes it's good sometimes bad, I have never liked interviewing with HR.
Bizarre questions, which really have little to due with the job, such as where do you see yourself in 5 years or why do you want this job, serve no purpose.  Everyone knows that 5 years from now there is a good chance I will not be there, it could be because I was laid off, it could be because I found something better, it could be because I simply wanted to move to a new state. A question like that might have made sense 30 to 40 years ago when lifetime employment wasn't uncommon, you could argue that a question like that could gauge motivation, though even then I am skeptical of the merits of such a question, but in todays age when the average employment period is something like 2 to 3 years, it doesn't make much sense to ask the question.  It's not that I am against working for the same company for 10 to 15 years, in fact that would be quiet nice, but the likelihood isn't that great, so let us face reality. I am interviewing for a job I believe I can do, you should ask me questions that gauge my ability to do said job.
Now, the image below isn't necessarily that of an HR person. It could be a manager or an employee that was asked to go to the career fair, it isn't uncommon. However, and this is only anecdotal experience, every fair I have been to the business casual uniform was the outfit of HR.  Now I can only speak for the banking, finance, real estate analysis and corporate jobs, I know that certain groups like engineers don't always dress up for these events, but employees and managers that have gone have always been in a suit and tie for men, and the equivalent for women.


The reason being is that people understand that the career fair isn't about just finding an employee, in fact career fairs probably aren't the best way to find a job though you should still do them, but they are also opportunities to market yourself. What I see in the picture doesn't impress me.
Right off the bat I do not like the interviewers dress. While a company, and its representatives, can dress however they want, within company guidelines, for interviews within the company, this is a career fair. There are potential competitors here! What happens if your rival company shows up in three piece suits when you show up with a blue blouse that is too small and you can see the outline of your bra straps? You get what happened when the Marine and Army recruited at my college, the Marines were in Dress Blues and the army in their baggy BDU's, and the result was that the Marines had way more people visiting their information booth. 
Secondly, she is reading the resume. Look, there is a line of half dozen people behind that well dressed man, whose body posture indicates that he isn't happy with going on. Why waste every one's time? You can go back and read those later, talk to the man! Not only is it going to save time, make the experience more enjoyable for everybody, but it is a far better way to get a feel for a person. Take notes on the back of it and if you really liked the interview with the man then put a mark next to his name or something. Read the rest of the stuff later on your own time!
Thirdly, and this is common, why are companies wasting money on little trinkets to hand out? I doubt the guy wants a pen, he wants a job, and pens are like a buck thirty anyways.  Moreover, they spent money on pens, yet I do not see any billboards, posters, or brochures.  This is an event for the company to market itself! The best prospects aren't going to bother going to a booth that makes the company look like it it is a rinky dink operation, but that is exactly the impression I am getting right now.
Lastly, the HR woman's body posture, and I am reasonably sure it is an HR woman, is poor. She is hunched over and even from the image alone I get the impression that she doesn't want to be there or even care. Just look at the guy standing in front of her. Blank expression, arms in front of him, hand over wrist, slumped over shoulders. Yes it could be because he is undergoing a job hunt grind, but any HR person or job recruiter worth their salt should be able to get someone to be engaged, and this man doesn't look engaged, and it is probably because he can sense this person doesn't give two craps.
There is my rant about HR.  Now if it turns out that the women in the picture is not HR, well, it doesn't matter. My complaints about HR are still valid and my criticism of what I see doesn't change.  Good companies realize that employees are an asset and not just say it at a job interview because people can tell when they are being fed a load. 

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Seattle resident whose real name is Kevin Daniels. This blog covers the following topics, libertarian philosophy, realpolitik, western culture, history and the pursuit of truth from the perspective of a libertarian traditionalist.