… the HR Minion. Because even minions have opinions. And giggles.

Over thinking it

I have a conundrum. I don’t think I want to continue with this blog anymore. (Pause for the collective gasps of horror from my audience). I know, I know.

For the last year or so I have been finding myself less dedicated to this blog. I can continue telling myself that I haven’t been posting on this site regularly in a while because I have been busy. New job/Travel/Puppies/Grown Up responsibilities/etc but that is just an excuse. I have always been busy and made the time before.

I’m not as motivated as I once was. It makes me kind of sad and, a little afraid. If I stop blogging on this site do I lose part of my identity? Am I no longer part of this awesome HR online community that I love? Do I stop being relevant? Or even scarier, do I find out I never was relevant? Will anyone notice or care? Have I gotten everything out of blogging that I ever will? Does it make me a little shallow even thinking that?

I still love HR, I still love social media, and I still love blogging. I still love writing. Writing on this blog has been a much needed creative outlet for me. I’m completely serious when I say my life would not be the same today without this blog. Through this blog I have been exposed to people, ideas, opportunities and a world I would have never experienced otherwise. It led me to my husband. But is that reason enough to keep doing it?

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This post has been one huge string of questions. This is what I mean by over thinking it. I’ve been hesitating on making a decision because of insecurity and fear. I can’t see clearly because I am too emotionally invested in this site. This is normally the time when I would ask for reader feedback on what to do but honestly, the only one who can make this decision is me.

So I am going to stop hesitating and punishing myself for not keeping up with this site. Now, this site is not going to disappear; I’ve got too much time and content invested here. And I am, and will remain, the HR Minion, she of the contagious giggles. But going forward the site won’t be updated or active. Don’t you worry though, I still have my fingers in other social media pies so It’s not like I am disappearing.

Instead, I think I want to focus on deepening the relationships this site helped me establish. I have made a lot of friends through this blog and I have been terribly lax about reaching out and having actual conversations, instead of just likes on Facebook. I miss you all and don’t want to keep waiting for the rare occasions when I run into people at conferences.

I guess you could say this HR Minion is taking the show off line…

Dogs and Advertising

One thing you learn very quickly as a blogger, especially if you ever get to be part of a social media team at a conference or event, is that you quickly start getting pitches from marketers about stuff to talk about on your blog. At first, it can be flattering. People are paying attention to you! Isn’t that like totally the point of blogging?

And they want you to do things like review books for free, or talk about their products… for free. Or share a picture of Wil Wheaton collating paper… And the pitches all start sounding formulaic; almost like they aren’t even reading your blog. Like you are just another email on a mailing list. Heck, most of the time they don’t even get your name right.

And soon you just stop reading the pitches altogether. The few times I do share something on this blog, it is because it is for someone I know, something I think is cool, some conference I want to support either just cause or because it’s part of what I do when I am part of a conference social media team. But I always try to be clear on how I am involved. A blog is worthless if it is inauthentic.

But we all have a weakness and a marketing agency finally find mine: Cute. Animals. Specifically dogs. I swear you can put a puppy on anything and I’ll buy it. I don’t care what it is, does, or costs, just shut up and take my money. So when Rachel of the Kindling Media Group sent me an email you can just imagine my will power slowly draining away from me as soon as I saw the subject line: Dogs Take Over Office.

Crap. I was physically unable to do anything but read the email about how they created a video to promote National Take your Dog to Work Day, which incidentally happened to be June 20th. And then I absolutely had no choice but to watch the video. I mean, PUPPIES! And after watching the absolute cuteness I did the only thing I was capable of doing which is to send Rachel back the note below:

Wow, you got me on this one. I never respond or even look at all the marketing emails I get but I am powerless in the face of puppies. POWERLESS. Consider your will to be done, I have to share the cuteness.

Thanks, Shauna

So if you too have no will power when it comes to puppies, check out the video below. (Slow Clap) Well done marketers, you’ve won this round…

11 Reasons Candidates Don’t Want to Work for You

This past month a great Slideshare was being passed around online, “Congratulations Graduate! Eleven Reasons Why I will Never Hire You” by Mark O’Toole. As an HR pro who’s done her fair share of hiring, I loved it. Sure, none of the information is anything you haven’t heard before but it did a great job of putting it in an interesting, straight forward manner that hopefully will resonate with the intended audience.

But as much as those of us recruiting like to swap war stories about the craziness that we see from candidates, I think we often forget one simple truth: Recruitment is a two way street. Candidates are evaluating you too and trust me when I say you are being judged by your recruitment process.

Sadly, most of the time companies don’t even know how badly they come across to job candidates. And so they wonder why it takes them 6 months to fill a job, or why they can’t seem to attract top tier graduates, or why their turnover for new hires is at 50%.

So in the same vein but much less cooler format than the Slideshare, here are 11 reasons candidates don’t want to work for you:

1. Your job descriptions have minimal information, are riddled with errors, and/or are so generic and boring that they generate no interest at all.
2. Your application process takes over an hour, requires a reference from their 5th grade math teacher, and the blood of a unicorn harvested on a Tuesday during a leap year. (That was a slight exaggeration but you get my point)
3. You have a terrible Website/Facebook page/LinkedIn page/Twitter Page/Blog with minimal or outdated information and no engagement. Or worse, you have no online presence at all.
4. Online reviews of the company are damning in their consistent message of “Don’t ever work here” and worse, the only engagements with criticism are childish flame wars between the company and the reviewers.
5. In a more analog version of the above, your reputation amongst those in the industry is so tarnished that common knowledge and gossip is “Don’t ever work there” and unlike online, you don’t even have a chance to respond to these rumors.
6. You never keep your promises to follow-up, whether it is to schedule interviews, provide more information, or even to let the candidate know if they have been rejected.
7. The Job Description/Title/Pay/Location/Hours have changed more than once throughout the recruitment process and the candidate no longer knows what they are interviewing for.
8. You demonstrate a lack of respect for the candidate by being unapologetic about being late for the interview or being a no show, by not being prepared, or by being rude/inappropriate during the interview. It happens more than you would think.
9. You lack confidence in yourself, the position, or the company, and it comes through in everything you say and do.
10. Your overall compensation and benefit package is not competitive, the work is not interesting/unique/meaningful, and the advancement opportunities are minimal and move as fast as an iceberg.
11. Your company culture sucks and candidates know it. It is very clique-y and inclusive. It lacks diversity of opinions, thoughts, and creativity. It is inflexible and demanding to an unnatural degree. Management is harsh, green, and petty. You have an office supply Nazi who won’t let you order post it notes. And so on.

Oh, and one more important note for all the Recruiters, Managers, Executives, and HR Pros out there: Candidates are also Customers. All these bad impressions will stick with them long after they’ve started working somewhere else. Give them a bad enough experience and you will find yourself losing potential customers and their revenue now and in the future. It’s just something to keep in mind when you go to re-evaluate your recruitment process.

Leaving a Bad Job Before it Starts

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We’ve all had bad jobs before. If we’re lucky, that just meant bad hours or bad pay. The unlucky ones got bad co-workers, hazardous conditions, unethical or harassing environments, or bad managers. Not all bad job situations are the same, but they all negatively impact your life and your health. Sometimes we can’t understand how much until we finally free ourselves of the situation. You can’t tell something is going to be a bad situation before you get into it, right? Or can you?

Personally, I think there are signs that everybody needs to be looking for. A bad situation will often throw up red flags and you’ll see them if you pay attention, ask the right questions, or know where to look.

1. During the interview you get a bad vibe from the interviewer. I’m not one who often goes with “Trust your gut”, but your brain tends to notice a whole lot of things you don’t consciously process. It’s more efficient that way. If our brain stopped our thought process every second to make us acknowledge all the various elements in our environment we would never get anything done. So whenever you get a bad feeling, it’s because your brain picked up on something so fast that it didn’t bother you with processing it. Instead of brushing that off, take the time to explore it and figure out why you are bothered. Maybe they remind you of a teacher who was mean to you or maybe they remind you of that creepy guy who hit on you in the bar. It’s important to know what is setting off your alarms.

2. There are signs of disrespect and passive aggression. Are they bad about getting back to you when they say they will? Did they leave you to wait in the lobby for 30 minutes after your scheduled interview time? Do the interviewers act like they would rather be anywhere else but in the same room together? Do they start dishing dirt on the company during your interview? Do they make backhand comments about your experience/education/etc? All are signs that this is a dysfunctional workplace that you don’t want to be a part of.

3. After researching the company online you find more alarming reviews about their business practices or how they treat their employees than positives. Now, when reading reviews online you have to take them with a grain of salt, both bad and good. However, how the company responds to the reviews is important. If they are respectfully responding to those negative reviews, trying to engage or make things right, that is a huge plus! But if they lash out and make things worse, or don’t even seem aware of the reviews at all, that is a bad sign. And if all you are finding are negatives with few positives to counteract them; that is a bad sign. I hope I don’t even have to mention that a history of lawsuits/harassment claims isn’t good either.

4. They give you misleading information. You apply for an Office Manager job that is advertised as paying $18/hr. You get called in for an interview and suddenly it’s an Administrative Assistant position that pays $12. Or the job description online says no travel and then they say you’ll be on the road 50% of the time. Sure things can change quickly as business needs change and sometimes mistakes happen. But this is where I’d point you back to #1. Are you getting a shifty vibe from them? Or #3, Do they have negative reviews about their business practices? What claims might turn out to be different later as well?

Sometimes you can end up in a bad situation even if none of these red flags came up. You can even be working for a great company but get stuck with a new manager that doesn’t know what they are doing or placed on the team with that one bad employee. Or the job can start out great and then something happens, a restructure or a transfer, and suddenly you are in a bad situation. Finding a job is as much a crap shoot for a candidate as it is for an employer.

But you owe it to yourself to put in the time to feel out a situation before accepting a new job. Don’t make a decision as big as a new job out of desperation or willful ignorance. The impact it may have on you mentally, financially, and physically down the line will be hard to recover from. No one deserves to be in a bad job situation and it’s much easier to avoid it than it is to get out of it.

6 years

On March 20, 2008 I started my HR Minion Blog. I didn’t know if anyone would ever read or care about what I wrote. I didn’t know how long it would last. But I felt I had something to say about HR and I also wanted to find a way to feel more connected to that great big HR community out there.

Looking back over the years, I can only say how grateful I am for all the wonderful things simply sitting down and put fingers to keys has brought into my life. The friends, the experiences, the love. You never know how pivotal one decision, one action, can be in your life, but truly, blogging has been a major one for me.

Blogging isn’t always easy. Sometimes it gets ignored when life gets in the way, sometimes it’s hard to find things to write about, and a lot of the time I still wonder if anyone at all cares. But in the end I still have something to say about HR. I still feel compelled to write. I still want to participate in the HR community in a meaningful and creative way. And that is why I still blog.

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6 years. It’s both such a long and short time for so much to have occurred. But I wouldn’t trade in one minute of it and I don’t regret anything that has come of it. Please know that you my dear first time, one time, or long time readers alike have my deepest appreciation. So for however long this wonderful shared social experiment we call blogging continues, I hope you will continue sharing it with me here on the HR Minion blog. Cheers!