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

I get by with a little help from my professional network.

If there is an aspect of HR that HR pros should always be concerned with, it should be relationship building. Developing and maintaining good relationships with hiring managers, candidates, employees, vendors, etc. It doesn’t have to be friendship. However, a mutually beneficial professional relationship is always a good idea. Shared professional courtesy can help you out in a jam and prevent you from making a mistake.

For example, I have good relationships with the representatives from a couple of staffing agencies we work with for temp associates. Here are a couple of examples where the relationship increasingly pays off for both sides:

Going beyond simple staffing:
If I just wanted candidates to be seat warmers I could have gone with much cheaper staffing agencies. But our business requires more than that from our employees, and that even includes temporary workers. Our contacts within the staffing agencies took the time to get to know us, our business needs, and have consistently sent us quality candidates. Because of that we have come to trust them with more aspects of the hiring process than normal. We let them administer pre-employment tests (skills testing, drug, and background) and seek out their advice freely throughout the whole process. I also don’t hesitate to send friends their way who are looking for work.

Detailed reference checks: Occasionally, a former employee of my company will apply for a position with them and vice versa. I don’t hesitate to call them to see what they could tell me about the candidate and their performance. When they call me for the same, I will be much more honest and detailed than I would otherwise. It’s hard to get an honest appraisal during reference checks and technically, my company’s policy is rather strict on what I should be saying (i.e. nothing). But if I want honesty from them, I need to reciprocate.

This isn’t revolutionary by any means, but the mutual respect and effort on each side makes all of our jobs easier. Honesty and trust is what we all want but don’t get automatically. Good professional relationships are worth the effort because you never know when or how they will come in handy.

2 Responses | Add your Own

  • 1 Rachel - I Hate HR :

    Reference checking is a great way to use your professional network. A member of management we hired a year ago has been a very valuable source for references as she is the only member of management who has worked at similar agencies outside of the county.

  • 2 HR Minion :

    Rachel – I love being able to get the inside scoop on candidates. 🙂