Examining
practical HR issues business owners
and managers encounter every day

An HR Professionals Guide ….
April 2009

It Is Always
Time to
Train

On-the-job training is how most of us learn how to manage and supervise our employees. To complement this learning strategy, it’s also beneficial to train your managers with the spirit of a team learning environment.

The following is a partial list of the training programs I offer. Feel free to call me to learn more about how training customized to your supervisors’ needs can benefit your organization:

  • Managing the Employee Life Cycle
  • From Buddy To Boss
  • Leadership Skills
  • Employment Law
  • Sexual Harassment
  • Communication Skills
  • Giving Performance Feedback
  • Conducting Performance Reviews
  • Interviewing Skills
  • Motivation & Employee Relations
  • Discipline, Documentation and Dismissal
  • Team Building
  • Professionalism and Ethics
  • Managing Change
  • General Management Skills
  • Orienting and Training Employees
  • Building Supervisory Relationships
  • Presentation Skills
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Dealing with Difficult Employees

Quick Links…


If you’re not
having fun
with your
human resources,
call Arlene today
at 952-996-0975

…to Getting Hired

Earlier this month, Matt Krumrie wrote the following article in the Minneapolis Workplace Examiner. Since I was quoted, I thought I’d share the article with you. If you are seeking employment, or know someone who is, there are many tips here that could be useful – even if you’re not an HR pro.

Resume Tips For HR Professionals: How Those Who Hire Can Get Hired

Have you ever wondered how human resources professionals – those who receive, review and analyze resumes – are supposed to know what exactly to put on their own resume? Have you ever wondered how the person who does the hiring, gets hired?

It’s not as easy as it sounds. In fact, HR professionals have just as many struggles writing resumes as professionals in marketing, sales, IT and other professions. They have just as many struggles interviewing and searching for jobs as professionals in other fields.

And to make things even more complex, HR professionals are harder on each other, says Twin Cities human resources guru Arlene Vernon (www.arlenevernon.com). There are several reasons for this, according to Vernon, who offers these points to ponder:

1. HR professionals are comparing their own skills, knowledge, and experience to the candidate’s. There will always be that little voice in our heads saying: What strengths do they bring to the table? How will I partner with this person? And even, will they be competition for me?

2. We hold HR people to a higher standard. If an HR person makes a typo, spelling or grammatical error on their resume, it’s unforgiveable! I recommend that HR professionals have 2-3 people edit their resumes and cover letters before they send them out.

3. Some HR candidates make assumptions that we’ll know what they do, because we’re in HR. But my recommendation is that you write your resume with all the detail, quantification, achievements, and explanation necessary to get noticed. Don’t exaggerate, but do find some bravado. There’s no room for a “Minnesota Nice” resume.

4. Differentiation is key: In these days when a simple ad will get over 100 responses, you need to stand out. This is increasingly difficult with online applications as well as with the quantity of resumes. There’s a fine line when adding humor to a resume. And how many ways can you say, “I have great interpersonal and communication skills.” Definitely don’t say “I like people.” That’s too cliché and after so many years in HR it’s probably not “people” in general that you like – not after the zillionth harassment investigation or termination for cause. I do know that there are times that I read a cover letter and it makes me smile or someone shares something in the letter that makes me think. And I do read the cover letters, so take the time to write a good one. Never send a resume without the cover letter – that’s the only place to differentiate yourself.

5. Be careful with salary requirement questions. The last time I ran an ad for an HR person, I got applicants seeking $50,000 – $150,000. What a spread! We ended up landing in the middle. But I had one candidate who told me she was flexible. My third or fourth question in any telephone interview is what salary range are you looking for? And I don’t budge. The candidate will reply asking me for my range. But I know that trick. My response is typically “I asked first.” Of course, if they don’t laugh at my humor, that’s a negative right there. The reality is that I’m not necessarily playing my salary card – and HR professionals should know this. Most of the employers I hire for have ranges for the position, but will stretch a little for the right person. The reverse needs to apply to the candidates. Sometimes the right job is worth a little salary shrinkage – especially in this market.

So when asked your range, give a wide range and let the interviewer know whether you’re flexible. Don’t make huge leaps in your salary requirement. I’ve spoken to candidates who say, “Well, I was making $100,000, but I’ll take $60,000.” That’s just scary to me. I understand the need for flexibility in this market, but I’m more worried about the candidate who discounts their ability and/or self-worth to such a great extent – before they even know what I’m willing to pay. If I was planning to pay $100,000, now I’m wondering whether the candidate is even worth it. So tread wisely and lightly.

6. It’s still who you know: Get out there and network. Call close and distant professional contacts. Tell everyone you know what you’re looking for and why you’re wonderful. Although I’ve not hired an HR person recently, the last job I filled was a referral from a colleague after I studied, sorted and screened 175 other resumes. The word of mouth gave me the perfect person for the job.

“Most important in any search – HR or not – is the confidence you exude,” says Vernon. “Show up strong in your cover letter, email cover, resume, telephone follow ups and handwritten thank you notes. Us HR nerds know when we’ve found a keeper in the pile of resumes. Be the keeper.”

Copyright (c) 2009 Arlene Vernon, HRx, Inc

About Arlene Vernon

Arlene Vernon, PHR, partners with small businesses as their Human Resource Xpert to create their HR systems and solve their HR problems.

If you have gaps in your HR operation, have an employee problem to solve, or want to enhance your managers’ skills, call Arlene today. Learn
how HRx can save you time and help you avoid costly HR mistakes. HRx, Inc., 574 Prairie Center Drive #135/285, Eden Prairie, MN 55344, 952-996-0975,
www.HRxcellence.com.

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