Finding a Quality Human Resources Person
Having a certification as a Professional in Human Resources or as a Senior Professional in Human Resources doesn’t actually mean much. Yes, they may know the ins-and-outs of your state’s legal aspects of handling employees. But a good HR manager or staff member needs to go above and beyond that. They need specific qualities that will show they’re willing and able to protect both your employees and your company.
Training and Experience
Certifications, a degree, and experience must all work together for a person. Of course, you can hire someone without experience, but they should have picked up some first-hand knowledge through working on projects in school.
Ask questions about what aspects of your state’s HR law that they do or don’t agree with and open a conversation. During the interview process, you need to find out if they’re more focused on having a comfortable desk job or providing a vital function for your company.
Human Resources will often take on the task of developing, not-so-entertaining, training, or orientation presentations. No one likes explaining FMLA for the 50th time in a two month span, but someone has to do it.
When looking for presentation skills, go beyond their ability to put together a PowerPoint document. Instead, seek someone that has natural charisma and positive energy. But, on the other hand, this person needs to handle hard questions coming from a group as well.
There is a golden-spot between being able to control a crowd and keeping them engaged as well. Don’t forget about other key aspects of presentation as well, such as concise communication, proper grammar, and “appropriate” delivery of the material.
These skills are among the most often forgotten, and what you get is shy or under-involved Human Resources personnel. For small companies that only have one or two HR staff, that could mean that your entire staff is missing out on vital information because the HR person isn’t able to carry through with a presentation.
Handle Grey Areas with Confidence
This skill isn’t a “fake it till you make it” situation that many believe it is. HR professionals that have decades of experience still struggle internally with defining discrimination and harassment. Ultimately, the resolution of any grey area issue comes down to how the HR professional handled the situation from the start.
Of course, it isn’t right for anyone to jump up and say, “Yes, that is harassment. I’ll fire them straight away.” But it also isn’t correct to tell someone that they’re blowing something out of proportion. These are sticky situations, and often it’s a “he said, she said” issue.
During your interview, create scenarios where the interviewee must make a decision that gives the “best available” information. Unlike other areas of business or operations, HR relies on innate wisdom and personal confidence in their decision making. If the HR professional questions their decision, everyone else will too.
Courage in Ethics and Conflict
Least of all, should an HR person simply agree with the most intimidating person in the room. While your HR personnel shouldn’t be a bully themselves, they should adamantly stick up or stand up when it comes to ethics and the law. Usually, that means immersing themselves into many of the company conflicts.
People go to HR with issues or concerns about ethics and what is “right.” As mentioned in the grey area discussion earlier, the HR professional needs to direct that conversation. But, if something or someone is clearly in the wrong, then action is necessary.
Then there are times when HR staff must face conflict which feels wrong, but there is little to no other choice. One example is handling lay-offs. Ideally, you’ll find an HR person who views conflict and handling unpopular actions, like layoffs, as opportunities. These trying times are when HR people have the chance to guide managers and staff within the company through a difficult period.
All of these skills are necessary, and some are more difficult to identify than others during an interview. Consider adding in an integrity or ethics exam as part of your interview evaluation, along with personal discussion.