HR Executive: What I learned in my 20 years

Carolyn, who joined our consulting group last year, was a senior VP of HR for a large company in San Francisco.  During a flight delay in Boston I had the chance to ask her about the top things she learned during her tenure as a senior HR executive.  Here was her top 10…

1: She found some of the best candidates, not through resumes, but by networking with people on social media sites.  “When I see someone on LinkedIn posting some great content about marketing or management I reach out to them and this has provided me with some great candidates”.

2: Candidates who are more interested in “title” or “compensation” usually do not last in jobs.  “If someone asks me about the package or title in the first couple of meetings I immediately red flag them”.

3: HR is probably the most important cross-function department in the company.   A company is only as good as its ability to attract and retain talent.

4: Bad managers are a key reason why good people leave.  “Over and over I have seen bad managers drive really talented people away.  Trying to overcome bad managers is a challenge for medium and large companies”.

5:” At times it was hard for me to take off my HR hat and put on my colleague/friend hat”.

6: “The most important quality for any HR person is the ability to hear what’s not being said by employees”.

7: “With the economy quickly approaching full employment HR executives has to be creative in identifying and attracting talented business people”.

8: “To this day firing someone, because of poor skills, is still the hardest part of HR’s job.

9: “HR executives have to fight to ensure that company benefits are in line with companies within the industry”.

10: “I always let candidates know where they stand during the interview process and personally notify mid-level candidates if we decided not to make an offer. I know some people are waiting by the phone to see if they “got the job” and the least I can do is to keep them informed as to our thinking”.

 

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