THE ULTIMATE BLOG ON ALL THINGS HR
& THEN SOME
& THEN SOME
Too qualified? Not qualified enough? Not the right fit? What does this all mean?
Have you ever been told an open position would not be challenging because of your skill level, education, years of experience? My question is how do they know? Based on a piece of paper (resumé)? Assumptions are never healthy. Neither is discarding applicants without considering a brief conversation may be warranted.
In my career, I have reviewed innumerable resumés and applications for a wide variety of positions—from CEO to Housekeeper to Lab Director. The hiring process from an HR standpoint can be tedious and deceptive. One thing I have learned: Never judge a candidate based solely on their cv or application. What is “cv” you ask? It is Latin for curriculum vitae, the European (and high-falutin’ American) way of saying resumé.
The reason for not judging based on curriculum vitae alone is it tells you nothing about their personality, communication skills, punctuality, and critical-thinking skills. Granted, there are times you can review an application and know instantly the person is not qualified. For example, I have received applications for a high-level position and the candidate’s experience consisted of fast food jobs. Nope. Not qualified.
There may be additional hoops through which a candidate may have to jump, such as behavioral assessments. Be warned! If an assessment is not truly measuring functions related to the job, what is its purpose? For managerial positions, being able to relate is imperative. But how can this be measured by expecting a candidate to answer repeated questions such as, “I am comfortable around strangers” or “I get along with everyone at work” on a scale of Strongly Agree to Strongly Disagree?
Think of the entire selection process as making an authentic bouillabaisse. There are multiple layers of ingredients, from the broth to the saffron to the varieties of fish. If there is a misstep on any of these, the hard-to-spell French fish stew likely won’t be tasty. It takes passion and commitment to its origins. Consider this counsel from Scott Carbonara, author of Manager’s Guide to Employee Engagement, “A prospect who comes to you with a positive mental attitude and willingness to learn is more apt to remain engaged than an employee who is simply about the skills or job description.”
So if the candidate has passion, personality, and persistence, they deserve a chance. In my own experience as a job seeker, I have begun to wonder if an employer is looking for the perfect candidate. I am here to tell you THERE IS NO PERFECT CANDIDATE. Nobody checks off all the boxes. As a job seeker, what am I missing? I am intelligent, I use big words, I possess critical thinking skills, I have passion, and I can create killer marketing materials. My undergrad degree is in English, hence my love of words and linguistics. I am able to put together an educated sentence. Shocking, I know.
Then again, is my communication too formal? Not formal enough? Am I too short? Too tall? Too white? Too female? Aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh! Then there is personality. How personable should you be as a candidate? What I mean is how much of your true self should you show? For example, my personality is quirky, I have a sarcastic sense of humor, and I like to have Smurfs on my desk. But is this what I should lead with during an interview? Is this what employers want to know? Conversely, would employers even appreciate this?
I am beginning to believe the answer is yes. Employers are people, too. At the basic level, I think they are looking for someone who is just as human as they are. However, there will be cut and dry companies all about business business business, such as the banking industry. If this is up your alley and you thrive best in a highly-structured setting, you will definitely fit. But if you’re like me and you crave creativity and connectedness on authentic levels, progressive organizations are the route to go. Either way, don’t settle.
One thing I do know: As a job seeker, I will not apologize for who I am. I know I am a continual work in progress—I would never pretend to be perfect. I have a kind soul, a commitment to help others, and an inextinguishable desire to learn. I am smart, funny, and loyal to a fault. My sense of responsibility would never allow me to not follow through on even the smallest of things.
So if you are the internal recruiter or perhaps the representative of an external recruiting firm, mutual respect goes a long way. Put yourself in the candidate’s shoes. Communicate timely with candidates—keep the flow of information both ways. Is it time consuming? Yes. Is it the right thing to do? Absolutely. But when an individual has put time, effort, and hope into their candidacy, the last thing they expect is to be left hanging. Not only is this a bad experience for the candidate, it can put a bad taste in his or her mouth for your organization. Like having barbecue sauce in a bowl of bouillabaisse.
Carbonara, S. (2013). Manager’s guide to employee engagement. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
A few days late....my apologies!
You were recently admitted to a local hospital for an emergency procedure. You are also an employee at this same hospital. Your fellow employees were concerned for your wellbeing and one of them innocently asked nursing staff for an update on your condition. Knowing the employee was a coworker, nursing staff obliged.
Is this a HIPAA violation? If so, which parties violated your privacy? If not, why not?
A local mayor stops into an urgent clinic to be evaluated for a severe sore throat, among other symptoms. The doctor decides to run tests based on a combination of symptoms. The clinic is about to close for the night, so the doctor calls in prescriptions to the mayor’s local pharmacy. The next day the pharmacist calls the clinic to clarify the doctor’s orders and speaks to the nurse. The nurse was not on shift the night before, so the nurse pulls up the mayor’s chart.
Did the nurse violate HIPAA? Did the pharmacist?
Let me back up and spell out HIPAA for you. It stands for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. The initial aim of the regulation was to guard against wrongful use and disclosure of protected health information (PHI). It also outlines which parties should be allowed to exchange electronic PHI for patient care purposes, particularly health insurance claims. This is a basic explanation from a 30,000-foot level.
Let’s discuss what happens if you—meaning healthcare provider, for the purposes of this blog post—violate HIPAA. First, you would have to be someone who was not on a need-to-know basis with regard to an individual’s PHI. In other words, a hospital Information Technician is not typically on such a basis in performing the duties of their job. So what happens to such a person who accesses another person’s PHI without having a legitimate need to know? In general terms, you could be fined up to $250,000 and sentenced up to 10 years in prison per violation.
What exactly does that mean? Well, in the first scenario above, the concerned employee could be on the hook for one violation per individual with whom he or she shared your protected health information. Also, he or she could be facing up to ten years in prison. Keep in mind good intention is not a defense. However, I would suspect the coworker in this scenario would likely face a minimal fine or jail time, if any.
Even in our cyber-secure world, there are instances of breaches. Whether with intent from an external source or by mistake internally, PHI can get into the wrong hands. In such cases, the organization has a responsibility to alert every single individual with PHI that may or may not have been divulged. This could mean hundreds or even thousands. Imagine the anxiety and mistrust created. It can be hard for an organization to regain the trust of so many patients or customers.
Stop and ask yourself if you would want your privacy violated, especially your private health information. Conversely, stop and ask yourself if you are violating your coworker’s privacy by 1) asking medical personnel about your coworker and 2) sharing the information you learned from medical personnel. Would you do the same for any other patient in your facility? The concern you have for your coworker is valid and admirable. But respect his or her privacy and allow your coworker the opportunity to decide what information is shared and with whom.
Granted, my examples are in a healthcare setting. But I would argue the same principle applies to other industries. Wages, disciplinary actions, information not yet released to the public, and even company secrets are all things that should be held close to the vest. Of course employees can discuss working conditions including wages and disciplinary actions. As an HR professional, however, I would never discuss wages or disciplinary actions outside the realm of Human Resources. And neither should managers if they wish to have the respect reciprocated.
When managers share this information outside of HR, it can create friction among employees and managers, even outside the manager’s department. And while it is customary for leadership to review company secrets and pending developments, what is not customary is sharing this information outside the organization. Transparency is key. I believe in keeping employees informed of what may be around the corner for the organization. This builds trust, commitment, and loyalty. But keep in mind which information may be considered a need-to-know basis within leadership.
HIPAA compliance is no laughing matter. Neither is disclosing other types of confidential information. It all comes down to responsibility and accountability. We must all hold ourselves to a high standard when considering whether or not to seek and/or share such information. Of course, there’s also the matter of high fines and jail time. If that doesn’t scare you straight, then I suppose nothing would. What I know to be true is I don’t look good in orange and I certainly don’t have an extra quarter million dollars.
With our country celebrating its independence from Great Britain, it seems appropriate to remember why we light fireworks, grill hot dogs, and display our national flag. It took teams of courageous colonists to build effective lines of defense in pursuit of a dream. It was more than taxation without representation. It was freedom of religion & speech and fighting for something in which they believed.
Keep in mind the colonists in America did not necessarily want to engage in warfare. They simply wanted taxation with representation. The colonists were considered British citizens so they felt it was only right to have representation in Parliament. However, King George III disagreed and kept a tight reign over the British colonists in America, citing he would continue harassing the rebels until essentially they would grow remorseful and abandon their revolution.
We all know the saying, “There is no ‘I’ in teamwork.” In some respects, I disagree. As I mentioned above, individuals constitute a team. Individuals have personalities and skills, some which can be vastly different. When in the workplace, we have to consider the fact individual personalities can be hard to overcome and placing each person in a role using their strengths is essential. This is where the mutual goal comes into play and individuals must set aside their egos and mesh with one another to accomplish this goal. Think back to the American Revolution. That’s a word with HUGE implications.
Merriam-Webster defines revolution as: a fundamental change in political organization, especially the overthrow or renunciation of one government or ruler and the substitution of another by the governed. Thankfully, the United States will not likely see another revolution. However, there are ongoing revolutions in smaller countries around the globe. These revolutions are often fought by groups of individuals who had never met before but who came together for a common cause.
Individuals join local militia forces, typically with zero military experience. During the American Revolution, commanders borrowed from both French and British tactical strategies to have a jumping off point for training men (and boys) to be soldiers. Commanders faced the difficulty of not only training farmers to be soldiers, but to also teach them tactics. Imagine farmers with muskets learning how to use the weapon for warfare. They were not hunting deer; they were defending their cause. This would mean killing fellow British citizens from England. But each man joined the effort to realize the common dream.
Fast-forward nearly 250 years. Today our country has immense freedom. Corporations and organizations continue popping up across the nation. However, they are not immune from dissension when it comes to achieving goals. It doesn’t matter what the goal is. It can be creating a mission and vision statement, developing policies and procedures, or even deciding whether or not to merge with another company. Big or small, you can guarantee not everyone will have the same ideas or approach. This is where the rubber meets the road. Will everyone come together, putting aside individuality for agreement?
Let’s break it down further. Because most of my HR background is healthcare, I’ll use the example of a hospital. What would happen if nurses and physicians did not abide by federal and state regulations or they bucked policy and procedures in the event of a Code Blue? The patient would receive terrible care and perhaps even succumb to their ailments. Or what would happen if a fire alarm sounded and nobody knew what to do, everyone acted in his or her own best interest?
Leadership must take responsibility for ensuring staff members are acting as a cohesive group. Leaders should be open to suggestions from staff and allow some democracy in decisions made on behalf of the team. This can’t always be done—some regulations are black and white. But when individuals within a team have a voice, they will use their voice to sound ideas, often ideas outside the box. After all, they are the ones doing the daily work and they have a better understanding of how to improve as a team.
Employees who feel valued are more apt to work as a team and encourage others to do the same. In a hospital, that translates to better patient care and outcomes. Building a cohesive team means leaders must also be team members. Nothing rubs me the wrong way more than someone who spouts, “That’s not my job.” It most certainly is. We are all on the same team. When leaders and managers roll up their sleeves, they are demonstrating this and announcing they espouse the very foundation of individuals joining as one cause for one goal.
I am thankful to live in a society where teamwork is at the core of who we are and each team member is/was necessary to hoist the star spangled banner. Personally, I am grateful for the sacrifice my 5x great-grandfather William Bassett made when he fought with the Third Continental Light Dragoon in the late 1770s. He managed to escape during the Tappan Massacre and began receiving a military pension nearly 50 years later. If not for this individual soldier working together with fellow militiamen, the dream of freedom would have lain tattered and torn on the battlefield.
Creator: That makes me sound all powerful. I suppose I am in many ways. Hi! My name's Amy and I've been practicing HR for twelve years now. No big deal. I am here to offer fresh perspective on HR topics and topics about the world we live in and life in general.