Last night, I started to think about my un-/under-employed friends, and the drama they go through on a daily basis to secure a job. HR doesn’t make it easy for them. And honestly, some job applicants don’t make it easy either. Since I’ve been on both sides, today’s (short) post will critique both sides. Here’s to everybody finding meaningful, well-paid work!
[Note: I have worked exclusively in the nonprofit field, so my post will reflect that. However, at least from the HR angle, corporations can’t be that much different, I presume…]
- Be clear and specific in your job description about the knowledge, responsibilities and skills you want to fit the organization. Define the characteristics of the person you feel is your ideal candidate and THEN establish the questions for the candidates you interview. Make your interview standardized across all candidates… interviewing is a highly subjective process. You want to hire a candidate that’s the best fit for the position, not necessarily the one that you “like” the most!
- Don’t try to combine too many tasks into one position. I don’t care HOW underfunded you are… you, in the long-term, are doing yourself a disservice. Most qualified, non-desperate job applicants will pass up your offer, and you’ll be left with subpar candidates for the position. And once you hire, after you overwork and underpay said employee for a period of time, your new staff member will become disaffected… then indifferent… and WILL pursue different opportunities in due time. More work for HR… you’ll be hiring the same position again shortly. If you don’t have enough funding to hire properly, it’s time for the organization to 1.) step up their fundraising efforts; or 2.) start cutting programs. Period.
- I can understand that when you receive thousands of resumes for one job position, HR cannot contact each applicant to let them know their status. But for GOD’S SAKE, if you interview an applicant (doesn’t matter if it’s by phone or in person), have the common courtesy to contact them if they did not get the job. I cannot tell you how many times I, myself have been left hanging, for sometimes months, wondering if HR will contact me. Emails were left unanswered. Phone calls were not returned. Finally, I moved on. How rude! Now that I do have expendable cash, guess which nonprofits will never receive a donation from me!
- Don’t sound too desperate/happy over the phone when HR first contacts you. From experience, I’ll tell you that HR WILL make fun of your afterwards. (And yeah, you probably won’t get the job..)
- All of the advice you heard before? Be prepared for the interview, dress nicely, etc.? Follow it to a tee. Seriously. It’s your livelihood.
- Be nice to reception when you walk into your interview. Office staff have more power than you know. I’ve seen that if the receptionist mentions to the lead interviewer that s/he didn’t like the applicant, it didn’t matter how well qualified he/she was… they were kicked out of the running.
- If you are offered the job, don’t take too long to consider the offer… often, the organization needs to fill the position right away, and has other applicants in the pipeline that need to be contacted (see above). If you have additional offers that you are mulling over, be courteous and say so.
And if you do have a job, here’s a few good tips for keeping it. Seriously, read this link.