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Job Descriptions

Source: Business vector created by katemangostar –

The job description I’m choosing to discuss is my Sr. Benefits Coordinator role.

The situation was unique in that my manager was fond of my work ethic, and told me if I worked hard enough, she would hire me to be her assistant. Therefore, there wasn’t an interview process, and the JD was more of a formality since the job had been “created” with me in mind. The position was new to the organization thus there were no incumbents or job analysis performed. My manager drafted the position with the roles and responsibilities she wanted her assistant to perform (in essence the roles she did not want to perform as a manager). Thus, it was very specific, and I knew the tasks that were expected of me. It had the structure of a traditional job description: general purpose, essential functions, education, training, skills, scope, supervisory responsibilities, and physical demands. The JD ended with the company’s mission statement.

Looking back, I remember how much I enjoyed helping and learning from my boss. The description matched quite well with the tasks of the job. It allowed me to grow into the position I’m in today. In retrospect I could have been more assertive in asking what career prospects the role would offer me in the future and what next steps were in the organization.

As job applicants, we are often seeking validation from the employer, especially if the role is our “dream job.” What we must realize is that both the applicant and employer have leverage, and the job description gives a fair amount of insight of what you can expect as an employee at that organization. Therefore, we must be more critical when looking at the specifics within the job description, in order to assess whether the role is a proper fit for us.

Experiences with Discrimination

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When being asked if I would continue supporting my favorite company or brand after a widespread discrimination allegation, my initial reaction is to say no. However, after further consideration, I would need to understand the complete picture. In today’s highly polarized atmosphere it’s easy to become emotional and react negatively, but it’s important for companies to take the opportunity to learn from their mistakes and not repeat them.

Working as an HR professional, we are often met with accusations of discrimination, retaliation, and unfair practices. The burden of proof is on the employer to prove whether the claims are true or false. As we learned in the lecture this week, a company has two paths when it comes to discrimination claims: 1) do nothing and be reactive or 2) respond and be proactive. If a company quietly settles the lawsuit, it’s possible that discrimination occurred and they’re appeasing the impacted group. If the company takes this as a learning opportunity and institutes diversity training or issues a PR statement regarding their transgressions, I would be more likely to support them again.  

It would also depend upon the type of discrimination at play. Is it intentional disparate treatment or unintentional adverse impact? What measures are being put in places to reduce the impact?

Finally, I would consider the maturity of the company. Is it a small employer versus a large corporate brand with resources to train and educate their employees? The most recent example which comes to mind is the Philadelphia Starbucks which called the police for trespassing on two minority gentlemen sitting at their café. Starbucks recognized their lapse of judgment in this situation, closed their stores for a day, and required anti-bias training for employees.

The Case for Recruitment & Selection

It is hard to imagine a company that does not see Recruiting and Selection as a critical component of their businesses’ success. Unfortunately, far too many companies do not have the financial wherewithal to put resources into HR, let along the recruiting function. Many small, family-owned companies struggle to survive on a limited budget. Their focus is to pay their workers, provide benefits (maybe), pay rent, and limit operational costs. Furthermore, these small companies often outsource HR to a third party or consulting firm to do the hiring and HR compliance for them. Their resources are stretched thin, such that they can only focus on breaking even each month. A surplus in the budget allocated to a marketing campaign, for example, may make a drastic difference on the balance sheet, and thus reflect positively on their month-end reports.

Conversely, in a high-volume production environment, where there may be a high-profile customer involved, the focus is to get applicants hired quickly without much thought to their experience or skillset. This is especially true in a tight labor market. I worked for a manufacturer that didn’t even complete background screens on new hires; they just hired them and waited for the results to come in weeks later. If the applicant didn’t pass, they were let go. The focus was to get warm bodies in the door, and product out the door and HR had to follow management’s request.  

When assessing the risk, the company is willing to forgo proper hiring practices in order to meet production demands. As a result, turnover in this industry is high and employees often leave jobs to work for $1 more elsewhere. Consequently, the company is spending more money on filling the open position, versus having done their due diligence in the first place.


Job Application Experiences

My most recent job application resulted in the position I’m currently in. I was fortunate in that I knew my hiring manager from a previous employer, and we had good rapport. I reached out to him months prior the job opening, stating I had reached a plateau in my current position and was looking for a change. He said he wasn’t hiring currently, but we kept in touch. Months later a position on his team became available. He reached out to me and we began the conversation.

Even though my future boss had a good idea of my work ethic, the interview process was still integral to assessing whether I was the right “fit” for the company and position. As mentioned in our reading, making hiring mistakes is not only costly, but also a waste of time for both the candidate and organization.

The process started with a phone screen. Next, I was invited to an onsite interview. My future boss asked me a series of question related to my work experience, project management skills, and situational scenarios, particularly in the “STAR” format (Situation, Task, Actions, Results). The in-person interview was also an opportunity for me to learn about his team and the organization’s structure. My boss has always been a visual person. At one point in the interview, he made an org chart on the white board. I really appreciated this!

The interview process was highly organized and efficient. Reflecting on this today, this reflects positively on how the company runs. It was also very expeditious. From the time I was asked to do a phone screen and then offered a position, it was only 2 weeks. I’ve had experiences where the process takes months. You are invited back and forth for interviews only to find out the position was “cancelled” due to shift in company’s priorities.