Most Important Thing You’ve Learned

I think one of the most important things I learned about in this class was the difference and importance of potential and consistency.  As we learned, potential ability refers to the top level of work someone can perform when it is asked of them.  This isn’t their daily capability, but is what they are able to achieve when they step up and are asked to do the most they can do.  This is often what people think they should look for in a good employee.  They want top performers that have a lot of potential to do a lot of work.  Consistency refers to the ability of an employee to perform reliably.  This doesn’t mean that the work is necessarily good or bad, it just means that the employee can reliably perform at the same level without a lot of fluctuation in the level of the work they complete.

I think it is possible to have someone that is consistent, but doesn’t have a lot of potential or someone that isn’t very consistent, but has a lot of potential.  I also think it’s possible that a person is consistent and has a lot of potential or doesn’t have much of either.  They are not skills that are necessarily linked to each other, so an employee can have one, both, or neither.

Something else interesting from this class is that there isn’t anything inherently better about potential or consistency over the other.  Often we hear that potential is something to be admired above all else, but in this class, we learned that sometimes consistency is preferable to potential.  Depending on the position and what it demands of its employees, one skill may be more useful over the other, it depends on the context and the situation. 

I think this is important because this class has been all about finding the right candidates for a position.  It is all about how the person fits the job requirements and how both are varied across the job market.  This concept does a good job of summarizing that theme in this class in my opinion.  It is about finding the right person for the right job and making sure they have a fair chance of getting the position.

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1. What am I good at?

I think my strengths are strongly based in how I work with others.  I am very empathetic and compassionate which I think makes me a good team player.  I am also good at building relationships which is good for team building and my style of leadership.  I am also a diligent and determined person that feels pride in my accomplishments so I like to complete projects and feel like it means something to complete them.

2. What do I value?

Relationships are the strongest things that motivate me.  I put a lot of value in the people around me and the connections I get to make.  If I am able to create valuable connections with coworkers, that makes the work worth it to me.  I also want to be helping and supporting people because that makes me more passionate about the work I do.

3. How did I get here?

I am a first-generation college student that wanted to be in teaching until I realized I didn’t want to work with kids every day.  I wanted to work with people, but when I was no longer a kid, I realized I didn’t want to work with them anymore.  I thought that business would give me a lot of opportunities to still work with people without the stress of teaching elementary school.

4. Where am I going?

On my current path, I will end up in an entry level HR generalist position or interning as an HR assistant while I try and find an industry I’m interested in.  I’ve been looking at working in the public sector because I think it would be interesting to work in a government or county position.  I want to learn more about recruitment and selection because that is the area of HR I would like to work in eventually before moving into training and development.

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IPIP Results & Reactions

I took the shorter version of the test because I, unfortunately, couldn’t find the time to take the longer one this week.  I scored average in extroversion, high in agreeableness, low in conscientiousness, high in neuroticism, and high in openness to experience.  This means that I am neither fully introverted or extroverted, I put a lot of value on other people’s emotions, I don’t have a lot of impulse control, I get stressed easily, and I enjoy variety.  I think this is a fair representation of my personality, but I feel like it would’ve been more accurate to me if I was able to take the longer version.  Perhaps I’ll take some time to do that in the future!

A potential employer would probably look at this and see that I am a good team player because I put a lot of interest and value into other people’s opinions and emotions, but that I would not perform well under pressure or be able to do good work consistently due to my lack of conscientiousness.  I could perform well with others, but they may think that I wouldn’t be able to perform on my own or put effort into the work that I do.  I think that personality tests like this are helpful for individual reflection, but I don’t think they should be a part of the workplace.  I think that they make people act differently when they are used to influence a company culture, so I believe that they should stay a form of individual reflection.

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Typical vs. Maximal Performance

I think I would hire Jaime over Avery because I think that when looking at the averages of how much work both people would be able to do, Jaime would be more effective overall. In addition to that, I think that the volatility of Avery’s work would be difficult to plan around and create effective project schedules for. With Jaime, I would have a better idea of how much work I can expect them to complete every day.

I think a good position for a person like Avery would be something where they are able to create their own projects or have more creative license over their work.  I think that would make them more passionate about their work and hopefully push them to be more consistent.  Even if it doesn’t push them to be consistent, I think that a creative position where the employee has more independence and deadlines are more project based rather than daily would fit this kind of low consistency employee.

I think a good position for Jaime would be something less high stress.  Something where the work needs do be done consistently and there isn’t that last minute rush to get everything done.  Of course, that scramble at the end of a project or when up against a deadline is in every position, but I think they would do best in a position where that doesn’t happen very often.  Jaime works well in a consistent work environment where they can do the same level of work every day without a lot of variation in what is expected of them.

I think that both are an important type of employee to have, but they need a work style and level that fits with their abilities.  Depending on the position, I think either of them could outperform the other, but since I don’t know much about the position I’m hiring for, I went with Jaime because I believe they would get more work done overall.

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Job Descriptions

I looked at my current job as a resident assistant for this post.  The job description did not really influence me applying for the job.  I had wanted to be a resident assistant since before I started college, so I didn’t really read the description other than to influence the short essays I had to write.  I already had an idea of what an RA did and what the purpose of the position was, so I didn’t feel like reading it would influence my decision a lot.  I was right, even reading the vague description didn’t turn me away from the position.  I’ve already discussed what the hiring process was like and that didn’t turn me away from it either because I knew that I wanted the position and I would be good at it if I got the chance.

After having held the position for a couple years, I can say that the description does give a good idea of the purpose of the position and the overarching goals the employee is trying to meet, but it doesn’t say anything about what the tangible responsibilities and duties are.  For example, as an RA I have to create door decorations for residents, bulletin boards, and be on duty at least once a week where I hold desk hours and perform rounds through the building.  None of those things are listed in the description when that is what I often define being an RA as.

I suppose it makes sense that a description would give a more general idea of the position with the themes and goals over the course of employment because it could be difficult to list more specific responsibilities in a short space.  I think it would be nice if there was a section of the description that listed some of those daily or regular tasks expected of the employee so that they know before they get to the interview and have to ask themselves.  That way they know if they are really prepared for it.

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Experiences with Discrimination

I think this lawsuit would impact how I feel about the company.  If a company that I support starts behaving in a way that doesn’t support or discriminates against a community, whether I associate with it or not, my opinion of that company would turn negative.  I really value respecting other people as humans and when I see other people not giving that same respect, my opinion of them falls.  The same thing goes for businesses, even if I supported them. 

I don’t think I would base my opinion on the first article I saw, but I would follow the story and lawsuit closely.  I try to do research and not trust the first headline or bit of gossip I hear to be the be all end all of the story.  After doing some research I would form a final opinion on the issue and continue to follow the story since I was supportive of the company before this story came out.

I think that depending on what happened, the context of discrimination, and how the company handles the lawsuit my opinion and support of the company would change.  I don’t think it would stay as positive as it was before the discrimination came to light since they were against a group that I identify with, but it wouldn’t necessarily become hateful.  If the company handled the situation gracefully and made clear moves towards removing their discrimination, I would consider applying for the company and supporting it again because they are trying to correct their mistakes.  If they didn’t do that, I would think that they weren’t sorry for mistreating people and would slide back into that behavior again when the spotlight of the media story left.

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The Case for Recruitment & Selection

I think that companies are focusing more externally when they put more resources in marketing or R&D.  They are looking more at threats of other companies and the need to stay relevant in the market space because that is often what people think of when they think of operating a business.  Similarly to how people usually don’t think about needing a plunger or a shower curtain when they move out on their own, people don’t think about how important employees are to a business until it’s too late.

They believe that the strength of an organization is its product, not its people or culture.  That is one way to run a business and many are successful at it, but not putting any focus internally could result in a weak workforce that can’t support a good product.

Some possible strengths of not prioritizing recruitment and selection are that they may have fantastic products that have been really well developed because of all the money and focus they put in research and development.  They may have a strong advertising presence that makes them really popular in the market.  The company puts all of its focus on the product so the employees are focused solely on making that product the best.

Some possible weaknesses of not prioritizing recruitment and selection are that the company may have a lot of turnover and employee dissatisfaction because there is no thought put into hiring the people best fit for the company.  The culture of the company may suffer because there isn’t anything cohesive about the workforce as people don’t think about what would make a good team.

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Job Application Experiences

The last job I applied for was my current position as an RA on the Oregon State campus.  It is a really competitive position, where around double the people needed apply for it.  It was actually a complicated process for me.  I applied as a freshman and was waitlisted for the position, meaning that they would call me if a position became available after someone else quit.  I didn’t know where I was on that list, so I planned to live on campus my sophomore year so I wouldn’t have to worry about a lease if I needed to leave for the job.  I applied for the position again in the winter of my sophomore year and was again waitlisted.  I thought that I did a fantastic job in the interview, so I was confused. 

I set a meeting with the supervisor of the RA hiring committee to discuss why I wasn’t getting the position and how to improve my application in the future.  During our meeting, he actually offered me a position from where I was on the waitlist from my application freshman year.  He said that my application itself wasn’t hitting the points they were looking for, but my interview was stellar.  Unfortunately, their system averages those points and it pulled me down the waitlist.

I was passionate about being an RA, so I accepted the position.  I think the whole process didn’t persuade me to want to work with them, but I knew what the position was and how much good I could do in it, so I accepted.  It showed me that there is a lack of detail in the communication the management of residential education has.  They didn’t tell me where I was at on the waitlist or what I did that didn’t align with what they were looking for until I sought it out by meeting with the person who was in charge of all of it.

I love my job and I still think that I do a lot of good work that helps my residents and me develop into better people, but the application process was complicated and difficult.

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