Promoting Professional Geekery #33 – Help Out In HR

(For more Promoting Professional Geekery, see this Roundup of past columns.)

So you’re trying to promote professional geekery.  If you work at a company chances are you have an HR department that . . . isn’t.

HR is a tough profession, as is the entire hiring and hiring-related world of careers (which is why I recommend helping out recruiters).  It’s tougher when people don’t exactly get, understand, or otherwise know how to work with some people, like creative, technical, or scientific types.  Like, in short, geeks.

If you’ve ever been at an employer who didn’t “get” you, or worked with someone in a similar situation, you know exactly what I’m talking about.  I’m pretty sure you’ve had one of these experiences, if not both (I’ve had both).

This means less geeks on the right jobs, less happy geeks at the jobs they do have, and an HR department trying to figure out what wen’t wrong.  Yeah, I know, sounds familiar.

So this is where, you, the professional geek come in.  It’s time for you to offer your services to HR so they know how to deal with people like, well . . . you.

  • You can help them understand technical and career issues for potential interviewees – or for that matter help conduct interviews on subjects you understand.
  • You can get them up to date on cultural issues to help them understand if they’re misunderstanding people – or ignoring them.
  • You can set them straight on social media and other geeky things so they don’t make stupid policies.
  • You can advise them on training policies and skills people need to develop.
  • You can act as a bridge to less assertive progeeks to hook them up with HR to solve problems.

You can help your HR department understand and work with people like you.  It means more good hires, more happy fellow geeks, and less bad decisions.  It means more professional geeks doing what they do well.

A few suggestions:

  • Insert yourself into the hiring process to scope out how it’s going and help out.
  • Offer to research and discuss training needs, then present a report most anyone can understand.
  • Run lunch meetups with HR now and then to get to know people (if it’s a big company), and focus on areas they really don’t know.
  • Form a relationship with the people you get along with in HR and see how you can help out.
  • If HR has a wiki for terminology and standards, help out with it.  If not . . . it might be a good idea to start one.
  • Offer to read over policy documents and make suggestions.
  • Offer to read over or even compose job search ads (so you can give realistic feedback).

You may even find that HR could be part of your career, or you might be good enough to help with or even do hires one day.  Sure, you’re helping others, but it might help you out as well!

Steven Savage