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

Why the Job Search Is a Conflagration of Hostility And Insanity

Watching the job search the last few years from all sides of the issue, I’ve tried to wrestle with why things just aren’t working.  Why can’t qualified people find jobs even when there are openings?  Why is the hiring process so insane and dysfunctional?  Why do so many recruiters and HR people seem like lost voices of sanity?

Why do people who are looking for jobs and employees want to tell me how bad everything is when I’m trying to eat lunch?

I’ve suspected before that the job search/hiring process is ossified.  I still stand by that thought, but I’ve wanted to add another issue I see burbling up out of the fetid swamps of the economy; we’ve been harmed by an adversarial approach.

First, the job seekers.  Man, they want jobs.  That’s understandable.  But after awhile it’s got to make a lot of people feel, well, kind of hostile and put upon.  How many times do you hear about some grand new job search technique, or optimized scanner-ready resumes, or something else that really comes down to “beat the system?”  I’m all for working the system, but I’m wondering if we’ve passed some BS event horizon where that’s all we’re trying to do.

Recruiters and HR?  They need people.  Only it’s more confusing, more erratic, the laundry-list job requirements don’t make a lick of sense.  Everyone is yelling at them, no one is happy, and they’re working in an ossified system that doesn’t work in the first place.  When you do find someone the requirements have changed, and in these tough times your neck is on the line if you get the wrong person.  So you want to get people without going through the BS, and maybe get a break.

These aren’t exactly cases of two groups seeing eye-to-eye.

So my theory is the job search situation’s already pretty massive problem has been made worse by increasing hostility among the various participants who are trying to “work the system” to avoid trouble, find what they need, and not get themselves fired.

Judging by the bitterness that I see, I’m betting this is a factor, especially the last two years.

That’s not a recipe for healthy interaction.  Or hiring.  Or anything else.

The hiring process is about delivering and finding value.  When people are too angry, too busy working the system, too busy treating the job search like a con job or a ninja assassination, they’re not delivering or finding value.  Right now I don’t think “value” is a big enough part of the entire hiring equation.

For me, I feel bad for recruiters and job searchers I know.  It’s why I try to introduce people.  Real connection cuts the hostility and the B.S.

Me, I love clever additions to the job search that actually work – the special resume tweak, the smart portfolio, etc.  I like seeing stuff that’s real.

We need to connect.  We need to stay with what’s real.  We need to dial down the hostility and frustration to do that.

I’m just not sure how easy it’s going to be.  Lunch is gonna keep getting interrupted for awhile . . .

Steven Savage

Recruiting and Hiring – Of The Future!

So I just spent a lot of time ranting about what's wrong with HR and recruiting, what happened, and how I think we professional geeks can use our unique skills and positions to get around it.

But what of the future?  In a changing world economy, a changing HR/recruiting scene, and technical transformation, what is the future of Recruiting, HR and the like? 

What in short, are we facing?

Read more