An Overly Honest HR Manager

I asked an HR Manager, “why don’t you have a training function?”  And bless her heart she answered with a whole-hearted honesty that left me speechless!

She said, “Training is one of those things that costs money and prevents performance problems.  Not only will it cost me money out of my budget, but I might have to reduce HR staff because we aren’t handling performance issues, terminations and we would have fewer people to recruit.”

Like I said, I was speechless, which is probably good since what I was thinking to myself was Duh!

Now while she was honest with me, I doubt she would ever be this stupid to tell her CEO this same reason.  So I asked her how she defends the lack of professional development to the senior managers at the company.  She explained that none of them have ever had a personal experience with training that they saw returned on the investment.  Sad, huh?

So yes, if no one has ever personally experienced a positive result from training themselves, there is not going to be any sponsor willing to promote the cause of spending time and money on developing employees.  With an HR Manager that feels well-trained employees will result in her having less work, which means less purpose in her mind, who is there to fight for the cause?

I love a challenge, so I am setting out to meet the CEO.  I want to educate him on the value of skilled employees.  I want him to see that training is a strategic partner that will help the company achieve their stated goals.  What I am still not prepared to answer is why HR is not driving this initiative.  I guess I might have to be honest.

What do you think?

Are You Too Talented?

Anyone seeking to find a job, in just about every segment of the workplace, has probably heard the phrase, “you are too experienced for the role.”  In an effort to find a perfect fit for the check list of qualifications and experience, too talented is a simple way to weed out applicants that will no doubt have high salary expectations.

The application process has front line recruiters eliminating very qualified people from the applicant pool, in favor of almost qualified people.  Somehow experience and skills have lost out to the lowest cost applicant.

We all know how wrong it is to assume anything, and yet recruiters are assuming that salary is always non-negotiable.  Yet maybe the applicant has applied with your company because they are no longer challenged at their current company.  Maybe they are working in a hostile work environment and need to find a better place to work.  Maybe they just want to spend less time driving to and from work, and given the cost of gasoline and car repairs with a long commute, a lower salary is a wash.

But somehow, we take little time to find out why they are applying with us, and assume it must be for more money.  The best reason for dismissing applicants before we talk with them seems to be one that spares feelings.  How could they be upset and losing out on this opportunity if it is because they are too talented?

I once was told I was too qualified for the job to my face.  I responded that in all my  years hiring people, I have never once tried to hire someone below my needs.  Knowing it is next to impossible to find a perfect fit, you are left with hiring people too qualified, or under qualified.  Who in their right mind wants someone who cannot yet do the job you need done today?

But in this last paragraph I have signaled the truth to preventing the right people from being disqualified.  You see, I personally made the decision of who I would meet and interview with, and never allowed applicants to be screened before reaching my desk.  That has irritated a lot of recruiters, but when I explain that hiring is not just about what is on paper, it is about what the potential is, I usually gain ground on my methods.

I want people who can step into the current role and perform well.  But I also want them to grow with the department and the company, and too talented today is what allows this to happen tomorrow!