What “Years of Experience Needed” Really Means

You’re fresh out of college, Sum Cum Laude (or hey maybe just a 3.0) and you’ve graduated from one of the top schools in your field.

You’re even the President of a few clubs and and organizations on campus.

All looks right in the world for you until you read entry-level job ad after entry-level job ad that says the following:

“Two Years of Experience Needed”

What does that mean? Well… It means a few things:

1) This is non-negotiable.  Sorry, there’s no getting no around this one. When a company says that they want you to have x amount of years under your belt then they really mean it. You can really be ambitious about your career but if a company says they need you to come equipped with two or three (or ten) years then it means that they know there are certain things that you can only get after x amount of years on the job.

2) Experience trumps education almost every time.  Ever since the Griggs vs. Dukes case companies have been obligated to hold years of experience in equal measure to education but there is a key difference between Education and Experience. Experience is results-based while Education is theory-based. Experience says “what you’ve gone through” where eduction says “what you might do [because the books told me what I should do].” While education is always a great supplement to experience, often times the real world and the academic world don’t align. Employers want someone who has gone through a few things.

3) “Honestly, we don’t want to have to train you.” As one of my good friends likes to say once the point is driven home in a discussion: “And there it is.” Human Resources is shifting to “Human Capital” for several reasons but one of the main reasons, in my opinion, is that bringing individuals on to a company through recruitment has become more like the larger practice of mergers and acquisitions. What do I mean? Simply stated, companies [rightfully] feel like hiring is an investment and to insure the greatest return on investment, they want to hire people that can produce immediate returns and come “ready to work.” The cost of turnover is already high when replacing a terminated employee and training budgets were the first to go in the age of the recession. While the value of training and investing in a new employee can yield unforeseen benefits for the company, most organizations stick to people who have already done the work and have a track record of being pretty darn good at it.

Is HR Afraid to Step on The Scale?

“You get what you inspect, not what you expect”

– Business Proverb

 

We’re almost a quarter of the way into the year 2012 but it seems like only yesterday we were counting down the seconds until the New Year and lining up our goals for 2012 and beyond. Individually we made goals to lose weight or join more clubs and corporately we made goals to retain more professionals, get more bang for our buck in our corporate overhead and more.

If you’re like most people, you wrote your goals down or at least kept a mental note of them…

…but just how good can our goals be if we’re not measuring them? Is HR afraid of the scale?

Metrics, metrics, metrics. One of my favorite roles in HR Consulting is establishing and tracking HR Metrics.  Measurements used to determine the value and effectiveness of HR strategies. Typically includes such items as cost per hire, turnover rates/costs, training and human capital ROI, labor /productivity rates and costs, benefit costs per employee, etc.

Metrics are the foundation for growth. If you don’t know where you are, how will you know what it takes to get where you are going? If you are driving from your town to the next major city, that experience is full of metrics. You’re measuring the time and distance that it takes with your GPS. You’re looking at your gas tank to see if you have enough gas. And you’re even probably going to take a bathroom break to make sure you don’t have to “go” before you get to your destination! Why is Business any different? We make goals but do not take inventory of statistical data that helps give us a clear picture of where we stand and what it takes to get where we want to be.

Fighting monsters in the dark. What happens when you drive for growth but do not take into account the metrics surrounding the move? It’s like boxing in the dark. Sure you may be able to identify some key general areas that will always improve as a result of changes but you can hardly know how effective your decisions are and that can be a time and financial drain. The best planning involves calculated investments of time and resources  into the areas that matter most. Metrics help in this a great deal.

 

What are some common HR Metric formulas?:

Metric Formula
Absence rate # days absent in month ÷ (average # of employees during a month x  # of workdays)
Benefit or program costs per employee total cost of employee benefit/program ÷ total # of employees
Benefits as a percent of salary annual benefits cost ÷ annual salary
Compensation as a percent of total compensation annual salary ÷ total compensation (salary + benefits + additional compensation)
Compensation or benefit revenue ratio compensation or benefit cost ÷ revenue
Cost per hire recruitment costs ÷ (compensation cost + benefits cost)
Engagement or satisfaction rating percent of employees engaged or satisfied overall or with a given aspect of the workplace
Percent of performance goals met or exceeded # of performance goals met or exceeded ÷ total # of performance goals
Percent receiving performance rating # of employees rated under a given score or rating on their performance evaluation ÷ total # of employees
Revenue per employee revenue ÷ total # of employees
Return on investment (ROI) (total benefit – total costs) x 100
Time to fill (average) total days taken to fill a job ÷ number hired
Training/development hours sum of total training hours ÷ total # of employees
Tenure average # of years of service at the organization across all employees
Turnover (annual) # of employees exiting the job during 12 month period ÷ average actual # of employees during the same period
Turnover costs total costs of separation + vacancy + replacement + training
Utilization percent total number of employees utilizing a program/service/benefit  ÷ total number of employees eligible to utilize a program/service/benefit
Workers’ compensation cost per employee total workers compensation cost for year ÷ average number of employees
Workers’ compensation incident rate (number of injuries and/or illnesses per 100 full-time employees ∕ total hours worked by all employees during the calendar year) x 200,000
Yield ratio percentage of applicants from a recruitment source that make it to the next stage of the selection process

 

Leadership Takeaway: Metrics are not to be used as a tool for micro-management but they are a tool to be used for effective leadership and guidance. Jumpstart:HR offers a unique year-long HR Outsourcing/Advising service to it’s costumers that allows us to chart metrics and for your organization and recommend  growth strategies that are both measurable and cost-effective.

Human Resources Takeaway: HR is constantly asking to prove itself by the value added contributions that it brings to an organization. If you’re having trouble communicating your value to Senior Officials then it may be time to consider Jumpstart:HR as a trusted Strategic Partner. Work with us to define your specific HR goals and manage them in a long-term plan.

Professional Development: Dead-end jobs are found in organizations that don’t track metrics that a relevant to your career growth and development. When interviewing for a position, ask what kind of tools the organization uses to track staffing and career development. If your organization doesn’t do such things then it may be time to hire your own personal HR Department. Jumpstart:HR offers personal career development coaching sessions to help you get the most out of your career.

14 Ways to Love… Your Job

Today is Valentine’s Day but it’s not just for spending time with the one you love! Odd’s are you’re going to be spending most of your time at work – a place where most Americans devote 8.6 hours a day according to the U.S. Department of Labor. So while you’re checking online for last minute reservations and dinner ideas, why not take some time to reflect on some of the ways you can fall in love with your job.

Here are some of the best ways to reconnect with your career and reignite the passion:

  1. Try being grateful about having a  job in the first place.
  2. Remember where you job that you came from – would you rather be there.
  3. Share the experience that you’ve gained with others through a mentoring relationship with a younger colleague or student.
  4. Eat lunch with a co-worker instead of at your desk.
  5. Go to the holiday party – and have fun!
  6. Give your colleagues written “thank you” letters for a job well done.
  7. Take initiative to solve a problem that’s been bugging the office for a long time.
  8. Connect with others in your profession… ask them why they are passionate about their job.
  9. Smile when speaking to a customer.
  10. Write down a list of your accomplishments in the last 30 days, 6 months and 1 year.
  11. Find a Career Mentor who can help add clarity to your purpose.
  12. Reflect on all of the ways that you have been able to help others as a result of being at your job.
  13. Realize that you’re there because you’re valued. If you weren’t you wouldn’t be there!
  14. Repeat items 1 through 13!

Did I miss something? What are some of the best ways to “fall in love” with your career?

What to do if you’re not qualified for a job

Job seekers, Imagine this scenario:

You’re on the web and you come across your “dream job.”  The job is just perfect for you but there’s just one important thing missing…

Your “qualifications.”

If you’ve ever been in that situation, I’m pretty sure you’ve heard one of two things after you applied for the job:

“Thank you for your application, however we have decided to go with someone more qualified at this time.”

or… “…silence… no response…”

The match for job seeker and employer is no different than any other relationship. The employer is looking for the “best fit” and if you don’t have the qualifications, it is not in your best interest to apply for the job and here’s why:

It makes you look bad. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve come across resumes for candidates who have expressed interest in a position but did not have the desired qualifications. No matter if you are an employed job seeker or an unemployed job seeker, job search is not a charity, it is a serious business decision. So, if you are not qualified then you have to understand that it’s nothing personal against you but you just do not meet the minimum expectations and HR may question why – after reading the job description – did you even seriously consider applying for the job.

You get really paranoid. Nothing invokes paranoia more than waiting on something you’re not qualified for. Why?  Because on one hand you know you’re not qualified and on the other hand you are hoping feverishly that the employer thinks you are. That’s a recipe for disaster and high blood pressure. Increase your odds of actually establishing a connection by applying for jobs that you are qualified for and you may notice more call backs from employers who are looking for your skill set and background.

The odds are against you. Your unqualified resume in a pile of highly qualified resumes is just a small fish and a large pond of really large fish. We have this backwards psychology that goes into effect when we see a job that we’re not qualified for. It says “no one else is qualified for this either” or “this is perfect for me and no one else!” Unfortunately, those two things aren’t true and in fact the truth is the exact opposite. I can tell you from experience that recruiters who post jobs online have to go through a ton of resumes. Some good and mostly bad. If you want to stand out, apply for a job that you excel at and not one that is out of your range.

Leadership Takeaway: Culture begins with you. Teach your recruiters to source and interview only the best talent for the job. If you create a culture of greatness then it is very easy to spot and shy away from talent that cannot compete in your organization.

Human Resources Takeaway: Training your recruiters on the key skills to look for in qualified candidates will help ensure time isn’t wasted with candidates who do not fit what you are looking for. Utilize key automated screening tools that prevent job seekers who don’t qualify from even applying to the position.

Professional Development Takeaway: If you’re not a fit, that can be a good thing. Understand that by obtaining the desired qualifications, you can one day be qualified. Also, if you were to be hired for the position and you couldn’t keep up with it then you would be looking at possible termination or re-assignment. No one wants that. Take your time.

To see more job search strategies in my latest book “Never Miss the Mark: Career search strategies provided by HR Pros.

Your guide to workers’ compensation insurance

A newly published guide for Business Owners and HR Professionals has been published on InsuranceQuotes.com. It features Seven important tips that must be considered to help employers save money and decrease the stress surrounding this process. The guide features the following quote and supporting information from Jumpstart:HR CEO Joey V. Price:

 

7. Make note of pre-existing conditions.

Workers sometimes get hurt on the job by tweaking a pre-existing injury, says Joey Price, CEO of Jumpstart HR, a human resources consulting firm in Washington, D.C. A construction worker who injured a knee while playing sports several years ago, for instance, may be more likely to suffer knee problems while working at the project site.

For pre-existing conditions, you may be able to prove that your work site did not contribute to the injury, Price says. Doing so can free you from any liability charges that may arise from an incident. Screen employees during the hiring process, and document any pre-existing conditions. If an injury does occur, you’ll have notes ready to help assess the situation.

To read the guide in full, visit this link.

To learn more about how Jumpstart:HR can help you navigate the challenges of WC Insurance, send a message here to schedule your free 30 minute consultation.

Don’t let humility humble your career growth

In a perfect world, merit alone would be the key driver behind career growth and development.

Unfortunately, Corporate America is far from a “perfect world.”

In an corporate environment where mean people earn more, I think there are several lessons that all individuals can learn from “mean” people if they want to see their career grow. As a self-proclaimed, and humbly affirmed, “nice guy” who has gone from entry-level HR Assistant to Interim HR Director of a 1,200 multi-state Federal Contractor to now HR Consultant, I can say that I got here by being nice but I didn’t let humility humble my growth.

Here are three ways humility can humble your job growth:

You won’t toot your own horn. How many times have you heard a manager or co-worker give you a pat on the back or send a congratulatory email for your hard work on a project? Not often, right? Well if people are rarely shouting praises about you then you have to take that responsibility upon yourself. When speaking with your manager and other persons of influence, learn how to build in the  milestones and achievements that you’ve accomplished.  “Mean” people do a great job of explaining their case and so should you!

Being humble can make you “blend in” very well…. too well. Pop quiz! Think back to high school or college and think about the most humble person that you can remember. What do you remember about them? As I am thinking back, I can only remember the fact that this particular person was “nice.” I can’t attribute any measurable achievement even though I can remember that they were just a nice guy. If humility trumps your ability to promote yourself then you may run the risk of blending in with the walls as opposed to standing out as a leader or person who has accomplished notable things.

You’ll quiver come performance review time.  Performance Reviews are often hampered by a concept in HR called the “recency effect.” The recency effect is a term that describes managers who can only recall information that has happened within the a “recent” time frame. When managers fail to remember your efforts and you are humble about bringing them up, this makes for a terrible quiet storm that results in lower marks than you could’ve received if you only were able to speak up!

What can humble people learn to help grow their ability to communicate past accomplishments and to navigate career growth in spite of “mean” individuals? Here’s a list:

  • Learn to confidently talk facts and figures.
  • Document past performance so that you can remember it come performance review time.
  • Let your personality shine through in conversations and in the workplace.
  • Develop leadership potential by offering to take on tasks that “lead” rather than “support.”
  • Learn to speak up and talk about yourself – that isn’t a crime :).
  • Never forget your career goals and what you wish to accomplish – and always be in the drivers seat of making sure you get there.

 

Leadership Takeaway:  Humble people need a boost. Don’t let your humble people go unnoticed but learn to encourage them to grow. Jumpstart:HR can help you learn to engage your humble individuals in a way that shows you care.

Human Resources Takeaway: The performance review process can be riddled with human error and inconsistency. Learn how to create a consistent performance review process that eliminates these things and gives all employees a fair review process.

Professional Development Takeaway: Humility can hinder your career by way of missed promotion or failure to network effectively at business functions. Schedule a chat with me and learn how to incorporate skills that show you know how to boast but not at the risk of being “mean.”

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