What HR isn’t Telling You…

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Every Human Resources Professional has seen some quirky, crazy, and eyebrow raising things in the office. Chances are, unless you’re involved in disciplinary action, a complaint, performance review, bucking for a raise, being onboarded or prepped for exit interviews, you will never see them. But don’t be fooled. HR knows more about you than your manager, and some of your closest coworkers. Here’s a look at what they are really thinking when it comes to employee relations…

1. “The No. 1 thing in job security is your relationship with your boss. Even if he says, ‘I’m sorry I really wanted to keep you, but they made me lay you off,’ that’s almost never true. He probably made that decision.” –Cynthia Shapiro, former human resource executive

2. “If you’re accused of sexual harassment, even if you’re found to be not guilty, people will always look at you funny afterwards. It can kill your career.” –Laurie Ruettimann, HR consultant and speaker in Raleigh, N.C .

3. “Even in jobs where you test applicants and those with the top scores are supposed to get the job, I’ve seen hiring managers fix scores to get the people they like.” –HR representative in the manufacturing industry.

4. “If you have a question, come to my office. Don’t corner me in the bathroom.” –HR professional at a mid-sized firm in North Carolina

5. “Children and hobbies do not belong on a résumé. And never, ever say, ‘Now that my kids are in college, I’m ready to get back in the workforce.’ ” –HR professional at a mid-sized firm in North Carolina

6. “You’re right to be paranoid. The company is always watching you, and there’s a record of everything you do: every phone call, every text, every tweet and instant message. At most companies, they save that data forever.” –Laurie Ruettimann, HR consultant and speaker in Raleigh, N.C

7. “I was asked by one CEO to hire the long-legged girl with the long dark hair even though she didn’t have the right skills. Another time, I was instructed not to hire anyone with children because the company had too many people leaving for soccer games. That kind of thing happens all the time.” –Cynthia Shapiro

8. “I know a lot more about you when you walk in the door than you realize. I’ll search for you on the web and often use my own personal network to do a pre-interview reference check.” –Senior HR Executive in Vancouver, BC

9. “Generally speaking, you only put someone on paid leave if you’re pretty certain that they might be terminated from the company once you do your investigation.” – Jenny Gantham

10. “Never accept the job immediately. Say you need to think about it overnight. Once you sign on the dotted line there’s no room for negotiation.” –A human resources professional in Seattle, WA

11. “If you get fired, don’t just stomp out and go on with your life. The company may be willing to give you some severance, especially if you can point to someone different from you who didn’t get as severe a punishment. Just saying, ‘Well, I talked to my attorney’ (even if you don’t have an attorney) can also give you some leverage.’” –Suzanne Lucas, a former HR executive

12. “If we ask ‘What salary are you looking for?’ say you’re flexible, or say it depends on the responsibilities of the job. Try not to name a salary unless we really push you, because that gives us a leg up in the negotiating.” –A human resources professional in Victoria, BC

13. “Companies do have black lists. It’s not written down anywhere but it’s a list of people they’d be happy to get rid of if the opportunity arises. If you feel invisible, if you’re getting bad assignments, if your boss is ignoring you, or if they move your office, you’re probably on it.” –Cynthia Shapiro

14. “I may say ‘I’m terminating you because you didn’t meet performance measures.’ I’m not going to say it’s because you’re a pain in the butt and piss people off every time you interact with them.’” –HR Manager at a Loblaw

15. “One time a candidate sent – I love this – a thank you card with a professional picture of herself, which quite honestly became the running joke for weeks. The picture was blown up and posted in my office with hearts drawn around it.” –HR director at a financial services firm

16. “Don’t ever tell me that you have to have this job because you’re going to lose your house, your kids have nothing to eat, your mother has cancer. Companies aren’t a charity.” –Suzanne Lucas

17. “Networking does not mean using Facebook or Linked In. It means going to events, getting your face in front of people and setting up informational interviews.” –A human resources professional in Hamilton, Ontario

18. “We get résumés on fancy schmantzy papers. We get them with gold-pressed lettering. We get them in binders and in document protectors with ribbons. None of that sways me.” –HR Manager in St. Cloud, Minnesota

19. “98 percent of the résumés we receive when we post a position on a big jobs site like hotjobs, monster or careerbuilder are junk, people who are nowhere near qualified. We’ll get a guy who’s a bar manager applying for a director of public affairs position. Or a shoe salesman. That’s why we like posting jobs on websites that target specific industries.” –Michael Slade, HR director at Eric Mower and Associates, an integrated marketing communications agency.

20. “I had somebody list their prison time as a job. And an exotic dancer who called herself a ‘customer service representative.’ ” –Sharlyn Lauby, human resources consultant in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

21. “Don’t stalk me.” –A human resources professional in Vancouver BC

A Dinner Party with the Unusual Suspects

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I promote dinner parties for a few different reasons, a) they are a great way to have a blast without relying on club music and heavy alcohol b) even better way to destress with a group of friends and get ample support c) fabulous strategy to network and build professional and social connections- d) and the last reason?- Food among good people of course!!

2 of the best dinner party gifts I have received include a giant pack of smoked, extra thick, bacon, and the next was a set of coasters circa style 1950’s with a classy woman on them quoting, “Wine is how classy people get shit faced”. Typically I host dinner parties in exchange for the guest pass of a bottle of wine, craft beer, dessert, or an item for my home…. (I have some tres chic napkins and napkin holders thanks to the savvy shopper who got them on clearance).

But among the friends and good company, of all the dinner party themes I have had at my home, James Bond, Murder Mystery/Sleuth, Super Hero, Star Wars, Classy Corporate, Seasonal, Spooky Mystery, Greek, Arabian Nights, Witchy Woman, and Alcoholics Unanimous….. the most interesting trinkets left behind were that of a no themed party with the guest list of, 2 MCFD workers, 1 FMEP worker, 1 Social Worker, 1 Border Security, 2 Military (1 Marine vet, 1 foot soldier active), Executive Chef, and an Events Photographer. Our menu was a classy bacon themed night among professionals equipped with an appy of mini bacon caesars and bacon wrapped scallops, the main of garlic focaccia grilled topped with bacon jam, pulled pork, bacon bits, and petit onion rings, and finally for dessert was a (no bacon for overkill) Jewish cheesecake served with optional blueberry sauce. That night was a great night full of craft beer and good wine. By the time the night had ended, I was cleaning up (admittedly throwing almost everything that didn’t have food in it, into the dishwasher, playing Maytag tetris) when I came across some things I had to take a double look at.

The first was a saran wrap bag of mushrooms in a napkin on my sofa…. the second was a tiny baggie of cocaine in my washroom…. the third was a joint next to the pack of cigarettes and lighter someone left by my door on the entrance table…. the fourth was a water bottle of gin in my fridge…… the fifth was a shirt…. WHO the hell are these people!?!?!?

I was completely dumbfounded and tried to catch a sense of reality wondering…. “Do I txt my guests and kindly let them know they may have forgotten something?” What the hell is the next step?? For me, I have a no drug rule in the house. I flushed the drugs. As for the gin- spirits do not go to waste in my home- that went to good use. As for the shirt, I facebook’d a picture of it, and found an owner. It got me wondering on a professional level, seriously, who are these people? We all work reputable jobs, have credible reputations, volunteer, give back to our community, and yet some of them feel they need to dope at a legit dinner party. I find it bothersome though because I see drugs and alcohol as serious as religion. I do not impose alcohol on anyone, despite that I have a drink every other night. It’s a moral thing, and I reference the bible when I say that alcohol disturbs the spirit. I would not want anyone to impose disturbing behaviour on me, so why would I do that to them? What respect does someone have for my home when they bring illegal substances in? Do me the courtesy of loading before you arrive on my premise, not between the first and second course. Thank goodness my present love interest the narc cop, wasn’t helping me clean up- the evening could have gone a couple different ways.

On that note, I have a reasonable expectation for this at a few of my other dinner parties, but not my professional dinner party! It has definitely added a bit of mystery to the professional friendship zone… I told my Marine buddy, who laughed and said he wished he had stayed for the clean up just to see the look on my face. But who knew? I guess you never really do know your friends… but it adds some spice to the relationship dynamics!