HR Executive

HR Executive

HRChick

Seattle, WA

Female, 39

I'm the head of HR for a leading digital media company. I'm responsible for making my company an amazing place to work - or at least I'll go down trying! In short, I set the strategic direction for the HR function of the organization. I wear many hats: member of the executive team, confidant and advisor to my peers regarding people matters, as well as an advocate for all people that work hard to make our products great. People are what make organizations tick, and my job is to empower them all.

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Last Answer on January 11, 2015

Best Rated

Have you ever hired someone that you regretted bringing on almost immediately?

Asked by BKrad000 over 5 years ago

Yup - I knew, in my gut, when we interviewed two candidates that the first one would be a better fit for my team. But we had feedback from our client groups that they preferred candidate number two because he seemed to have more expertise in the area (he was a tech recruiter). In an effort to be a better service provider to them, we went with the person they preferred... and I wish we hadn't.

It was pretty clear within the first two weeks that the person we ended up hiring was NOT a good fit - poor communication skills, wasn't able to carry a full workload compared to his peers and all around a square peg in a round hole. The client groups weren't happy either - while they appreciated the one thing this person could do (find candidates online), it was frustrated trying to get any other deliverables from the person. And, in the end, we had to let him go after only a few weeks.

I should have listened to myself the first time!

Why don't more lawyers go into HR? Given how touchy, nuanced, and intertwined HR and employment law matters are, wouldn't that make a lot of sense?

Asked by Bento Boxer 74 almost 6 years ago

The short answer has to be money - HR people have a seriously low bill rate compared with lawyers. All joking aside, there are some HR people who have a background in employment law before getting into an HR role. But legal / compliance work is only a small part of what good HR people do. Hopefully they are spending more of their time on the fun stuff - creating innovative development programs, communicating with employees or designing compensation plans that achieve business results while rewarding people. Knowing the legal stuff is just the beginning and, if all the person knows, not enough to be a great HR professional.

why are there so many more women than men in HR?

Asked by hellian221 almost 6 years ago

Excellent question... The flip side of the question is "why are there so many more men in science and technology?" I think there is something in our culture that generally tends to discourage girls from participating in math and science, while guiding them to more social areas of play and study. The opposite can be said about boys - talking about feelings and playing collaborative, non-competitive games seems to be discouraged. These are HUGE generalizations here, and this is not to say that this isn't changing. But I don't think it is reasonable to look at the % of HR people who are female and the % of engineers who are male and say there isn't something going on when we are kids. I hope we figure it out, and provide more opportunities for people of either gender to express any part of themselves they choose. Because the truth is, the qualities that make someone good in a role really aren't based in gender. The ability to negotiate compromise and facilitate communication come in all formats. And the wicked smarts needed to write simple, elegant code that solves complex problems exists in male and female brains in equal measure. And, really guys, it is cool to be an HR person. I swear.

When companies ask an applicant for REFERENCES, how useful is that in actuality, when of course they're only going to name people who will have good things to say about them, right?

Asked by Cind15 over 5 years ago

That is one of the hardest parts about hiring. It's important to get references, as there is only so much you can determine from interviewing a candidate. It's like deciding to marry someone after one or two dates, you have to make a decision with limited information. References do help in that you can ask questions about lingering points from the interview process and, usually, people do try to answer truthfully. But it is typical for most people who act as references to provide a positive picture of the candidate. This is what good friends and colleagues do, and really, thank goodness. Work would suck if not.

 

Have you ever been forced to fire someone when you didn't think it was fair?

Asked by joey almost 6 years ago

Yes, and it led me to leave my job shortly thereafter. The person wasn't great in the job she had recently moved into, but as a long term employee (15+ years), steps should have been taken to help her find something else in the company that she could be successful at. The particular executive involved didn't care, and asked me to fire her while he was on vacation. His exact words were "I want her gone by the time I am back." It was awful and I regret it to this day - it was a valuable lesson that I've never forgotten. Now, when I interview for positions, I always ask questions about the values and ethics of the people I am going to work with. For me, it's just not worth it to ever again be in a position where I am asked to implement decisions that I can't support ethically.

Is the "fire people on a Friday" thing a myth?

Asked by anon almost 6 years ago

Nope. It is not a standard rule, and in fact, there are people divided on whether it is a good thing or a bad thing. There seems to be two rules of thumb: - Fire on a Friday and give them time to process over the weekend. - Fire them on a Tuesday so it doesn't ruin their weekend and we have all week to clean up the collateral damage. My personal preference is to give someone as much notice as possible, to think about how they would like for things to play out. I like Fridays. You get a head's up that your job is ending, think about how you want to characterize it to the external world, and figure out all the questions you have about what is going on. Then, meet on Monday to get all those answers. Just make sure the employee isn't taking off on a really fun weekend to get away - that would suck.

How come pets aren't allowed in offices? What's HR got against dogs?

Asked by Julien almost 6 years ago

Nothing - I love animals in the office! I just took a moment to give our office dog, Squid, a belly rub. In fact, a study came out last month that showed that animals in the office are good for employee morale, stress levels and even productivity. This one, unfortunately, has to be blamed on the facilities people and crabby landlords.