October 27, 2011 at 3:07 PM

Book Review: Know What Human Resources Departments Are Looking For

"...being confident, with a positive attitude makes you the most attractive candidate"

By Patty Armstrong

Where’s My Great Career?

Patty Armstrong is a career counselor and educator on a mission to help people of all ages find careers they enjoy.

Advertisement

Human Resources is a relatively new employment management field that is growing at a fantastic rate, well beyond most people’s ability to keep up with their changes or truly understand how they operate. Because there is no standardized HR educational degree and many people in HR don’t have them anyway, standards and practices vary widely, much to the frustration and disadvantage of a job seeker.

Major corporations are more likely to have a very professional, well trained HR team. But getting past those folks is like trying to find the weak link to break through a very strong Red Rover team. You need insider knowledge and a good strategy, which you will find in What Does Somebody Have To Do To Get A Job Around Here: 44 Insider Secrets That Will Get You Hired by Cynthia Shapiro (St. Martin’s Griffen, 2008).

Many people have their first encounter with a Human Resources office when they apply for a job and find this office and their computer applications are very effective gatekeepers that foil usual strategies for getting one’s foot in the door. Shapiro is a former HR professional-turned-consultant with experience in the cut-throat Los Angeles  job market. Not every HR office is as devious or manipulative as some of the examples she gives. But if you realize how they are thinking and are ready for some of their tricks, you can successfully navigate through to a great job offer.

My brother sent me a copy of the book, highly praising the salary negotiation section, stating that he followed Shapiro’s script exactly and got the best pay and benefits package in his high power, Silicon Valley job he’s ever had. But even before that section of the book, Shapiro does a nice job showing common mistakes people make in the application and interview process that unknowingly knock them out of the competition. And if you haven’t realized it by now, though jobs are coming back to Santa Fe, your competition is just as good as you. So, it really pays to know the best ways to stay in the running for that position all the way to an offer that you can really appreciate.

I don’t agree with Shapiro that you have to dye your gray hair or that you should hide your education dates. This isn’t LA-LA land. They have a different culture there. But when you’re ready for possible questions or sly manipulations to knock you out of the competition, your confidence will show– and that Shapiro and I agree upon; being confident, with a positive attitude makes you the most attractive candidate. This book is available new and used at Amazon.com and other major booksellers. Shairio also offers personal consultations and presentations. You can find out more about her at www.cynthiashapiro.com.

Advertisement