July 17, 2013 at 11:03 AM

It’s Not You. It’s Unregulated, Non-Standardized and Secretive Human Resources

'The field of Human Resources and its tools are in dire need of a fix.'

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.

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Over the past several years I’ve been disturbed to see Human Resource offices becoming major barriers between excellent job candidates and management desperate to find great workers.  Business administrators foolishly hope to cut operating costs by relying more and more on computer job application systems to receive and sort applicants, rather than spending their money on well-trained and discerning HR professionals.

A lack of national and international standardization and regulatory licensure has created a monstrous and unpredictable collection of individual human resource systems and practices.  Very few colleges and universities offer degrees in Human Resources.  The best recruiters and dedicated HR professionals spend their own money for an expensive, national training and certification with the national Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) to grow and improve their field.  Northern New Mexico Human Resource Association is a local affiliate SHRM.  This organization and credential is rarely recognized or required by employers.  It already has an excellent training curriculum which should be adopted into degree programs by colleges and universities across the country.  It’s very scary to realize that most human resources professionals do not have standardized training and credentials or, except for SHRM members, a code of ethics and oversight board to ensure they are following best practices, employment laws and maintaining employee confidentiality.

Over and over I see limited and poorly written job descriptions being taken as gospel by HR departments and their simplistic computers, which regularly toss out applications when entered information doesn’t fit their “If I don’t recognize you have it, you don’t have it” way of sorting.  So when I assess a client’s resume, I go first to the minimum qualifications for the job posting that interests them, then look for clear and indisputable proof that even a computer can see that those minimum qualifications are met.  If we can’t find a way to clearly show the minimum qualifications, I tell my client there’s not much point in going further with the application process.  

Sadly, the best candidates often have such diversity in their education and experience that showing they meet HR’s requirements can often become a convoluted challenge.  This leaves well-qualified job seekers frustrated, bewildered and often shut out of jobs for which they are perfectly suited.  And it leaves managers thinking there aren’t any good candidates to be found.  Or, as I have seen too many times, managers are told by HR that the person they’ve recruited, or have been networking with and think is a great candidate, doesn’t fit the specific job requirements HR insisted on setting to make their task easier and is ineligible to be considered.  

The field of Human Resources and its tools are in dire need of a fix.  Unfortunately, until that happens, many job seekers will continue to bounce off their various barriers until their persistence or luck gets them through.

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