My team decided it was time to get an HR intern. With each candidate I met, I asked why the interest in HR and I found it fascinating that almost every one of the kids I met with said:
2. They decided to pursue their degree in business administration… and,
3. Once they started getting immersed in their business courses, they realized they didn’t like numbers or, that they weren’t good with numbers.
GASP! Is that shocking to anyone else? I can’t help but to liken that to being one of two gals at a bar with a fellow wandering over to chat with me because… well, he struck out with the other gal. How flattering! Because these students couldn’t hack the accounting and finance courses they were taking, human resources conveniently just became more interesting to them. Does that make us a second string choice? Is HR not sexy enough to choose as a first string career? And is HR really just a landing ground for those who can’t count? Where’s the respect?!
Before my first “office job,” when I thought about the business world, I thought… Marketing – sexy. International finance – sexy. Investment banking – really sexy. Human resources – huh? The profession of HR never crossed my mind, and I’m not sure if I would venture to call it sexy even today. HR pros aren’t regularly highlighted on the cover of business mags let alone featured in articles. It isn’t the most lucrative of careers within the business world either (read: dirt pay, at times). So I guess I can’t really blame these kids for choosing HR as a potential career as an after thought… we don’t quite have a sexy reputation. And there are actually many who don’t even trust us. (Just read the comments here!)
So, it begs the question – what’s stopping us from being the sexy gods and goddesses we know we are inside? We serve a vital function. Every organization needs rock-star HR pros – and I’d argue that there’s a shortage of great HR professionals who really get it. So what gives? Why aren’t we in greater demand?
Share your thoughts. In the meantime, stay tuned for part two on my take of the future of HR – I’m bringing sexy back.
Jessica Lee is a VP of TA at Marriott International where she leads a team that enables the company to think big, broad and boldly about all things talent acquisition and in effect, keeps them relevant and ahead of the curve in how they attract and acquire top talent. Don’t be fooled by that fancy pants title and description though, she’s still an everyday HR gal in the trenches at the core. SPHR certified, a decade and a half into trench HR life… she can whip up a corrective action plan or source for your purple squirrel in a heartbeat.