I know many of you run into the same thing. You introduce yourself to someone in a non-professional setting—say a neighborhood picnic or some other social gathering. The person finds out you work in HR and/or Talent and immediately has a response. The response usually has to do with some sort of myth that is perpetuated about our profession. “Oh, you work in HR! That must be nice, I bet you have… <fill in myth>.”
Some are so funny I wanted to share. It always amazes me at what non-HR folks believe HR gets or controls. Here are 5 common myths non-HR employees have about HR & Recruiting:
#1 – “Oh, you’re in HR; I bet your benefits are great!” Yeah, that’s right, I work in HR and have some influence on our benefit design, and because of this Blue Cross puts me, individually, into a special “HR Plan” for only HR Pros and we get everything 100% paid for! Sorry, but that’s part of the gig! No influence, but I can get unlimited Xanax for free!
#2 – “Yeah, but you’re in Recruiting… can’t you just raise up my salary?” Sure can! In fact, I just raised up my own yesterday! From candidates to your internal employees, this myth might be believed by more people than any other. In fact, recruiters have very little say in what a position is paid, and after you’re hired, probably has zero say in what you’re paid.
#3 – “You’re in HR, make sure my performance review is good!” Your manager is responsible for your performance review, but a funny thing happens when they go and write it. 99% of managers are conflict-avoidant, so when they deliver your performance review, and there is something “developmental” on it (i.e., you suck at something and they have to tell you), they usually blame HR in some manner. “Well, I’m fine with your performance, but HR makes us come up with this stuff!” We don’t, but we allow weak managers to use us as the hammer to drive home the message of where you need to improve.
#4 – “Are you going to Black Ball me in this industry/city/company?” Okay, this myth is actually true. Here’s how it works. Each third Wednesday of the month all HR pros in your area meet at the local VFW hall for our secret society Black Ball meeting. We carry one leather bound book around with all the names and titles of individuals who we have “Black Balled.” In these meetings we discuss additions to the Black Ball list and if we should take anyone off the list. Just FYI—no one ever gets off the list!
#5 – “What about the “secret” list of job openings?” Every Talent Acquisition department has two job opening lists. One that is public, and one that is secret. The secret one is the one where we hire our friends and family into our organizations! Seriously?! No. Here’s the reality. The hiring manager comes to talent acquisition and says, “Hey, I got approval to add a position.” Good recruiters will immediately know if they might already know of someone who can fill that position. Those positions will never get posted because there isn’t a need to post it! You already know of someone! That’s why if you want to work at a certain company that doesn’t have openings, you should still keep in contact with them!
There are so many of these I could go on and on, but I would love to hear yours! Hit me in the comments with your favorite employee myths about HR & Recruiting!
If you Google “Tim Sackett” you’ll find our Tim, and a truck driver chaplain. Our Tim is NOT the truck driver chaplain, although how awesome would that be if he was!? He is a prolific writer in the HR and TA space who just happens to also run an Engineering and IT contract staffing agency (HRU Technical Resources) out of Michigan. He also writes every day at his own blog, the Tim Sackett Project. Weirdly, he’s known as an expert in workplace hugging, which was kind of cool years ago, but now seems painfully creepy, but we still love him and he’s fairly harmless. Tim is also on the board of the Association of Talent Acquisition Professionals (ATAP), lifetime Michigan State Spartan fan, husband to a Hall of Fame wife, 3 sons, and his best friend Scout. He also wrote a book with SHRM called The Talent Fix, you can find it on Amazon.