One of the best parts of our work is that we have the opportunity to see the internal workings of many organizations. It’s always amazing to see how many different ways an organization can accomplish its goals. While creativity is definitely an advantage, being creative in the HR arena can be tricky. Being uninformed can be downright dangerous. Here’s what we mean:

According to the U.S. Department of Labor website, they oversee the enforcement and application of over 180 different regulations impacting the employment relationship. Those 180 regulations do not include regulations implemented by state or local municipalities. Not knowing about the regulations that impact your organization is truly a disaster waiting to happen. That’s why we strongly encourage our customers to have a properly trained HR professional on their side.

Several years ago we talked with a customer about providing them with HR support. At the time, they said that they intended to bring in a part-time HR person to cover the work. After a couple of months, they called us back and brought us in. When we asked what had happened, they said that they found that they knew more about HR than many of the candidates who applied for the role. Sadly, this isn’t unusual.

So what are some ways to find out if an HR candidate is trained and up to speed?

  • Look for certified HR folks. People who have completed the HR certification process have demonstrated a willingness to learn HR and have passed the certification exam. This is a good first step.
  • Ask about employment law coursework in college: Amazingly, not every HR curriculum includes employment law coursework. Look for those students who sought it out.
  • Use a scenario: Think of an HR situation where you have some knowledge and pose it as a challenge to the candidate. A trained HR professional will be able to walk you through how the situation should be addressed, with options, and explain their preferred approach.
  • Find out how they stay current: Ask what resources they use to stay current and ask about a recent case or specific legal development that they’ve studied.

Developing an internal candidate for the HR role needs to be an intentional process. The best case scenario is to have an HR mentor available in addition to setting aside time and resources for ongoing training.

We have more than a small amount of bias here, but we think HR is an amazing career choice. However, this is a role that’s just not for the faint of heart or for those who aren’t willing to do the homework required to really understand a profession that changes daily.

Do you know a talented HR professional that you’d like to recognize? Let us know! We’d love to share stories of the accomplishments of our local HR heroes!

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