The advantage of HR departments is that they will control the quality of staff entering a business and ensure that they are a perfect fit with existing teams. They are specialists in the area of recruitment and devote their time and efforts to it while managers get on with running a business.
We shall explore here what a HR department actually does to better understand its function and how it can help drive a business forward in such a competitive world.
The function of HR Departments
HR departments are the hub of company recruitment within a corporate business. They will be responsible for:
- Hiring and Firing
- Admin of employee benefits
The HR department will sort out the adverts that attract the best candidates to apply. It is not just about what the advert says but also where it is placed. This will primarily be online these days or in trade magazines. In some situations, employees can be headhunted. This means that they have been identified as a suitable candidate even though they are currently employed by someone else. It is for the employee to then decide if they want to move companies.
Sometimes disciplinary procedures can be necessary where employees are not meeting targets. It has to be established whether this is due to laziness or a matter of more training. A manager can report the situation to HR who will deal with the necessary administration.
There may also be administration concerning company benefits that employees receive. If it is about bonuses, then the accounts department will become involved, and there will be a liaison there. A company car can be a perk with some positions, and there will be administration involved in that. There may be a company uniform to sort out. The HR department will take the managing of staff-related matters away from line managers so that they can focus on the other aspects of the day-to-day running of a business.
The Interview Process
After the application stage, comes the interview process. The HR department will select suitable candidates for interviews based on strict criteria. Those with the vital skills will then be whittled down to those who also have many of the desirable skills. This will bear in mind that training can be put in place to bridge the skill gaps where applicants have the aptitude for further learning and development.
Typical interview questions might be:
- What can you tell us about yourself?
- What interests you about the position?
- What makes you a perfect fit for this job?
- Do you have any questions for the company?
It is not about the number of questions but asking the ones that bring the right answers out of candidates. Trick questions can be put in but they only really test whether candidates are alert and quick-thinkers. When people are nervous they can freeze at these types of questions and this is not perhaps a true representation of their use as an employee, depending on the job.
The icebreaker question is to get the candidate talking about themselves. It is not what they say but just to get them talking and help them to relax so that they can answer the questions that follow with greater ease.
It is important to know why the candidate applied because this shows their level of motivation towards the position. You do not want to hear that they are moving simply for the money that you can offer, although money is likely to be a factor in their decision.
What makes someone a perfect fit for a job will relate to the skills and experience that they have. It is not enough for a candidate to simply list what is on their CV, they need to be able to explain situations when they used these skills to perhaps motivate employees to better results. Evidence of sales and productivity, being mindful of confidentiality, will provide the perfect evidence.
Allowing the candidate to ask questions at the end prevents interruption during an interview and demonstrates how much research has already been done by the applicant. Asking obvious questions for the sake of asking a question is never a good idea when the information can easily be found online. It is so much easier for job applicants to find out about a company than it ever used to be.
The Advantages of HR Departments
HR takes away the admin off managers concerning staff issues and so allows them to concentrate on the task of running a business.
When employment issues are taken on by a separate department, training dates can be more easily kept an eye on.
Those in HR departments are likely to be more skilled at the interview process. Consider, however, the value of having a manager, or a representative from the department, also present at a job interview. Sometimes managers will want to choose their staff, but less likely in a corporate environment where there are simply too many staff changes.
Ultimately, HR departments ensure that the best staff are recruited by being specialists in staff matters, knowing where to advertise jobs, and by being trained in effective interview techniques.