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Careers in Human Resources

Careers in Human Resources

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Published by WetFeet
Long considered a support role, the field of human resources is taking on an increasingly strategic dimension in the business world as managers recognize employees as a source of competitive advantage. Indeed, companies of all kinds have learned that building strong corporate cultures and creating supportive work environments help their bottom lines. If you have a high emotional intelligence quotient, keep your cool when others lose theirs, and understand the link between human capital and business strategy, HR may be the field for you.

Turn to this WetFeet Insider Guide to explore:

- The hiring outlook and industry trends, including the growing need for people with business backgrounds
- How the HR field has evolved in recent years, particularly in the wake of the global economic crisis
- The various roles available, from labor relations manager to recruiter to VP, with salary ranges for each
- What to expect in interviews and how to stand out from the crowd
- HR lingo to help you talk the talk
Long considered a support role, the field of human resources is taking on an increasingly strategic dimension in the business world as managers recognize employees as a source of competitive advantage. Indeed, companies of all kinds have learned that building strong corporate cultures and creating supportive work environments help their bottom lines. If you have a high emotional intelligence quotient, keep your cool when others lose theirs, and understand the link between human capital and business strategy, HR may be the field for you.

Turn to this WetFeet Insider Guide to explore:

- The hiring outlook and industry trends, including the growing need for people with business backgrounds
- How the HR field has evolved in recent years, particularly in the wake of the global economic crisis
- The various roles available, from labor relations manager to recruiter to VP, with salary ranges for each
- What to expect in interviews and how to stand out from the crowd
- HR lingo to help you talk the talk

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Published by: WetFeet on Sep 29, 2011
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insider guide

CAREERS IN HUMAN RESOURCES

INDUSTRY TRENDS AND RANKINGS ★ PROS AND CONS OF WORKING IN HR ★ ON THE JOB: REAL PEOPLE PROFILES

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Careers in Human Resources
2011 edition

Careers in Human Resources

WetFeet
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Careers in Human resourCes
2011 Edition ISBN: 978-1-58207-971-4

PHotoCoPying is ProHibited
Copyright 2011 WetFeet. All rights reserved. This publication is protected by the copyright laws of the United States of America. No copying in any form is permitted. It may not be reproduced, distributed, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, in part or in whole, without the express written permission of WetFeet, Inc. The publisher, author, and any other party involved in creation, production, delivery, or sale of this WetFeet Insider Guide make no warranty, express or implied, about the accuracy or reliability of the information found herein. To the degree you use this guide or other materials referenced herein, you do so at your own risk. The materials contained herein are general in nature and may not apply to particular factual or legal circumstances. Under no circumstances shall the publisher, author, or any other party involved in creation, production or delivery of this guide be liable to you or any other person for damages of any kind arising from access to, or use of, its content. All illustrations by mckibillo

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Careers in Human Resources CHAPTer 1 1 Human resourCes at a gLanCe 2 5 tHe roLe 6 Overview 7 The Evolution of HR 8 The Bottom Line 9 What’s New: Trends in the Field 3 19 tHe ComPanies 20 Largest by Revenue 21 Fastest Growing 22 Most Desired Companies to Work For 4 31 on tHe Job 32 Career Tracks 34 Representative Projects and Responsibilities 35 Real People Profiles 23 Most Admired 13 Division of Labor: How It Breaks Down Companies in HR 25 Largest Employers 16 The Forecast: Job Prospects 27 Top HR Consultants 27 Top Staffing Agencies 28 Payroll Accounting Firms 28 PEOs Careers in Human Resources .

5 47 tHe WorkPLaCe 48 Lifestyle and Culture 49 Workplace Diversity 50 Compensation 51 Benefits and Perks 6 59 getting Hired 60 The Prerequisites 61 The Recruiting Process 7 67 For your reFerenCe 68 HR Lingo 71 Recommended Reading 64 Interviewing Tips 65 Grilling Your 52 Career Path 54 The Inside Scoop Interviewer 73 Other Resources contents .

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1 Human Resources at a Glance .

recruiting. Whether a company is large or small. or administration. determine a specialty within HR or limit your search to an industry that most interests you. they recruit for summer internships. so very few companies recruit for full-time HR positions on campus. though no individual major is best. • Undergraduates interested in HR as a career should secure an internship or entry-level position as an HR assistant. Most important. • Play well with your fellow colleagues while completing your summer internship. it’s also about helping management improve the bottom line. so the range of companies you can work for is extremely broad. and helping a business strategically hire and develop its talent. Ultimately. you typically can specialize out of the gate in compensation. Third-party personnel agencies are a good place to get this kind of experience. CHaPter 5 ThE WoRkplaCE CHaPter 4 oN ThE Job CHaPter 3 ThE CompaNIES • Midcareer HR staffers ready to advance should be willing to take some risks. which involves using technology to enhance organizational effectiveness by putting HR systems online or using HR-specific information systems (HRIS). companies want HR practitioners capable of linking HR issues with business strategy. companies are relying on software applications to streamline hiring and other processes. • An undergraduate degree in business administration or the social sciences is helpful in landing an HR job. CHaPter 2 ThE RolE • With a master’s degree. • An array of master’s degrees relate to human resources: MBAs with concentrations in HR. Demonstrate your understanding of management’s needs—not just of traditional HR duties. • Executive recruiters and staffing industry specialists should have a background in sales or recruiting. • Many employers prefer entry-level workers who have gained some experience through an internship or work-study program while in school. Experience is the name of the game in this business. or a master’s of human resource management. think like a businessperson. Coursework related to the industry you’d like to enter can give you an advantage. such as compensation. scheduling. it needs staff to manage certain things.CHaPter 1 aT a GlaNCE Careers in Human Resources aT a glance Opportunity Overview • Human resources (HR) is all about workforce management. Some tech professionals have helped design systems for major publicly traded organizations. To narrow your focus. or labor relations. It could turn into a full-time position or lead to contacts that can help you land your first job after graduation. Instead. HR isn’t only about employees. Increasingly. benefits. compensation. benefits. management. • Virtually every industry has HR needs. • Plenty of opportunities exist in HR technology. CHaPter 7 FoR YoUR REFERENCE CHaPter 6 GETTING hIRED 2 W E T F E E T I N S I D ER GUID E . MAs in administration and in human resources. equal opportunity. retirement plans.

• MBA graduates could have more opportunities for advancement in HR than in other professions. and other HR positions aren’t far behind. they have been quick to refill their recruiting staffs. • HR certification can help advance your career. • Opportunities for HR practitioners will increase in the next few years. Career Outlook • As a career. and labor relations is expected to rise 22 percent or more through 2018. As companies emerge from the recession. HR appears somewhat bulletproof.CHaPter 1 aT a GlaNCE Others have joined small contractors that sell their systems to other firms. training. Some businesses have even shifted focus back to dealing with the predicted shortage of knowledgeable workers as baby boomers retire—even though many of them delayed retirement in response to the downturn. with staffs shrinking and many losing jobs. according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics: Overall employment of managers and specialists in human resources. But HR was no stranger to the economic downturn. HR practitioners are tasked with creating strategies to retain top performers. HR jobs specializing in recruiting are in demand. • HR insiders say networking plays a key role in finding an HR job. When hiring picks up. perhaps more so than in any other industry. When hiring slows. but it’s not yet established as necessary to get ahead in the field. CHaPter 2 ThE RolE CHaPter 3 ThE CompaNIES CHaPter 4 oN ThE Job CHaPter 5 ThE WoRkplaCE CHaPter 6 GETTING hIRED CHaPter 7 FoR YoUR REFERENCE WET F EET IN S IDER GUIDE 3 .

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....................................... 6 The Evolution of HR.. 13 The Forecast: Job Prospects ..............................The Role 2 Overview.... 8 What’s New: Trends in the Field ................ 7 The Bottom Line .......... 16 .......................... 9 Division of Labor: How It Breaks Down ............

CHaPter 3 ThE CompaNIES CHaPter 5 ThE WoRkplaCE Long considered a support role. whose tracks range from training to pension plan administration. some companies have the capability to take information from your resume and enter it right into payroll. Some firms say they’re operating more efficiently as a result of such technology advancements. and Zappos. it refers to everything related to the employeremployee relationship. dealing with legal issues such as sexual harassment and occupational safety. Those on the corporate side set policy in coordination with the broader strategies of the CEO and other senior executives. but a huge network of them. According to one HR veteran. Google. Meanwhile. Generalists and specialists. Globalization has created new challenges for those in HR. and productive. creating benefits programs. can find a home here. SAS. navigating government regulations. Some companies develop their own systems and others purchase applications. overseeing international employee regulations. the HR pro will wear many hats. CHaPter 7 FoR YoUR REFERENCE CHaPter 6 GETTING hIRED CHaPter 4 oN ThE Job 6 W E T F E E T I N S I D ER GUID E . Hr has recently assumed an increasingly strategic dimension in business as managers recognize employees as a source of competitive advantage. In HR. changes in where and how business is done have impacted the HR field. while those in the field work with divisions to implement programs and handle daily issues. managing employee communications. The responsibilities and activities of HR practitioners vary depending on the size of a company. those firms and others appear regularly on surveys of best places to work. Fortune 500 companies divide HR into corporate and field operations. HR has recently assumed an increasingly strategic dimension in business as managers recognize employees as a source of competitive advantage. Intel. Those purchasing outside applications must pay more for the necessary upkeep of software. HR doesn’t consist of a single activity or function. CFO. and compensating. HR practices creating supportive environments for employees and creating strong corporate cultures can lead to superior returns for shareholders by making the companies that use them innovative. Technology has helped streamline HR. efficient. and training employees. In other words. such as managing foreign employees. Wegmans Food Markets. data remain scarce as to how much the advancements have helped companies cut costs and increase efficiency. Today’s HR professionals are responsible for hiring and firing employees. At a small company.com have showed that to be true. It’s also increasingly referred to by the pretentious term human capital management. Still. whereas at bigger companies you’ll find generalist and specialist HR roles. creating organizational charts. settling employee disputes. there’s something for just about everyone. such as onboarding (the process of making sure new employees have the resources to be more productive) and performance management (a buzz phrase covering training and development activities). Long considered a support role. setting up policy and programs for measuring performance. with practices CHaPter 2 ThE RolE ranging from putting benefits programs online and facilitating e-learning to automating payroll and other administrative HR tasks. So it’s no surprise that the head of HR today frequently sits in the CEO’s inner circle of senior managers along with the COO. large. shaping corporate culture after a merger or acquisition.CHaPter 1 aT a GlaNCE Careers in Human Resources Overview › Human resources is a general term meant to cover a wide range of activities. recognizing. Edward Jones. and ensuring fair pay in similar industries across different countries and cultures. which has improved over time and now covers a wide range of tasks. and head of marketing. For instance.

compensation and benefits consulting. HR managers must balance the company’s overall business requirements with the individual employee’s needs—aligning people issues with business issues.CHaPter 1 aT a GlaNCE Many smaller and midsize businesses. such as compensation and benefits. and the ability to switch gears swiftly from administrator to counselor to negotiator. flexibility. and companies began to recognize the value of linking their HR programs with their business objectives.” In today’s business environment. Ultimately. I like combining these things to come up with an answer. HR professionals with strong business skills have an advantage over those without them. Although clerical workers who became proficient at these tasks moved up through the ranks. particularly those with fewer than 1. The issues facing HR practitioners vary by industry. Through the ’80s and ’90s.” says a compensation expert. require strong communication skills and a high level of emotional intelligence.” CHaPter 6 GETTING hIRED CHaPter 7 FoR YoUR REFERENCE WET F EET IN S IDER GUIDE 7 . “There’s a certain amount of analysis you can do that has a quantifiable component. compensation and benefits. as can skills in conflict resolution. training.000 employees. and help deliver against business objectives. and employee relations. and company culture are very different from those in retail or health care. require more data analysis. CHaPter 2 ThE RolE > TIP Regardless of industry. “Then there’s a certain amount that requires judgment. the industry’s view of HR began to change. such as assembling benefit programs and sourcing candidates for interviews. have grown into multibillion-dollar service sectors designed to support in-house HR functions. Others. but is rising steadily. they lacked business strategy skills—the ability to think big-picture about how personnel programs could support. staffing models. communication. which involves putting HR systems online. organizational development. for example. HR was considered a touchy-feely job. Tech geeks can find plenty to keep them busy in HR technology. are increasingly outsourcing some or all of their HR functions. HR blends hard and soft skills. A few responsibilities. advance. In the consumer products industry. according to the American Society for Training & Development. creating HR-specific information systems.081. such as staffing and executive recruitment. statistics. It’s a people-building function with a bottom line. CHaPter 3 ThE CompaNIES Some specialist roles. Clerical staff tended to be assigned tasks that now fall to HR professionals. The evOluTiOn Of hr › in tHe 1960s and 1970s. and an ability to analyze numbers can be important. the most successful HR pros exhibit grace under fire. and advising their organizations on which outside applications they should use. Today. an understanding of legal issues. Accounting. Employee training is not quite at the levels seen in the mid-2000s. and HR systems. Responsibilities include examining the value of various HR programs to determine whether they’re contributing to the company’s profitability or changing them to affect the bottom line more positively. CHaPter 4 oN ThE Job CHaPter 5 ThE WoRkplaCE InsIder sCOOP “HR isn’t a social work function. such as training. The group’s 2009 survey of large organizations found that the average annual expenditure per employee was $1. and persuasion.

finance. HR shifted its focus toward moving employees out of the organization while maintaining morale and retaining top talent. > TIP The HR field is approachable for those without a business degree. which is more than most occupations. operations. or industrial and labor relations. other employers look for college graduates with a technical or business background or a well-rounded liberal arts education. The increased demand is likely because of companies needing to comply with legislation and court rulings revising standards in areas such as equal opportunity. organized. There is also plenty of need for creative compensation and benefits strategists to help companies combat rising health-care costs and make sense of health-care reform and the growing numbers of plan options. and labor relations managers and specialists will increase 22 percent through 2018. placement. as well as compensation. At the same time. Top HR officers who wish to sit alongside their executive counterparts in research.CHaPter 1 aT a GlaNCE Careers in Human Resources CHaPter 3 ThE CompaNIES Many in HR have master’s degrees and certifications. CHaPter 5 ThE WoRkplaCE CHaPter 6 GETTING hIRED InsIder sCOOP “Having a business focus is really important. recruitment. But if you’re serious about advancing in your career—and you want to be taken seriously by upper management—your best bet is to get a formal business education in addition to gaining savvy on the job. employment. as companies went through layoffs. and an increasing number have MBAs. Then. analytical. CHaPter 4 oN ThE Job Responsibilities for HR professionals tend to change depending on the industry and economy. although they’re not required. and training and development specialists. To fill entry-level jobs. HR professionals were more involved in conducting employee searches. HR is charged with recruiting new employees who should fit in personally and professionally as well as help the company achieve its business goals. while specialists in compensation. benefits. and other areas. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts overall employment of human resources. CHaPter 7 FoR YoUR REFERENCE 8 W E T F E E T I N S I D ER GUID E . disputes are settled. sales. and training and development specialists increased. running interviews and recruiting. recruitment. Because HR covers a range of tasks. HR administration. training. a psychology or sociology degree can prepare you more effectively than a business degree. This requires wearing many hats. you have to understand the business and ask how you can contribute from the HR function to the line roles. it requires heroic multitaskers who are good with people. and placement specialists. Certain HR functions require different educational backgrounds: In employee relations. The bureau forecasts particularly strong demand for employment. and marketing may want to pursue a business degree. and job-analysis specialists. occupational safety. It’s an HR administrator’s job to make sure employees are working in a safe environment. Before the recession. and job analysis decreased. the number of HR managers. CHaPter 2 ThE RolE The BOTTOm line › Hr professionaLs act as mediators between an organization’s management and its workers. and business-minded. HR also represents its company’s management when negotiating for benefits and implementing companywide policies that will ultimately lower costs or boost profits.” From 2007 to 2010. If you want to be influential. benefits. All companies need some kind of HR support. and benefits are understood and administered properly. placing employees was their top priority. many employers seek college graduates who have majored in HR. health and family leave.

Retaining top talent is a big challenge for organizations.com) reported in 2011 that job postings for HR and recruiting positions were up 34 percent from the previous year. › Hr practitioners Have the important job of translating social. but you’re likely to wear many hats simultaneously. according to an article in Human Resource Executive. It also was tasked with keeping the survivors of layoffs happy. political. according to some experts. and job seeker clicks on those ads were up 51 percent. All of these investments are intended to boost job satisfaction. they stuck around during the downturn. They also are providing more opportunities for career advancement. and economic changes into workplace policies and programs. At smaller firms. Some have even created or purchased software applications to coordinate and track employee development activities. you may not get paid as much. CHaPter 4 oN ThE Job breaking into tHe Hr biz Get the inside edge for a career in HR by strengthening your understanding of business strategy and planning and by specializing in a particular industry. and put you in a better position to climb the ladder. leading to better worker retention. Asking about these issues could give you an edge in your interviews. One recruiter says he has noticed an increased number of counteroffers to keep valued people competitors have wooed. CHaPter 6 GETTING hIRED CHaPter 7 FoR YoUR REFERENCE WET F EET IN S IDER GUIDE 9 . Although many employees may have been unhappy with their jobs. and companies could pay more than two times the annual compensation of a job. help you master basic skills within the function. says a longtime HR executive. Experts also believe the economic downturn strengthened HR’s reputation at companies because it helped them fight the recession with strategic workforce planning. to keep their staff happy. forcing HR to find new ways to retain top talent. An internship or an HR assistantship can provide you with an understanding of the various career tracks. and even telecommuting. In fact. Job site Indeed (indeed. 25 percent of HR leaders said their staffs were reduced during the recession. Such varied experience will make you more attractive for jobs later in your career and may help you decide which specialty to pursue.CHaPter 1 aT a GlaNCE whaT’s new: Trends in The field rEtEntiOn is KEy Companies are spending heavily on training programs to help workers improve their skills. hr? The economic downturn devastated plenty of industries. Factor in the cost of relocating and assimilating a new employee. And understanding how these various trends affect the workplace will give you a head start once you’re hired. and HR was no different. there is hope on the horizon. CHaPter 5 ThE WoRkplaCE whErE tO. Companies also are offering more flexible work schedules. cultural. Although many departments went with leaner HR staffs. Firms that can’t hold onto their workers lose productivity when positions go unfilled and they pay higher recruiting costs. CHaPter 2 ThE RolE CHaPter 3 ThE CompaNIES EmErging frOm thE ECOnOmiC DOwnturn HR departments have been hard at work leading their companies through the economic downturn. With some signs of the job market easing. HR had been asked to conduct layoffs and figure out ways to keep as many employees as possible—such as through pay furloughs or reducing benefits and vacations. some employees may start to look for new jobs.

studying their organizations’ projected CHaPter 7 FoR YoUR REFERENCE 10 W E T F E E T I N S I D ER GUID E . and HR professionals expect them to keep rising. As new generations replace those who retire. Hispanic population has nearly doubled since 1990. CHaPter 4 oN ThE Job CHaPter 3 ThE CompaNIES rising hEalth-CarE COsts: COmpaniEs fight BaCK Rising health-care costs are considered one of the most important overall trends affecting HR professionals. Health care represents a huge part of companies’ budgets. premiums were up around 6 percent. labor shortages will force HR professionals to focus hard on staffing and retention programs. more employees now have eldercare responsibilities. According to the 2011 Workplace Forecast by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). and discrimination against individuals with disabilities.S.S. so its influence is likely to grow because more individuals in this group are reaching voting and working age. These factors are expected to lead to a cultural shift in the workplace as Generations X and Y take over. Some firms have created resentment by requiring their workers to pay a larger portion of their salaries toward medical benefits while settling for less service. thE wOrKfOrCE in flux The U. and the Census Bureau projects it to rise to 132. further complicating the challenge for HR professionals. and employers moving away from long-term employment relationships. In 2010. Flexible scheduling is the greatest retention tool ever created. This population is younger compared with other demographic groups. and changing employment practices to address issues such as age discrimination. racial discrimination.8 million. as shown by the growing number of single-person households and couples without children.” CHaPter 6 GETTING hIRED HR practitioners are taking a variety of actions in response to these changes. Pay attention. with many juggling duties between their children and elders. which provide primary care and preventative CHaPter 5 ThE WoRkplaCE InsIder sCOOP “The old 9-to-5. population. As an adjunct. CHaPter 2 ThE RolE demographic makeup and retirement rates. Finding good coverage at a reasonable price is a delicate balance. 42 percent of HR professionals polled said they are hiring workers in response to economic and employment trends. Health care is the sort of workplacequality issue that can hurt retention. Some large employers have created onsite health clinics. especially in the workplace. Hispanic/ Latino population will have a significant effect on culture and diversity. employer-employee relationships becoming less hierarchical.CHaPter 1 aT a GlaNCE Careers in Human Resources DEmOgraphiC transfOrmatiOns Several long-term demographic trends are affecting the role of HR.S. by 2050. offering customized benefits packages. boss-looking-over-the-shoulder approach isn’t working anymore. or about 30 percent of the U. Cut spending too sharply and you risk alienating employees. Companies are looking for ways to address these costs. The rise of eldercare and child-care responsibilities requires innovative programs to provide the flexibility employees will need to take care of their families while meeting the companies productivity and profitability targets. Family patterns are changing as well. As more baby boomers retire. In addition. and there is the possibility of a corresponding decline in economic output. future HR pros: You’re probably going to be involved in some of these activities. People are home to see their kids get off the bus now. a cultural shift will require HR departments to adapt programs to a different set of expectations and requirements. with work becoming more demanding. The workforce is expected to shrink as baby boomers retire. the price of medical services continues to rise. The increase in the U. Smaller percentages are bringing back retirees.

” CHaPter 2 ThE RolE CHaPter 3 ThE CompaNIES tEChnOlOgy HR pros rely more on technology than ever before. Others have instituted regular health screenings or have started offering health and wellness education programs. Others punish employees with financial penalties if they don’t participate and choose to continue unhealthy habits. but HR has been tasked with explaining the new legislation to employees and helping company leaders devise benefit strategies to respond. In particular. And companies often bid up salaries when labor demand is high. the skilled-worker gap is expected to hit 14 million in 2020. mandates insurance coverage for dependent children up to 26 years old. The industry’s rising demand for skilled workers should create big opportunities for HR professionals. Other experts expect the effects of this shortage to be felt much sooner. access. including recruiting. CHaPter 4 oN ThE Job shOrtagE Of highly sKillED wOrKErs Experts forecast a labor shortage because the generation moving into the workforce is smaller than the one leaving it. The legislation allows for government-run exchanges of insurance. health services. As a result. and compensation and benefits. It remains to be seen just how the legislation will affect businesses. hEalth-CarE rEfOrm Passed in 2010. Some companies offer lower premiums for employees who participate in wellness programs such as smoking cessation or weight-loss challenges. CHaPter 5 ThE WoRkplaCE > TIP Looking for a job that’s satisfying and lucrative. and facilitates communication between management and employees. employee retention has improved at some of these organizations. and restricts annual dollar limits for essential health services. They’ve understood that there’s a business case to be made for using technology and doing their jobs better. As baby boomers retire. and distribute than paper files. employees and developing them with smaller HR staffs. “Over the past few years. Many requests that used to come to HR as an ad hoc request can be CHaPter 7 FoR YoUR REFERENCE WET F EET IN S IDER GUIDE 11 . and professional and business sectors. Technology streamlines administrative tasks. HR managers have improved their methods. Information technology such as software and Internetbased applications has played a key role in increasing efficiency and productivity. training. Company networks and email improve the speed and quality of communication. Much of the improvement stems from improved HR technology that has streamlined many tasks. highly skilled workers will be harder to find for high-growth areas such as education. according to a National Association of Manufacturers study. provides access to information for current employees and job seekers. although many experts agree that the carrot approach is far better than the stick. Many firms are finding better “Technology has assisted HR in streamlining many of our manual business processes. Electronically stored employee records are easier to maintain. They’ve moved out of viewing their roles as merely administrators. CHaPter 6 GETTING hIRED a nEED tO ChangE As more companies have recognized the importance of HR in achieving their goals.” says one insider. “Most HR people have felt the need to do things differently. Web-based applications are used to collect and index resumes. Firms have tied stronger growth and a healthier bottom line to better software and other changes. too? Consider working in high tech.CHaPter 1 aT a GlaNCE health services and can help reduce overall health-care costs. health-care reform bills have forced many HR practitioners to watch their rollout with great interest (the reform bills will be enacted in full by 2018). HR’s been in a state of intelligent awareness that it had to change. enabling companies to address the needs of a larger number of candidates and employees in a range of areas.

education. HR has been proactive about using social media to recruit employees and introduce them to what life is like at the company. “Thanks to technology. which ensures new employees have the appropriate resources to start their jobs productively. salary history. Software providers that cater to larger organizations are trying to bundle their systems together. Hiring managers also are reviewing information posted to social media sites or blogs (as much as they can find anyway) when evaluating a candidate. and that helps us to better manage our workforce. and a screening tool helps us target the most qualified candidates. or computer-based training. Companies don’t want employees going on social media sites to bash company practices or talk about how much they hate their bosses—and some are drafting policies against it. These firms say the combination will help clients save money. or train many more people at one time through CHaPter 7 FoR YoUR REFERENCE CHaPter 6 GETTING hIRED CHaPter 5 ThE WoRkplaCE CHaPter 4 oN ThE Job 12 W E T F E E T I N S I D ER GUID E . Companies can provide opportunities for selfstudy. and then to a performance-management system. performance history.” CHaPter 2 ThE RolE a synchronized online platform. for example. though the data showing it remain scarce.CHaPter 1 aT a GlaNCE Careers in Human Resources CHaPter 3 ThE CompaNIES accommodated within the Manager Self-Service and the Employee Self-Service functionality in SAP. Companies even create their own social media sites to do everything from communicate with staff to use the technology for promoting employee wellness initiatives. HR identifies employment information. So. A 2010 report by the American Society for Training & Development found that 37 percent of training hours involved electronic technology. training history.” says Audrey Tillman.” says audrey tillman. et cetera. InsIder sCOOP “HR is an entity that brings information to the table. which covers training activities. an applicant-tracking application used to improve recruiting will link to an onboarding system. E-learning. work history. Our automated systems allow us to build internal resumes on our employees that include prior work history. It gives us a very comprehensive picture of our most valuable asset—our employees. executive vice president of corporate services at Aflac. That number was just 15 percent in 2002. As an accountant brings financial information. both internal and external candidates can apply for jobs online. At the same time. is increasingly being used as a cost-effective alternative to classroom training. HR departments have been quick to devise policies around social networking. “information today is more readily available electronically to our employees. Businesses seem genuinely afraid of speech they can’t protect. Another HR area affected by technology is training.” sOCial mEDia With Facebook becoming a household word. executive vice president of corporate services at aflac.

Our primary focus in this guide is in-house HR opportunities. Certain jobs will deal with more legal issues than others. employers must make sure they protect their employees from identity theft. and lack of economic growth. we also want to show the diversity of opportunities and related roles. Hackett predicts that more than 1. According to HR professionals polled by the Society for Human Resource in-hOusE hr staff In-house HR professionals typically deal with all of the following issues: staffing (everything from sourcing to CHaPter 7 FoR YoUR REFERENCE WET F EET IN S IDER GUIDE 13 . and HR information systems. CHaPter 4 oN ThE Job Growing national budget deficit Greater economic uncertainty and market volatility privaCy Technology makes it easier to monitor employees than in the past. CHaPter 5 ThE WoRkplaCE CHaPter 6 GETTING hIRED shrm 2011 Workplace Forecast Anybody going into HR should pay attention to the top concerns in the field. and other business functions were lost at large U. Developing privacy policies and finding secure ways to manage employee information are areas of concern for many in HR. markets and talent Growing complexity of legal compliance for employers Changes in employee rights due to legislation and/or court rulings Large numbers of baby boomers (born 1945–1964) leaving the workforce at around the same time Economic growth of emerging markets such as India.S. and Brazil Greater need for cross-cultural understanding/ savvy in business settings CHaPter 2 ThE RolE CHaPter 3 ThE CompaNIES lEgal COmplianCE HR professionals are responsible for making sure their companies comply with local and national laws. consultants. some are concerned about the degree to which employers monitor their employees. productivity improvements. and the shift to online data storage has increased the chances that employee data can be hacked. and European companies in 2008 and 2009 because of a combination of offshoring. many people are paying more attention to privacy issues in the workplace. A 2010 study by The Hackett Group found that close to 1. professional employer organizations. Management for its 2011 Workplace Forecast. however. The issue cuts two ways: On one hand. Companies with international operations also must make sure they’re in compliance with the rules in the countries where they operate.CHaPter 1 aT a GlaNCE OffshOring When you hear folks talking about offshoring. divisiOn Of laBOr: hOw iT Breaks dOwn › We divide tHe opportunities in HR into inhouse staff and service organizations that include staffing firms. China. HR professionals face the ongoing challenge of staying current. As a result. to overseas. As legislation grows more complex.3 million additional jobs will disappear through offshoring by 2014. IT. but all HR professionals will come into contact with legal compliance.S. they’re referring to the movement of jobs from the U. the 10 most significant issues on HR professionals’ minds are:           Continuing high cost of employee health-care coverage in the United States Passage of federal health-care legislation Increased global competition for jobs. On the other.1 million jobs in corporate finance.

DHR International. They also include executive-recruitment firms (such as Heidrick & Struggles. Spherion. Here’s a breakdown of responsibilities and skills: staffing firms Staffing firms supplement and sometimes replace the in-house recruitment function of HR. ADP provides payroll processing. and 401(k) specialists. CHaPter 3 ThE CompaNIES CHaPter 2 ThE RolE InsIder sCOOP Corporate vs Field Jobs CoRPoRaTE strategic FIELd/BUSInESS UnIT tactical implements policies and programs day-to-day: What does the business look like now? typically generalists skills: problem solving. working on everything from creating more effective organizations to managing change. and information systems. building relationships with managers. consensus building. develops. Hudson Highland Group. you’ll want to evaluate the relative importance of the HR departments to the companies you’re considering. hr COnsulting Consulting for HR is a huge business. It’s a lot of calling companies to drum up new business. Jobs in these organizations usually require you to be a sharp judge of people and a good salesperson and negotiator. developing training programs. Kelly Services.CHaPter 1 aT a GlaNCE Careers in Human Resources orientation to retention). adding a fee to the hourly rates of the candidates they place. Larger organizations subdivide HR into corporate and field jobs. which may be further subdivided into specialty areas. calling companies to market candidates. several HR people may work on each of these functions. In larger organizations. The work is often strategic. and those in the field support business unit managers. There’s also the job-filling aspect— checking references. Heidrick & Struggles. Korn/Ferry. and smaller organizations that focus on temporary positions. Most of the major consulting firms offer related service lines. you might want to cross that company off your list. Those in corporate work on big-picture policy. In smaller organizations. and Spencer Stuart) that place higher-level candidates into full-time positions and charge clients a hefty percentage of the candidate’s first-year salary. and Right Management offers outplacement consulting. training. For example. influencing people sees results daily “Staff firms are pretty sales-driven. health insurance. For example.” CHaPter 4 oN ThE Job CHaPter 5 ThE WoRkplaCE designs. You also must possess the ability to think beyond the client’s immediate needs. but almost every company in the country has somebody to handle HR issues. compensation and benefits. business acumen sees results over time CHaPter 6 GETTING hIRED HR outsourcing providers may specialize in functional areas. employee relations. right next to the furnace. They include companies such as Manpower. Korn/Ferry. the HR person may wear many hats. As a job seeker. You can’t just wait for jobs to come in. and managing health-care programs for their clients. Adecco and Manpower provide temporary staffing. and creates policies and programs Long-term: What will the business look like in the future? typically specialists skills: analytical. If the HR office is down in the basement. the compensation and benefits staff could consist of payroll. Russell Reynolds. and Spencer Stuart offer executive recruitment. focusing on more predictable tasks serves managers and employers as groups Less predictable tasks serves managers and employers as individuals CHaPter 7 FoR YoUR REFERENCE 14 W E T F E E T I N S I D ER GUID E . doing quality check–type calls to make sure the candidate’s doing well—and image control.

but the best-known offering is compensation and benefits. In this area.” and strategy consulting and could be a good place to break into consulting or to develop specialized skills to launch your HR career. and communication about programs. In its 2010 “Best Jobs in America” list. the selection of health-care providers.CHaPter 1 aT a GlaNCE the people issues of running a large company. However. such as in actuarial consulting. Compensation and benefits consultants help companies on policy development. Basically. Players here include the Hay Group. It’s a lot of analysis of papers and programs. Mercer. PEOs outsource the administrative part of the HR function and sometimes more. CHaPter 3 ThE CompaNIES InsIder sCOOP “At an HR consultancy. which we cover in the next section. CHaPter 2 ThE RolE focus on Compensation and Benefits HR consulting firms offer a range of services. “No one knows you unless they know about the business. Mercer. consultants. and service bureaus.” says an insider. and Towers Watson are considered the big three. many of the professionals interviewed in this guide have had consulting jobs without working for a firm. The culture is very performance oriented. and Towers Watson. “These are the most revenue-producing areas of HR consulting firms. Aon Corporation. and negotiation. If you go into HR consulting. HR consulting is more consulting than HR—just don’t expect the name recognition you’d get at other consulting firms. Much of it is data driven. A few large firms dominate the field—Aon Corporation. communication. salary schedules. here are some of the types of consulting engagements you can expect: • Helping a company organize itself after a merger • Developing leadership training programs • Managing employee communications • Performance management • Career planning systems • Training CHaPter 4 oN ThE Job InsIder sCOOP “HR is the more touchy-feely of the consulting tracks. For more information about the consulting field in general and how to break into it. Boutique firms offer services on virtually every HR issue. HR consulting has been growing faster than IT CHaPter 7 FoR YoUR REFERENCE WET F EET IN S IDER GUIDE 15 .” Work in HR consulting comes in a range of flavors.” CHaPter 5 ThE WoRkplaCE prOfEssiOnal EmplOyEr OrganizatiOns Professional employer organizations (PEOs) provide employee services that fall somewhere between inhouse staff. check out the WetFeet Insider Guide Careers in Management Consulting. You work very hard. The point of PEOs is to sell benefits such as health insurance and retirement plans along with expertise in regulatory compliance and legal issues to organizations that are too small to CHaPter 6 GETTING hIRED more Consulting than hr? At its core. handling everything from payroll taxes to benefits to regulatory compliance and tax administration. the whole consulting culture is present. client service. among other things. analysis. CNNMoney ranked management consulting number 3 out of 100. stating the economic upheaval is “creating a need for advisors on everything from pricing and operations to cost-cutting and sales growth. which involves financial planning based on the company’s long-term hiring projections.” says an insider. If you like the variety and challenge of consulting but also want to feel like your job makes a difference in people’s lives. you’ll develop strong skills in research. HR consulting comes closer to that than strategy does. They simply knew someone who needed the expertise and were hired for a period of time.

but HR stayed—for the most part—stable. To find out how to break into information technology. In fact. The coming years should also be a boon for laborrelations experts who will be tasked with trying to solve complex labor-relations disputes out of court. Players include service bureaus such as ADP and Paychex. The Society for Human Resource Management finds there are about 1. there will be strong demand for training and development specialists to transfer knowledge to younger workers. That’s quite a CHaPter 7 FoR YoUR REFERENCE CHaPter 6 GETTING hIRED 16 W E T F E E T I N S I D ER GUID E . “There are a lot of people who specialize in HR IT who are business-analyst types who need to understand how HR functions. check out the WetFeet Insider Guide.CHaPter 1 aT a GlaNCE Careers in Human Resources afford them on their own. we do provide a great deal of information about the HR background that will be important for anyone going into this role. employee information. HRIS has much in common with IT jobs elsewhere. CHaPter 2 ThE RolE hr infOrmatiOn systEms HR information systems (HRIS) refers to information technology that specifically deals with HR systems. That ratio has increased slightly during the past several years as overall staffs have shrunk in the downturn. PEOs make their clients more competitive by saving them time dealing with government regulations. Outsourcing firms also should be hiring as they help companies deal with the rising cost and complexity of benefits and compensation packages. The fOrecasT: JOB PrOsPecTs › prospects for Hr jobs are much better than for the economy overall. reducing costs of benefits. overall employment in HR is projected to grow 22 percent by 2018. HR management.” says an SHRM researcher.” says an insider. benefits specialists will be in high demand to help businesses creatively manage rising health-care costs. requiring the ability to work with users to define needs and scope. As with consulting firms. and IT firms such as Oracle and Yahoo Resumix. As highly skilled baby boomers retire. Careers in Information Technology. CHaPter 4 oN ThE Job CHaPter 3 ThE CompaNIES CHaPter 5 ThE WoRkplaCE pEOs: what’s thE aDvantagE? Professional employer organizations can save clients money by achieving economies of scale while providing higher-quality and more cost-effective service than would otherwise be available to small businesses. businesses need the full compliment of HR folks. claim coming out of an economic downturn that hurt so many professions.32 HR practitioners for every 100 employees. which offer software and systems that automate companies’ payroll. Success in this division also requires technical knowledge of systems and software. and improving their ability to attract job candidates. according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. as well as with vendors to understand the capabilities and weaknesses of their wares. Although we don’t cover HRIS in depth in this guide. That demographic shift should also put HR workers in hospitals and healthallied services in high demand. the services PEOs offer vary by organization. and recruitment systems. which automate payroll systems. “Even in a recession. With an aging population.

CHaPter 1 aT a GlaNCE Top 10 Industries Employing HR Managers.600 manufacturing 15.700 Finance and insurance 15. by Projected 2018 Employment IndUSTRy management of companies and enterprises Professional. waste management.300 CHaPter 4 oN ThE Job Health care and social assistance 14.300 Wholesale trade 4.500 CHaPter 2 ThE RolE 19. and technical services PRoJECTEd ToTaL EMPLoyMEnT 20.200 Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics CHaPter 6 GETTING hIRED CHaPter 7 FoR YoUR REFERENCE WET F EET IN S IDER GUIDE 17 . and remediation services information 9.800 9.100 education services.000 CHaPter 3 ThE CompaNIES government 15.000 CHaPter 5 ThE WoRkplaCE 5. scientific. public and private administrative and support.

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..25 Top HR Consultancies ......... 21 Most Desired Companies to Work For .................3 The Companies Largest by Revenue .............28 PEOs.................................22 Most Admired Companies in HR .....23 Largest Employers ................ 27 Top Staffing Agencies ........................................ 27 Payroll Accounting Firms ................................ 20 Fastest Growing .....................28 .......

Landing a job with one of the titans could lead to assignments helping some of the world’s largest and most successful companies around the globe.055 184.825 ProFit ($m) 16.024 14.367 4.041 162.556 4. or energy. automotive.422 240.629 14. these companies have huge workforces—and plenty of HR issues to deal with day-to-day.001 11. The following is a list of the largest companies by revenue.294 221.928 273.641 –14.760 203.891 19.358 9.674 308. Whether they’re in retail.719 7.389 20. CHaPter 3 ThE CompaNIES Top Global Companies by Revenue ComPany Wal-mart royal dutch shell exxon mobil bP sinopec group China national Petroleum Corporation state grid Corporation of China toyota motor Corporation revenue ($m) 421.766 4.236 153.192 226.337 186.127 30.849 378.053 3.014 Source: CNNMoney.966 168.460 –3.958 196. 2011 CHaPter 5 ThE WoRkplaCE CHaPter 4 oN ThE Job Japan Post Holdings Chevron total ConocoPhillips volkswagen CHaPter 6 GETTING hIRED aXa Fannie mae CHaPter 7 FoR YoUR REFERENCE 20 W E T F E E T I N S I D ER GUID E .CHaPter 1 aT a GlaNCE Careers in Human Resources largesT By revenue CHaPter 2 ThE RolE › tHe Largest companies in the world by revenue need plenty of human-resource professionals to help them manage their workforces.152 354.

7 52.5 70.964. choosing retirement plans and address- fasTesT grOwing ing employee complaints all become increasingly complex as a business grows.7 56.825.CHaPter 1 aT a GlaNCE › tHere’s notHing Like working at a company that’s growing.408.293.0 23.696.6 65.754.278.1 CHaPter 5 ThE WoRkplaCE 44.987. administering health benefits.996.7 82.0 45.368.255.8 70.3 161.461.3 81.5 94. Below is a list of the fastest-growing companies in the world.0 Source: CNNMoney.2 98.2 31. CHaPter 2 ThE RolE Company Rankings by Growth in Revenue CHaPter 3 ThE CompaNIES ComPany Fannie mae Jizhong energy resources Freddie mac vale China electronics ms&ad insurance group Holdings JX Holdings Jbs noble group express scripts PosCo apple China national offshore oil Corporations Hyundai Heavy industries merck 2009–2010 revenue CHange (%) 429.989.0 88.8 81. 2011 CHaPter 6 GETTING hIRED CHaPter 7 FoR YoUR REFERENCE WET F EET IN S IDER GUIDE 21 .3 89.225.761.1 67.1 86.6 78. and with growth comes plenty of HR issues..3 38.2 176. Building a solid corporate culture.0 21.7 2010 revenue ($m) 153.0 45.3 CHaPter 4 oN ThE Job 39.8 81. But growth certainly brings worthy challenges—and plenty of job security.0 52.3 95.

CHaPter 1 aT a GlaNCE Careers in Human Resources CHaPter 2 ThE RolE mOsT desired cOmPanies TO wOrk fOr › at some companies. and camaraderie.843 1.240 9.com Camden Property trust nugget market recreational equipment (rei) dreamWorks animation skg edward Jones scottrade alston & bird robert W. job satisfaction. which ranks employees’ feedback on their employers’ credibility. napping pods.406 1. emPLoyees 5.380 1.884 1.719 1. Free food.987 2.255 na 11.688 CHaPter 4 oN ThE Job 2 3 4 5 CHaPter 5 ThE WoRkplaCE 6 7 8 9 10 11 CHaPter 6 GETTING hIRED 12 13 14 15 16 CHaPter 7 FoR YoUR REFERENCE 22 W E T F E E T I N S I D ER GUID E .) The following is a portion of Fortune’s “Most Desired Companies to Work For” list. CHaPter 3 ThE CompaNIES Most desired Companies to Work For rank 1 ComPany sas boston Consulting group Wegmans Food markets google netapp zappos.611 2. It is also determined by pay and benefits programs.994 35. baird mercedes-benz usa Jm Family enterprises Job groWtH (%) 3 2 6 na 5 37 0 –2 –1 10 2 19 –12 5 –3 –2 u. hiring practices. 10 percent raises across the entire workforce. the perks are almost too good to be true. (And those are just some of the perks at Google.500 1.713 39. and training.629 1. These companies are certain to be progressive in their HR style and are serious about training and hiring the best people.s. or time on Fridays to work on a passion project can make life much easier.657 3.

Human Resource Executive magazine ranks companies by four factors: people manBest Companies to Work for in HR rank 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 ComPany apple goldman sachs nike uPs Procter & gamble google the Walt disney Company intel Cisco systems amazon. Ca seattle oak brook.068 8. These companies are where HR is certain to have a place at the table.640 8. nC Lake Forest. Ca santa Clara. Scores represent the combined totals for all four attributes out of a possible 10. iL greensboro. Ca new york beaverton. product/service quality. or atlanta Cincinnati mountain view.975 7.013 7.078 8.238 8.585 7. Ca burbank.673 7.CHaPter 1 aT a GlaNCE › Want to Work at a company whose human resources department is admired by all? Then how about trying to land a job at one of the businesses on the following list? In a recalibration of Fortune’s “Most Admired Companies” list. and overall management.575 CHaPter 7 FoR YoUR REFERENCE WET F EET IN S IDER GUIDE 23 . and a big voice in decision making at the company.com mcdonald’s vF Corporation W. innovation.228 8. switzerland industry Computers megabanks apparel delivery soaps and cosmetics internet services and retailing entertainment semiconductors network and other communications equipment internet services and retailing Food services apparel Wholesalers: diversified tobacco Wholesalers: health care Consumer food products Hr attributes average 8.828 CHaPter 5 ThE WoRkplaCE CHaPter 6 GETTING hIRED 7.070 8.055 8. grainger Philip morris international mckesson nestlé mOsT admired cOmPanies in hr agement. iL new york san Francisco vevey.W.625 7. CHaPter 2 ThE RolE CHaPter 3 ThE CompaNIES Headquarters Cupertino.838 7. Ca san Jose.218 CHaPter 4 oN ThE Job 8.

533 7.370 7. FL dublin.313 7. Ct new york Washington. ireland san diego.320 7. germany seattle Peoria. robinson Worldwide alcoa reynolds american target reckitt benckiser group united technologies american express broadcom texas instruments bosch nordstrom Caterpillar intuit Palo alto.525 7.298 7. ny Fairfield. nC minneapolis. va eden Prairie.485 7.395 7. Ca dallas stuttgart. mn new york Winston-salem.H.318 7. Ct new york irvine.435 7.223 CHaPter 3 ThE CompaNIES CHaPter 2 ThE RolE 23 24 25 26 27 CHaPter 4 oN ThE Job 28 29 30 31 CHaPter 5 ThE WoRkplaCE 32 33 34 35 36 CHaPter 6 GETTING hIRED 37 38 39 40 41 CHaPter 7 FoR YoUR REFERENCE 24 W E T F E E T I N S I D ER GUID E . iL mountain view.268 7.453 7.573 7. Ca new york memphis. united kingdom Hartford. resorts tobacco trucking transportation logistics metals tobacco general merchandisers soaps and cosmetics aerospace and defense Consumer credit card and related services semiconductors semiconductors motor vehicle parts general merchandisers industrial and farm equipment Computer software 7.CHaPter 1 aT a GlaNCE Careers in Human Resources 17 18 19 20 21 22 Hewlett-Packard Polo ralph Lauren Fedex adobe systems nextera energy accenture qualcomm ibm general electric JPmorgan Chase marriott international altria group C. Casinos.523 7.260 7. Ca Computers apparel delivery Computer software electric and gas utilities information technology services network and other communications equipment information technology services electronics megabanks Hotels. Ca Juno beach. dC richmond.495 7. Ca armonk.245 7.340 7.430 7.253 7.280 7. tn san Jose. mn slough.250 7.275 7.340 7.

mn Chicago Wilmington.120 7.s.CHaPter 1 aT a GlaNCE 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 exxon mobil L’oréal occidental Petroleum Corporation singapore airlines best buy northern trust Corporation duPont visa bayer irving.103 CHaPter 2 ThE RolE CHaPter 3 ThE CompaNIES Source: Human Resource Executive.535 627.674.115 7. by number of Employees rank 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 ComPany Walmart China national Petroleum Corporation state grid Corporation of China China Post group Foxconn electronics sinopec group u.919 CHaPter 7 FoR YoUR REFERENCE WET F EET IN S IDER GUIDE 25 .140 7. With workforces in the hundreds of thousands—some even exceeding 1 million—these companies need plenty of help managing their workforces.100. 2010 largesT emPlOyers CHaPter 4 oN ThE Job › some empLoyers are just plain big.130 7. CHaPter 5 ThE WoRkplaCE Largest Employers.130 7.000 1. France Los angeles singapore richfield.200 836.200 7.564. which could be a great place to start your career. they’re sure to have large HR departments that have seen it all.145 7. de san Francisco Leverkusen.541 1. emPLoyees 2. tX Clichy.000 CHaPter 6 GETTING hIRED 860. Postal service China telecommunications Corporation gLobaL 500 Position 1 6 7 342 60 5 109 221 u.798 493. In turn.183 7.s. germany Petroleum refining soaps and cosmetics mining crude-oil production airlines specialty retailers superregional banks Chemicals Consumer credit card and related services Chemicals 7.000 640.

600 400.389 379.000 384.202 426.700 400.042 402.447 428.755 444.000 399.937 361.745 355.CHaPter 1 aT a GlaNCE Careers in Human Resources 9 10 11 Carrefour group agricultural bank of China Compass group ibm deutsche Post aviation industry Corporation of China siemens united Parcel service mcdonald's volkswagen industrial & Commercial bank of China gazprom tesco sodexo Panasonic Hitachi target 32 127 431 52 93 310 47 166 402 13 77 35 61 469 50 40 106 471.751 418.339 393.381 397.946 404.137 366. 2011 CHaPter 2 ThE RolE 12 13 14 15 CHaPter 3 ThE CompaNIES 16 17 18 19 20 21 CHaPter 4 oN ThE Job 22 23 24 25 CHaPter 7 FoR YoUR REFERENCE CHaPter 6 GETTING hIRED CHaPter 5 ThE WoRkplaCE 26 W E T F E E T I N S I D ER GUID E .000 Source: Fortune.

Top Temporary Staffing agencies.000+ Would not disclose number oF FuLL-time Hr ConsuLtants 9.3 na 1.52 TOP hr cOnsulTancies ing HR consultants find themselves in the thick of HR issues such as benefits selection or retirement.0 emPLoyees CHaPter 6 GETTING hIRED 28.87 18.4 2. perhaps you should try working at an HR consultancy. Hiring is positive and giving people a job can put a smile on your face and theirs.73 14. the followTop HR Consultancies ComPany mercer towers Watson deloitte aon Corporation PwC Hr ConsuLting revenue For most reCent Four quarters ($b) 2.100 6.000 28.05 1-year CHange (%) 16.4 2.000+ CHaPter 3 ThE CompaNIES CHaPter 4 oN ThE Job Sources: Workforce Management.000 Note: Adecco and Randstad are headquartered outside the U.036 8.CHaPter 1 aT a GlaNCE › to get a broad range of experience and have the ability to solve HR problems at a variety of different companies. company websites CHaPter 7 FoR YoUR REFERENCE WET F EET IN S IDER GUIDE 27 .300 11.63 5. CHaPter 5 ThE WoRkplaCE Not to mention.72 18.95 2.417 11.S. Hoovers TOP sTaffing agencies › for many.62 0 4.508 30. With clients large and small. CHaPter 2 ThE RolE 1-year CHange (%) –8. it can help a company fill a talent void. Yahoo Finance. by Revenue Firm adecco manpower randstad Holding kelly services sFn group 2010 revenue ($b) 24.000 8.000 Would not disclose Would not disclose 13.55 na 0 number oF Hr ConsuLting CLient ComPanies 25. staffing is what turns them on about human resources.73 20.58 17. June 2010. Here is a list of the top temporary-staffing agencies. Sources: Hoovers. which is important for its bottom line.000 2.79 4. Many work with Fortune 500 companies to help them with their workforce management needs.

company websites.1 –4. by Revenue Firm automatic data Processing Paychex Ceridian 2010 revenue ($b) 8. how about checking out some of the top payroll accounting firms? They provide interactive tools and support that help businesses distribute salaries. by Revenue Firm insperity 2010 revenue ($m) 1. Source: Hoovers.49 1-year CHange (%) 0.200 9.03 na na na na emPLoyees 1.720 na 26. produce electronic statements. CHaPter 2 ThE RolE CHaPter 3 ThE CompaNIES Top Payroll accounting Firms.00 1. These companies handle everything from payroll and accounting to regulatory compliance. Sometimes organizations— CHaPter 5 ThE WoRkplaCE especially small businesses—can be unequipped to deal with these issues on their own.579 Source: Hoovers CHaPter 4 oN ThE Job PeOs › professionaL empLoyer organizations can be a good place to start in HR.87 emPLoyees 47.5 na 19.CHaPter 1 aT a GlaNCE Careers in Human Resources PayrOll accOunTing firms › notHing beats tHe almighty dollar. If you’re interested in processing salary and compensation.510 na CHaPter 6 GETTING hIRED trinet group staff one allstaff Hr group employer services Corp. the most recent data available. check out these employers. and file tax documents—which can get pretty complex and interesting when you’re trying to manage thousands of employees.6 –4. Top Temporary Staffing agencies. If salary is your thing.200 1. and using a PEO can help them act like bigger players than they really are.0* 1-year CHange (%) 4.900 930 4. * Revenue in 2009. CHaPter 7 FoR YoUR REFERENCE 28 W E T F E E T I N S I D ER GUID E .000 12.93 2.

CHaPter 1 aT a GlaNCE CHaPter 2 ThE RolE CHaPter 3 ThE CompaNIES CHaPter 4 oN ThE Job CHaPter 5 ThE WoRkplaCE CHaPter 6 GETTING hIRED CHaPter 7 FoR YoUR REFERENCE WET F EET IN S IDER GUIDE 29 .

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......................35 .....32 Representative Projects and Responsibilities ......................on the Job 4 Career Tracks ................34 Real People Profiles .......

000 senior Hr assistant: $40. This position can sometimes be more specialized—for example. the position is for someone who is learning the ropes.000–56. salary range entry-level benefits administrator: $36.000–47. HR assistants serve in support roles. This is an entry-level position occasionally given to someone with an associate’s degree. though a BA is more commonly the minimum requirement. This position usually reports to a VP of human resources.000 › tHe foLLoWing is a sampling of HR positions across industries.CHaPter 1 aT a GlaNCE Careers in Human Resources career Tracks CHaPter 2 ThE RolE hr managEr This is a middle-management position that may require overseeing specialists responsible for distinct areas in a company division. In larger companies. practices. involving carrying out benefits programs and possibly researching new ones. Although many employers want college graduates who have majored in human resources or administration. and several years of experience is necessary on the upper end of the scale.000–100. it will require someone with a strong background in several HR specialties who can act as a jack-of-all-trades for the entire company.000 senior Hr generalist. and maintains company benefits programs—the most significant of which are the company’s health benefits. (All salary information is from salary.000 senior benefits administrator: $52. though this person will develop programs and policies within the company.000–55. CHaPter 7 FoR YoUR REFERENCE CHaPter 6 GETTING hIRED 32 W E T F E E T I N S I D ER GUID E . salary range entry-level Hr generalist: $43.) human rEsOurCEs assistant This is typically an entry-level job that may require only an associate’s degree in a related area.000 intermediate Hr assistant: $34. other employers look for a diverse background or work experience. the position may report to a VP and involve strategy and business planning.000 intermediate benefits administrator: $43. having an employment and placement manager who only handles hiring—but only in specific cases.000 senior Hr generalist. salary range entry-level Hr assistant: $31.000–39.000 CHaPter 5 ThE WoRkplaCE BEnEfits analyst Qualifications for this position vary greatly depending on the company’s needs and the person’s experience. At the bottom of the scale.000 CHaPter 4 oN ThE Job hr gEnEralist Though it sounds entry-level.000–50. processes. If the position is with a small company.000–65. Responsibilities and job requirements can vary greatly depending on the company’s needs. Recent graduates can use this position to determine whether they want to pursue a career in HR.000–95. benefits account for a large amount of overall compensation costs. and procedures within a particular field and follow guidelines set by a manager. >8 years experience: $75. and benefit plans are more complex. A bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement. Having experience designing and administering benefits programs is growing in importance.000–82.000-43. this isn’t always the case. 4-8 years experience: $64.000 intermediate Hr generalist: $51. salary range: $74. An assistant has to have a good grasp of the concepts. Strategic work may be involved. such as planning HR policy and setting procedures. At the top of the scale. it can be entry level.com.000–69.000 CHaPter 3 ThE CompaNIES BEnEfits aDministratOr This person administers.

plans. A good recruiter is familiar with the job requirements of specific fields in the company.000 Labor relations director: $109.000 eeo manager: $81. salary range entry-level recruiter: $41. This position is becoming increasingly important because it’s usually cheaper to train current employees than to hire new ones. salary range eeo specialist: $57. compensation analysts deal only with the packages offered to executives.000 to fix them. You will need to have knowledge of labor law and collective bargaining trends.000–67. bonuses. and perks.000–120.000 intermediate compensation analyst: $54.000 senior compensation analyst. including salary. the compensation analyst has to be familiar with a company’s job titles and responsibilities. and analyzes salary data to decide on the full monetary package offered to employees.000–157. In many cases. conducts surveys.000–99.000 intermediate benefits analyst: $53. 4-8 years experience: $64.000 Labor relations manager: $88. salary range entry-level compensation analyst: $47. Recruiters also could test applicants. the labor relations manager coordinates with labor unions to prepare information for management to use when a contract is up for renewal. on a contract basis.000–96.000 senior compensation analyst.000 CHaPter 3 ThE CompaNIES CHaPter 4 oN ThE Job training managEr Like human resources and labor relations managers. >8 years experience: $82. training managers are employed in virtually every industry. It’s often useful to have a legal background for this position. interviews.000 CHaPter 2 ThE RolE COmpEnsatiOn analyst On a similar level to a benefits analyst. they could even help research and negotiate the package for an incoming CEO. such as stock options. and recommends prospective employees.000–112. and implements corporate training programs.CHaPter 1 aT a GlaNCE salary range entry-level benefits analyst: $42. the compensation analyst will deal with all job categories. These professionals handle piles of red tape in the form of complex government forms. A labor relations manager might supervise a group of labor relations specialists.000–68. 4-8 years experience: $71.000 senior benefits analyst.000–97.000–63.000–103.000–112.000–82.000–61.000 laBOr rElatiOns Working primarily in manufacturing or service industries. the compensation analyst evaluates. and deal with grievances and examine areas of possible violations and how rECruitEr A recruiter screens. managEr anD supErvisOr (affirmativE aCtiOn COOrDinatOr) Equal employment opportunity (EEO) specialists are concerned with laws related to gender and ethnic diversity and with the Americans with Disabilities Act.000–54.000 CHaPter 6 GETTING hIRED CHaPter 7 FoR YoUR REFERENCE WET F EET IN S IDER GUIDE 33 . check references and extend job offers. In other cases.000 intermediate recruiter: $49.000–87. >8 years experience: $76.000 eeo supervisor: $56. salary range Labor relations specialist: $48. A training manager designs. The byproduct can be better morale in the workforce.000–55. Regardless.000–80. salary range: $76. and extends offers to successful candidates.000 senior benefits analyst.000 CHaPter 5 ThE WoRkplaCE EEO spECialist.

and coaching the high performers. Performance measures must be defined and evaluated at periodic intervals. an HR generalist might define the type of people the company needs to hire and decide whether to hire from inside the company or outside. >8 years experience: $69. closures. skill.000 senior recruiter. Another project might involve partnering with managers within a division to improve performance by designing and helping to install a new performance-management process. rewarding. how much should it be? 3. with particular attention given to identifying. or length of service? Should pay be based on commission? The philosophy should ideally advance the company’s business goals. for instance. Logistics must be tracked: If an employee moves across the country. It’s uncommon for a person to get this job without an MBA. Salaries.000–269. the VP of HR helps set the tone of the company’s corporate culture. acquisitions. salary range: $167. Should the company pay for performance. The process is ongoing as new positions are added and older ones are phased out based on marketplace or business changes. Working with a team to ensure employees are paid the right amount of money and on time.000. Surveying the competition annually about what they’re paying for comparable jobs. 5-8 years experience: $62.000–78. including anything from launching a diversity initiative and organizing the annual employee meeting to using data in the annual employee survey to improve employee satisfaction. The generalist will often work with other HR functions. and reward/recognition programs all figure into the program. 2. As the title indicates. responsibilities can vary widely. it becomes necessary to make it operational by creating tools and rules and then explaining them. The VP brings information about the workforce to executive management so it can set policies after mergers.000–90. stock options. including: 1. and often this position is filled from outside the company. layoffs. This position often involves extensive travel and very long hours. 4. can be significantly higher at major national or international companies CHaPter 4 oN ThE Job CHaPter 3 ThE CompaNIES rePresenTaTive PrOJecTs and resPOnsiBiliTies hr gEnEralist The job of the HR generalist is to work with the management or HR team to achieve various business needs. it might be necessary to evaluate the pay philosophy with business goals.CHaPter 1 aT a GlaNCE Careers in Human Resources CHaPter 2 ThE RolE senior recruiter. Defining an overall philosophy of pay. Periodically. vp Of human rEsOurCEs A very strategic position in large corporations. CHaPter 7 FoR YoUR REFERENCE CHaPter 6 GETTING hIRED CHaPter 5 ThE WoRkplaCE 34 W E T F E E T I N S ID ER GUID E . If management decides to invest more in division A.) Is there a process in place to ensure the employee will still get his or her check on time? If a relocation allowance is provided. should the salary be adjusted? (The specialist might check the difference in the cost of living. a compensation analyst could be involved in several projects. It’s also necessary to determine whether jobs with similar titles have the same responsibilities as jobs at your organization.000 hr spECialist: COmpEnsatiOn analyst Depending on the organization. and similar changes. Designing and implementing a pay program that rewards employees efficiently and fairly. Once the philosophy is developed.

drug testing. Should training be classroomor computer-based? When should it take place and for how long? Should the company engage outside consultants or new technology to help conduct the training and measure its success? How does the team determine whether a program is successful? Once it launches a what do you do? It’s my role in business life to find qualified and interested professionals who match the needs of my hiring companies. Managing promotions within various pay grades. screens candidates. putting together the paperwork for benefits. and gathering any other relevant information before hiring. Staffing selects resumes. and could be responsible for managing outplacement services. Resumes may come through the website. the consultant looks at the behavior of the client’s workforce and makes recommendations. during a downsizing) staffing works to move people internally from an area that’s slowing down to one that is ramping up. I then left to go work for a small electronics sales company during a downturn. conducting background checks. CHaPter 2 ThE RolE staffing tEam The goal of the staffing team is to get the right people in the right place at the right time. The consultant looks for trends. I made a customer call on a recruiting agency to see whether I CHaPter 7 FoR YoUR REFERENCE WET F EET IN S IDER GUIDE 35 . How quickly should somebody move up the pay scale? What is the appropriate rate for each employee? How should performance relate to the pay grade? Evaluation processes must be developed for managers so that pay is consistent throughout the organization.000 CHaPter 4 oN ThE Job CHaPter 5 ThE WoRkplaCE training anD DEvElOpmEnt tEam The training and development team may be charged with assessing the aggregate skills of a division within the company. hr COnsultant A Fortune 500 client wants recommendations for decreasing the costs of its benefits program. negotiating the best price for the client. Once the manager gets budget approval for a new hire. The consultant compares the client’s current health-care providers to other available options in various states by using data analysis to determine whether other plans would better suit employees and by conducting a cost comparison.000 to $500. CHaPter 3 ThE CompaNIES real PeOPle PrOfiles rECruitEr years in the business: 19 age: 50 education: BS in business economics Hours per week: 20 to 50 size of company: One employee (self-employed) annual salary: Varies. it must assess its success at regular intervals. schedules interviews. How often do employees use the emergency room? Would an HMO or PPO make more sense? Using the data. Then the consultant acts as a broker between the client and health-care providers. CHaPter 6 GETTING hIRED how did you get your job? I was in IT for about 12 years. training program. that manager works with staffing to select the right person for the job. back when they called it MIS and DP. or the staffing specialist might work with a recruiter to source candidates. Different companies have different goals. it has ranged from $100. conducts exit interviews. Staffing is also involved in college recruiting and in maintaining pools of candidates in case there’s an opening. and sets up the hire deal. Generally the team works with a manager to fill an opening. the members determine the goals of the training. Using the information. with suggestions for increases. In lean times (for example.CHaPter 1 aT a GlaNCE 5. Then they explore how to deliver training that will lead to the desired results in a cost-effective way.

what would improve that—being emperor? what is the biggest misconception about this job? That it’s easy work. One of these days companies are going to say. I think people don’t recognize how difficult this job is if it’s done right. what are your career aspirations? To retire. Everybody hears about these extremely well-paid recruiters. You have to be able. even on a rotten day. 6:20 a. We typically share what we know. how can someone get a job like yours? If you’re going to do it right.m. Typically those people have been in the industry a long time. you can work hard all month and be no better off than when the month started. You need to learn on someone else’s dime. go to a reputable company to learn some of the elementary steps and skills.” because we fail at this business more than we succeed. I have lots of friends who like to play poker and gamble. but the worst part is people who don’t return calls. and I’m gambling all day. It can be some of the hardest work you can do. Usually I’m back at my desk. CHaPter 2 ThE RolE good news. I can live with that. then everybody would be doing it and there would be no profit. but you have to give the bad news with the CHaPter 6 GETTING hIRED CHaPter 7 FoR YoUR REFERENCE 36 W E T F E E T I N S I D ER GUID E . I’m either talking to folks I know from the industry and checking with them to find out who they might know who has the skill set I’m looking for. CHaPter 3 ThE CompaNIES what kind of person does really well at this job? Someone who’s not afraid of the word “no. I don’t have any interest in merging with anybody and creating a bigger company. which is one of the reasons I went independent—water the yard. read the newspaper. I may keep doing this part time. When you’re getting paid strictly commission. typically prioritizing which leads I’m focusing on for the day. taking a job spec and talking to folks. 6:00 a. Then. CHaPter 5 ThE WoRkplaCE what do you dislike? People who don’t return my phone calls. Describe a typical day. exercise. From that point on.” and they’re going to figure out that maybe it’s because two years ago you were too special to return [recruiters’] calls. It’s also some of the best-paying work you can do in a good market. “We just can’t attract people. I’m screening them to determine whether they’re appropriate matches for a hiring company. CHaPter 4 oN ThE Job what do you like about your job? The thrill of the hunt. Go to work somewhere where they’re prepared to invest a little time in you. I may have another dozen recruiter friends who are calling me looking for a fit.CHaPter 1 aT a GlaNCE Careers in Human Resources could get back into the IT industry.m. I ended up doing some accidental informational interviewing [about this type of job]. 9:00 a. If it were easy. I enjoy all of the process as well as the anticipation and preparation that go into a successful search. I’ll go back to getting my day started on a personal level. Some people have a hard time delivering bad news. The first thing I’ll do is check my email.m. it’s what we call dialing for dollars. There’s no really easy way to tell someone he or she isn’t going to be considered. I’m president of my own company now. asking whether they might be willing to consider other job options. and delaying it only makes it worse. whenever that might be. When it’s time to retire. I’m going out and talking to folks who may not want to talk to a headhunter. to pick up the phone even if you don’t feel like it.

I knock off at this point. 5:30 p. and employee relations. 1:10 p. Lunch. CHaPter 4 oN ThE Job what are your career aspirations? I think when my kids are older. and the third when a candidate is placed.000 employees. Contingency recruiters. You need to be someone with solid organizational skills. $80 billion in revenue annual salary: $120. training. I reprioritize my day because sometimes I get things in later that are more important than the original list of leads I’d started with that morning. I just called people and begged to be interviewed. I’ll be preparing people for interviews over the telephone and following up on leads.CHaPter 1 aT a GlaNCE 12:00 p.m.m.000 CHaPter 2 ThE RolE how did you get your job? CHaPter 3 ThE CompaNIES I came out of grad school and worked in staffing. I networked and got names of hiring managers.000–160. the second once the search is under way. CHaPter 6 GETTING hIRED CHaPter 7 FoR YoUR REFERENCE WET F EET IN S IDER GUIDE 37 .m. someone who’s comfortable in a business environment that’s profit-driven. who also place executives. I left this company for seven years. ComPensation For toP reCruiters Top executive recruiters working on retainer regularly earn more than $1 million a year— some make double that. A retainer is typically 33 percent of each recruit’s first-year salary.m. That includes staffing. Usually. CHaPter 5 ThE WoRkplaCE what kind of person does really well at this job? I think you have to have a very strong balance between analytical skills—being comfortable with numbers and spreadsheets—and interpersonal skills. paid in thirds: The first installment comes when a contract is signed between recruiter and client. compensation. I want to be a VP of HR at a small company. and then I came back. They can earn six-figure salaries. unless I’m scheduled to talk to someone after hours. I make sure our managers are trained in HR processes and that we are brokering for those services. what do you do? I would say we’re responsible for providing all aspects of human-resources support to a particular business unit. benefits. We make sure we’ve got the linkage with the corporate HR programs. 1:00 p. are paid after they complete an assignment. For this particular job. human rEsOurCEs managEr (largE COmpany) age: 40 education: MS in industry-organizational psychology Hours per week: 40 to 50 size of company: 140.

Not all of the topics are germane to what I need to do—there’s just so much. CHaPter 7 FoR YoUR REFERENCE CHaPter 6 GETTING hIRED 38 W E T F E E T I N S I D ER GUID E . CHaPter 2 ThE RolE what do you dislike? When there’s a business downturn and a lot of your job has to do with layoffs. In terms of frontline defense. You can work in the specializations and then become a generalist after you’ve worked in the different specialized areas.m. get all my voicemail. something that gives you a good foundation. I have three hours of phone calls and two to three hours of emails. Describe a typical day. I’m one of 600 employees.m. 1:00 p. If I’m going to fit everything in during the day. but it doesn’t stop there. And there’s some repetitive number crunching that has to be done— something I don’t like. I would say the typical HR manager goes home between 5:30 and 6:30. 10:00 a. I do phone and sometimes simultaneously email. it’s about business. and make phone calls. how can someone get a job like yours? CHaPter 4 oN ThE Job CHaPter 5 ThE WoRkplaCE You need to get an education that includes either an MBA or an MS. The rest are meetings and informal discussions. Some days I work at home in the afternoons. It’s about psychology. I come in. I don’t take a break. More meetings and discussions. CHaPter 3 ThE CompaNIES what is the biggest misconception about this job? That all you need are good people skills. I usually get lunch and eat it at my desk. have an understanding of the business. That’s not fun. You have to be really productive. 12:00 p. it’s about law. It’s intellectually stimulating because there’s variety there.m. 6:00 p. You need a very good understanding of people. 7:30 a. Usually I do that only when I’m in a phone meeting.m.m. I have standing staff meetings.CHaPter 1 aT a GlaNCE Careers in Human Resources what do you like about your job? One thing I like is the variety. I’m it. and possess analytical skills. Start in one of the functions like staffing or benefits.

CHaPter 1 aT a GlaNCE

human rEsOurCEs managEr (miDsizE COmpany)
years in the business: 16 age: 48 education: Master’s degree in administration (MSA) Hours per week: 50 to 55. I work at a place where it’s 24/7. I like to be here for the people who get off at 7:00 a.m., so I’m in early. size of company: 550 employees salary: $88,000, with bonuses of up to 25 percent of my base salary

what do you like about your job?
It’s different every day. There is the satisfaction that I can help an employee with a problem. The other thing I like is when I’m a resource to the team.

CHaPter 2 ThE RolE

what do you dislike?
My job can mean long hours. Somebody might not like being the person who has to pick up all of the little details. Let’s say you have an employee banquet. You have to know what’s going on prior to, during, and after it. Some people might not like it if they need a lot of structure. There are a lot of interruptions in HR.

CHaPter 3 ThE CompaNIES

what do you do?
I’m responsible for the administration of all human resources activities and functions. That can go from risk management (you have to have a working knowledge of legal requirements and make sure you’re complying with all of that) to recruitment (you’re part of recruiting and screening employees) to benefits issues. You’re an administrator of employee transactions and career laddering.

what is the biggest misconception about this job?
I was thinking of another cliché: “I like to work with people.” A lot of people think they’re going to spend a whole day with employees, being part of training or whatever, and they end up spending a lot of time creating and analyzing reports.

CHaPter 4 oN ThE Job

how did you get your job?
I was at a health-care center that was going through a downsizing. They offered some parachutes to senior staff and I took one. My wife wanted to relocate closer to her family. I actually sent my resume to a newspaper ad, and about two months later, I got a call.

how can someone get a job like yours?
They should definitely have at minimum a bachelor’s degree, preferably a master’s. It should be related to the HR discipline or administration. You may see some people with a bachelor’s in organizational development. That’s a good background because there’s a social-science element to the discipline.

CHaPter 5 ThE WoRkplaCE

what are your career aspirations?
I think I’d like to continue to do what I’m doing. I’m really content where I am at this stage in my career.

Describe a typical day.
6:30 a.m. I generally have employees waiting at my door with various questions.

what kind of person does well in this job?
A person who can juggle many balls at one time. A person who is flexible. A person who can listen to someone when they come in and not draw conclusions right away.

CHaPter 6 GETTING hIRED

8:00 a.m. I start answering email. 9:00 a.m. Generally I’ll have senior staff meetings during the late morning, and they last until lunchtime. 12:00 p.m. Lunch.

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CHaPter 1 aT a GlaNCE

Careers in Human Resources

1:00 p.m. I’m generally working on metric reports unless I have someone at my door.
CHaPter 2 ThE RolE

prOfEssiOnal EmplOyEr OrganizatiOn CliEnt hr managEr
years in the business: 4 age: 35 education: MBA, MA in art history, BA in French Hours per week: 40 to 55 size of company: For someone in the PEO industry, that’s an interesting question, because altogether we have about 110,000 (that includes workers at the client companies). annual salary: $65,000, plus a guaranteed bonus of 10 percent

2:00 p.m. Afternoon meetings. 3:30 p.m. I’ll get to more email. It might be answering a salary survey or a workers’ comp claim. I have an open door, so I generally have employees coming in all the time asking questions. I spend about four hours a day in meetings with department heads, supervisors, vendors, and senior staff. 5:30 p.m. Go home.

CHaPter 3 ThE CompaNIES

how did you get your job?
I answered a blind ad and was called back by the headhunter that placed it.

what are your career aspirations?
I think I’m just about well-rounded in my individual contributor knowledge, so I see myself moving into management. I’m more of a doer than a player. When you get closer to a senior level, there are more politics and less service. The reason I got into human resources was so that I could help improve people’s work lives. Right now I’m more client-facing than corporate-facing.
CHaPter 4 oN ThE Job CHaPter 5 ThE WoRkplaCE

what kind of person does well in this job?
The job that I have takes a real velvet hammer—delivering what can sometimes be a challenging message with savvy and consideration.

what do you really like about your job?
CHaPter 6 GETTING hIRED

I love the endless variety and opportunity to grow. Where I came from in a large corporate setting, we had teams that just did EEO investigations and legal requirements. Now I’ve had to expand my knowledge base, and I love that. I also really love the persuasive aspect and the educational aspect of what I do.

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CHaPter 1 aT a GlaNCE

what do you dislike?
The daily travel requirements. I have to take my office with me; I have a suitcase full of files and a laptop, and my office is wherever I sit. HR people in general tend to favor a lot of structure, and this job requires flexibility. Changing locations is yet another variable in the mix.

what is the biggest misconception about this job?
The biggest question is, “What is the PEO industry?” It’s a basic confusion. I get the impression that it used to have some kind of a slick façade, that it was a way to screw employees out of an otherwise beneficial arrangement.

why the meetings go so much longer now than when I used to meet with a manager as an internal person. My meetings usually last one and a half to two hours. They are productive, but they just take a while. During the month of May, I drove 1,356 miles! Client visits are a big part of my job. Unlike internal HR, these clients don’t have to work with me or keep our company as their PEO, so visits are important. 11:00 a.m. I eat lunch and work at the same time. I’ve been assembling a lot of employee handbooks today, from one of our templates. 1:00 p.m. I’m usually emailing until I go to my afternoon appointment. For instance, today I had to answer a question about COBRA extending beyond 18 months, and legal issues relating to searching employee workplaces for weapons and substances. I had to coordinate information from an attorney and make it employer-accessible so they didn’t get a bunch of legalese. 2:00 p.m. Afternoon appointment.

CHaPter 2 ThE RolE CHaPter 3 ThE CompaNIES

how can someone get a job like yours?
Contact the PEO directly, because it’s such a highgrowth industry. Also, staying in touch with the HR outsourcing companies directly is wise, because their growth plans may be aggressive.

CHaPter 4 oN ThE Job

Describe a typical day.
Since I have a region to cover, a typical day involves going to one of the regions. That means a combination of appointments and phone calls. There are 120 or so different companies that I may hear from, and the issues can range from legal compliance to employee relations to compensation. 8:30 a.m. Turn on my computer. I usually check my email the night before, but because our corporate headquarters is two hours ahead of us, there are more waiting first thing in the morning. Check my voicemail, though this job isn’t as voicemail intensive. 9:00 a.m. My first meeting. When a company has me onsite, it’s endless. It’s all about maximizing having an onsite HR person, so it’s hard to have a fixed schedule. That’s

CHaPter 5 ThE WoRkplaCE

5:00 p.m. Chances are, at this point I’m offsite, so then I’m emailing for about two hours.
CHaPter 6 GETTING hIRED

7:00 p.m. Go home.

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Careers in Human Resources

sEniOr vp, human rEsOurCEs
years in the business: 15 in HR; 35 in the same industry (I started as a teenager) age: 48 education: BS in hotel and restaurant administration; MS in organizational development Hours per week: 55 to 65. When I’m in the office, it’s about 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. When I travel, it’s even longer. I travel 30 percent of the time; those are 80- to 90-hour weeks. size of company: 150,000 employees; about $18 billion in revenue annual salary: $250,000 base; depending on the year, a 35 percent bonus

You’ve got to have a sense of humor. If you take everything too seriously, you’d be totally depressed all the time!

CHaPter 2 ThE RolE

what do you like best about your job?
I like that hopefully it’s making a difference in our associates’ work lives and hopefully their whole lives. That means a lot to me. I like the variety. I like the fast pace. It’s always challenging me. There’s nothing routine and there’s always something new to learn.

CHaPter 3 ThE CompaNIES

what do you dislike?
Well, in a large organization it can be bureaucratic at times. It sometimes takes a long time to get things done.

what do you do?
I shape the strategies about our work philosophies and what our company culture should be. Then I do high-level work on the design and development of those policies and procedures. I manage a lot of people to get all that work done.

what is the biggest misconception about this job?
I imagine that most people think that senior VP of HR means “What she says gets done,” but that’s not how it is in a large organization. It’s a lot about building consensus. It’s not a lot about control and command. It’s about getting everybody to buy in.

CHaPter 4 oN ThE Job

how did you get your job?
I’ve been in this particular company for 23 years, so I’ve come up through the ranks, but I got this particular position by persuading the people here that I was the best person for the job.

how can somebody get a job like yours?
To get a job like mine, you should make sure you’re mastering your knowledge and skills. You need to take risks to show that you are performing so that you get recognized and can move up the ladder. I would also say, “Go slow to go fast,” and spend the time making sure you do quality work. I’ve seen more people’s careers fail by rushing it. If you’re a little more patient and spend more time on each job, your foundation is going to be stronger.

CHaPter 5 ThE WoRkplaCE

what are your career aspirations?
My career aspirations at this point are to continue to enhance my abilities and skills to improve what I’m doing, then move on to do something different like teach or work for the Human Resources Association. I want to do something to help others.

CHaPter 6 GETTING hIRED

what kind of person does well at this job?
I think a visionary, someone who can clearly handle many different tasks on lots of different subjects. Someone with a lot of passion; it’s hard to get work done in a large organization and see it implemented within 650 units across the country.

InsIder sCOOP

“To get a job like this, you can network. If the organization doesn’t have such a position, it might be able to create one if it’s the right fit.”

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networking. both verbal as well as presentation and written skills. 7:00 p.m I usually have my calendar blocked for one to two hours doing email and answering the phone.500 annual salary: Not disclosed. The Tri-Valley Human Resources Association was one group I was active in.m.000–98. 6:00 p. I try to spend the last couple of hours of every night doing email and voicemail. Salary. networking.000 per year. but I found the small spin-off groups more effective. There are a lot of very dedicated and committed people here. and another was HRExecNet. You have to be passionate about it as well. It helped to be on the board of directors of TVHRA and take a leadership role in HRExecNet. I did a lot of HR consulting. You have to be process oriented. I anticipate that I will learn and accomplish enough to be able to contribute at his level when he retires. EmplOymEnt anD training managEr fOr a nOnprOfit years in the business: 15 age: 53 education: MBA. CHaPter 2 ThE RolE 8:30 a. You have to be committed to doing the right thing.m. Go home. The Society for Human Resource Management is another good organization. These are San Francisco Bay Area organizations. specialty in human resources Hours per week: 40+ size of company: 3. When I CHaPter 7 FoR YoUR REFERENCE WET F EET IN S IDER GUIDE 43 .m meeting to yet another meeting. how did you get your job? Networking. In the past couple of years.m I’m going from one meeting to another -5:30 p. CHaPter 5 ThE WoRkplaCE what kind of person does well in this job? You have to be very people oriented.com projects this person’s compensation at $91. CHaPter 6 GETTING hIRED what do you really like about your job? The people I get to work with. I also accepted this position because my boss is going to retire in a couple of years. Others can be about a detail dealing with issues ranging from compensation to workplace violence. You have to be a strong communicator.CHaPter 1 aT a GlaNCE Describe a typical day. you have to have a lot of compassion. You have to have a lot of empathy. You can’t be caught up in trying to put through the numbers. CHaPter 3 ThE CompaNIES CHaPter 4 oN ThE Job what are your career aspirations? Right now I’m excited about the position that I’m in. Some are big strategy meetings. 7:00 a.

CHaPter 5 ThE WoRkplaCE CHaPter 4 oN ThE Job how can someone get a job like yours? I think the more experience a person has in coaching people.m. customizing it to roll out to other populations outside the main office. we’ve redefined that handbook. CHaPter 6 GETTING hIRED Describe a typical day. I support quite a few different departments. the better off they are. Other conversations may be about rearranging an overworked employee’s workload or succession planning. so I’ll spend this time getting back to people. is the best time for moving my projects forward. In the past five months. It’s rather exciting. Different kinds of individual issues come up where you need to get back to the manager in charge. Most of what I do in this position is coaching the people we have. but some of the constraints we have here make it difficult to get the communication to work as rapidly and easily as we want. HR’s ability to help folks do things more successfully through coaching. you may not have the background to share with the people who need those skills. By late morning I usually have most of the fires put out and major issues moving toward resolution. but I’m sure the other parts of the organization face these challenges. I resolve problems that have come in from the morning. CHaPter 3 ThE CompaNIES what is the biggest misconception about this job? Perhaps the value that we can bring from an HR standpoint. Answers to issues I farmed out earlier in the morning are coming back by now. I’ve been focusing on training and coaching managers and employees. from yesterday: Where do we need to move from here? 10:00 a. The budget constraints are everywhere. Only about 10 percent of the organization calls us for help on these issues.m. You need to do the right coaching and make sure they do the what do you dislike? Probably limited budget is the biggest concern. Calls come from all over the organization. But we’ve had the HR department for only about six years. From midafternoon to the end of the day. What I find here is that people are very value oriented and put a lot of emphasis on doing a good job. I close the loop with people who have called in. We’ll have a quick gathering to say what’s going on. such as concerns about motivating a team that has communication issues or replacing a poor performer.m. Most of these are employment-related issues. If you haven’t done that before. I come in and group with the employees we have here. Some of this involves coaching. performance management. but we’ve put one together in the past few years for our main office. 2:00 p. with a long history. It’s the type of place I feel good working at.m. The organization is well established. I told people to connect with a company where the people have the same values. 11:00 a.CHaPter 1 aT a GlaNCE Careers in Human Resources CHaPter 2 ThE RolE did coaching for an outplacement group.. From now until 2:00 p. There are five of us on the HR team. and process orientation isn’t fully recognized within the organization. being committed. to 10:00 a. From 9:00 a. too.m.m. it’s setting the stage CHaPter 7 FoR YoUR REFERENCE 44 W E T F E E T I N S I D ER GUID E .m. rather than massive recruiting. We used to not have an employee handbook. 8:30 a.

I have fairly frequent meetings with people who are onsite here.CHaPter 1 aT a GlaNCE right documentation. usually in late morning or early afternoon. 5:00 p. Leave the office to teach a class at the local college where I’m on the adjunct faculty. too. 4:30 p. I regroup with my boss. CHaPter 2 ThE RolE CHaPter 3 ThE CompaNIES CHaPter 4 oN ThE Job CHaPter 5 ThE WoRkplaCE CHaPter 6 GETTING hIRED CHaPter 7 FoR YoUR REFERENCE WET F EET IN S IDER GUIDE 45 . The last thing I do is check voicemail to see if there’s anything urgent that I need to stay and address.m. I teach MBAs about HR performance management and managing the employment function.m.

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.....................54 ...............................................................48 Workplace Diversity ..52 The Inside Scoop ....................... 50 Benefits and Perks .....49 Compensation........5 The Workplace Lifestyle and Culture ................... 51 Career Path ........

and yet there’s limited money. As for hours.CHaPter 1 aT a GlaNCE Careers in Human Resources › tHere’s no singLe HR culture. Be ready to answer questions coming from all kinds of people about all kinds of things. First. the company where you’re considering taking a job. you’ll be dealing with a variety of issues—everything from a volunteer program with a nonprofit and the upcoming holiday party to planning the annual meeting and providing documents to the Labor Department for hiring somebody with an H1-B visa. it’s a support function. Many companies are expanding their overseas interests. you’ll be more likely to face a consistent set of conflicts and never know when somebody will need you to step in to resolve a problem. We run telecasts with people in Asia and Europe. company. and a lot of HR processes are accessed through technical tools. an HR manager in a factory with several shifts might expect to alternate shifts or adjust his or her schedule to be available to workers during each shift. and your position. At nonprofits or in the government. In addition. A few skills are critical in an HR role. but that’s not before paying their dues putting in 50 to 60 hours while learning the terrain and making CHaPter 7 FoR YoUR REFERENCE . CHaPter 2 ThE RolE InsIder sCOOP CHaPter 4 oN ThE Job “The complexity of our organization keeps increasing. help resolving a conflict regarding their performance review with their manager. For instance. she says. CHaPter 5 ThE WoRkplaCE staffing Staffing can be higher-stress than HR. more important. Experienced recruiters can get away with 30 or fewer hours a week. a childcare center. Being technically savvy is important in HR. you’ll generally be working on longer-term projects and your hours may spike as deadlines approach. You have to use data to the best degree you can. You have to be able to say no and find the best compromise. nurture them for higher roles. is having to turn down some opportunities for advancement because those positions would require more hours. In many HR roles. and work-from-home procedures.. Often you don’t have the actual authority to make a decision. the experiences of HR practitioners in corporate and in the field are likely to be different day-to-day as well. “You cannot keep everybody happy. HR isn’t a line function. HR is a support function: Expect to be interrupted. every day is different.” says an insider. At a large company. employees want different things—information about their 401(k). and complete other major HR tasks with greater efficiency.S. If you’re in the field. a new password for the intranet. 48 W E T F E E T I N S I D ER GUID E lifesTyle and culTure CHaPter 3 ThE CompaNIES As a result of new technology. If you go into corporate. and it even allows working mothers to bring their children to the office.” The company has child-friendly policies such as flexible hours. For instance. Regardless of where you’re working. the HR professionals we’ve spoken to tell us they generally put in 50 hours or more a week. The trade-off for such hours.” CHaPter 6 GETTING hIRED At some companies. and your hours will vary depending on the industry. Instead you’ll want to find out about the culture of the industry.” In fast-moving business environments. one working mother says she works only 40 hours to 45 hours per week—some of it at home—by working at one of Working Mother’s “Top 10 Companies for Executive Women. “You need thick skin. many firms have cut HR staffs and reduced costs. and Latin America. I think influencing skills are important in all of HR. That said. the U. and. Sometimes you do. you can generally expect hours to be closer to 40 a week. There’s unlimited desire for money. a number of qualities typify the day-to-day life of HR insiders we’ve spoken to. It has also become crucial for them to stay abreast of advances in software that make it easier to find top employees faster. you can negotiate a position that gives you the kind of hours and flexibility you desire. you’ll need to be flexible to handle an ever-changing set of issues.

when a job order comes in at 5:00 p. “You have to make calls that night. but warns that senior HR staffers tend not to belong to associations.” says the insider. a representative said a few years ago that “the membership profile is dominantly Caucasian—I’d say more than 80 percent. CHaPter 4 oN ThE Job CHaPter 5 ThE WoRkplaCE CHaPter 6 GETTING hIRED COnsulting Consultants work different hours depending on the client load.” says an insider. but rank high on creativity. and accessibility. “Typically people who work out well in the staffing industry rank high on extroversion. doing reference checks.and lower-tier HR staffers. The professional recruiter is focusing on recruiting for one specialty area and has more specialized resources to bring to that work.” says another staffing industry insider. calling clients. Just as people going into the field influenced gender balance. but some people burn out. the more likely people are going to listen. better access to candidates within the field. you can’t put it off until the next day. and experience. The government doesn’t keep statistics on specific occupational roles. you’ll work 40.m.” Even so. If you’re looking for a straight 40 hours. There’s a definite buzz. Expect to work 45-plus hours per week. Recruiters from agencies and HR professionals can butt heads.CHaPter 1 aT a GlaNCE contacts. middle on analytical skills. levels of education.” If you’re a member of a less-than-represented group. gEnDEr anD EthniCity In the 1980s. others.to 55-hour range. no evenings. but insiders caution you’ll only be as successful as the time you put into it. HR tends to be ethnically old-school—if SHRM’s demographics reflect the profession at large. Some weeks. You go out a lot to meet clients. Although SHRM doesn’t release the demographics of its membership. tend to be policy driven. with the membership now dominated by women. “Staffing involves a lot of phone time—calling candidates to see where they are in their job searches. and they’re more likely to work extra hours as a deadline approaches. HR professionals will need to work with or supervise people with more diverse cultural backgrounds. so their numbers may be slightly biased toward middle. CHaPter 2 ThE RolE InsIder sCOOP wOrkPlace diversiTy › Hr professionaLs spend their day thinking about diversity. They will have to see and handle these issues fairly and persuasively. ethnic diversity will be influenced eventually as well. but that doesn’t necessarily mean the departments themselves are more diverse. don’t think you’ll be excluded from the profession. Most HR consultants report average work weeks in the 45. The second demographic would be AfricanAmerican followed by Hispanic. and the ability to run more effective searches. You get hyped up when you fill a job. gender equity. SHRM membership was mostly men. you can do that. An HR professional has to staff all kinds of jobs. but in fact he or she is there to help them do theirs better. you’ll put in 70 hours. HR consultants work fewer hours than strategy or other consultants and typically travel less because a lot of the work doesn’t need to be face-to-face with the client. but now the pendulum has swung the other way. Only about 4 to 5 percent of our membership is Hispanic. CHaPter 7 FoR YoUR REFERENCE WET F EET IN S IDER GUIDE 49 . consulting isn’t a 9-to-5 job. “The more creative you can be in your approach. it’s exciting. The Society for Human Resource Management keeps demographic records of its membership. equal opportunity.” CHaPter 3 ThE CompaNIES “I think there are more crises in staffing than there are in HR. from marketing to IT. HR professionals sometimes think the recruiter is taking their jobs. As the workforce becomes more diverse. For example..

A recent college grad may earn $50. CHaPter 5 ThE WoRkplaCE CHaPter 4 oN ThE Job CHaPter 3 ThE CompaNIES 50 W E T F E E T I N S I D ER GUID E . recruiting. benefits. as an HR professional you’ll have an opportunity to influence issues of gender and ethnicity across the organization.470 and the highest 10 percent earned more than $85. HR serves many different businesses. with the middle 50 percent earning between $42. including bonuses. each with its own culture.860 in 2008.CHaPter 1 aT a GlaNCE Careers in Human Resources CHaPter 2 ThE RolE Finally. The stars at major firms. What’s great is that HR can often play a major role in shaping the resulting culture. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $56. One positive for recruiters is that it gives them a realistic way to find out whether the job’s really for them. One HR professional recently spoke of the added work brought on by a merger with another computer firm. Recruiters who work as free agents are typically paid by commission. Their salaries depend on the size of their employer—larger. The middle 50 percent earned between $73. those finding CEOs and other senior managers. typically earn more than $1 million annually. And the median annual earnings of compensation. Bachelor-degree candidates majoring in HR received starting offers averaging $45. and experienced consultants may earn more than $100.000.138 in 2008. Leading retained executive recruiters.550 and $67.110. So although you may face issues within HR.480 and $126. your company will negotiate a rate with each client and pay you a commission based on how many positions you place. If you work for an agency. This works well for the agency because it doesn’t have to invest heavily in unproven recruiters. cOmPensaTiOn › in Hr. tHe size and type of organization you work in. your duties.000.770. HR consultants are paid similarly to other consulting professionals. median annual earnings for all types of HR managers amounted to $96. That’s roughly $15. with the middle 50 percent earning between $35. you’re also going to face broader issues— and have commensurate ability to affect overall organizational attitudes and programs. and job analysis specialists amounted to $53.050.470 in 2008. can earn more than $2 million annually. the highest 10 percent earned more than $163. Recruiters who work on retainers receive their pay in three installments that usually amount to one-third of the first-year salary for the position they’ve placed. and placement specialists CHaPter 7 FoR YoUR REFERENCE CHaPter 6 GETTING hIRED made a median salary of $45.170 a year. with the middle 50 percent earning between $38.220. DivErsity in OthEr fOrms Although the profession is overwhelmingly white and female. bachelor’s-degree candidates majoring in human resources received starting offers averaging $45. common in tech and Internet business.450. Contingency recruiters receive their fee when they’ve completed an assignment. Median earnings for training and development specialists came to $51.450 in 2008.050 and $67. Employment.170 a year.160.020 and $63.000 more than in 2004.000 to $60. better-known companies pay more— and level of education and experience. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $29. According to a biannual survey by the Department of Labor. One insider worked as VP of HR for a large.730. which is negotiated with the client. According to a survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers in 2009. such as Heidrick & Struggles and Korn/Ferry. Sometimes HR must adapt to significant changes within an organization. conservative interstate bank. according to a 2009 salary survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. and your job level will determine your salary.

they help define a work culture. car rentals. benefits can equal 30 percent of total compensation. no matter what the industry.000+ $47. and a 401(k). movie theaters. Perks often can be significant factors when making a decision about where to work. personal travel service. Every company offers a different set of benefits and you’ll quickly learn the range of possible programs if you go into benefits. When considering a compensation program.000–69. Creating a compensation and benefit plan. or personal concierge services.000–100.000–95. or child-care reimbursements for those traveling or working late—and whether they can use their own sick time to care for a sick child. keeping in mind you could be fielding similar questions from future job candidates if you accept the offer.000 $36. consider asking whether the company provides paid time off to volunteer. A few offer sabbaticals for employees who have worked at the company for a certain number of years.000–97.000+ $74. including profit-sharing. dental.000–90. Many big companies have negotiated employee discounts on hotels. a corpoCHaPter 7 FoR YoUR REFERENCE WET F EET IN S IDER GUIDE 51 . tend to offer more benefits than smaller ones. lactation rooms. onsite banking. and even shopping centers.000 for a VP of HR. an employee stock ownership plan. HR pros should realize the degree to which a good benefit program improves overall compensation. museums.000–269.000–103. CHaPter 2 ThE RolE CHaPter 3 ThE CompaNIES CHaPter 4 oN ThE Job CHaPter 5 ThE WoRkplaCE > TIP When considering an HR job offer. Many companies offer onsite fitness centers or subsidize memberships to a local fitness center.000–107.000 Note: Bonuses may range from a few hundred dollars for a lower-rung position to more than $15. often.com › benefits—tHose you receive and those you administer—vary depending on the industry and size of the company.000–50. vacation. Some offer pension plans.000–99. and allow flex time. dry cleaning.000+ $76. director vP of human resources SaLaRy RanGE $31.000 $167. BenefiTs and Perks Standard benefits include health care. If volunteering is important to you.000 $41.000 $42.000 $43.CHaPter 1 aT a GlaNCE HR Salary Ranges TITLE Hr assistant benefits administrator benefits analyst Hr generalist recruiter Compensation analyst eeo specialist. Many companies provide a matching contribution to an employee’s 401(k). Source: Salary. expect any questions you ask about benefits and perks to come back to you when you’ve taken a job. supervisor Hr manager training manager Hris manager Labor relations specialist.000+ $57.000-$157. and mental health coverage. Larger companies.000 $48. Some subsidize meals and provide game rooms. manager. ask careful questions about benefits and perks. whether it offers vision. CHaPter 6 GETTING hIRED Of course. provide tuition reimbursement. and what perks come with the job. backup child care.000 $84.000–96. manager. but there are a wide array of other benefit programs. Other considerations include how much health care the company pays for and what percentage of dependent care it covers. Parents might ask about onsite child care. at leading companies. and stock options.

outplacement. and it shows in the salary increases given to such specialists. but it will be about integrating the services of third parties. Demand is strong in specialty areas. HR folks tend to specialize more. relocation.3 percent. which is something you might ask about in your interview. college recruitment. In 2010. Generalists will make decisions on whether it’s best to keep a service inhouse or to address it through an outside firm. some include spending-plan administration in broader benefits positions under the HR banner. raises became modest. once you’re in. Entry-level job opportunities for administrative generalists used to come from within companies. average raises were 2. job. just 15 percent of small firms (less than 199 employees) offer this benefit. with high performers receiving 4. “People grow into a lot of the roles we have in HR. getting the job at an organization you want to work in is the hard part. Many going into HR pick and choose their paths as they go. “Director and manager positions often come out of an evolution with the organization. you may find considerable flexibility in moving to the area that appeals to you. which let employees pay medical deductibles. HR administrators may be responsible for covering all these bases. Some of these firms— especially the larger ones—have created HR positions devoted to management of these spending plans. Many companies provide tuition reimbursement and training to encourage employee development. mergers and acquisitions.5 percent increase. During the economic downturn. and more. multinational firms. Many experts advise working for temp agencies to get a feel of what it’s like to work in a certain field before trying to get a CHaPter 7 FoR YoUR REFERENCE 52 W E T F E E T I N S I D ER GUID E . In large. CHaPter 2 ThE RolE career PaTh › tHere are basicaLLy two career paths for HR professionals: specialist or generalist. CHaPter 5 ThE WoRkplaCE spECialists OvEr gEnEralists CHaPter 6 GETTING hIRED Outsourcing is affecting HR by creating jobs in specialty firms and turning the corporate HR department into a hub that ties these services together. Both can lead to becoming a big cheese at a large corporation or working successfully in a private consultancy. pay raises took a serious hit—and HR was not spared. Generalists will still have a role. insiders say.3 percent and the weakest performers taking in a 0. CHaPter 3 ThE CompaNIES CHaPter 4 oN ThE Job WHat’s your Line? Nearly 80 percent of companies with 200-plus employees offer flexible spending plans.” In other words. Companies froze pay and even reduced salaries. co-pays. and a workplace environment aligned with your company’s business philosophy and objectives will become a critical part of your job. except at the manager level. As the economic downturn has eased. and other out-of-pocket expenses with pretaxed dollars deducted from their paychecks. In smaller companies. Managers deal directly with employees and act as go-betweens for the employees and various branches of HR. but now the entry points are with vendors and consulting firms. it’s easier to go from an Hr job in the field to an Hr job in the corporate office than the other way around.CHaPter 1 aT a GlaNCE Careers in Human Resources rate culture.” says an insider. There’s a vast array of other HR specializations: labor relations. Getting specialized expertise also can help you strike out on your own. They may also help ensure and monitor company compliance with HR-related legal requirements.

recruiting. these firms will hire you when you graduate or you can use your connections to reach hiring managers at other firms. From there you can gain expertise and get experience in another specialized area and eventually become a generalist in a larger firm. You’ll find general counsels. Most HR jobs don’t require them. Internships and work-study programs are great ways to get the realworld exposure potential employers notice. it does become possible in certain instances to consult for a larger company and therefore command a better salary. Remember. “If they don’t have a recruiting background. Getting an internship as a generalist or as an assistant in one of those areas is a good place to start. or they don’t have a sales background. However. In your first job. consider starting out at an agency. Often. general managers. equal employment opportunity. which represents the middle and lower tiers of the profession. probably already figuring out areas in which you’d like to specialize: compensation. the one quality companies emphasize is experience. Although HR workers are moving into executive positions as VPs of HR or COOs. The other option is to go deeper into your first specialty and move into consulting or a higher position at a specialty firm. You may be able to get a management trainee position in which you learn to classify jobs. only 20 percent have advanced degrees. benefits. If you’re in business school or grad school. CHaPter 5 ThE WoRkplaCE For recruiters. Conversely. you’re CHaPter 7 FoR YoUR REFERENCE WET F EET IN S IDER GUIDE 53 . Try working in a variety of HR functions in several companies or divisions of a company. Your first job after obtaining a master’s degree is likely to be as an analyst in one of the specialty areas or as a generalist in a division of a smaller firm.” CHaPter 6 GETTING hIRED OppOrtunitiEs fOr mBas anD OthEr mastEr’s DEgrEE CanDiDatEs Having a master’s degree helps you start in a specialized area. and many people working in the field don’t think they add anything to your current job.” says one recruiter. interview applicants. vice presidents of every pedigree.CHaPter 1 aT a GlaNCE OppOrtunitiEs fOr unDErgraDuatEs The best news is that although the overwhelming majority of members of the Society for Human Resource Management. if you’re working for a small company. While the length of experience is important. don’t even think about working within a company straight out of school. if you’re fresh out of school. or administer employee benefits. very few become CEOs. bigger companies tend to give bigger salaries and have heavier requirements than smaller ones. “That doesn’t mean they wouldn’t hire them as a trainee of some sort. author and consultant Alan Weiss wrote in a 2011 article in Human Resource Executive: “In the last decade you would be hard pressed to name five (one every other year) senior HR people who became CEO of a Fortune 500 company. CHaPter 2 ThE RolE CHaPter 3 ThE CompaNIES CHaPter 4 oN ThE Job OppOrtunitiEs fOr miDCarEEr CanDiDatEs Almost all advanced HR job descriptions require years of experience. most companies wouldn’t even consider them. From there you can become a recruiter at a hiring company and move into more specialized HR positions. compiling employee handbooks. or answering the phone and handling routine questions. As one HR VP put it. the kind of experience is more so. have degrees. or HRIS. you’re likely to be doing administrative work: entering data. > TIP If you’re interested in HR recruiting. researching information. In fact. managers need to “take risks and be seen taking those risks” during their careers. Most agencies pay by commission or pay a small base salary plus commission. This is most likely in a smaller company where there are fewer people to perform all of these tasks. so you can start with a small company and move on to a similarly titled position in a larger company.

I moved from being a generalist to a recruiter. the bad. and at the end of the day. you touch all areas of the company and can have significant impact. and when one gets by you. they feel like they’ve done something positive for their employees’ work lives. You also are the only person on the team who gets to meet and know every member of the other team—recruits and candidates from other companies—as they come to the plate. but virtually no senior HR people. Of course. you are expected to have a great working relationship with the pitcher—business leader—and know them so well that you call their pitches for them. In the words of one HR professional.” Do good. “From coaching an employee who’s having a conflict with a supervisor to developing a training program for a group that needs to learn Photoshop to planning the annual meeting. the job entails “enjoying being with people.” However. The inside scOOP what EmplOyEEs rEally liKE CHaPter 4 oN ThE Job like the Catcher on a Baseball team When you hold a prominent position in HR.” Many have speculated that this is because HR folks spend their days being cooperative and figuring out ways for people to get along.” and when. everyone knows. another veteran of the field says that sometimes. preparing paperwork for somebody who was promoted to a management position.CHaPter 1 aT a GlaNCE Careers in Human Resources CHaPter 2 ThE RolE CFOs. InsIder sCOOP CHaPter 3 ThE CompaNIES “It’s important to take risks and try new things even if you’ve been in the business a long time. All insiders stress that you have to care about the people and the organization. or determining benefits. while successful CEOs need to think competitively and be more cutthroat. “I don’t do the same things from day to day or from minute to minute.” says one insider. during a marathon round of interviews. which has really ramped up my skills and made me more aware. and caring about people.” says one high-ranking insider. You also have that guy hanging over your back—your ethics and values as well as the board of directors of the company—calling balls and strikes. You can shift the defense of the team when you know a player coming to the plate or sense that he might be trying to hit the ball in a certain direction. or stop the game and take a trip to the mound. “It’s the only position on the field where you get the full view of all of the rest of the players. then the business leader can shrug you off. and that feels good. learning about people. almost everything you do has the potential to enhance the work environment for employees. feel good Some say they feel good about helping people. CHaPter 7 FoR YoUR REFERENCE CHaPter 6 GETTING hIRED 54 W E T F E E T I N S I D ER GUID E . As the catcher. even actuaries. and I must say that I don’t see as many good HR people out there as I would like—is kind of like being the catcher on a baseball team. “Being a good HR person—good is a very subjective term. It’s a great position…. You also get a chance on offense with everyone else to show your stuff when you go to bat.” Whether you’re creating a volunteer program. especially at a large company. The downside is. and the ugly all come together to make for a varied and often exciting work environment. so you have to be as good on offense as you are on defense. But you are expected to have the courage and knowledge to know when to go ahead with their judgment. You then help the pitcher decide which pitches to throw at them CHaPter 5 ThE WoRkplaCE the spice of life No two days in HR are alike—the good. you have to crouch all day and have balls thrown at you at almost 100 miles an hour. it’s not routine. things can feel the same depending on the project you’re working on and the positions you’re hiring to fill.

You’ll be working in the middle of corporate culture. People will want to know how much you’re spending and what technologies and other resources you’re using. and it classifies the salary as very high.” CHaPter 3 ThE CompaNIES what EmplOyEEs DOn’t liKE too much technology? Although technology has enabled HR departments to improve in many different areas. Your role is contributing toward creating a positive work environment for employees in every division. and other areas. Employment CHaPter 7 FoR YoUR REFERENCE WET F EET IN S IDER GUIDE 55 .” says one insider. You’re helping someone make a life decision. interacting with people in different departments across the organization. “You can really make a difference.CHaPter 1 aT a GlaNCE secure. When recruiting. “When piles of paperwork All of the paperwork to gain approvals can get in the way of helping people. CHaPter 5 ThE WoRkplaCE finger on the pulse HR pros have their finger on the pulse of the company. The skills and knowledge you’ll develop in HR won’t come naturally to others in line positions. so you tell people about the positives of your culture. you should be prepared to tell them. These critics say that instead of reaching out to workers in person. rules Rules govern the HR world. It’s about understanding your business and technology and how that fits together in terms of you being able to hire and retain the best employees.” CHaPter 4 oN ThE Job not Just about the people HR is no longer just about being a people person. which is great if you love where you work. people really listen to what you have to say when you’re a specialist. your benefits. rules. which is probably what drew you into the HR ranks in the first place. you can help others make a decision they would have a hard time making alone. rules. “We’re losing sight of what matters: the people. what more could you ask for? you get to a point where you’ve built credibility and have a unique perspective. “I’ve been feeling very down because we’re overselling technology. All these rules can delay hiring so much that you might lose a good candidate to another organization. you’re trying to sell your company to others. “We want to push a button and have all the work of recruiting and managing people done for us. With widespread unemployment that has lingered for years. HR has to be more than that. We’re selling solutions and eliminating the personal touch. high-paying Job Despite upheaval in recent years. some professionals believe it has hurt relationships between companies and their employees. the Department of Labor has a positive outlook for HR jobs.” CHaPter 2 ThE RolE InsIder sCOOP Emphasizing the positives HR recruiters get to focus on the positive.” InsIder sCOOP “I feel connected with a large cross-section of the entire organization. You can’t skate along the fringes. some HR departments have grown too comfortable relying on software to perform all of their tasks. Many HR pros complain that the paperwork required to justify costs and satisfy government regulations takes up a huge chunk of their time. And if something isn’t a good fit. CHaPter 6 GETTING hIRED making a Difference in the Organization In many HR jobs.” says one professional. my HR role allows me to impact every area.

paying your Dues Recruiters tell us newcomers will have to put in 50. For instance. for instance. it’s not necessarily right or wrong. “It’s never easy to terminate an employee. “Being in a support role can be hard at times. Sometimes these policies can extend to hiring.CHaPter 1 aT a GlaNCE Careers in Human Resources CHaPter 2 ThE RolE applications. You don’t get to the bottom of things and solve an equation. but the data doesn’t drive the exact answer.” You’ll need to be able to deal with ambiguity if you’re going to do this job well. “You don’t have direct control. you’re support HR is considered a support role rather than a line role.to 60-hour work weeks while they establish themselves and build relationships. a termination is the loss of a source of livelihood for an individual and often for a family. We use data. “It’s ambiguous. many of which can be trying.” You’ll also be responsible for enforcing policies that others in the organization may not agree with or like. “Regardless of the reason. not authority. the more you’ll be exposed to different facets of HR.” Managers can—and often do—override the advice of their HR adviser. it can lead to better possibilities in the future.” says an insider. the longer the hours. have gone from two to seven pages with waivers that need to be signed for background checks. Your ability to get things done will depend on persuasion. Your job is to help others succeed at making money for the business. CHaPter 7 FoR YoUR REFERENCE CHaPter 6 GETTING hIRED CHaPter 5 ThE WoRkplaCE CHaPter 4 oN ThE Job 56 W E T F E E T I N S I D ER GUID E . Even though you could have specialists working with you. The higher up you get and the larger the organization you work at. CHaPter 3 ThE CompaNIES many shades of gray There rarely is a clear answer to a problem. so while the busywork may be boring. such as determining layoffs following a merger or acquisition. they have to sit in on meetings where the bosses give bad news. executive vice president for corporate services at Aflac.” says an insider. “The human side of things isn’t black or white. These legal issues can lead to major headaches.” says Audrey Tillman. The more you work. the Bad guys HR managers play a variety of roles. you’ll have other areas to deal with—additional benefit plans and other activities.

CHaPter 1 aT a GlaNCE CHaPter 2 ThE RolE CHaPter 3 ThE CompaNIES CHaPter 4 oN ThE Job CHaPter 5 ThE WoRkplaCE CHaPter 6 GETTING hIRED CHaPter 7 FoR YoUR REFERENCE WET F EET IN S IDER GUIDE 57 .

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61 Interviewing Tips..... 60 The Recruiting Process .................................64 Grilling Your Interviewer ....................................6 Getting Hired The Prerequisites .65 ..

you’ll want to consider taking courses in such subjects as finance. Degrees in human resources.CHaPter 1 aT a GlaNCE Careers in Human Resources The PrereQuisiTes EDuCatiOn You’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree for most entrylevel jobs. other relevant coursework might include business administration.” Some positions. and all of the advertising recruiters used to be in advertising. labor economics. including compensation specialist. and industrial psychology would be more appropriate for those specializations. Most HR employees maintain it’s important to get experience in the industry you’d like to work for prior to moving into HR. though it is possible to find a few HR assistant positions with an associate’s degree in hand. all of the law recruiters used to be lawyers. and industrial engineering are typical. from administrator to counselor to negotiator) CHaPter 3 ThE CompaNIES CHaPter 2 ThE RolE CErtifiCatiOn When you look at the resume or business card of an HR professional. labor relations. you’ll be dealing with how people behave in groups. political science. and instructional technology. In addition to a $75 application fee. collective bargaining. require legal expertise. personnel administration. To become an HR manager in a large corporation or an analyst in a specialty area. economics. labor relations. psychology. Of course. “When I worked my first job. and statistics. industrial relations. you’ll sometimes see SPHR or PHR after the name. BasiC sKills • • • • • • Ability to think critically and analytically Ability to manage different personalities Diplomacy Strong oral and written communication skills Business focus Ability to work with people of various cultural and educational backgrounds • Computer savvy • Ability to quickly switch gears (for example. if you know you’re planning to specialize. it was at a large recruitment firm. which gives the exams via computer at test centers around the country. “So the accounting recruiters came out of the Big 8 firms. The Professional in Human Resources (PHR) exam is designed for those with basic functional experience in HR. labor relations worker. and every single recruiter had come out of their industry. It covers technical and operational aspects of HR. and benefits manager.” says one insider. Most BA-level jobs in HR start at the assistant level. public administration. an MS. labor history. CHaPter 6 GETTING hIRED CHaPter 5 ThE WoRkplaCE CHaPter 4 oN ThE Job 1. an MHRM (master’s of human resources management). One HR manager at a smaller firm suggests that interested candidates take classes in organizational behavior—after all. It is helpful to have an internship under your belt or to work as a temp prior to your first job. though coursework in labor law. Certification from the Society for Human Resource Management can help you with some of the legal issues surrounding these positions. Given the interdisciplinary nature of HR. education. sociology. That indicates he or she has passed one of two exams started in 1998 and administered by the Society for Human Resource Management’s Human Resources Certification Institute. or some type of certification. you will need an MBA. CHaPter 7 FoR YoUR REFERENCE 60 W E T F E E T I N S I D ER GUID E .

how it makes a profit. In the past. That is not how they were intended to be used. You can get that experience through WET F EET IN S IDER GUIDE 61 CHaPter 7 FoR YoUR REFERENCE . they are beginning to include terms such as PHR minimum or SPHR required in job descriptions.” Says another insider: “I was taking human resources classes as an undergrad. or consultant. I thought I needed to get certification. research and publishing. and compensation and benefits (16 percent). passing the certification tests is a source of professional pride for many Hr people. which may include continuing education. new job experience. and membership in organizations. As more companies become aware of the existence of these exams. and what its employees do. The largest sections focus on workforce planning and employment (26 percent). “Where I was in my career. but not everyone in the field agrees on the tests’ value regarding career mobility. For example. and $170 for students and recent graduates. Unfortunately. given that some companies include completion of the tests as requirements for entry-level positions. so I look at the certifications and it’s like a joke because I studied those concepts as an undergrad.” However. CHaPter 2 ThE RolE CHaPter 3 ThE CompaNIES CHaPter 4 oN ThE Job CHaPter 5 ThE WoRkplaCE CHaPter 6 GETTING hIRED The recruiTing PrOcess › one tHing Hr professionals of all types stress is the need to get experience and to become familiar with a company’s business. they are not permitted to even take the exam without having the necessary work experience first. human resource development (17 percent). As of July 2011. where it was a lot harder. she has since become disillusioned.” One thing is certain: Those who have taken the tests have passed an exam covering a common body of material. Certification lasts for three years and can be maintained through reexamination or professional development. leadership roles. $225 for nonmembers. workforce planning and employment (17 percent). but not everyone in the field agrees on the tests’ value regarding career mobility. the number of PHR-certified professionals was 65. In addition to a $75 application fee. As of July 2011. “It was something that shows I’m really good at what I do and that I enjoy doing it. in order to be taken seriously. the exams are not completely understood by all in the field. Passing the certification tests is a source of professional pride for many HR people.CHaPter 1 aT a GlaNCE the PHR exam costs $175 for SHRM members. the tests serve as a universal barometer of skills and knowledge. researcher. some of the exam questions require the taker of the test to read descriptions of realworld scenarios and identify appropriate responses to each. Now. the number of SPHR-certified professionals was 48.009. educator. The Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) exam tests more strategic HR knowledge. In this way. employee and labor relations (18 percent). $350 for nonmembers. Takers of the test should have at least two years of experience as an HR practitioner. The largest sections of this exam address strategic management (29 percent). and human resource development (17 percent). “People who can memorize things can pass the test.” says an HR consultant who has taken both exams. 2. and $45 for students and recent graduates.178. student candidates would not be able to use the PHR or SPHR label until they’ve completed two years of work in the field. employee and labor relations (22 percent). the SPHR exam costs $300 for SHRM members.

(See the last chapter. Business knowledge: Moving HR from the fringes of business strategy to the center so that peoplemanagement issues are integrated into business strategy recognizes a company’s dependence on its employees. 1. About 85 percent of larger firms require preemployment testing. However. which is software that makes it easier for recruiters to find the best candidates. HR delivery: The is the delivery of basic HR functions.” for a list of professional associations. you’ll give your hiring managers good reasons to hire you. CHaPter 4 oN ThE Job CHaPter 3 ThE CompaNIES Reference. If you succeed with the phone interview. In fact. according to the Society for Human Resource Management. 2. “Everyone I’ve ever pulled has come out of the advertising industry. We discuss networking in depth in Networking Works!.” Because jobs are scarcer. Insiders recommend joining professional associations. we found some interesting ideas for breaking into HR. CHaPter 2 ThE RolE CHaPter 5 ThE WoRkplaCE sKills rECruitErs want An SHRM study identified five areas of focus for HR. Keep these in mind throughout the interview process.) Many recruiters have profiles on LinkedIn and are using other specialized social-networking applications. BrEaKing in In our conversations with insiders. “For Your CHaPter 6 GETTING hIRED CHaPter 7 FoR YoUR REFERENCE 62 W E T F E E T I N S I D ER GUID E .CHaPter 1 aT a GlaNCE Careers in Human Resources internships or work in an industry. and learn about staffing—all great skills for an HR career. This can include something as basic as a skills test to see whether you can do what the company needs you to do—and what you say you can do—to an investigation into your background. and recruiters and hiring managers are getting bombarded with resumes. The number should rise as these firms increase their use of applicant tracking systems. such as SHRM or WorldatWork. “For an entrylevel candidate to come in they have to have an interest in what the company is about and drive for sales. an internship could lead directly to your first job. Developing a personal network also can serve you as you advance through your career. Another growing part of the recruitment process is preemployment testing and screening. you’ll be brought in for interviews with immediate managers and potential coworkers. One is through the staffing industry. and be motivated by the idea of selling the position. The phone interview determines whether the company wants to have managers take the time to meet you. Most specialized roles have groups that meet regularly to share information. If you can make a case for your strengths in these areas. You’ll experience this in a tough market whether you are just coming out of school or are an experienced industry vet. which lets you work with HR people. None other than former General Electric CEO Jack Welch has said that great companies should include their leading HR executive in seniorlevel discussions. the consensus “best practice” for getting into HR is networking. These could be on the same day or on different days. build relationships. a WetFeet Insider Guide. Attending conferences or local chapter meetings can be a good way to meet people in the field. such as through online intranets. an advertising recruiter.” says Ellen Abrahams. you will probably get a phone interview before you get a face-to-face interview.

at Gore. Cultural fit is important for all job seekers. industrial. such as W.S. and concern for employee well-being. work style. which makes medical. Finding out about a company’s values. 5. including the company’s contributions to local communities. some rank companies based on their workplaces in annual issues. go in.com). the stories it tells about itself. It was the first time these respected groups have produced such a survey. Strategic contribution: This is related to business knowledge but specifically concerned with ensuring people-management issues are central to the operation of the organization. You will be administering these programs. Fortune’s list of the “100 Best Companies to Work For” is a great source for identifying companies with leading HR practices (www. have wildly original work cultures. SHRM teamed with the Great Place to Work Institute to rank the top 25 small and midsize companies to work for in the U. they pay employees to volunteer a certain amount of time each month or year. Others. “So if you get a chance. focus on the environment. have serious community commitments that pervade the work culture. Colombia.” If you’re looking at bigger companies. How progressive a company do you want to work at? What kind of industry is most interesting to you? What do you value? Networking is the most effective way to learn about the culture of different organizations as you determine those answers. Korea. and other systems. you still can learn and give every opportunity a chance. You can find more information at www. compensation is based on a peer-ranking system.shrm. Last year. and then you can take that to another company. If you have a good team. Gore. which will be an annual event. electronic. but perhaps doubly so for HR professionals because you’re responsible for the culture.org. environment. you’ll learn a lot in the position. the personality of the CEO. the list ranks companies on the basis of their cultural practices and employee responses to a survey. HR technology: It helps HR professionals explain the return on investment of their work. and HR programs are a little bit different.CHaPter 1 aT a GlaNCE 3. because it’s really a people situation and it’s a team environment.” says one insider. these can be great leads in finding a company for which you want to work. and fabric products.) Business Ethics magazine’s “100 Best Corporate Citizens” is another good place to look (www. India. and other countries. so it’s a good idea to look for some you believe in at a company doing work you respect. training. attention to safety.businessethics. you might consider those with outstanding reputations. similar lists are put out for the European Union. Some companies. as well as automate performance. (For international readers. 4. Newspapers and magazines regularly profile local companies and often single out those with great workplace practices.com). Insiders also tell us there are benefits to working with companies that aren’t ranked. Many local business journals publish information about workplaces. Personal credibility: Being taken seriously by others in the organization is critical to HR professionals’ effectiveness. You can learn about some specific companies and a lot about the culture of a number of industries by consulting the WetFeet Insider Guide series. CHaPter 2 ThE RolE CHaPter 3 ThE CompaNIES what tO lOOK fOr in an OrganizatiOn Every company’s management philosophy.L. and the degree of employee participation in managing daily work can help you make a more informed decision about whether you’d fit in.fortune. Better that you like it. whErE tO lOOK fOr JOBs In searching for a company to work for. Updated annually. companies named to the list are ranked on a variety of factors. CHaPter 4 oN ThE Job CHaPter 5 ThE WoRkplaCE CHaPter 6 GETTING hIRED CHaPter 7 FoR YoUR REFERENCE WET F EET IN S IDER GUIDE 63 . “Do not be afraid if it’s a company that you don’t think is sexy enough. such as clothing makers Timberland and Patagonia.

you can do an article search on many public library databases. One of the key responsibilities for many HR roles is helping other people make sound decisions. and build credibility. Think about what you’ve done in the past to mediate conflict. Be sure to have some specific anecdotes to share with your interviewer that will showcase such interpersonal skills. If you’re going into an IT HR role. Asking about things such as recognition programs. Read the company’s website. “Tell me about a time when you successfully negotiated something” or “Tell me about a time when you worked with an employee who was disagreeable. as well as finding creative ways to get the attention of company recruiters. Staffing involves a lot of selling candidates to employers. If you’re going into a staffing role. talk about your experience. If you’re going into an HR specialty. Convey an understanding of business. “I want to work with people. share how that environment prepared you with skills relevant to the one you’re applying to work in. By showing you know about the company and how it operates.” 8. competence. be ready to talk about how previous employers maintained payroll. Behavioral interviewing is common in HR. in most others your ultimate purpose is to help make the business work. Know the industry. and training shows an interest in the function and the work you may be hired to do. Find out everything you can about the company before going in to interview. “Culture-based questions are fun. the career is about much more than working with people.” First. 7. and come ready with examples of how you’ve used this skill. If you’ve worked in a different industry. and BusinessWeek. Fast Company. be ready to talk about the infrastructure at your previous employer. be ready to talk about your skills in that area. The HR function varies widely by industry. By showing you understand how business works—and how HR can make the organization more profitable—you’ll be demonstrating critical skills for long-term success in the role. Customer service is a daily element of the role. “Studying up on that industry is going to give you a leg up when interviewing. Showing expertise. 4. Although an understanding of human behavior will certainly be critical for some HR roles. performance reviews.CHaPter 1 aT a GlaNCE Careers in Human Resources inTerviewing TiPs CHaPter 2 ThE RolE 1. If you’ve worked in the industry before. and the ability to adapt quickly to a new company’s systems can help your chances of landing a job. Know the company. If you’re interviewing for a compensation assistant role. the hiring manager will want to know how you worked well with people. HR professionals have a direct impact on the company’s culture. 9. Prepare answers to behavioral questions. 2. A universal plea by all HR workers is that they’re tired of hearing. Show an interest in the company’s culture and what makes it distinct. Second. 5. 3. The ability to work effectively with executives. Check out articles that describe its workplace. Prepare examples of how you’ve established credibility with people in the past. 6. Working in high tech is different than working in government or within a unionized company. you’ll be able to speak about why you want to work there in particular. A manager might ask something like.” Be prepared to tell the steps you took to mediate the situation and how you were directly involved in finding the solution. persuade. such as employee relations. “It shows they’re very interested and focused on the role. and employees is an important one. you’ll be in regular contact with clients (employees and CHaPter 7 FoR YoUR REFERENCE CHaPter 6 GETTING hIRED CHaPter 5 ThE WoRkplaCE CHaPter 4 oN ThE Job CHaPter 3 ThE CompaNIES 64 W E T F E E T I N S I D ER GUID E . Be ready to give clear examples of when and how you worked well with people.” an insider says. line managers. be ready to talk about your service and sales skills and creativity.” says an insider. Search for articles in major business magazines such as Fortune.

for best results. putting them into place faster. Technology may be better than ever. 12. You’ll want to be able to explain why you’ll succeed in this role and show that your skills are superior to those of other candidates. because the people you talk to are closer to the opportunities than you are. But companies expect people in HR to enjoy interacting directly with people. New software systems make it easier for HR to complete many different tasks. such as preparing women and underrepresented populations for executive and senior management roles? • What does your job do that promotes better business? • What type of privacy policies. Don’t hesitate to demonstrate your knowledge of cutting-edge products. However. 10. Ultimately. Ask companies what they’re using to ensure they’re finding great employees. if any. 11. Network. it’s the best way to help you land interviews. They are also often instrumental in landing interviews. and retaining them. We’ve prepared a list from which you can pick to gather information and convey your understanding of the field. Understand the technology.CHaPter 1 aT a GlaNCE employers). we encourage you to develop your own questions and target them to the company to which you’re applying. It will show a deep interest in your profession. what’s the most distinctive thing about the organization’s culture? What role does it have in employee retention? • To what degree is HR involved in strategic business decisions at the organization? How has this changed since you’ve been here? • If I were hired. does the organization have? • What’s the process your organization goes through when it develops a new training program? • What activities do you incorporate in your training program? Are there offsite retreats and opportunities to pursue further education and skills training? • How often does your organization re-evaluate its benefits package? What role does employee input have in the process? How do you gather that input? • How often do you survey employees and what survey process do you use? Once you get survey results. • How are you managing rising health-care costs? • What do you like most about the work culture at the organization? mEDium • What programs are in place to develop diverse leaders. Don’t forget the personal touch. HR pros tell us they most want to hear questions customized for the position. what opportunities would I have to move into another HR role? What are the opportunities for advancement for someone in my position? • What role does technology play in your hiring processes? What products are you using to increase efficiency and improve the quality of your workforce? CHaPter 6 GETTING hIRED CHaPter 7 FoR YoUR REFERENCE WET F EET IN S IDER GUIDE 65 . how do you communicate them? CHaPter 2 ThE RolE CHaPter 3 ThE CompaNIES CHaPter 4 oN ThE Job grilling yOur inTerviewer › Hr recruiters Love it when candidates ask questions in interviews. wEll-DOnE CHaPter 5 ThE WoRkplaCE rarE • What do you like most about your job? • What are the opportunities to move up within this company? • How often do you evaluate your compensation policies? • How has your organization been affected by rising health-care costs? • Can you talk about the organization’s approach to ethics and how it has evolved its policies in this area in the wake of corporate scandals such as Enron? • In your opinion. Networking is like casting a wide net. While this isn’t an interviewing tip per se. cultivating them for bigger jobs.

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................68 Recommended Reading ................... 71 Other Resources ........ 73 .......................7 For Your Reference HR Lingo… .......

Here’s a primer on some of the terms you’ll come in contact with during your career in HR. demonstrating a firm grasp of HR terminology will earmark you as a candidate who has taken the time to learn about the field. See www. › aLL functions Have their own language. This is the common employee-employer employment agreement.ada. CHaPter 7 FoR YoUR REFERENCE 68 W E T F E E T I N S I D ER GUID E . sex. incentive pay. raises. Cafeteria plan Compensation in which employees can choose between two or more taxable or nontaxable benefits. CHaPter 6 GETTING hIRED Back pay Includes overtime. goods and services provided by private companies. programs. bonuses. CHaPter 5 ThE WoRkplaCE Antinepotism policy A policy or practice that limits the employment of two or more members of the same family. CHaPter 3 ThE CompaNIES Accessibility The degree to which an office or building can be used by an individual with a disability. which adjusts wages to offset a change in purchasing power.gov. HR is no exception. and services provided by state and local governments. policies. Study them before you begin interviewing. Affirmative action Actions. or other economic loss because of discriminatory employment practices or procedures. and procedures designed to provide equal employment opportunities regardless of race. COLA Cost of living adjustment. which requires that most employers sponsoring a group health plan offer employees and their families an optional temporary extension of coverage at group rates in certain circumstances when coverage might otherwise end (for example. COBRA The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985. and in commercial facilities. Collective bargaining agreement An agreement reached when management and representatives of employee unions negotiate successfully. CHaPter 4 oN ThE Job Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 Prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in employment. when somebody quits). At-will employment A common law doctrine that holds an employer can fire an employee or an employee can quit a company at any time for any legal reason.CHaPter 1 aT a GlaNCE Careers in Human Resources hr lingO CHaPter 2 ThE RolE Bona fide occupational qualification A minimum qualification needed to do a specific job. or ethnicity.

htm. limited work hours. CHaPter 7 FoR YoUR REFERENCE WET F EET IN S IDER GUIDE 69 .gov. This means rules about overtime and wages do not apply. A federal agency that administers several statutes prohibiting work-related discrimination. effort. EEOE Equal Employment Opportunity Employer. Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) This 1938 federal law. established a minimum wage. Exempt Salaried employees who are exempt from coverage under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Discrimination A charge brought by people alleging prejudice. and responsibility. care for a family member. Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) A federal law that requires certain employers to grant eligible employees 12 weeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period for birth and care of a newborn child. including annual and sick leave. the hours. CHaPter 3 ThE CompaNIES External labor market The labor market outside the company. and things typically specified in the employee handbook. Equal Pay Act of 1963 A federal law that makes it unlawful to pay members of one sex at a rate lower than is paid to members of the opposite sex for jobs that require equal skill. See www. and profit sharing. and discouraged child labor. internal labor market refers to people within the company.dol. Defined benefit plan A retirement benefit wherein an employee is paid some percentage of final salary rather than the return on investment from a retirement fund. Defined contribution plan A retirement program wherein an employee contributes a percentage of salary and the return on investment determines the retirement benefit.gov/dol/topic/benefits-leave/fmla. Designed to help employees and their families solve personal and workrelated problems that affect job performance.dol.gov/ebsa. CHaPter 4 oN ThE Job EAP Employee Assistance Program. or a medical leave when unable to work due to a serious injury. CHaPter 2 ThE RolE Compressed workweek A schedule that consists of fewer than five days. encompassing the types of employees. sometimes referred to as the Wage Hour Act because it mandates fair treatment of employees with respect to wages and hours. retirement benefits. In comparison.dol. CHaPter 6 GETTING hIRED Employee Benefits Security Administration A federal administration responsible for administering pension and welfare benefit laws. adoption or foster care. Flex time A policy that allows employees to follow different schedules of work each day during the workweek. See www. CHaPter 5 ThE WoRkplaCE EEOC Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.eeoc. Fringe benefits Compensation other than wages or salary.CHaPter 1 aT a GlaNCE Corporate culture The environment in which you work. such as four 10-hour days. See www. See www.gov/whd/flsa. medical insurance.

or monitoring of IT. CHaPter 2 ThE RolE Nonexempt An employee who isn’t exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act. Performance evaluation A process for evaluating quantitative and qualitative performance of employees. CHaPter 3 ThE CompaNIES H1-B visa A special work visa that provides nonimmigrant classification for a worker from abroad who’ll be employed in a specialized occupation.dol. per capita overhead costs. often used as an employeedevelopment tool and as the basis for promotions and salary adjustments. call center operations. Maternity leave A childbirth-related absence from work by a woman. such as payroll. CHaPter 6 GETTING hIRED Line function Job functions that contribute directly to the achievement of a major organizational objective. See www. Commonly referred to as family leave. for example.html. Job sharing Dividing full-time jobs into two or more positions. Offshoring Companies relocating jobs to countries outside the U. The minimum skills. See www. 70 W E T F E E T I N S I D ER GUID E .5 FTE.gov/ofccp/ Job design Creating the content. primarily meaning a revenue-generating activity.CHaPter 1 aT a GlaNCE Careers in Human Resources FTE Full-time equivalent.. Part-time employees’ hours are converted to the decimal equivalent of a full-time employee based on the hours a full-time employee works annually. CHaPter 4 oN ThE Job Outsourcing Companies subcontracting specific business functions. an accounting term. and experience necessary to perform an individual job. OFCCP The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs. education. CHaPter 7 FoR YoUR REFERENCE PFL Paid family leave. generally hourly employees.gov/ebsa/newsroom/fsnmhafs. Job splitting A single job that’s divided into two separate part-time positions. Sometimes the term empowerment is used.dol. an employee who works half as many hours as a full-time employee is noted as 0. to other firms. among other things. functions. which has guidelines for all federal contractors. This makes it possible for firms to calculate aggregate employee data. and relationships of a job so it’s directed toward achieving an organization’s goals and satisfying the personal needs of an individual job holder. where wages are lower. Paternity leave Time off for a father when a baby is born.S. Job specifications CHaPter 5 ThE WoRkplaCE Participatory management A management approach that encourages employees to participate in decision making related to their area of expertise. An ad for an open position would include the job specs. Newborns’ and Mothers’ Health Protection Act A law that regulates the hospital stay period for newborns and mothers. For example.

htm. HR. which is a good Theory X A management theory that holds people don’t like to work and therefore must be forced to do so. Union shop Companies or departments in which employees pay dues to the union for a specific period after being hired. Also. with information relevant to those in HRIS. Terms and conditions of employment All aspects of the employment relationship between an employee and the employer: compensation. HR Magazine (www. it divides its site into eight HR communities. Workforce Management (www.com). Wellness programs Include gym memberships.CHaPter 1 aT a GlaNCE Privacy Act of 1974 Establishes rules for the way companies maintain records and the information they can disclose.org/hrmagazine). onsite classes. SDI State disability insurance. See www. leave policies. job placement. Title IX Gives the U. and organization development.shtm. and so on. health fairs. CHaPter 4 oN ThE Job Seniority Refers to an employee’s length of service. See www. CHaPter 2 ThE RolE Quality circles A group of employees called together to work on a common problem in the workplace. CHaPter 7 FoR YoUR REFERENCE WET F EET IN S IDER GUIDE 71 . and Human Resource Executive (www. among other areas.com has daily news and weekly columns. and the distribution of health-related information to employees.dol. The American Society for Training & Development puts out T+D (www. legal.gov/foia/privacy_act. opportunities for advancement.hreonline. learn about trends.com) all do a good job covering current issues in HR. CHaPter 3 ThE CompaNIES Salting The union practice of inserting union organizers (salts) into the employer’s workforce hoping to organize them into a union.ftc.workforce.astd. Wrongful discharge Unlawful employment termination.org/TD/). benefits.S. CHaPter 6 GETTING hIRED Theory Y A management theory that holds people want to accomplish something and prefer not to be controlled. wellness programs can have a manager or be run by other individuals in HR. a great way to develop your expertise.shrm. recOmmended reading CHaPter 5 ThE WoRkplaCE › if you’re interested in HR. Attorney General authority to intervene in civil rights cases. Theory Z A management theory that holds people work better when they participate in the organization’s decisionmaking processes. work assignments. and gain information that could be helpful in an interview is to check out magazines in the field. Reassignment Switching a permanent employee from one position to another.gov/oasam/regs/statutes/titleix.

co.mercer. McIlvaine. jsp?storyid=436127008 CHaPter 3 ThE CompaNIES “Health Care Reform Will Have Profound Effect on HR” The landmark health-care reform law will affect how companies of all sizes provide and administer healthcare benefits to employees. Companies can choose not to offer coverage. and Aon Corporation (www. these can be found in the section called “Publications. SI Review requires a subscription. The court reversed a lower court decision that would have allowed as many as 1. 3/2010 CHaPter 4 oN ThE Job www.org/publications/Hrnews/pages/ Healthprofoundeffect. and books that can help you develop your understanding of the HR field. research and consulting firms such as Yankee.com).” Towers Watson (www. 3/11 www. stating she violated her noncompete agreement barring her from contacting former clients or coworkers.hireonecc. Human Resource Executive magazine. Gartner. Workforce Management. 6/2010 CHaPter 2 ThE RolE www.aon. and SI Review. and Aberdeen offer comprehensive analyses of HR technology.org. check out the Sunday Times Recruiter Forum.com/section/news/article/employment-law-landscape-changes-wal-mart-ruling. and other business publications.5 million current and former female Wal-Mart workers to sue for back pay and punitive damages that may have cost billions. reports.000 per employee. “LinkedIn Messages Spark a Lawsuit” An IT staffing firm sued a former employee for using the social-networking site LinkedIn to communicate with current employees.net) provides regular features by leading HR consultants.aspx “Employment Law Landscape Changes With Wal-Mart Ruling” A Supreme Court ruling in favor of WalMart will make it harder to prove systemic workplace discrimination. 7/2011 CHaPter 5 ThE WoRkplaCE www. Human Resource Executive. which tracks news and trends. If you’re interested in international recruiting. they’ll be subject to a tax penalty of $2. The following is a list of articles.php CHaPter 6 GETTING hIRED “Going for the Gray” Some employers see great value in capitalizing on the experience and expertise of older workers—many of whom have been downsized and suffered through slow hiring.hreonline.com/Hre/story.com/site/Research-Publications/Publications/ SI-Review). and articles pertaining to HR. You should also keep an eye on the business section of your local newspaper.workforce. staffingindustry.staffingindustry.ere.uk/recruiterforum). but if they have 50 or more workers. Its view typically: Technology is fine but don’t forget the personal touch. as well as The Wall Street Journal. Job seekers interested in the staffing industry can take a look at Staffing Industry Analysts (www. If you can tolerate the techno-jargon. and sound smart in an interview. which contains how-to features and addresses special issues (www. Jared Shelly. shrm. Andrew R. Fortune. As we’ve said. reports. ERE (www. so staying on top of current business trends—and analyzing how they will affect HR—will enhance your attractiveness as a candidate. Generally. Fast Company.com/going-for-the-gray/ CHaPter 7 FoR YoUR REFERENCE 72 W E T F E E T I N S I D ER GUID E . BusinessWeek.CHaPter 1 aT a GlaNCE Careers in Human Resources magazine for job seekers or career switchers interested in training. Bill Leonard.shrm. Mercer (www. Those interested in HR and consulting should take a look at the research reports on the websites of the big HR consulting firms. understanding business is increasingly important for those practicing HR.com). bone up on current trends.com) all regularly post surveys.com/site). Rita Pyrillis.towerswatson. an online community for HR and recruitment specialists where professionals share best practices and discuss issues that affect recruitment and retention (timesonline.

Peter Cappelli. this organization publishes a magazine and website. CHaPter 7 FoR YoUR REFERENCE WET F EET IN S IDER GUIDE 73 . 2010) Chief happiness Officer www. va 22314 phone: 703-253-2020 www. Melanie Trottman.CHaPter 1 aT a GlaNCE “Facebook Firing Case Is Settled” A company that fired a worker who posted negative remarks about her employer on Facebook settled a complaint brought by the National Labor Relations Board and the employee claiming that the speech was legally protected. 6/11 CHaPter 3 ThE CompaNIES american society for training & Development (astD) 1640 king street. CHaPter 5 ThE WoRkplaCE Diversityinc p. Dave Ulrich. Human Resource Executive. and tips for members of the millennial generation. The No Asshole Rule describes the dos and don’ts of being a good boss and says the lessons could be costly.hreonline. HR leaders need to tread carefully to find ways to manage them. 2010) CHaPter 6 GETTING hIRED Employee Evolution www. The Staffing Week newsletter gives news of the industry. and provides a range of information about issues relevant to training and development specialists.o. suite 200 alexandria.employeeevolution.staffingtoday.html “Managing the ‘Difficult’ Employee” With a study finding that about one in five adults have personality disorders affecting their performance in the workplace.com/article/sb10001424052748704422 204576130631738779412. manager-level information about the business benefits of diversity.com Generating original. Marshall Goldsmith (McGraw-Hill.net The industry organization for the staffing industry. nJ 07102 phone: 973-494-0500 www.diversityinc. CHaPter 2 ThE RolE online.positivesharing. interviews.com This blog. box 32069 newark. The Wall Street Journal. publishes T+D magazine.org The industry organization for training and development professionals. ASTD puts on regular conferences. Wendy Ulrich. 2/11 OTher resOurces american staffing association 277 south Washington street. box 1443 alexandria. jsp?storyid=533339312 Your Brain at Work How the brain functions in a work setting may hold the key to the future of managing employees. www. Robert I. Bad Boss: How to Be the Best… and Learn from the Worst The author of the best-selling. David Rock (HarperCollins Publishers. Sutton (Business Plus. 2009) CHaPter 4 oN ThE Job The Why of Work: How Great Leaders Build Abundant Organizations That Win The authors attempt to find ways management can instill meaning and purpose in their employees.com This website offers information.wsj.astd. Good Boss. written by Alexander Kjerulf.com/Hre/story. ASA runs an annual conference. va 22313 phone: 703-683-8100 www. posits that the best workplaces are those where employees are happy.

box 1086 burlington. IHRIM publishes several resources and has a number of local chapters that host networking events. va 22314 phone: 800-283-7476 www. san francisco.greatplacetowork.org Considered the preeminent organization dealing with compensation in the U.CHaPter 1 aT a GlaNCE Careers in Human Resources great place to work institute 222 kearny street. society for human resource management (shrm) 1800 duke street alexandria. CHaPter 4 oN ThE Job CHaPter 5 ThE WoRkplaCE national association of professional Employer Organizations 707 north saint asaph street alexandria.shrm. The website has information about the value of trust in the workplace and includes examples of HR best practices across industries. and salary and benefit information.worldatwork. international association for human resource information management (ihrim) p.org The website of the leading professional association for HR practitioners has studies of interest to people in the industry as well as a huge number of resources.S.. CHaPter 2 ThE RolE CHaPter 3 ThE CompaNIES worldatwork 14040 north northsight boulevard scottsdale.org This is the largest trade association for professional employer organizations. az 85260 phone: 877-951-9191 www. ma 01803 phone: 800-804-3983 www. and consulting organization puts together Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” list and many others like it. links to articles.ihrim.com This for-profit research. ca 94108 phone: 415-503-1234 www. CHaPter 7 FoR YoUR REFERENCE CHaPter 6 GETTING hIRED 74 W E T F E E T I N S ID ER GUID E . educational. WorldatWork maintains a website featuring e-books. government information.org An organization devoted to providing the knowledge and solutions for managing information and technology to accomplish strategic HR goals.napeo.o. va 22314 phone: 703-836-0466 www.

the global leader in employer branding. they needed products like the WetFeet Insider Guides to guide them through their research and interviews. But these resources didn’t exist yet—so they started writing! Since then.WetFeet was founded in 1994 by Stanford MBAs Gary Alpert and Steve Pollock. Bean.com to research their next career move. And that’s what WetFeet is here for: To help you get your feet wet and take the right steps toward ever-greater career goals. One day he set out to make a better hunting shoe. And so L. his shoes leaked. which features career advice tailored to undergraduate students. it shows that getting your feet wet is the first step toward achieving success. In 2007 WetFeet became part of Universum Communications.com. doing such a good job that his friends lined up to buy pairs of the boots. In addition to our Insider Guides and WetFeet. the successful mail-order company. >> The WetFeet Story >> The WetFeet Name The inspiration for our name comes from a popular business school case study about L.L. While exploring their next career moves. we produce WetFeet magazine. WetFeet products are now used by job seekers all over the world. millions of job seekers have used the WetFeet Insider Guides and WetFeet. whatever they may be. . Thanks to the integration of WetFeet into the Universum group. Leon Leonwood Bean got his start because he literally got his feet wet: Every time he went hunting in the Maine woods. Bean was born.L. The lesson we took from the Bean case? Well.

WetFeet has earned a strong reputation among college graduates and career professionals for its series of highly credible. HR may be the field for you. PARTICULARLY IN THE WAKE OF THE GLOBAL ECONOMIC CRISIS ★ THE VARIOUS ROLES AVAILABLE. companies of all kinds have learned that building strong corporate cultures and creating supportive work environments help their bottom lines. TURN TO THIS WETFEET INSIDER GUIDE TO EXPLORE ★ THE HIRING OUTLOOK AND INDUSTRY TRENDS. the field of human resources is taking on an increasingly strategic dimension in the business world as managers recognize employees as a source of competitive advantage.S.95 U. WITH SALARY RANGES FOR EACH ★ WHAT TO EXPECT IN INTERVIEWS AND HOW TO STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD ★ HR LINGO TO HELP YOU TALK THE TALK ISBN 978-1-58207-971-4 $ 19. keep your cool when others lose theirs. WetFeet’s investigative writers get behind the annual reports and corporate PR to tell the real story of what it’s like to work at specific companies and in different industries. no-holds-barred Insider Guides. and understand the link between human capital and business strategy. FROM LABOR RELATIONS MANAGER TO RECRUITER TO VP.>> Long considered a support role. If you have a high emotional intelligence quotient.com . Indeed. www. INCLUDING THE GROWING NEED FOR PEOPLE WITH BUSINESS BACKGROUNDS ★ HOW THE HR FIELD HAS EVOLVED IN RECENT YEARS.WetFeet.

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