Thursday, May 5, 2016

***HUMOR*** The HR Professional’s Interview Wish List (In Funny World)

Ahhh…laws…so helpful…so not helpful.
Inarguably, employers and employees alike would agree the workplace has benefited greatly from stronger safety laws and better defined tenets as to what constitutes professional respect. Nonetheless, there is a drawback. Or two. Take, political correctness, for example.
I’ve long felt the political correctness pendulum has swung too far when it prevents us from letting a co-worker know they look nice, are wearing a fabulous garment, or we’ve noticed their eczema outbreak has cleared up.
Haven’t we all had one of those weeks, nay years, when the only thing keeping us from throwing down a daily liquid lunch is a colleague’s kind remark about our appearance?
Be that as it may, there is an even steeper climb than the ascent that is maintaining a bias-free work environment. Hiring. Specifically? Interviewing. Even more specifically? What you can and cannot say in an interview.
Navigating the rocky path up Mount “To Vet” means remaining cognizant of what you can and cannot reference when you’re trying to determine a) Does this candidate have the necessary skills?; and 2) Does this candidate seem sane?
From these thoughts are spawned amusing, perhaps even cathartic, lists. If laughter is the best medicine, then lists that make you laugh are… oh, never mind. Let’s just get to this tongue-in-cheek wish list organized around (some) actual human resource interview categories.  
Inappropriate Questions and Comments Human Resource Professionals Might Utter Were There to be No Laws, Proprieties, or Witnesses
Interview Questions That Might Have Been Asked in 1976:
(Note: Substitute “Hippie” for “Goth” and “unwashed hair” for “triple nose ring.”) 
  1. Appearance Profiling: I’m sorry about my startle reflex just then. You have such an unusual style of make-up application. What would you call that? Goth? Is that a term they still use nowadays? By the way, the triple nose ring is quite the statement.
  2. Experience: I notice you’ve had several jobs that, interestingly enough, ended in the same month. Would you please elaborate upon how such a freakish and questionable coincidence might have occurred?
  3. Criminal History: When I called your references, which included your third grade teacher, the responses were all strikingly similar, to wit, “Has it already been five years?” “No comment,” and “It just goes to show you, you can never give up on a person.” Might you explain this?
  4. Personal Life: Do you participate in any 12 Step programs and, if so, what step are you on, and why?
  5. Marital Status: I see here you’ve indicated “Ms.” on your job application; however, I see a ring on your left hand. Why not just cut to the chase and choose “Mrs.?” Does this mean yours is not a happy union?
  6. Political Party Affiliation: You’re wearing red, white, and blue today with a festive flag pin on your lapel. Are you appearing in a parade today, or running for political office?
  7. Religious Preferences: Would you have an objection to working on Yom Kippur? And a follow-up question, if I may. Do you think it’s best to say “Merry Christmas,” “Happy Holidays,” or none of the above, and why?
  8. Photographs: Do you mind if I take a picture of you? I’ve got so many applicants I don’t have a prayer of keeping any of them straight. We’re hiring from within the organization anyway, but my boss wants me to go through the motions. Ready? “Say, unemployed!”
  9. Physical Data: Our organization prides itself on first impressions. Would you be willing to adopt a sensible diet, join a gym, and meet weekly with our on-site image consultant?
  10. Ancestry/Birthplace/National Origin: *I notice you’re from Stockton, California. Wow. I’m sorry.
 *You guessed it. I am from Stockton, California and many people have made this comment to me over the years, which sometimes leaves me with my funny bone out of joint and, subsequently, a bone to pick.
Having participated in more than her fair share of interviews on both sides of the hiring table, Diane Dean-Epps is NOT an HR professional, nor does she aspire to be one. (I know. You are relieved and who can blame you?) What she does lay claim to is her status as a humorist with a specialty in finding the funny in situations that at first blush are not so much humorous as disastrous. Interviewing qualifies. Hands down.

Monday, May 2, 2016

The Best Possible Outcome

It was a tough week at the old salt mines. I’ve been working with an organization undergoing a substantial amount of change and while we are getting clearer on the need for processes, not so much on the outcome subsequent to this finding.
 Suffice it to say, this state of “being, or not being” does not provide one with a strong sense of accomplishment at week’s end. However, the week did end, bringing me to my blessed weekend.
 Contemplating either booking a quick transformational sleepover at the local ashram, or an intensive two-day neverending session at my gym I opted for an approach that seems to work for me: To do what was right in front of me. Therefore, I stayed the course and kept my previously scheduled Saturday morning hair appointment.
As is “per the uz” my miracle hair worker and I yakked the hours away discussing the burning issues of the day and solving the most difficult problems of our time. This included topics such as why adult dogs insist upon relieving themselves indoors when they know better, irritating people who always want to guess your weight-age-next sentence, and the unwanted appearance of ruffles in female fashion for women over the age of ten.
I began to relax, even feeling sleepy, as I experienced the “r” word (no, not retirement), as in relaxation.  During the final phase of my hair naturalization process, I decided I would treat myself to a trip to the Flower Barn for some garden acquisitions to see how long I could prolong this newfound relaxation thing.
Oh, sure, I still had the niggling feeling challenges lie ahead for me, specifically, when Monday dawns more early than bright, but hey, mirror:  Look at those stunning highlights!
Off I went to purchase posies, noting as I traveled from here to there that spring had definitely sprung with all of the gorgeous greenery showcasing its glory post-drought. Just as I was wheeling into a parking space I saw a flash of blonde hair via my peripheral vision.
In hyper mode my vision became multi-directional as I noticed simultaneously that a woman to my right was reversing her van out of the parking space, toward me, and the toddler was continuing to run, toward me. I grasped in a nanosecond the impending tragedy that would be the van, or me, or both of us hitting the little guy. I slammed on my brakes.
And you know what?  A miracle occurred, but not on 34th Street.  I stopped in time, the van driver stopped in time, the toddler stopped in time, and time stopped, just like everyone says it does.
All we were left with were a crying tyke and a crying Diane. It was in that moment I was reminded of one of those universal truths we receive so often, if we would only pay attention.
You never know what’s next; you just have to know it will be the best possible outcome. (True, it may be a matter of applying your brakes.)
Today I experienced the best possible outcome and that makes Monday’s outcome not matter so much at all.