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Ask the HR Expert: Recruiting & Retention

Posted by NEHRA  October 12, 2009 09:00 AM

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Q. We generally interview 2-6 prospective hires for a vacancy. After the interview process is over, how long should we keep notes from interviews of persons not hired?

A. The timeframe for retaining solicited candidate resumes may vary by state. In general, 2 years is the minimum you are required to keep them on file. I suggest you keep interview notes for the same duration. It is important to note that technically, you should keep interview notes separate from the resume and that you should not make notes on the resume. It is also a good idea to adopt a record retention policy to ensure that you adopt a consistent approach and mitigate organizational risk.


Q. Do you have a review survey form for peer reviews which is NOT a 360? This would be an annual review form. I'm looking for "best practices."

A. I do not have an official form to offer, however, there are many tools on the market that help facilitate the feedback process. Our organization recently implemented SuccessFactors, which has a feedback mechanism that allows managers (or whomever is facilitating the process) to gather feedback outside of the normal reporting lines. I suggest however, that you are deliberate about how you gather and deliver such feedback. It is important to be clear about the intent of gathering the feedback and if it will be anonymous.


Q. What issues related to recruiting and retention might a company face when it does not have a human resources department?

A. Not having someone professionally focused or trained in Human Resources can impact you in many ways, the following are primary aspects of where it would be beneficial to have this in your company: You would want to have your interviewing and hiring practices meet EEOC guidelines to select on a legally acceptable basis to ensure you are not discriminating and preventing potentially damaging legal and liability issues regarding your hiring practices, if ever questioned or challenged. It is important to have your hiring managers trained and/or coached on how to effectively interview and hire; to have someone focused on reviewing resumes, which at times could have high volume levels; and to provide feedback to candidates that have expressed interest in your firm, that may otherwise not receive any type of response.

These are several aspects in establishing a consistent interviewing and hiring process for your firm, which would improve your ability to attract talent, to promote a professional image of your firm, and retain high performers. It would be in your best interest to have your hiring managers effectively and accurately describing job and career opportunities in a realistic and accurate manner, otherwise new hires can be potentially disappointed if the position, career opportunities, and organization culture are not what they expected, or are interested in. Depending on the skill make-up of your firm, you may have difficult-to-hire positions, or may be in a very competitive market or industry; having someone proactively marketing your firm & your opportunities, establishing a “brand” of who your firm is and why someone would want to work for you, and determining if your compensation and benefits are competitive in the market, can make a tremendous difference in the quality of who you attract and who you hire. All of this impacts the reputation of your firm, your ability to hire current and future talent, and your ability to retain talent.

There are other additional retention considerations – your ability to develop your people, especially your top performers who want challenging opportunities; how you provide feedback, assess and address performance, especially those who are not performing; and how you recognize and reward performance, initiative, and innovation, amongst others.


Q. I recently graduated with my BS in Business Administration, with a concentration of Finance. I’ve now been accepted into a Masters of HR Management program. I find HR very interesting and want to learn about the subject, but what if later on I decide to focus on a career outside of HR? Will this master’s degree hinder me? Since my undergraduate degree is in business, I have absolutely no desire to go for my MBA. How would the MHRM be viewed by recruiters in terms of managing other areas of a business? Other departments?

A. Thank you, intriguing question with many parts and potential scenarios. How important is it for you to utilize your finance concentration in a position? What aspects of HR interest you and why? Are you interested in one area of HR, in several, or management? What is the curriculum make-up of the MHRM program look like and how does it reflect what interests you in HR, in an overall career and compliments/leverages your undergrad degree? Have you spoken to HR professionals that either specializes in one aspect of HR (examples- compensation, benefits, HRIS, staffing, employee relations, training, organizational effectiveness, etc.), or someone who is more of a generalist, or is now is in HR management? Do you understand the job/career track of the HR or other career paths you are interested in? These questions are an important foundation in helping you assess not only your interests, and why you may want to go down a certain career path, but in also trying to determine your strengths – your skills, behaviors, and potential good-fit working environments. Regarding managing other areas of business, what you want to focus in on functionally? – finance, HR, or other business aspects which you may determine an interest in working in, such as operations, sales, logistics, etc.

The current and future aspects of a “career” is and has changed greatly over the past 10 years, with the notion of having multiple careers, let alone jobs, now the accepted norm. My personal opinion is that a Masters in HRM will not hinder you as long as you are willing to do what is takes to be successful, and in performing in the positions you accept in the organization(s) you work for; that your company, job and career choices are “good” decisions and are leveraging your strengths, skills, interests and passion – what drives you, what you want to learn and to accomplish.


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About NEHRA - The Voice of HR Featuring articles and resources for Human Resources / HR professional and hiring managers from the Northeast Human Resources Association (NEHRA).

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