Thursday, April 29, 2010

Standards of Hiring

[The following is a repeat from a blog of mine on 11/4/09.]

As you all know, I have unusual people applying to work for my company. I have gotten about 750 applications so far this year. Unfortunately I would not say that most of them would be ones that I'd consider. I processed 7 applicants today that I'd gotten in the last week:

  • 2 that I'd terminated in a previous year for bogus SS #'s.
  • 3 had felony convictions for forgery/robbery.
  • 1 that I had a bad feeling about.
  • And the final one was acceptable.

I would like to find new janitors who have a steady work history, no criminal convictions, and have experience in the janitorial world. This is what I was looking for at the start of my day.

By noon, my qualifications were they should have a clean criminal background and good work history.

By 3pm, my qualifications were that they had no felonies and neither my assistant nor I could remember anything bad about the impression they made on us when they applied.

I was able to set up 5 interviews for 2 full time positions.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Let's Race

[The following is a repeat from a blog of mine on 2/3/2010.]

United States businesses aren't supposed to ask their applicants or even employees to disclose their ethnic background. However, Equal Opportunity Employer regulations require companies to track that info. See my notes from a previous blog entry for more detail about this stupid stuff.

So, you can imagine my surprise today when I had a conference call with my corporate HR boss and he asked if the new employee (K) we were replacing an old employee (L) with was black. My Gruff Boss asked why. Corp HR boss said, "Well, I just wanted to see if we were replacing a black person with another black person.

I told HR Boss that the old employee was actually white. We think he assumed she was black due to her name.

I wish I had said to him that I hadn't determined what either employee's race was because that information couldn't be used to make HR decisions.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The New Hiring Pack

[The following is a repeat from a blog of mine on 12/20/2009.]

We got our new corporate mandated hiring pack. We counted up how many total pages are in it. This number also includes the insurance info, the corporate values glossy pamphlet, the take home handbook, and the safety manual. There are 96 pages for each new employee to enjoy.

After the world's worst conference call (complete with stupid questions and idiots who didn't know how to mute their phones resulting in feedback), I called up my branches to make sure they understood what was going on.

They did understand. And then told me that they thought it was stupid and didn't make any sense. I reminded them of my HR mantra: "When you deal with HR, you need to leave common sense outside of the HR doorway."

Here's a smidgen of the new HR policy and hiring pack:

  1. We cannot put anyone to work without ensuring that they have a clean criminal background
  2. But we cannot have anyone sign the release to do the background check until after they have been offered employment
  3. The release form states that they are only to give us their month and day of their birth, but not to give us their year of birth. (that reduces the chance of age discrimination)
  4. We need the employee's complete birth date to do the background check and it won't be processed without the employee's year of birth
  5. Our company is dedicated to being an Equal Opportunity Employer, and we have to track applicants' race
  6. We can't ask an employee to disclose their race, but they can fill out an optional self-identification form
  7. If they opt out of self-id, then we have to make a "best guess" as to what their race is
  8. We may not actually see the applicant, but still have to determine their race.
  9. We cannot use their last name when assigning them a race.

(By the way, according to the US government, a person can be considered to be Hispanic/Latino/Latina regardless of his or her ethnic background. You can be Hispanic/Latino/Latina if you culturally identify yourself with that group.

Also, if one of your parents is Hispanic/Latino/Latina, then you are that race. If your parents are a combination of other races, you are multiracial in the eyes of the US government.)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Name's The Same

An applicant came into our office who knew my assistant. I'll call him Billy Wilson (not his real name). My assistant, S., told me that she had known him for several years, had house sat for him, and that Billy was in school to get a law enforcement degree. S. said that Billy had worked for as a security guard. He sounded like a good candidate, but I had known someone by the name of Billy Wilson, who I would never hire for an opening. But because S. felt so strongly about him, I asked her to call him to get his birth date so I could have a background check done. He gave his birth date (I'll say in was 08/28/1967), and he came back to our office about half an hour later to make sure that I knew which Billy Wilson he was. When I saw S.'s friend, I realized it wasn't the same one I'd known and previously employed in another job. Confused eliminated.

However, I really should have looked Billy up in the State Courts website before sending his info to the pay background check site. I found a Billy Edward Wilson born in the same year as S.'s friend. He also had the same address as S.'s friend. The website showed he was still "on paper" (on parole), so I looked up his information in the States Corrections Department website. Where were 3 Billy Wilson's listed; two of them were Billy Edward Wilson born in 1967. The first one I looked at was the one I had known. The second was S.'s friend. He is on parole for felony theft, so I can't hire him because he is not bondable.

I wish this was an atypical situation.

H.R. Stories: Hiring Pack

[The following is a repeat from a blog of mine.]

This Xtranormal cartoon I made was based on 3 real conversations I had with 3 of my field HR assistants.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Hints For Job Seekers - #10 or Mothballs Don't Cover Stink

...or how this blog got its title.

I have a Facebook® profile. I often post comments of strange things that are happening to me at work as they happen. One day I was telling a story about a guy who had come into my office to drop off an application. He had a distinctive aroma of mothballs covering up body odor with underlying notes of marijuana. One of my FB friends who I'd gone to high school with, M., made the comment that a good title of my non-existent book on Human Resources would be Mothballs Don't Cover Stink. It made me laugh so hard for the rest of my day that I created the new blog as soon as I got home. (Sidebar note: One of the things that I like best about Facebook® is that I'm getting acquainted with people I went to high school with. M. is someone I didn't know very well at all in high school. It's my loss because M. makes me laugh when I read her comments.) Another FB friend of mine even came up with lyrics to a blues song to commemorate the event.

Anyway, this particular man was someone I'd interviewed for an opening I had 3 years ago. I decided back then not to hire him in part because of the wacky dance he did outside of my office after he finished his interview.

He comes back every couple of months to "check on the status of his application" and to hit on my administrative assistant. My assistant, by the way, has nicknamed him Bushwick Bill. I converted his name to Bushstink Bill. I guess a helpful suggestion to "Bill" would be that if my assistant disappears as soon as you pull up to our office, it's not a good sign for your romantic future with her.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

H.R. Stories - Quittin' Time

Yet another reenactment of an actual conversation I had with a former employee...

Friday, April 23, 2010

Hints For Current Employees - #2

One of our supervisors, H, complained to me & our operations manager that an employee of hers had posted nasty stuff about her on Facebook®. We listened to H's complaints, but told her that there was nothing we could do about it because the employee, A, had posted these things from her home computer when she was off work. A's biggest error was that she was Facebook® "friends" with a relative of H.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Hints For Job Seekers - #9

Maybe you would be surprised how many times a person in this circumstance comes back to reapply. I'm no longer surprised.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Hints For Job Seekers - #8

[The following is a repeat from a blog of mine 11/30/09.]

Pretty close to a year and a half ago I woman in her 20's came into our office to fill out an application. After she finished, I talked to her a little bit. She noticed a picture I had of one of my dogs and she decided to tell me that she had dogs. Then she told me how she helped her 2 mixed breed dogs to mate. And she got on the floor to demonstrate what she did to help.

My gruff boss happened to stop by my office to give me something at the moment the woman was on my floor. He didn't say a word and left.

After she left, I told my gruff boss the whole story. He told me that he just thought she was some weird friend of mine.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Hints For Job Seekers - #7

[The following is a repeat from a blog of mine 11/25/09.]

I'm not going to hire PopeJohnDillinger, either.

Monday, April 19, 2010

H.R. Stories - Paternity

[The following is a repeat from a blog of mine.]

The following movie is a recreation of an actual conversation I had with a former employee of one of my branches. The names, of course, have been changed. 

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Hints For Job Seekers - #6

[The following is a repeat from a blog of mine 11/22/09.]

I know from personal experience that it is very stressful to not have a job. It is not fun looking for a job in that situation. It is understandable that job applicants may feel a certain amount of desperation. It is hard to know if you should call the place you had an interview with to check on their hiring decision. You don't want to be annoying, but you don't want to have false hope either.

A couple years ago I had someone I was considering hiring for a janitorial position. She was honest with me about her criminal record. She had a felony conviction that showed up as "theft." She and her daughter had committed welfare fraud against Missouri in a baby sitting scheme. I was willing to not exclude her immediately, but I told her that I needed to get her background check back so that I could see what was there. I was hoping that I would be able to persuade my boss to give her a chance.

I told the applicant (I'll call her Ms. A.) that it would take at least 2 days to get the background check back. Almost immediately, Ms. A started calling me to let me know she was interested in the job. And then she called me at least 5 times a day for the next 2 days.

Somewhere around the 12th or 15th call from her, I decided that I lost interested in hiring her.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Hints For Current Employees - #1

I do appreciate when my employees refer people to me. I have hired a number of my employees' friends and relatives over the years. I don't like having friends and relatives work together, however. My fear is that one of them will quit and then the other will. Thus leaving me with 2 openings to fill.

What I don't appreciate, however, is when one of my employees hounds me to hire someone. I have a current employee who has begun being very aggressive with her "marketing" of her son and daughter to me. I have told the employee firmly, but politely that I will keep the applications on hand and compare them to our other applications we have when we have openings.

My administrative assistant is now having me hide when the employee and her family come in. Probably in part so I'm not rude.

Hints For Job Seekers - #5

[The following is a repeat from a blog of mine 11/19/09.]

A few years ago and in a different job than the one I have now, we received an unsolicited resume in the mail. The woman put down her skills, one of which was remaining faithful to her husband. I still have the resume somewhere. I keep it so that if I ever teach a class on resumes I will have a good example of what not to do. She also stated that she had a bad back and that she'd had to have counseling for stress due to a work related incident. People are always advised that resumes should be no longer than 2 pages in length. Mrs. X's was 5 pages long.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Hints For Job Seekers - #4

[The following is a repeat from a blog of mine 11/18/09.]

It is still a little surprising that people will argue with us when they are wanting to get a job. The #1 most popular thing to argue about is if we have job openings. We say "no." They say "yes."

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Hints For Job Seekers - #3

[The following is a repeat from a blog of mine 11/17/09.]

I don't think I need to give any more clarification to this other than to say that someone actually did turn in an application that smelled strongly of pot.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Hints For Job Seekers - #2

[The following is a repeat from a blog of mine 11/16/09.]

Once upon a time, a man came to my office with his toddler (strike 1) wanting to apply for a janitorial position. Immediately after getting an application, he asked me if I'd watch his daughter while he went to the bathroom (strike 2). I declined his offer. He left his daughter unattended in my waiting area (strike 3). After he finished his application, I discovered that his daughter had peed on a chair in my waiting area (strike 4, yer out!).

He did clean up his daughter before leaving, but he didn't mention the pee stain to me.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Hints For Job Seekers - #1

[The following is a repeat from a blog of mine 11/15/2009.]

Anyone looking for a job should be aware that anything they do while applying for a job is being observed. When a person brings their children in while they fill out an application, it tells the hiring personnel that childcare will be an issue for that potential employee. If someone can't get a babysitter on the day he or she wants to fill out the application, it's best to delay it until the babysitter is available.

A related side note is that it's not a good idea to admit that you left a previous job due to not having someone to take care of the kids.

Monday, April 12, 2010

How Not To Get Hired

[The following is a repeat from a blog of mine 7/26/2009.]

This cartoon is almost the exact conversation I had with someone who stopped by my office. Unfortunately, Xtranormal (the website I'd used to make this cartoon) limits the number of people who can be in a cartoon to 1 or 2. My assistant was in the office with me at the time. At the end of the real conversation, the visitor asked my assistant a nosy question about what she was doing. We aren't hiring the guy.