The 12 Blogs of Christmas 2015 – #3

So today we are starting a bit of a Triptych, that’s Greek for three pieces together for those of you uneducated types! Three posts from outstanding young HR professionals each at different stages of their careers.

Capture2First up is Harriet Riley. Harriet has just started in the HR team at Cigna Insurance. This year she decided she was a bit tired of learning theory and that in her final year of uni she would branch out and try to see how New Zealand HR works in reality. This resulted in her ditching the café job for a recruitment agency, jumping on board with HRINZ as a student ambassador and lurking around some of the cool events held by New Zealand HR and recruiters. Feel free to tweet to her @HarrietRileynz.

The notes of an HR student

I have a slightly different perspective on the HR industry from the likely readers of this post given my foot has only been in the door for about five minutes and my bum is still keeping a lecture seat warm for another few weeks.

However I am grateful Richard has asked me to contribute to this as it has not been my lecturers who have inspired my HR knowledge this year but the community of learning I’ve discovered happening within the HR profession in Wellington, and assisted by social media around the world.

I am going to share with you some things I’ve noted this year in my transition from the academic world to that of HR reality.

Gen Z vs LinkedIn and Twitter

Firstly I’ve learnt that it is unwise to assume my generation is as social media savvy as we are often portrayed to be. Yes we may cultivate our personal online personas through carefully crafted Instagrams and Facebook posts but very few HR students are active on two of the biggest players, Twitter and LinkedIn.

At an event I organised for HR students this year the full extent of this became apparent to me. Of a room of about thirty final year students less than ten had LinkedIn profiles and of those only five took up the invitation from the speaker to connect. Bear in mind that the speaker was a recruiter who would have been a useful contact for these final year students and indeed did assist one of them in getting a role.

In my experience Twitter has had even less pick up amongst HR students. HRINZ sponsored myself and 5 other student ambassadors to attend the NZ HR Conference this year and none were interested in joining or following the conference twitter stream.

Now I’m not trying to shame HR students especially given I’ve been active on these two for less than a year myself. Nor am I saying that these channels are the be all and end all for someone wanting to learn about HR – but I certainly think that there is a huge benefit to be had from participating on these platforms and learning from what experienced practitioners are discussing there.

If I hadn’t been on Twitter and LinkedIn this year then I would have never met some of the wonderful NZLEAD folk and I definitely wouldn’t have found myself writing about NZ Post’s ‘tweet sized policies’  in my end of year exam!

Given what I’ve learnt about HR from these channels I’m thinking of ways to engage more students in these conversations and to see what is happening out there, beyond the text book. If anyone has any thoughts on this I would love to hear them below (or you can tweet at me!)

Capture3The candidate experience

Secondly I’ve watched many of my friends going through graduate recruitment rounds this year and I have subsequently become fascinated by the candidate experience. How do these large organisations treat their thousands of applicants for graduate positions as individuals? Well some of them have performed far better than others in my flatmate’s experience.

What I’ve been astounded by is the laziness of some organisations who have the nerve to ask their candidates to compete in a recruitment process modelled on the hunger games but then don’t give the candidate the courtesy of a phone call if they are rejected. I’m sure there’s an argument about candidate volume in here somewhere but I just don’t buy it. If you are serious about your employer branding then you need to think about the experience for both your successful and the unsuccessful candidates, because both will talk.

On the whole though the discussions I’ve been privy to this year have given me the sense that there is a movement of self-improvement within HR. It seems like this is a great time to be entering the field with a fresh pair of eyes and an eagerness to do something about the reputation of an industry that makes my parents’ friends’ eyes roll.

On that note thank you to everyone who has shared their experiences this year in some way or another, I look forward to learning more from all of you next year!

Previous post – The 12 Blogs of Christmas #2

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