What Your HR Department Won't Tell You
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Office Gossip1 of 11
By Woman's Day
If everything’s going smoothly, you probably won’t interact with the folks in human resources much between the day you’re hired and your last day with the company. But every day in between, it’s their responsibility to make sure you’re doing your job well, which means they know a lot more than you might think.
Watch Your Timing2 of 11
Of course, if someone shows up late for an interview, he or she isn’t going to get a callback, says Amy Habedank, human resources manager of Pinnacle Services. But she’s also hesitant to hire someone who shows up an hour early. “It feels like they have no regard for my time,” she says.
Background Checks are Intense3 of 11
“Social media ‘stalking’ has become the norm — especially at larger companies,” says Mary Hladio, who worked in human resources for more than 15 years and is currently CEO of leadership group Ember Carriers. “If there’s something on the Internet you wouldn’t want your boss to see, it’s probably in your best interest to take it down.”
Appearance Matters4 of 11
“Research suggests that the decision to hire or to deselect a candidate is made within the first 90 seconds of the interview,” says human resources consultant Steve Cohen, author of Mess Management: Lessons from a Corporate Hit Man. That means you must arrive at a job interview in a clean, well-put-together outfit with neat fingernails, smoothed-down hair and fresh breath.
Hygiene Counts5 of 11
Smelling like cigarette smoke can work against you, as can having body odor. Because both conditions are within an individual’s control, an employee or job candidate who smells bad is viewed as lacking professionalism, Cohen says. Plus, an employee who smells bad is a public relations liability.
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Check Your Home6 of 11
If you’re applying for a work-from-home position, you need to present yourself as a “home professional” from the get-go. When HR first calls to express interest, there better not be crying babies or barking dogs in the background. “When an applicant has no control over the noise level in her home, it’s a signal that she’s not ready for virtual work,” says Shilonda Downing, who’s in charge of hiring for Virtual Work Team.
Weight is a Factor7 of 11
An interviewer might assume an obese job candidate won’t be able to keep up at a “high-performance” company. Cohen gives the example of a manufacturing company that prided itself on efficiency and speed. Every prospective employee was taken on a walking tour of the large plant before being hired. If the prospect couldn’t keep up with the owner’s fast pace on the facility tour, he or she wouldn’t be hired.
Ageism Still Exists8 of 11
“People who have seen their 50th birthday are losing jobs to younger people, even though ageism is illegal,” says Dennis Kravetz, head of human resources consulting firm Kravetz Associates. Older employees hoping for a promotion need to be extra-vigilant about staying on top of trends and technology.
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We're Watching Your Office Romance9 of 11
“Sometimes people meet their future spouse at the office,” says Cohen. But even if dating among colleagues is allowed, a relationship that ends badly is going to affect other people in the office. “Human resources is watching behavior that could turn litigious,” warns former human resources executive J.T. O’Donnell, founder of Careeerrealism.com.
We're Watching Your Web Usage10 of 11
Don’t assume there’s any level of confidentiality when it comes to company technology, whether it’s e-mail, voicemail or indiscriminate use of the Internet, Cohen says. “In a situation where an employee’s integrity or credibility is in question, there will always be an audit of her computer usage.”
Bad Behavior Counts11 of 11
“Promotions have favoritism built in,” says Hladio. Good behavior and positive experiences have a “shelf life” of three to six months. You need to continually impress your employer in order to stand out as an exceptional employee. Bad behavior and negativity, on the other hand, can linger in an employer’s mind for years.
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