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How to Speak HR

By Alexi Calvo | HRPeople

August 19, 2009

Issue: You Want Someone Attractive For the Position

The experts say:

“I have not dealt with this before. As an anecdote though, I saw an Episode of 60 Minutes a few years ago where the ’more attractive" candidates typically got the job assuming all other factors were equivalent (education, experience, accomplishments, etc.)… kind of sad, but true, and a statement about our society.”

“Discrimination is illegal while people may do it, HR should not.”

Issue: The Job Has Already Been Filled But You Just Wanted to Meet the Candidate

The experts say:

“Honesty is the best policy… you let the candidate know that the timing was not right, but based on his/her qualifications, you would like to stay in touch with the candidate for potential opportunities down the road. Also, if you someone is well connected, you can always refer them to other companies/jobs.”

“I know we have a few people in the running so if this doesn’t work out, there will be other opportunities.”

Issue: The Future of Your Company is Not Stable

The experts say:

“As with many companies in this economy, we’re really looking forward to things settling down, and although we’ve got some challenges, we’re moving forward. Of course, we can’t guarantee any stability here; but no company could; look at Proctor and Gamble or IBM, where employees thought they’d have a job for life but have been caught up in industry changes. All you can do it take an opportunity that grows your skills and makes you more marketable in the future.”

What to Take From The Experts:

The art of spin is based on choosing smart words that are both honest and positive. A good tip is to check out the office environment for yourself before interviewing a candidate. Find out if their potential boss is a complete jerk and if major overtime is the norm. That way, you’ll know what points to focus on to make sure your applicant can handle the position. Hey, we can’t all work for Google and offer perks such as free meals, gyms, massage services, and general bonuses. But, what we can do— is understand what to highlight and emphasize in every situation.