Most people in human resources deal with job seekers everyday, and it seems reasonable to expect that they would have an edge when conducting their own job searches. They spend their days sourcing candidates, screening resumes, negotiating salaries, and conducting interviews. Considering their profession, they should know all of the tricks and be able to get a new position more quickly than people in other industries. Yet, as many in HR know from personal experience, this is not often the case. Let’s look at a few different reasons for this disconnect.
People in HR have so much experience making employment decisions that they completely forget what it is like to be on the other side. Here is where the inside tricks backfire. Anyone who has conducted interviews had certain answers that they were looking for. So when HR people are being interviewed themselves, they feel like they need to give that “right” answer rather than an honest response that best describes them. A perfect example is the topic of compensation. Having presented offers, they may know the upper end of the salary range for most positions, but do not have the negotiating skill to obtain it for themselves.
Another weakness can come from a lack of objectivity. While people in all industries sometimes struggle to articulate their accomplishments, it can happen to HR professionals more easily. They may be very familiar with the process of hiring, but that is not that same as being able to nail an interview by clearly describing their talents and qualifications. Because of the illusion that they know exactly what to do in the job search, they often fail to recognize their own areas for improvement in the process.
Finally, HR positions can be very competitive. They are among the first to be eliminated during layoffs. After all, how much work can there be to do when a company has a hiring freeze? Even non-recruiting positions can be at risk when training budgets are slashed and benefits are reduced. This reality leads to an over saturation of the market in down economies. However, regardless of economic conditions, there are always jobs; you just need to know where to find them. As a coach, I recently worked with a client in HR that received interviews at nine companies. This many interviews is an accomplishment at any time, but especially in this economy. It is proof that the jobs are out there and a well conducted search can yield results.
This is where career coaching can help. A career coach can let you know what the “rules of the game” are, as well as how you can uniquely use them to your advantage. While people in HR are experts in posting the jobs, they do not always know where to find their own. A coach can target your search while also adding techniques that rarely come up in human resources jobs (personal branding, for example). Possibly the most valuable benefit a career coach provides is to serve as your accountability partner and cheerleader. He or she can keep you motivated and on track, identify and help you overcome obstacles, and guide you to develop a personally targeted plan. Some resources are available through career books and internet research, but if your job search is not going anywhere, or you need to get a new position fairly quickly, a career coach could be a very wise investment.