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City HR work not glamorous, but critical: column

Nguyen Hung Cuong | 2:10 AM | 0 comments

Editor’s note: Following is part of a series of reports from city of Wausau department heads for Daily Herald Media readers.
A few decades ago my daughter said her third-grade teacher was looking for Career Day speakers. “Mom,” she asked, “what do you do?”
“I manage a public service human resources Department, honey.”
“So, what do you DO?”
Trying to explain in terms easily understood by a 9-year-old, “Well, I work with a team to make certain we find good people to hire to accomplish the work of the government. Once hired, I help make certain they are treated and paid fairly. I also negotiate and administer employee benefits and collective bargaining agreements, and make certain employees receive feedback and training necessary to succeed in their jobs. When an employee decides to leave the organization, I make certain there is a record of their contributions.”
Less than thrilled, she replied, “OK. I’ll go ask Dad!”
While not the most exciting or attractive job to some, value‐added processes facilitated by Human Resources are critical to the delivery of key services to the city of Wausau’s citizens. It is our job to work with the Human Resources Committee, a standing Common Council committee, to offer competitive wages, benefits and working conditions to attract and retain police officers, firefighters, street and water maintainers, customer service specialists, managers and professional staff along with a variety of other employees to do the important work of delivering governmental services and maintaining the city.
Within Public Safety, hiring and discipline is accomplished within the oversight of the Police and Fire Commission appointed by the mayor. A staff of three —HR Consultant Jennifer Kannenberg, Senior HR Consultant Elise Krohn and I — support employing a city staff of 327.
In 2014, HR ran recruitment and selection processes employing 56 people (31 regular and 20 temporary, seasonal staff). Faced with a $500,000 projected health insurance cost increase, the HR Team developed a fourth plan option that’s projected to build reserves by $125,000, all the while expanding preventive therapeutic prescription drug coverage, eye care coverage and providing an income-replacement program for employees unable to work due to illness or injury.
HR also administered a performance appraisal system with 100 percent of employees receiving annual feedback in support of a new pay‐for‐performance system. When employees failed to perform their jobs satisfactorily or follow the city’s work rules, HR coached managers in making corrections or applying discipline. In many instances, HR facilitates alternative dispute resolution to resolve workplace conflicts.
Myla Hite is director of human resources for the city of Wausau.

Lying in the hiring process: What Human resources needs to know

 People lie all the time during the hiring process. It’s up to Human Resources and hiring managers to catch those liars. Where are those fibs being told — and how can you prevent them?
human resoureces learn to catch those liars


Resume lies

In this intense job market, it’s no surprise that many applicants exaggerate parts of their resumes to look more enticing to potential employers.
The concept is so widespread, however, that nearly half of all applicants admit to lying on their resumes.
That’s according to a 2009 study from ADP, which found that 46% of all applicants commit some form of resume fraud.
Where are those lies being concentrated? Here are the 10 most common lies on resumes, courtesy of Marquet International:
  1. Stretching work dates
  2. Inflating past accomplishments and skills
  3. Enhancing job titles and responsibilities
  4. Exaggerating educational background
  5. Inventing periods of “self-employment” to cover up unemployment
  6. Omitting past employment
  7. Faking credentials
  8. Falsifying reasons for leaving prior employment
  9. Providing false references, and
  10. Misrepresenting a military record.

Interviewing lies

Your job would be a lot easier if you could easily spot those resume lies and nix those candidates from consideration.

But no matter how clued in you are to what applicants fib about, you’ll still inadvertently bring many of them in for interviews.

That’s when your skills at judging character come in. So who’s the best at screening potential talent? Is it someone who’s skeptical and suspicious about most applicants, or a person who’s trusting?

If you guessed that skeptical managers would do a better job, you’re not alone. You’re also wrong.

That’s according to a recent study from psychologists Nancy Carter and Mark Weber, which was recently highlighted in The Washington Post.

A large majority (85%) of participants said a skeptical interviewer would do a better job spotting dishonesty in job interviews.

But a subsequent study found that people who trust others — or who assume the best in other people — are the best at identifying liars.

How’s this so? On human resources expert explains:

… Lie-detection skills cause people to become more trusting. If you’re good at spotting lies, you need to worry less about being deceived by others, because you can often catch them in the act.

Another possibility: People who trust others become better at reading other people because they get to see a range of emotions during their interactions. That gives them more experiences to draw from to tell when someone is lying and when someone is telling the truth.

Human resources leaves employers with some advice on who they should have in the interviewer role to prevent applicants from duping you into hiring them:

Human resources expert - we need leaders who demonstrate skill in recognizing dishonesty. Instead of delegating these judgments to skeptics, it could be wiser to hand over the hiring interviews to those in your organization who tend to see the best in others. It’s the Samaritans who can smoke out the charlatans.
Of course, faith in others can go too far. It’s important to sprinkle a few ounces of skepticism into each pound of trust. Ultimately, while the best leaders don’t trust all of the people all of the time, the keenest judges of character may be the leaders who trust most of the people most of the time.
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