Insults: Bad recruiting tactic (Editor’s Notes)

Disparaging professional standards bad way to attract talent
By Todd Humber
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 11/03/2013

If you’re looking to hire a professional, it’s generally a bad idea to insult her profession in the job posting. That would tend to, you know, drive away the real professionals.

And yet that’s just what Klick Health did when it decided it needed a manager of talent development.

In a job posted in September, Chelsea MacDonald, director of culture and engagement at Toronto-based digital ad agency Klick, wrote:

“We believe that talent development is about fostering your best, not protecting yourself from your worst, so we’ve never needed a department of Human Rules and Regulations.”

And it gets worse. Not done with disparaging the traditional HR department, the posting also took a shot at the Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP) designation. One of the bullet points under “necessary(ish) qualifications” is the following:

“You can have a CHRP, but really, really not necessary and somewhat frowned upon.”

Really? Look, we all know the CHRP isn’t perfect — far from it. And we know you don’t need a CHRP to practise human resources — plenty of capable professionals don’t have it and never will.

But to slam the designation in a job posting? It’s hard to fathom the benefits of doing so.

To be fair and keep perspective, Klick Health is pretty honest throughout the posting. The company prides itself on its culture — as MacDonald herself says in a YouTube video: “Culture is at the centre of everything we do.”

Some of the wording in the posting is a tad unconventional. For example:

“We’re looking for someone with a ton of energy, the ability to influence and solve problems, a crazy amount of creativity and above all else an actionator (yes, I made up that word; it means you get shit DONE.)”

So you can see what Klick is trying to say it’s all about — it’s hip, it’s different, it doesn’t conform and so on.

But why bother taking a shot at the CHRP? Why disparage so many qualified professionals who have worked and trained hard to get their designation?

Because when you look at the job’s key responsibilities, whether Klick likes it or not, it’s what HR does best. Here’s the list:

• new management training — the basics plus onboarding for new managers

• new performance management system — roll out of a weekly system

• new goals system — quarterly goal-setting

• new succession planning — roll out the leadership pipeline

• new financial performance training.

Onboarding, performance management, succession planning — this is the heart of good HR and this is what great HR professionals do very well.

And a lot of those professionals either have or are pursuing the CHRP. And every organization, regardless of how hip it wants to be, needs good HR.

Yes, the human resources department sometimes has a reputation of being the fun police. Or being a red-tape bureaucratic nightmare… but HR does so much more than that.

Nobody complains about the “department of human rules and regulations” when a sexual harassment lawsuit lands on their desk. Or when an irate manager fires a long-term employee without cause, exposing the company to a six-figure settlement.

Clearly, Klick gets the importance of good HR — a great culture and strong employee engagement are the gold standard of modern workplaces. But remember it’s HR that wrote and sold the business case on its benefits.

I don’t wish any evil on Klick. It looks like an interesting company — but the job posting is off-base. Its focus should be on finding the best HR professional, period. And you won’t find that person by mocking the profession and disparaging its designation.

You’d never see that from an organization with a good HR department. And I guess that’s the point.

Reader Comments

“I watched the video (of Chelsea MacDonald talking about the job posting at Klick Health.) My impression is just that she believes she’s doing something different (and better) than most HR professionals because she doesn’t ‘call’ herself HR. I fully understood the condescending air of the job posting after watching the video. Whatever she likes to believe, it sounds like she’s already managing all of the same strategies and organizational objectives that a strategic HR professional does, and there was nothing new in her ideas.”

— Sharon, commenting on
about the Klick Health job posting referenced in Todd Humber’s Editor’s Notes column on this page

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