Employee Relations, Human Resources, Leadership, Performance

#HRHorrorStories – Day 4 – Jobseeker No-No’s and Policy Pitfalls

Helicopter-ParentWMEach day this week #DTHR’s #HRHorrorStories has enlightened us to more and more “you won’t believe this” stories that happen on a daily basis in HR and have shaped how we do business. And in sharing these stories, we hope that others will learn too.

Day 4 of this series was no different. We went from talking about how implementing new policies in the workplace can backfire if not done correctly, to mistakes that jobseekers are still making that may be diminishing their chances of getting a new job and after-hours mistakes that even the best HR person can make.

In our first story, we talked about implementing new office policies. 9 times out of 10 the person creating such policies is at an upper-level in the company and does not solicit the input from those managing at lower levels…and this can lead to unforeseen problems. For instance: many companies have embraced becoming a drug-free workplace. Most commonly, you will see that companies utilize a pre-employment drug test requirement and even a post-accident one. But, what happen when you incorporate random drug testing with immediate termination the result of a failed drug test? Well, you may find out that you are firing about 80% of your employees. One restaurant chain found out just that!

There will always be situations that trigger the need for a new or revamped company policy. However, it is best to include those at the lower levels in the company (department supervisors and maybe even longest tenure employees) in the policy discussion in order to determine how to best word it and roll it out. Don’t simply look at other companies and decide you want to do that – and then just copy what they are doing. Each company’s environment is different as well as its employee culture and both need to be taken into account when formulating a strict yet not business-threatening policy.

Our next group of stories shared centered around the “you won’t believe what this Jobseeker did!” category. Many in HR have joked for years that we could write a book on the various things we encounter talking to candidates and what happens during the interview process. But these series include some examples that you wouldn’t believe unless you heard it from the Hiring Manager herself:

  • Candidate’s mother took “helicopter parent” to the ultimate degree when not only did she accompany her daughter to the job interview, but called the Hiring Manager after her daughter was told she was not being hired to demand to see the resume of the person who did get hired to know why her daughter didn’t get the job.
  • Candidate got a ride to the interview from his Probation Officer and told the Hiring Manager during the interview that his “P.O.” had come with because he had to go for a mandatory drug-screen following their meeting.
  • Candidate who brought their kids with to the interview because they couldn’t get a sitter “but its okay, they can wait in the lobby.”
  • Candidates – still in 2015 – using inappropriate email addresses like “bigjugs69@….” and LinkedIn photos that are selfies wearing too revealing outfits or with backgrounds showing drinking or partying.

Not much a company can do to counter these types of jobseeker mistakes, but if you know of friends or family that may be doing these things – please talk to them! Yes, first impressions go a long way and are truly an important factor in the hiring decision process!

Our last story talked about those infamous office parties and the problems with over-drinking and open bars. One company held an after-hours office party and distributed drink tickets for their open bar as a way to “control” the amount of drinking their employees would do. Unfortunately, not everyone does drink at these parties so when a HR executive went around to ask if anyone didn’t want to use their tickets, he collected them, ordered about a dozen drinks and went off to a table by himself to consume them…while shouting profanities and rude comments the more he drank. Was he trying to get himself fired? Or had the stress finally gotten to him and he simply “snapped”?

Many companies have done a great job at trying to control such office parties – partly because of concern for their employees but also because many jurisdictions now have laws in place that hold the company responsible for damages or accidents their employees are involved in even after leaving such events. But the reality is: can we ever really control such a thing unless we do away with alcoholic beverages at functions entirely? There really is no way. Some people simply don’t know how to control themselves and some have either very small or very large tolerances for alcohol. Drinking has become more of a “social mark” than a needed aspect at company events so if you worry about such problems coming up, may be a good idea to stay non-alcoholic in the beverage department and let the employees “enjoy an adult beverage” on their own after the event.

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