About our Blog author: Jennifer Rufatto, MBA, Consultant. Jennifer  is a consultant at FlashPoint, an Indianapolis-based human resource and business consulting firm. Jennifer focuses her consulting efforts in the areas of workplace learning and leadership development. She’s adept at helping employees learn how to increase production, improve efficiencies, create and implement new systems, and better serve customers. She also coaches employees and delivers training and development in the areas of employee engagement, performance management, teambuilding, and more.

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I recently read an article in a mainstream magazine that took me on quite an emotional adventure. The piece offered tips to job seekers from a human resource professional’s perspective. I laughed (mostly at the Dilbert cartoons), I agreed, but mostly I got mad. The last thing we need in the HR profession, which is already sometimes misunderstood, is a popular publication creating content that reinforces negative HR stereotypes and, in some cases, gives wrong information. Here’s a synopsis of my journey through the article.

I laughed. . . .

A cartoon depicts a horn-haired boss asking his secretary to interview a job candidate. The secretary asks the candidate why he left his last job. After replying that he left because he punched his boss, the secretary promptly recommends the candidate for the job.

I agreed. . . .

The article provides good pointers for job seekers. For example, it advises them to research the organization before they go to interview. It’s frustrating when candidates ask me to tell them about our business. I’ve been tempted to give them 10 minutes alone with our website and then resume the interview. I also agree with the author that having your mother call to renegotiate your job offer is a bad idea.

I got mad. . . .

There is so much wrong with this quote from the article that I don’t know where to begin: “If you’re put on a performance improvement plan, you’re cooked. I might look you in the eye and say we’re going to do everything possible to make this work, but that’s just total BS.” As an organizational development (OD) consultant, this counters what I witness from HR professionals every day. Another quote nearly broke my OD heart: “All those boring training things? We think they’re boring too.” Really? Perhaps there’s something lacking with the trainer or the training content.

Information such as this is unhelpful and perpetuates negative images of the “HR person upstairs.” It reminds me that we have a long way to go as HR professionals in establishing our role as valued members of the leadership team. We know that we can provide great value to employees and can impact our company’s bottom line. We need to get that message across. I can’t wait to see an article published in a mainstream magazine that portrays us as progressive thought leaders. It’s time to get some good PR for HR!

I’m eager to hear what you think. Do you agree with my frustration and/or do you have ideas for changing the negative perception of HR professionals?