Hiring for Your Own Kind

After two years of a very solid HR team, I received notice that an HR Analyst in my department would be leaving us. Stephanie Hammerwold (also a fellow Blogging4Jobs contributor), decided it was time for her to move to Southern California and pursue an HR gig on her own. I’m stoked for her but sad for the HR team. We are losing a great HR’er! That being said, it was time to get my butt in gear and try to fill a vacancy quick! It felt like a long time since I had had to recruit for an HR position on my team and Stephanie is leaving a huge gap to fill.

I have found myself reevaluating the structure of the department and how we support the business to determine the best way to move forward. But more importantly, I have had to reevaluate if I’m walking the talk. You have to lead by example, right? I’m always coaching managers to ensure they have fair and consistent hiring practices, so I need to make sure I’m doing the same. In HR we are always guiding, suggesting, enforcing, etcetera, etcetera how managers react and handle almost every situation in their day to day work life. So, I ask myself: Am I following my own rules?

It’s so easy to be super critical when you are hiring for:

  • Someone who will be working for you and with you everyday
  • You know right away if someone is full of bull sh#%$
  • You are filling a vacancy where the existing incumbent is doing a great job
  • This person will touch a lot of people in the organization and almost all potential employees (they need to represent the company image)
  • You have to move fast without sacrificing the quality of the process

I’m putting a lot of pressure on myself to ensure I spend ample time to find the right person. Not only am I interviewing someone¬† but they are also interviewing me and the HR team to determine if me, the department and the company will be right for them. I have to be careful not to oversell the position. It would be horrible to fill a vacancy that doesn’t meet the expectations of the new hire. I have also started to come to terms with the fact that we may not have an overlap with Stephanie leaving the new person starting. This is definitely not ideal but we will have to make do. This will show us if we have truly done a good job cross-training.

Just like I coach managers to remain open, I need to remain open to new perspectives and different personalities. Instead of focusing on specific degree, years of HR experience, or finding another Stephanie; I need to find someone who hold the qualities that are well suited for the position, the department and the company. Don’t get me wrong, the HR experience is very important but some of that stuff can be learned.

Being that there are still a lot of people looking for job(s and the company I work for is very attractive to many people in our community), it has been easy to get applicants (which is very fortunate). Another great advantage in this process, is to be able to reach out to my network of other HR professionals to get the information about applicants. It’s always great to hear some informal feedback from other professionals that you trust.

Hiring for Your Own Kind

What are your best recommendations for hiring HR professionals?

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Sabra Reyes

Sabra Reyes is one of those rare Human Resources professionals who knew HR was the career of choice in college. She received a BS in Business with a concentration in Human Resources Management from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. After 10 years of HR generalist work, she has found her niche as a Human Resources Director for an independent natural and organic grocery company with more than a handful of stores in the Bay Area region of California. You can find her on Linkedin.

Reader Interactions


  1. Amit Gautam says

    I would advice you to go for a person who know the jobs, being the HR from last 11 decades feel that the Human Resources is polite, learner, good listener, submissive, ready to deliver as per the need of the organisation and most important now a days, he/she is good business HR.

    • Sabra says

      Yes, very true. All of those traits are very important for HR professionals to posses.

  2. Geo Mihalache says

    First of all to make your life easier get someone with experience. You won’t have to spend all your day teaching. I have hired someone in my team that was a fresh graduate and after 6 months she was still asking tons of questions, some already answered twice before. Of course, I am patient and happy to help and she was motivated to see that, but my life was tough – so experience is a must.

    Then, reach for those special human qualities that make a great HR worker: empathy, sociability, ability to understand people and care, ability to make friends fast (they will need to start knowing everybody as soon as they start and being able to make connections fast is a desirable asset); don’t forget about great prioritizing and organizing skills and ability to say NO in a nice and constructive way – HR have a lot of tasks and they need to be super organized. Also, I would add courage, self confidence and pro-activity. This to make sure they are able to deal with decisions and issues without your help when needed.

    Last, but not least, business awareness and the ability to be professional – HR people are the image of the company in front of future employees, rejected candidates, media sometimes at job events and presentations, so getting someone able to be professional and have presentation skills is also important.

    • Sabra says

      Geo – We did toy with the idea of hiring someone who had been in HR previously but more at the administrative level. Being that their is already a steep learning curve to get a good understnaidng of the culture, company policies, etc., it did not seem like a good plan. We are really looking for the person who will meld with the team and the company, all the while posessing the the strong degree of HR skills.

      And yes, business awareness, is very much an important trait.

      Thanks for sharing!


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