HR Certification Podcast Episode 5: Your Questions About HR Certification for SHRM and HRCI

Welcome to the HR Certification Podcast, a podcast for HR leaders working towards their human resources certification with HRCI and SHRM. Join host Jessica Miller-Merrell, founder of and HR certification prep program, Ace The HR Exam as she shares study tips, exam insights, and topical review for HR exams, including the aPHR, PHR, SPHR, SHRM-CP, and SHRM-SCP. Now here’s Jessica with this episode of the HR Certification Podcast.

HR Certification Podcast Episode 5: Your Questions About HR Certification for SHRM and HRCI

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:00:38.55] Hey there. Hey y’all. I can say that I’m from Texas. Welcome to the HR Certification Podcast. I’m your host, Jessica Miller-Merrell. I’m so excited to be chatting with you today all about things related to HR certification. My mission and purpose and passion really is elevating HR professionals personally and professionally, and we’re focused on solely the human resources industry and HR certification. So in the HR Certification Podcast, I help you, an HR leader, in your personal and professional development. Isn’t this fun? I am solely focused on HR certification and we do that with HRCI and SHRM. I love all my HR certifications equally. I am Switzerland and I love it. Our prep that we focus on is all about resources for both certification so you can pick your poison, HRCI or SHRM. This podcast that you’re listening to here is powered by Workology’s HR certification prep courses and resources. If you would love to learn more, I would love you to go visit information about our prep courses and also recertification courses. You can go to All the links are there to connect you to the resources you need for certification prep and also re-certification. Now, before I dive into today’s podcast, I love feedback. I want to hear directly from you. Questions, thoughts, opinions, good or bad, any and all, please text the word “HR CERTIFICATION” to 512-548-3005. You can ask comments, leave questions, and make suggestions for future episodes of what you’re listening to right now, the HR Certification Podcast. So this is my community text number and I want to hear from you. It’s actually me. I read these and respond and we use your feedback, your suggestions, your ideas, your comments in future podcast episodes.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:02:54.18] Now, in every single episode of the HR Certification Podcast, I am trying to make this easy for you. I want you to get in and get out with exactly the type of review that you need for your exam. We will cover information and resources to help you with your HR certification exams. That’s both SHRM and HRCI. I’m making this podcast or I’m trying to make this as short as possible and get to the point so you can get your review in and get out. I want you to be able to move on with your day. You’ve got other things to do than prep for your HR certification. The HR Certification Podcast, each episode is divided into different segments. So, in every episode we have a segment where we will address maybe a common question or an HR topic. It’s an area that I just feel like deserves its own sort of section or callout on the podcast. This is going to help you with your review. We will also review an HR glossary term. I think this is important. And finally, we’re going to walk you through an HR practice test question. These are so important for you to determine your level of mastery in a particular topical area as you prepare for your HR certification exam. So that is every single episode we do all those things. Again, these are designed for SHRM and HRCI exams and those include the aPHR, the PHR, the SPHR. I’d also throw the SPHRi in here. You can just, we can just remove the employment law sections, but for sure we also covered the SHRM-CP and the SHRM-SCP. Now in every single podcast episode I have transcript notes and resources for you to get more access or specific access to different things. This is designed to help assist you in your review. Again, less time studying, more time living life other places so that you, but you still have the ultimate goal of passing the exam. You can look at all those resources for every single episode and more by going to That is the destination for all the things related to this podcast.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:05:05.92] So I mentioned in this episode we are going to answer common questions. And these are common questions I get on social media, particularly my favorite platform right now, which is TikTok. I don’t know how you feel about TikTok, but I feel like it provides a lot of really awesome ways to connect with individuals, professionals, HR people, and if you are there or you’re interested in getting on TikTok, I’d love to connect with you there. So it is @WorkologyBlog. It’s me. We post, I post a couple of times a day. I’m really trying for three. I’m all about resources and information for HR leaders. There’s some fun injected in there, but you can just head on over to @WorkologyBlog. Now, one of the reasons that I have started over on TikTok originally was because my 14-year-old daughter wanted to hang out over there and I thought, You know what, I’m going to give this a try. And it’s been a lot of fun to connect with her, to learn about the latest trends, just to stay up to date with how the younger generation, I hate that I’m saying this, the younger generation, other individuals, professionals are communicating and engaging. I love video. I think it’s the future of where we’re going for learning and the ability to see your videos, for you to see my videos, for us to connect and interact and particularly respond to questions quickly. I like to do that related to HR certification. So in this episode you’re going to hear some of the commonly asked questions. This is the audio stripped from my TikTok directly, where I answer a question coming directly from someone who has shot me a DM or a message or left a comment over on TikTok.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:06:45.97] As I mentioned, I love TikTok, give me a follow over on TikTok, @WorkologyBlog. I really love it because, I don’t know, I can just connect with you in a different way. Again, I love video and my 14-year-old, Riley, I can’t believe she’s 14. If you have known me for a long time, you know that Riley used to come to conferences with me. Sometimes she would be, you know, a little baby. I mean, a lot of my friends have connected with me that long because I have been blogging since 2005. I love video. I think it’s an excellent way to engage. And TikTok has been a lot of fun. Plus, again, I am able to stay up to date on all the trends. And yes, just like you, if you’re a TikTok person, those audios are always running through my brain like earworms every single day.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:07:37.09] Hey, Essence, thanks for your question. Question about HR certification, little to no experience, looks like you have a master’s degree, you’re working as an office superviso, you’re asking if you can take an HR certification exam. Yes, absolutely. There are certain exams that you qualify for based on this experience. I would encourage you to take a look at SHRM’s certified professional, the SHRM-CP certification and the Associate Professional and Human Resources with HRC. I have a quiz, I’ll put the link below, that you can take that will give you more information. It’s It’s designed to provide you some more information about all the different types of HR certifications available. There are two major certifying bodies in HR and it can be super, super confusing, which is why I’ve put together this quiz, Let me know if you have any questions. Thanks again.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:08:33.43] Thanks for your question. The question is, is it better to have both HR certifications? Certifications with SHRM and certifications with HRCI? So the answer is maybe. I don’t know your specific situation, but what I would encourage you to do is look at job openings in your local marketplace. Are they requiring SHRM or HRCI certifications? If they’re requiring one, I would start there and then see how it goes. When I first started in HR, we only had HRCI certification, so there wasn’t a choice. You had HRCI and that was it. It was only until within the last eight or nine years that SHRM started to add their own certification program. So I would encourage you to start with the one in your local market or where you’re going to be looking for jobs by position, by title, by geography, and start there. I hope that answers your question. Thank you.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:09:30.04] Hey, Zach, thanks for your comment and your question. So Zach has experience hiring and interviewing, but it looks like you have a lot of restaurant management experience. And honestly, restaurant managers, y’all are having to think on the fly all the time, just like retail and hospitality. I have a background in that and it is been so amazing and essential for my career in HR. So I would encourage you to maybe look at certification. There is the aPHR for certification through HRCI and also the SHRM certification. It’s called the SHRM-CP. They don’t require any HR experience for you to get that certification, but it’s going to help you maybe step into the role. I have some resources there in my bio that talks about certification for you. Secondly, a good place to maybe think about interviewing is with staffing companies. They always need recruiting people and you can step into recruiting role and then transition to an HR coordinator role. I hope that answers your question.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:10:28.27] So your question is what books do you recommend? I am studying for the PHR and it sounds like you have the HRCP materials which are fantastic, they’re not mine, but they’re still fantastic. So I would recommend that you pick up from Amazon, Sandra Reid’s book. It’s the 2018 PHR and SPHR complete study guide. Yes, this is from 2018, but it is a comprehensive resource. HRCI has not updated their study materials or their HR body of knowledge since 2018. So you are okay to pick this one up. You can go to the link in my bio and go down. It’s about four down. It says HR certification books I recommend. You’re going to see this link directly there and you can pick it up and get started. Best of luck in your HR certification prep. Let me know if you have any other questions.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:11:19.09] One of the most common questions I get from HR certified pros is, I’m certified with HRCI, what the heck is an ethics credit? Let’s get into it. So, the ethics credit is a new requirement for all different HRCI certifications. That’s the aPHR, the PHR, the SPR and even the GPA for. They require one recertification credit be in ethics content. So where do you go to find those? Well, as someone who’s certified myself, I created my own course. And you can go for $29 and grab our course. It’s It is an audio course, two different podcast interviews that are focused on the subject of ethics as leaders and as HR professionals. This ethics requirement is part of the new cycle. So every three years you need to have one credit. I had a question recently that I want to answer and it’s what is the difference between the SPHRi and the SPHR. So let’s get into it. This is information on the exam. Pull directly from HRCI for the Senior Professional in Human Resources. You can see leadership and strategy, employee relations and engagement, talent planning, and acquisition, L&D, and then total rewards are all going to be on the exam. Lots of business and strategy here.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:12:41.01] For the Senior Professional Human Resources International, you can see this is slightly different. There are two additions, additional categories here HR service delivery and measurement and analysis. HR service delivery is essentially global talent acquisition and planning measurement and analysis replaces total rewards and benefits, but focuses more on the HR audit process and the HR processes and systems but in a global context. Biggest difference, no US-based employment law questions or benefits.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:13:18.00] Let’s go ahead and start moving into the next segment. You know, I answer questions like you heard on TikTok as part of our Ace The HR Exam course. I think this is incredibly important. In Ace The HR Exam, this is our course, and we have an offering for SHRM and we have an offer for HRCI for prep. The courses are for each certifying body and they follow the body of knowledge, if you’re an HRCI person, or the body of applied skills and knowledge, for sure. The Ace The HR Exam has over 60 hours of video review and this is organized by topic. It’s video, it’s audio, it’s short-form, it’s long-form. It’s so much fun. I’m excited to share that we have a new subscription offering so you can get access to this 60+ hours of audio and video, short-form, long-form, plus 1200 test questions. I have an amazing test question bank and for the SHRM needs, I do have situational judgment test questions. They are organized by topic as well as general questions. There’s a lot of other digital content that you can access. We have digital downloads, other resources that I suggest. I think it’s really important for you to diversify your learning. And the new monthly subscription price is awesome. It is $49.99 per month. You can grab this deal at and that is the signature course that we offer for HR certification prep.

Break: [00:14:48.15] Let’s go to a reset here. I know that was a lot of information that I threw at you, but it’s time to take a reset and we’re going to move on to our next segment here at the HR Certification podcast, which is powered by Workology. I’m Jessica Miller-Merrell. I’m your host here at the HR Certification Podcast. I’m so excited to have you here. I would love to connect with you more if you have questions or information or just a suggestion, please text “HR CERTIFICATION” to the number 512-548-3005. Workology also offers HR certification prep courses and resources. We also are focused in the area of recertification as well, and you can learn more about what we do and how we do it. By visiting I love doing this. It’s one of my favorite things and we offer a variety of prep resources and I would encourage you to check them out.

Break: [00:15:48.84] I have, We have physical flashcards. Let me grab those over here for you. If you’re watching the video, you’re going to see. I have physical flashcards and HR test question form. We have study guides, we have digital downloads, and resources for you really designed for all different types of learners. This is incredibly important to me because how we learned when we were students or college kids now versus mature adults is very different. And I want you to be able to access resources wherever and whenever you are. If you need to study at 2:00 AM, cool, I want you to have access to those. So our digital courses are all available on-demand and are also accessible on our very own Workology app, which is available for Android and iOS. If you’re an Apple girl like me, or guy or just person. So let’s go ahead and move on to that next segment that I was talking about.

HR Glossary Term(s) – McGregor’s X and Y Theory

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:16:45.18] So we’re now moving on to the special segment, our next segment, which is all about HR Glossaries information. So I cover a specific topic. We’re going to do the review. It’s different for every single episode of the HR Certification Podcast. So for today, our HR glossary term is going to be a leadership topic. These topics that we’re covering in every single episode are things that are on both certifying bodies. So it’s in the body of knowledge for HRCI as well of the body of applied skills and knowledge for SHRM. I cover both of those for you. I want to make it easy and accessible for you to be able to access that information. It’s all important for your HR knowledge base, but that way you feel comfortable and can review this and use it for SHRM or HRCI exams. When it comes to becoming familiar with HR terms that are part of the SHRM and HRCI knowledge base, I want to make some recommendations on how to increase your knowledge retention and maybe how quickly you learn. This is important because you can’t just read the material over and over and over again. You need to review the materials and learn differently, which is why I’m focused on different learning styles. So you’re listening to this, or maybe you’re watching me, maybe you’re taking notes while we’re talking. These are all different ways to learn. So that information goes from short-term to long-term memory. This is one of the reasons in our Ace The HR Exam course we offer so many different ways to learn because it’s important to reinforce. I want you to review materials while you’re driving or commuting in the car. Maybe when you’re at the gym. I want you to be watching a video in between meetings or as you’re heading to bed. These are all different ways to review. I like to focus on a single topic or subject matter area. I want you to review that maybe like three topical areas for about two weeks. You should be reviewing at least 30 minutes to an hour a day. It’s important to focus on a single topic area so that you can achieve mastery. We’re not just trying to shove so much information into our brain so quickly. We’re not going to review the whole book and all the materials in one week. We’re going to divide them up in sections and repeat the learning over time. This is one of the things that’s a differentiator for us for Ace The HR Exam, and I think it’s really important for you in order how you structure your review. Don’t try to learn all the things at once. We’re not cramming for the exam next week. We are trying to not only learn this information and remember it, but apply it for the long term. We want to be able to pull and recall this when we need.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:19:24.55] Let’s get to our review of the HR glossary term for this episode. Now we’re focusing on a single term. It’s lengthy, so I’m going to repeat this twice for you. We’re talking about McGregor’s X and Y Theory. It’s a basic management principle from which to develop a positive management style and technique. So in 1960, Douglas McGregor formulated Theory X and Theory Y, suggesting that there were two aspects of human behavior at work. There are two different point of views. One point of view is negative. That’s theory X and the other is positive, theory Y. According to McGregor, the perception of managers on the nature of individuals is based on various assumptions. The key difference between theory X and theory Y is that theory X assumes that employees dislikes, dislike work and they want to avoid it so they don’t take responsibility. And theory Y assumes that employees are self-motivated and flourish on responsibility. McGregor’s X and Y theory of management is a valid basic principle from which to develop a positive management style and technique. Again, in 1960, Douglas McGregor formulated X, theory X and theory Y, suggesting that there were two aspects of human behavior at work. There are two different point of views, one of which is negative, and that is called theory X, and the other that is positive. That is called theory Y. According to McGregor, the perception of managers on the nature of individuals is based on these very assumptions. The key differentiator here is that theory X assumes that employees dislike work. They want to avoid it. They don’t want to take responsibility. While theory Y assumes that employees are self-motivated and flourish on responsibility. As I mentioned, I decided to review this leadership topic because recently HR professional who didn’t pass their exam mentioned that they were upset because many of the leadership theories that were on the most recent SHRM testing window exam for them weren’t covered in any of the SHRM materials.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:21:30.22] So, I’m going to get on my soapbox for a minute and tell you that not everything that SHRM puts on the exam is going to be in the SHRM learning system. It’s just the way it is. It’s also just important for you to understand and review materials from different places. I’m not suggesting you go invest hundreds or even thousands of more dollars on certification, but that it’s crazy to think that you would assume that one material is going to serve everything. So diversify your materials. It’s important to have a program, maybe like ours, Ace The HR Exam program, and others. Don’t rely on a single source or resource for the exam. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. You don’t tell employees to only invest in this one stock for their 401(k). No. You suggest that they diversify into a fund which has multiple stocks. It’s the same way.

HR Test Question Review for SHRM and HRCI Certification Exams 

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:22:26.45] All right. Let’s move into our next segment again, my favorite of the air certification podcast, where we review a test question. These are all questions that cover the knowledge base with SHRM and HRCI. I cover both. Before I share the question, I’m going to give you a quick review of your air test question framework. More about this on our Workology YouTube channel. I’m going to link that in the show notes of this podcast episode so you can grab that. There are five steps in our HR test question answering framework. Step one is to read each question slowly and concisely. Step two is to identify the HR competency the question is about. Step three is to eliminate wrong answers that you know are wrong. And step four is to use WWSD or WWHD, What would SHRM or HRCI do? Think about the point of view of the test question writer from SHRM. Step five is to go with your gut. Let’s get on to this podcast episode’s test question. Question: What is an HR audit designed to help company management do? Is it A) Improve employee morale. Is it B) Analyze air policies, programs, and procedures for compliance. Is it C) Improve HR efficiency. Or D) All of the above. Now, I’m going to read this test question again for you. So get ready. Question:

What is an HR audit designed to do?

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:23:58.00] What does it help company management do? I’m talking about an HR audit here.

A) Improve employee morale.

B) Analyse HR policies, programs and procedures for compliance.

C) Improve HR efficiency.

D) All of the above.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:24:16.78] What do you think the best answer is? In this case, the answer is D) An HR audit does all of the above. If you got this one wrong, don’t worry, make a note and review it later on. I suggest adding this to your daily review of your topics that you’re reviewing. I do have more test questions if you’re interested. You can access our 23, 25 free test question bank at is the place to go for more test questions.

Closing: [00:24:54.65] HR certification is such an important part of your career, whether you’re looking to increase your knowledge, increase your credibility, increase your income potential, or prove to yourself that you deserve to be here. You do deserve to be here. You have worked hard. Together, let’s help elevate the HR profession. Thank you for joining me on this episode of the HR Certification Podcast. My name is Jessica Miller-Merrell. I help HR leaders ace their HR certification exams. Let me do the same for you. Workology offers a host of resources and courses to help you ace your HR certification exam. The place to go for all those things is We help HR leaders with their aPHR, their PHR, their SPHR, their SHRM-CP, and their SHRM-SCP exams. If you have a suggestion or idea or question about an upcoming podcast episode, or just want to ask me about HR certification, text the words “HR CERTIFICATION” to 512-548-3005. This is my community text number and I want to hear from you. Thank you for joining the HR Certification Podcast. I look forward to hearing about how your study prep is going. Let me know how I can support you.


– HR Certification Quiz 

– Workology on Youtube | HR Test Question Framework

 – Workology on Youtube | What is a Passing Score on the SHRM and HRCI Exams 

– HR Certification: SHRM and HRCI 

– Sandra Reid’s PHR and SPHR Professional in Human Resources Certification Complete Study Guide

– More book recommendations

 – HR Certification Podcast Episode 2: Reviewing Business and Strategy

– HR Certification Podcast Episode 3: Answering HRCI and SHRM Test Questions

– HR Certification Podcast Episode 4: Risk Review for SHRM and HRCI

– Workology Podcast | Ep 161 – The Value of HR Certification: #HRCI or #SHRM?

– Workology Podcast | Ep 210 – How to Ace Your HR Certification Exam

– Workology Podcast | Episode 262: Test-Taking Strategies for HRCI and SHRM Certification

How to Subscribe to the HR Certification Podcast

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Jessica Miller-Merrell


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