Category Archives: Human Resources

Why Trusting Your Gut Can Go Badly – A Sheriff’s Tale

Once upon a time, there was a lowly HR assistant, newly tasked with hiring several manual laborers for a factory. The factory was located in a poor neighborhood with not many good jobs available. Most of the people in this neighborhood were semi-literate, under or improperly nourished, and all were affected in one way or another by the neighborhood’s high crime rate.

climbing-resume-stackThe only thing good about this scenario for our lowly HR assistant is that on the rare occasions she did have jobs open, she had many applicants for them — so many, in fact, that she often had stacks and stacks of applications on her desk without having spoken to the applicant or without being able to put a name to a face.

Such was the case with Billy. She happened upon his application one day and, on paper, at least, he seemed okay. The job was packing and lifting boxes. No one needed a neuroscience degree and it was clear Billy didn’t have one, but his app looked like he’d had steady work and could do the job. At the bottom of the application was a section marked “For Employer Use Only” and it listed out the various positions available. The site had off-duty sheriffs providing security virtually round-the-clock, but the big qualification there was that you had to BE a sheriff. Billy, like many applicants, didn’t understand that this bottom portion of the application was for the lowly HR assistant to mark on when sending his info to payroll. That’s how she’d let them know that he worked in the factory and made $8 an hour. A lot of applicants, semi-literate, mixed up this part and put what they wanted to make at what position. Billy had put down that he wanted to be the sheriff for $9.00/hr.jiFfM

That should’ve been my first clue, but I’m naive and try to give people the benefit of the doubt. Plus we needed bodies — not geniuses, just bodies. I lined up about 6 interviews and one was Billy. He came in and when I saw him, I immediately called the interviewing manager and apologized. Billy looked ready to collapse from malnutrition. The one tooth remaining in his mouth was on its last legs. When I asked him what he was applying for, he actually said he wanted to be sheriff. He thought we’d give him a gun maybe?! I have no idea. I’m all for helping out someone who is hungry and willing to work, but Billy just had this air of “WTF?” around him that I couldn’t shake. He was NOTHING like he seemed on paper. It was like he floated into the office on a leaf, just going wherever the wind blew him. He was a ‘no’ vote from this judge immediately, but we did the interview anyway.

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I have no idea what kind of voodoo Billy worked on that hiring manager, but he must’ve made a good case for himself or appeared even more needy than he did to me, because he was hired. And apart from the 3 heart attacks he faked at work, even having ambulances called only to tell him he had a “pulled muscle” (the medical equivalent of ‘quit wasting my effin’ time’), he kept plugging along. He was eventually fired and I think it was because he kept up these incidents and it was decided the work was too strenuous for him. I think. I have kind of blocked it out. That took place within my first 2 months at this particular job, and Billy was nicknamed “the Sheriff” from that very first day. I was judged for inviting him in for an interview despite NOT being responsible for hiring him. On paper he looked good. On paper, my gut really liked him. Even when I told his manager not to hire him, he went with HIS gut and his gut overruled mine. We all like to think we know people but we don’t. We’re guessing and flying blind. Sometimes it goes well. Sometimes the ambulance pulls up to yell at Billy to quit wasting their effin’ time and all you can do is roll your eyes.

If we’d had a way to test Billy beforehand, that might not have happened. Granted, for such a blue-collar situation, not all tests will be applicable, but an emotional maturity assessment sure would have been nice for Billy and for the guy who told all the older black ladies they wore too much makeup and he’d like to…do things to them, but only with a bag over their heads. A better way of weeding out the undesirables would have saved us some turnover, some training costs, lots of paperwork on both those fellas (and a few others) and made work much more boring…in a good way.

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SmartRecruiters has developed an Assessment Center that would’ve been a big help back in the day. It lets you check an applicant’s skills, references and behaviors. For my particular company back then, behavior would’ve been my biggest need. Today it would be skills. New position, new company…new needs. These are all available at the assessment center and can lead to vastly improved hiring over just a resume. From an article on SmartRecruiters’ Talent Assessments page:  ”In fact, academic research (Schmidt and Hunter 1998) shows resumes are one of the worst ways to select candidates. Combining interviews with assessments improves accuracy of hire by over 3x (.63 correlation with work performance vs. .18 correlation without testing).” Imagine that! Three times better hiring through basic skills and behavioral testing before hiring.

SmartRecruitersLogo“We are adding science to the art of recruiting,” said SmartRecruiters’ Founder & CEO Jerome Ternynck. “Our Assessment Center recommendation engine will encapsulate the performance and review of every assessment to present the best test for each position and company type.” And that’s what they can do for companies that recruit. Imagine what they could do for companies that are bombarded with applications all day long whether they have openings or not! You could really hire THE ABSOLUTE BEST. It wouldn’t matter if you could put a face with a name before you called each applicant. The applicant would self-select from the pack in the testing. You could avoid being the lowly HR assistant (or manager, director, recruiter) who hired “The Sheriff” and avoid that shame and embarrassment for years to come!

The Day HR Got Real – My Worst Day on the Job

I love Louisiana and, in particular, Baton Rouge. I love LSU even though our governor, Bobby Jindal, seems dead set on stripping all its funding and turning it into a Diesel Driving Academy with a football team. I gripe about mosquitoes the size of handbags and how I can’t walk outside my door in the summer without my hairdo going full-on Kotter in two seconds, but the music, the art, THE FOOD, and the culture all make up for that, especially our culture of collaboration. People here help each other and look out for one another.

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In that spirit, here are two blogs from other Baton Rouge HR gals that I’d like you to check out today in addition to mine. These ladies have helped me and taught me things. They have made me laugh on bad days and been happy with me on good ones. Their blogs are interesting and funny and educational. You’ll love ‘em. They’ve collaborated with me here on the #BRHRCarnival. Today we’ve talked about our worst day in HR. I think a counter-post about our best day will probably happen too. Mine revolves around turkeys, so there’s a teaser.

HR Schoolhouse by Robin Schooling and HR Tact by Christine Assaf

Also in the spirit of collaboration, Robin Schooling is attending the National SHRM Conference in Chicago soon. A kickball game has been organized with prominent social media personalities playing to raise money for Share Our Strength: No Kid Hungry. Robin will be representing Louisiana and we want her to raise lots of money! If you’d care to, please check out the link and sponsor her.

no kid hungry

Now, onto the blog. Thanks for sticking with me through the housekeeping!

The Worst Ever, No Good, Very Bad, Horrible, Awful Birthday

My worst moment in HR was Friday, June 20, 2008 around 3 p.m. How do I remember the exact date and time nearly 5 years later? For starters, I have an awesome memory. Also it was just a SUPERBLY terrible day — that just so happened to be my 29th birthday. The first one. The real one.

I had started work at this company on a Monday, and you can see here that my first day was pretty bad. The whole week was like that. In the past, I had done some HR assisting and payroll at a small organization with less than 300 employees. When we first took payroll in-house and I began doing it, it was a difficult transition that often took me a few days to process. After a few years I had made the process so efficient that I had streamlined myself right out of a job.

I started this new job with Huge Corporation X on a Monday. I didn’t get a computer till Tuesday. On Wednesday, I was given a huge stack of folders, each containing info for a field office around the nation and told to pay around 900 people with vastly different pay structures…some hourly, some exempt salary, some non-exempt salary, some with shift differentials, and some who were paid per project/visit. I did the best I could and had minimal help from others to make sure I wasn’t paying anyone millions of dollars, but for the most part – I was thrown to the wolves.

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On Friday, my birthday, the results of my wolf-toss would become clear. I was told that for an organization with around 15K employees, half of whom were paid one week and half the next and so on and so on, that payroll was never perfect and Fridays were more like working in a call-center where people would call to complain about their checks. Sometimes they would speak to their actual payroll processor, but we were also required to help others that we did not personally pay. Sometimes they had legit concerns and a visit or their OT had been left off. Sometimes they were just new and didn’t know how to read their statement. With all these pay structures, it wasn’t hard to sympathize with that.

This one lady, though, she was different. I can’t remember her name, so I’ll call her Susie. She was a branch manager in South Carolina. She was one of my 900 people. When I got to work that morning, I had a voicemail from Susie. Being an hour ahead of us, she’d already been in the office and was astounded and PISSED that her check had only been for $87. I called her back and tried to work out what happened but, not fully understanding the system, I mostly just sat there while she yelled at me. I told her I would move Heaven and Earth to try and help her. I got my boss — even she couldn’t figure out what had happened.

bigstock_Angry_Woman_in_Comic_Book_Styl_25804979Then more calls came in from other branch managers in South Carolina, and I noticed a few other people taking calls and looking at me. My 900 people were largely paid incorrectly (mostly little errors, but a few biggies, like Susie) and that was due to a lack of training. Susie and these branch managers, though, no one could figure out where I had gone wrong. She called repeatedly throughout the day alternately yelling and crying that her mortgage payment would be automatically withdrawn from her bank account in 2 days and she couldn’t believe this was happening. I was devastated and she was WELL BEYOND devastated. Eventually I discovered the problem. Susie was salary, non-exempt, and did not fill out her timesheet correctly. Huge Corporation X required all salaried employees to do a timesheet and automatically fill in 40 hours. Non-exempt employees, hourly or salary, filled it in exactly and were paid for overtime. Susie had received her overtime only.

When I told Susie this, she protested that she was not a salaried employee. She insisted she was hourly. Turns out the company had made her salary that same week and not told her, so she filled out an hourly timesheet that was overlooked by the computer because she was now a salaried employee. Not my fault, but that doesn’t matter to the woman in South Carolina weeping about her mortgage and utility bill. My heart was broken. We cut her a check and overnighted it and everything was ok but still, I felt her stress. I was going through some financial troubles of my own at the time and I sympathized with her and felt so guilty, even after I found out this wasn’t my fault.

The first week at a new job is mentally EXHAUSTING in the same way that driving a long distance is exhausting. Sure, you’re just sitting there, not digging ditches, but you’re tired when it’s over. You’re on alert and can’t relax, ever. Plus this place sucked. Plus I was super-PMS-ing and turning 29. I know it’s cliché but 29 and being a payroll specialist and having people screaming at me was NOT part of my life plan back when I was so bright-eyed and fresh-faced at a boarding school for gifted kids and going to be the world’s first supermodel/astronaut/vibrator-tester. My life was not supposed to turn out this way! We got Susie all squared away and then it all just hit me, all at once.

So then, I start to cry. Just little tears at the corners of my eyes, lump in my throat, biting my tongue to distract myself and not lose my shit completely. I’m doing ok. I WOULD HAVE BEEN TOTALLY FINE, but then the super sweet girl across from me notices and “Awwww…what’s wrong?” and I’m all “I’m fine. It’s fine. Don’t worry about it. I’m ok.” and thinking to myself that this is like when you’re nauseated…don’t make me open my mouth or I’m gonna lose all control. She goes and gets a supervisor. By the way, the ENTIRE DEPARTMENT was female. What do girls do when someone is crying? Huddle and focus and make it a million times worse, that’s what. I became an ugly, tear-stained, snotty and blubbery mess. “Everyone’s been *hiccup* screaming at me all day and *sniff* I don’t know what *sob* I did wrong and *hiccup* it’s my *hiccup* birthday and *sob* I just need *sniff* a minute. I’ll be ok.”

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giftedBy this time it was 3:30 and they let me go and clocked me out at 5. Thanks Huge Corporation X. Twenty something dollars totally makes up for a day of abuse that will haunt me forever. When I showed back up on Monday (my next mistake), everyone was all “We didn’t think you’d be back.” and I was all, “Me either.” and they had no idea how serious I was with that response. It was one of those moments when you summon all your personal strength and courage and persistence and apply it in the completely wrong direction.

I was, by no means, in charge of anything on the day HR became real for me. I didn’t even work in HR; I was in payroll. This wasn’t me firing someone or announcing layoffs. This wasn’t about giving bad news or any other ways in which HR can be terrible. This was when I learned that HR was a big deal — because when it’s done so blatantly wrong, it can really destroy a company’s image and an employee’s self-esteem. I learned on that day that EVERYTHING Huge Corporation X did was the total opposite from what I wanted to do in my career. The interviews, the hiring, orientations, training, everything was so glossy and pretty and sparkly on the outside and it was a box full of crap on the inside.

A transparent box inside a Tiffany box...that's the ideal.

A transparent box inside a Tiffany box…that’s the ideal.

HR is not about the bows on the package. It’s a transparent box. You might not like everything in the package at any job, but it’s clear and it’s straightforward and it’s not a pile of shit hidden in a Tiffany box, you know?

I called my mom that afternoon from the grocery store and told her how I had screwed over the entire state of South Carolina and countless others. It was kinda funny by that point, since I knew it wasn’t my fault. I’ll never forget. She asked, “Well, what are you gonna do the rest of the day?” and I answered, “I’m going to buy a frozen pizza, a key lime pie, go home, fall into a food coma, watch TV and go to bed.” That was exactly what I did and it was awesome. Not a huge birthday spectacular, but definitely the most memorable birthday of my whole life.

Would you like to share your HR horror stories in the comments? I’d love to read them and so would the others from #BRHRCarnival. Check out their blogs and them come back here and wallow in the comments!

Have a great weekend! Zumba on Monday at 7:30 — think happy thoughts for me! – HRGF

The Most Important Component of Your HR Career

This is how I’m feeling today – I need coffee and lots of it. Yeah, I could have tea but it doesn’t pack the same punch, let’s face it. Today I need caffeine strong enough to put some hair on my chest. 

human_resources_person_voice_coffee_mug-ra9ad70780e52452cb0b2e4e8fe2e0b68_x7jgr_8byvr_512 need_coffee_human_resources_mousepad-r96566028db9740cfafa11256e59c5443_x74vi_8byvr_512

 

 

 

 

 

 

before coffee break

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dilbert_decaf cat

 

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Dilbert Coffee 001

baby dog a.baa-Dog-need-Coffee

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And the MOST ACCURATE description of what will happen in about 10 minutes when I finally get myself some java…

bitch

Embracing the Discomfort – The Plan

Expand-yourself-Get-out-of-comfort-zone

The 5th anniversary of my 29th birthday is in a little over 3 weeks and I’ve been thinking about things that I’ve learned about myself over the years.  I’m nosy.  I have an extraordinary memory, which passes for intelligence about 95% of the time.  I will probably never be a morning person no matter how hard I try.  I can be very envious and insecure…and I have an absolutely incredible tolerance for pain.

imagesThat last part is going to sound like bragging when I explain it, but it’s really not.  When I know something is SUPPOSED to hurt, I let it hurt.  Case in point: I had horrible dry socket after my wisdom teeth were extracted because no one remembered to give me a syringe and the instructions to prevent dry socket.  So when I was in pain 2 and then 3 weeks later, I just thought, “Well I just had surgery.  It’s supposed to hurt.”  The oral surgeon was appalled at my final visit.  I’ve had the same thing happen to me in the ER on Christmas Eve with strep throat*, from the neurosurgeon who diagnosed those ruptured discs in my neck, and from a different neurosurgeon after the operation to remove those ruptured discs.  “How are you sitting here without writhing and crying?  Why aren’t you asking for more pain meds?  Why aren’t you taking the ones we gave you?” or something along those lines.  My answer is always the same:  “I’m sick, I’m injured, I just had surgery.  It’s SUPPOSED to hurt, right?!  Complaining doesn’t help.”  I just always assume that the amount of pain I’m in is the amount I’m supposed to be in and deal with it.  Evidently some of you are whiny little drug-seeking bitches, though.

That being said, while I do have an incredible tolerance for pain, I have ZERO tolerance for discomfort.  I hosted a bridal shower for my friend Lea many years ago, the weekend Pope John Paul II died (great memory, right?).  I was outside planting flowers in pots for several hours the day before the shower.  It was early April in Baton Rouge, sunny but not hot, and there was a lovely breeze.  It was a beautiful day.  For a week after, my lips feel like they were constantly covered in cellophane and it was all I could do to get out of bed.  I don’t think I talked about anything else for a week except which lip balms I liked and which I didn’t.  In the case of discomfort, complaining does help because it makes others around me miserable too and, seriously, why should I suffer alone?

Me in a room that's too stuffy.

Me in a room that’s too stuffy.

If the thermostat is too hot or cold, I’m dying.  Bug bites and paper cuts make me want to check myself into a mental ward for a sedative.  People have found me in my office before, rubbing myself on a door jamb trying to scratch my back like a cartoon bear.  I really would rather be stabbed in the gut than sleep in a room that doesn’t have a fan.  I’m the whiny little bitch in this scenario and I’m ok with that.

What does all this nonsense have to do with my plan?  Well…summer 2013 is going to be The Summer of Dominique’s Discomfort.  For starters, I’ve signed myself up for a 7:30 am Zumba class on campus.  This isn’t a fun class that I can drop anytime.  This is for credit and I will be assigned a grade.  I don’t need this class to graduate, but it only cost $60 more and for 2 months of Zumba, I might as well.  Did I mention the part about not being a morning person or liking to sweat?  What have I done?  Did I mention also that I’m a former smoker and since my knee surgery 14 years ago I have become about as limber as a rusty lawn chair?

ive-made-a-huge-mistakeAlso, I signed up for one of those Color Runs at the end of June and roped 2 friends into joining me.  It’s a 5K.  I haven’t started training AT ALL yet, and I haven’t run in…EVER.  My whole life I have been able to swim a mile before I could run one, so that’s gonna suck — and I paid money to do this.  Holy shit.i-exercised-once

Once I lose some weight, I want to start biking again.  For now balancing all this heft on my hoo-ha on a bike hurts my hiney more than is worth it.  That will be later in the summer.

I’m going off sugar.  I’ve done an Atkins-esque plan before.  No, it’s not high protein.  No, it’s not all bacon.  You basically eat your body weight in veggies.  Look it up.  I feel a lot better when I do that and I have a lot more energy but that first week is a bear.  None of you are going to want to give me even the slightest criticism on Facebook, Twitter, over the phone or in person or we might both end up on the news.  What is the opposite of the Twinkie defense?

Or you'll do what I do which is to watch all the good food go bad and order pizza.  And ice cream.

Or you’ll do what I do which is to watch all the good food go bad and order pizza. And ice cream.

I’m going to be in school (the Zumba plus another easy class) and working this summer.  At the same time I have plans to do a lot of HR and finance education to make myself more valuable at work.  That won’t be uncomfortable but will be a bit time-consuming.  My summer reading list is already at about 8 books and that doesn’t include anything for school yet.  I’m very lucky to have a cool boss who is grooming me for bigger things.  ”Learn More Stuff” is actually my number one summer assignment.

There is still the elephant in the room with Dad, and considering my birthday and Father’s Day always go hand-in-hand, at some point some awkwardness will have to be addressed there…I hope.  I’ve reached out.  We’ll see.

What has inspired all of this apart from this blog and all of you?  Two friends that I HATE.  Remember when I said I could be envious?  I really can.  And I don’t hate them in the way I hate Al-Qaeda or Gwyneth Paltrow.  I’m not angry at them.  I hate them in a way that you can only hate someone you really love.  The truth is that I adore them both but they have achieved so much while I have been stagnating that it just makes me sick with happiness, admiration and seething, undying jealousy.  They are AWESOME and I am NOT (yet).  They’ve been through the pain already and I have yet to begin.

Here they are together.  At once the banes of my existence and my reason for getting up in the morning.

Here they are together — at once the banes of my existence and my reason for getting up in the morning.

Look at the guns on this b...est friend of mine!

Look at the guns on this b…est friend of mine!

Julia** lives in Portland and is raising 2 wonderful boys with her husband.  I lived with her for a while in college and she was never ever fat, but she was not the lean machine she is today!  She’s taken up fitness as her life’s purpose pretty much and she looks amazing.  Even more than the changes to her appearance, though, she has achieved so much.  She has run a couple full marathons, I think.  I know at least one was for Team In Training, so she did a good deed there.  She did an Olympic-distance Ironman, I think.  She routinely does half-marathons and smaller triathlons. Some of that may be wrong, I have no idea.  All I know is she has a shitload of medals and I have an assload of cellulite.  She is in incredible shape and really enjoys what she’s doing.  I’m jealous.

This one used to shun photos like the plague and now he's taking them all the time.  And always smiling!  It's like he knows something that I should be learning.  Hmmm.

This one used to shun photos like the plague and now he’s taking them all the time. And always smiling! It’s like he knows something that I should be learning. Hmmm.

My friend John** lives in Houston and he has recently lost something crazy like…200 pounds.  I don’t know the exact number but it’s a lot.  He was depressed and fat (I’m familiar) and something just clicked for him one day.  He went to a medically-supervised weight loss program, began working out, and now he’s lost all this weight, toned up, and has also been bitten with the running and triathlon bug.  His confidence has gone through the roof.  He’s a fitness evangelist now that makes Jimmy Swaggart look like some stuttering wallflower in comparison.  He is so much healthier, so much more vibrant and a real inspiration.  Again, I’m jealous.

And I know I could do something about it and change my life but it’s just so much easier to sleep in, to watch Netflix instead of studying, to order pizza instead of cooking for myself, and make “easy” choices instead of difficult ones.  BUT…since hopping out of my comfort zone accidentally worked so well earlier this year, that’s what I’ve got to do now.  I’m slowly learning that lesson.  The fact is, this summer is probably going to suck.  Maybe even more than the summer of mental illness or neck brace.  It’s going to be sweaty and uncomfortable and painful but hopefully I’ll be better for it at the end…waist a little smaller and brain a little bigger, or more wrinkly or something.

Growth does not happen in the comfort zone.  I have to remember that.

Growth does not happen in the comfort zone. I have to remember that.

My official motto:  Embrace the Discomfort.  It’s Definitely Going to Suck, But It Probably Won’t Kill Me.

Will keep you posted!  Any words of encouragement would be wonderful, but I’m warning you guys…June 1 and all the carbs are gone.  At that point, any criticism will be viewed as an act of war.

Hope everyone had a great long weekend! – HRGF

*Don’t ever go to the ER on Xmas eve.  The morgue will feel sorry for the ER staff and send up a ham.  Apart from the gross irony of getting meat from the morgue, the ER staff will be overjoyed at ham and will forget about you for 2 hours.

**Names and locations changed to protect friends I hate.  With love.  But then I put up their pics so whatever.

I’m a Big Ol’ Liar – Orientation Guest Post Instead

I know, I know.  I said “the Plan” would be coming out today BUT…

liar

a) The weekend got away from me and I haven’t written it yet.

b) My guest post was published!  I want to tweet about that and get that some notice first.  SmartRecruiters, and in particular Lexie Forman Ortiz (@LexieFO), took a chance letting me write for them AT ALL, let alone about a topic that isn’t about recruiting.  The least I can do is plug that as much as possible.

 

Here’s the link to the SmartRecruiters blog:

http://www.smartrecruiters.com/blog/5-tips-for-getting-new-employee-orientation-right/

Please enjoy.  ”The Plan” will be revealed later in the week.  Cross my heart!

ERISA Part 2: The Return – With Guest Andrew Douglass

My wonderful friend Jeremy Bordelon was kind enough to answer some basic ERISA questions for me a while back.  You might say he gave me just enough rope to hang myself.  He really freaked me out about how much of this I don’t know — and don’t understand even when it’s being explained to me.  I feel like, should I ever become some kind of HR bigwig at a huge firm, I’m going to inevitably be led away in handcuffs to ERISA jail.  What’s worse, rather than some evil mastermind, I’m going to come across as one of those idiots on TV who didn’t even realize they were pregnant.  I’ll be screaming, “But I didn’t know!” while they throw me in a cop car.  Ugh.

Probably not the bra, but the rest, I assume, will be remarkably similar to this.

Probably not the bra, but the rest, I assume, will be remarkably similar to this.

That’s where my new friend Andrew Douglass comes in.  He is also an ERISA attorney and offered to answer more questions for me.  Jeremy gave me just enough info in Part 1 to have more questions and now I’ve been somewhat reassured by Andrew in Part 2.  Read on for ERISA Part 2: The Return…if you dare.

My attorney friend, Jeremy Bordelon, answered a few questions in my first post.  I know ERISA started out as a way to benefit employees, but it sounds like a nightmare now.  How did anyone ever think this was a good thing?

The enactment of ERISA was, in large part, a response to tragic events during the 1960s when employer bankruptcies wiped out pension plans, retiree medical coverage, and other benefits without any recourse for the affected employees.   In 1974, Congress responded by creating, for the first time, a comprehensive framework to provide greater protections to employees and more certainty to employers in sponsoring their benefit plans.   Of course, there are still tensions between employers and employees with respect to their benefit plans, but I think ERISA has generally been very successful in its stated aims.

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The 5 points he made about denial of health and disability claims – those seem completely punitive and unreasonable.  If my bone cancer treatment is denied and I lose my leg, then find out it wasn’t supposed to be denied, there is NO RECOURSE?!  Has ERISA been hijacked by insurance lobbyists?  How did this come to be this way?

In my view, ERISA has not been hijacked by insurance lobbyists or any other special interest groups.  Instead, I think ERISA has matured significantly since its enactment in 1974.  For example, a recent development in the last few years is the Supreme Court’s seminal decision in Amara v. CIGNA, in which the Court allowed employees to pursue equitable remedies against their employers if they could prove they were provided misleading information about their benefit plans.  The Amara decision will be huge in the coming years in situations similar to the one you posited in your hypothetical  example.  Well that’s a relief!!

da-vinci-robot-surgery-injury-lawsuit

The “ERISA test” about highly compensated employees – can you explain to me how that’s an issue to begin with?  If employees have an opportunity to contribute and be matched up to 6% of their salaries, for example, and everyone does…obviously the CEO is going to have a higher 6% than the receptionist.  I’m obviously misunderstanding something here because that seems too obvious to be a problem.

One of the goals of ERISA is to ensure that broad-based retirement plans do not discriminate in favor of highly-compensated employees.  In tandem with various testing provisions in the tax code, ERISA generally requires a retirement plan to have minimum “coverage” (i.e., the categories of eligible employees cannot be skewed in favor of highly-compensated employees) and to provide non-discriminatory benefits.   In response to your hypothetical, a uniform contribution for all employees (when expressed as a percentage of compensation) is generally non-discriminatory.  This is the case even if, as you noted, a highly-compensated employee ends up with a higher contribution when expressed as a dollar amount.

I asked Jeremy what else I should know to have a reasonable understanding of ERISA and he responded with the truly terrifying (from an HR perspective) tale of Krohn v. Huron Memorial HospitalHow would you answer that question?  What other finer points should I know?

It takes many years to fully understand ERISA’s detailed statutory scheme.  I’ve been working in the employee benefits world for 18 years, and I’m still learning new things.  My recommendation is to talk with as many people in the benefits world as possible.  Make a point to sit down with an actuary, benefit plan auditor, investment advisor, or other benefits professional as often as possible.  You’ll be amazed at how your understanding of ERISA will increase! 

My chief takeaway from all this -- all kidding aside -- hire a lawyer.  Always.

My chief takeaway from all this — all kidding aside — hire a lawyer. Always.

Anything else you’d like to add re: ERISA?

There are tons of free resources available to HR professionals that explain the requirements under ERISA, the tax code, and other laws that apply to employee benefit plans.  For example, the DOL and IRS have both, in recent years, expanded their websites and outreach programs to provide information geared to both employees and employers regarding benefit plans.

andrewW. Andrew Douglass has been practicing law in employee benefits and executive compensation matters for 13 years.  Prior to becoming an attorney, he worked as a pension actuary for a large public accounting firm.  There can be no doubt, now though, that he is an ERISA nerd through and through.  His words, not mine.  His favorite TV show of all time is The Wonder Years. Excellent choice!  “I’ve always related to Kevin Arnold and the ups and downs that came with growing up in the 1960s and 1970s.   That said, there was no way I was cool enough as a kid to have Winnie Cooper as a girlfriend!”  When he goes to a non-buffet Chinese restaurant, he orders off the “secret” menu because he’s cool like that…or actually, spicy, like that.

His official bio can be found at:  http://www.seyfarth.com/W.Douglass, or you can reach him on Twitter: @theERISAguy.  See?  ERISA nerd.  I believe I shall keep him on speed dial for when I need bail money in ERISA jail. :)

Losing a Job Before the Interview – Facebook No No’s

Hola all!  While I was out for finals week, other people were kind and generous enough to surprise me with offers of guest posts!  I LOVE THAT.  It’s like the Tooth Fairy for grown-ups!  In case any of you are wondering, I definitely accept guest posts.  Email me or contact me on Twitter if you have some ideas.  In the meantime, enjoy this excellent post about cleaning up your Facebook during a job search from Jeri Johansen, PHR.

Hope you’re all having a great week!  I am! – HRGF

 

facebook popularityFacebook.  People either love it or hate it.  One thing’s for sure, its popularity can’t be beat – Facebook has now surpassed Google as the most visited site in the U.S. with over a billion users.  It didn’t take long for employers to understand that a lot of information can be learned about prospective employees from their Facebook page.   While those pictures of you doing a keg stand provide a great memory of a great party, recruiters are not usually amused by this activity.

Effective January 1st, 2013, new state laws make it illegal for some employers to demand access to their worker’s Facebook accounts, although that does not mean they won’t try to view them.  It’s hard to believe that employers had been taking it upon themselves to demand employees’ social media passwords!  This tactic just screams Title VII violation.  Just think of the type of information an employer could possibly learn from your social media page: gender, race, religion, sexual orientation; the list goes on and on.

mehWhether or not hiring managers should use social media for employment screening, recent surveys show that about 37% do check Facebook before making a hiring decision.  Below is some information to help you clean up your Facebook page before embarking on your post-graduate or post-layoff career search.

 

Facebook Privacy settings

Take the time to set up your privacy settings so that only “friends” can view your timeline.  This may seem like a no-brainer, but if you restrict a lurker’s access to your information, it makes it all the more difficult to not only find you, but to dig up dirt on you.

stalk

Photos

Quite possibly the biggest indicator of a person’s “social media maturity” is their photo section. Would you be interested in going into business with someone whose first impression of themselves is a picture of them chugging a 40-ounce beer and making an explicit hand gesture? Yeah, neither would your future employer.

abort

 

 

 

 

 

 

Status Updates

What you choose to share about yourself on a widespread social platform like Facebook says more about yourself than what you actually say. Constantly complaining about your life, putting other people down or stating controversial opinions with disregard to others’ feelings are all sure-fire ways to have strangers judge your personality before actually getting to know you. You had a bad day at work? Posting about it on Facebook makes it seem like you hate your job and could concern employers that you would bad mouth them as well.  

job status

Proper Grammar & Spelling

Not being an English major is no excuse for improper grammar or spelling errors.  Profanity is another huge turnoff for employers, with 61% saying that they view the use of profanity on social media sites negatively.  Maybe you have great things to say but you can lose your credibility if your spelling or grammar is off.   Let’s review the following post:  “Im so exsited for there company to schedule my inter-view”.   Although you may mean well, this post could be viewed by the interviewer who may become “not so ecxsited” to schedule your interview.

reply

This is my blog and I have a job already, so profanity is ok.

Likes

Your “likes” on Facebook can be extremely telling.  While you may well be a fan of “Tattoos by Deviants”, it may come off as unappealing to some more conservative employers.

While changing or updating your Facebook profile is a good practice for job searching, it’s important to remember that nothing you post on the internet is ever completely hidden.  I can still find pictures of myself that I posted during my “only cool people post self-timer shots of them alone in the bathroom” phase in high school.  If in 10 years from now you think you could be embarrassed by the stuff on your social media page, don’t post it!  You don’t want a profile picture or status update to be the determining factor between you and a competing candidate!

jeriJeri Johansen, PHR is an HR Blogger, Manager of Human Resources at Crimcheck.com, and Chair of the 2014 Northern Ohio Human Resource Conference (www.nohrc.org).  She has never been skydiving but claims she would do it, if given the opportunity.  Her favorite vacation is cruising around the Caribbean. 
Crimcheck.com specializes in employment screening and background checks. You can follow Crimcheck.com on Facebook and Twitter also.

Prevent Mistakes or Let Them Happen? – Also Dogs

Poor A.J. Clemente.  He had the worst first day on the job EVER, recently, when he accidentally said some curse words over his microphone on the local news.  That’s a pretty big mistake in the world of mass communications, so I understand why he was let go.  I feel bad for him because he was probably so nervous, etc. but it was the right decision.

dogs2.jpgAlso in the context of mistakes, I’ve been thinking about my dad’s dogs.  (I swear I have a point here.  Don’t leave me.)  My dad has loved Boston Terriers (or Boston Terribles as they are sometimes affectionately called) since he was very young.  Almost every dog he’s ever had has been a Boston, though we did have 2 poodle/mix strays come into our lives during my childhood.

dogs1Bostons are some of the most awesome dogs in the world.  I have never seen a mean Boston; they are almost annoyingly friendly.  They love attention and affection and will lavish you with kisses and licks till your pants get so stiff from drool they could stand by themselves.  They are small enough to be lapdogs, but too big to be annoying purse dogs.  I have had 3 fully grown Bostons jump into a chair with me once but that balancing act didn’t last long.  They are super fun to aggravate with a laser pointer or play tug of war with a rope.  And if you can get them in the right position in the bed (always a struggle because they are burrowers) they aren’t too bad to curl up and sleep with.

That being said, they are not the brightest creatures on this planet.  They do have moments of cleverness, like when they used to take my dad’s laundry piece by piece out the doggy door and leave it all over the yard.  That was amusing.  But more often than not, I’m left looking at them and thinking “What on earth did you do that for?”

Picture1This is Rocky, one of dad’s 2 current Bostons.  He’s the sweetest dog ever and so pretty with his one blue eye.  No, he’s not deaf, just hard-headed.  He went through a phase (of a year or two) where he was marking (read: peeing) all over the house from time to time.  Not enough that it was a clear house-training issue, more like a deliberate marking.  His fave things to mark?  Dad’s shoes.

When I was staying there for a few days during my recovery from spinal surgery in 2011, I remember being in bed one morning and hearing what sounded like the dogs scratching on the door to get in my bedroom.  I ignored.  It persisted.  I ignored more.  It persisted more.  I rolled carefully out of the bed in my neck brace and opened the door to see “snow” all in the bathroom, down the hall, into the kitchen, the living room and the den.  Almost solid white with paw prints in it.  The dog had found a bag of Epsom salts somewhere and dragged them through the entire house.  The scratching was his paws (and Fanny’s, the innocent one) on the wood floors as they tried to maneuver a field of sharp rock salt granules on their bare feet.  I found him on the sofa, licking his feet and looking so guilty I could have died.  It would’ve been funny if I hadn’t had to clean all that up in a neck brace.

One day dad saw Rocky ‘mark’ the refrigerator and he’d had enough.  He put him on Craigslist.  Nothing came of it; I believe dad was just venting.  Still, that dog seems to have a hard time learning.  Dad recently started taking him outside in the front of the house since they live on a dead end road with very little traffic, and now that Rocky can mark more things out there, he does it much less in the house.  I think that’s maybe what he was doing when this happened:

Picture3

This is the back yard, but I feel like Rocky was investigating and trying to mark the new yard art, as it were.  Dad was trying to trap, and I hope relocate, a fox who had been spotted by the neighbors several times and was becoming bolder.  There are small kids and pets around there, so Foxy had to go.  Dad used a ham bone for bait.  First he caught a possum, and then he caught Rocky.  I haven’t heard the whole story just yet, but I know Rocky couldn’t have been in there for too long because Fanny would have alerted someone.  I even kind of wonder if my dad watched this happen and let it.  I don’t blame him; I love this photo.  And maybe Rocky, the hard-headed dog did learn not to meddle with everything?  I doubt it.  He’s a dog, but I guess it’s possible.

Between poor Rocky in the clink and poor A.J. Clemente’s 15 minutes of infamy, it made me think about the nature of mistakes.  We all make them.  But what do we do when we see someone else about to make them?  I know Clemente’s mistake couldn’t have been prevented.  No one saw that coming.  But my dad probably saw the dog going for the trap.  When is it ok to let a mistake happen (in work or life) in order to teach someone a lesson?  Obviously we prevent small children from running into the street or grabbing things off the stove.  Obviously we check behind the new payroll clerk so we don’t pay everyone a quarter of a million dollars an hour.  But other, lesser mistakes…should they be prevented or allowed to play out?

Ignoring at all costs.

Ignoring at all costs.

I feel like I have people in my life right now who are letting me make mistakes (in a good way) and I try very hard to consciously learn from them so I don’t repeat them.  Sometimes I fear I’m going to be like that damn dog, though, and ignore the lessons.  I hope not.

Thoughts?

(Those of you who follow me on Instagram may have seen some of these pics before.  Sorry for duplicating.  Those of you who don’t are welcome to follow – hrgalfriday there too.)

Fun Friday – I Got an Advice Question!!

You guys!  I got my very first email asking for advice!  I’m a guru!

(I’m totally kidding.  I’m a college student and office manager.  Take everything here as mere suggestions and feel free to tell me I’m wrong in the comments.) 

Hi Dominique:

Thanks for the follow on Twitter. After reading your bio I thought that we might have a similar path.

I have been an Office Manager in the architecture industry for 22 years (20 with the same small business). The past few years I have taken an interest in HR – in wanting to help others succeed in the workplace, etc. Unfortunately, my current employment does not allow me to gain any HR experience as we have a solo HR person who is not really forthcoming. My Masters is in Organization and Management and I am not ready to spend a bundle more money for another degree in HR. Can you give me any advice on how you are organizing your self-study? I just joined SHRM and will start networking with the local chapter but besides that I am overwhelmed with where to start … so many twitter feeds, blogs, articles, etc. Are you focusing on a specific area? Not having HR experience I am not sure what area I would like best.

Thanks,

K

Dear K -

Thank you so much for writing me!  This made my day!

I think we do have a similar path with the office manager/self-study bit, but we differ in that you have a LOT more education than I do.  In fact, with a Masters in Organization & Management, I bet you already know a lot more than you realize.  Do NOT go back to school and spend more money on an HR degree.  (Anyone disagreeing with this opinion, please let me know in the comments, but I really think further spending in that area won’t get you the return on investment that you would hope.)  Plus, you might delve further into this and hate HR.  If you do some self-study and love it and want to become the world’s foremost expert, decide that later.  For now, no.

Also, I know it’s super easy to get overwhelmed with the Twitter, blogs, articles, etc.  Don’t stress too much over this.  You’ll never read or absorb it all.  Just take in what you can reasonably handle without stressing yourself too much.  An article or two a day that you really absorb is better than 12 that you don’t.  Also, the blogs aren’t so much actual lessons as people delivering different ideas and opinions.  They are great, certainly, but you’ll want to start off with a knowledge base that will allow you to get more out of the blogs, the tweets, and endless stream of information on the internet.

I did a review of 2 iPhone apps that I currently have on my phone.  I still use them and quiz myself when I get a moment.  These have helped because they’ve given me insight into areas of HR that I didn’t even know existed, and thus am weak in.  I never had to utilize them before.  If you go that route, keep a pen/notebook handy and jot down some terms or laws that you don’t know.  Even if you get the answer correct, if the term was unfamiliar, jot it down.  They won’t teach you all the principles, but they’ll point out what you don’t know and you can research later.

When you look at the apps, or even just that post to find a list of the various areas of HR, follow the blogs/Twitter accounts of businesses in that area: benefits brokers, insurance companies, HR outsourcing, payroll companies, staffing agencies, recruiters, risk management, employment law firms, etc.  Rather than individual people musing and giving their opinions, the businesses themselves often have blogs about laws, policies, and information that will count more as a lesson.

Some that I highly recommend:  Winston Benefits, Insperity, Infinisource, My Back OfficeMonster Thinking, Workplace Prof Blog, Winston & Strawn, LLP and Presidio Group.  This isn’t an exhaustive list, but it’s a good start.

Also, joining SHRM was a great idea.  I hope you joined your local chapter as well as national.  National SHRM puts out HR Magazine, which has excellent articles and even if you don’t understand 100% of it, it will point you in an area that you can research more.  Also, reach out to your local SHRM officers.  I’m not sure how your chapter works but in Baton Rouge they have a general meeting approximately once a month.  They may not have speakers lined up months in advance, but they generally have some idea of a topic a couple months ahead of time.  It may be as general as “safety”, but you can ask about upcoming topics and study beforehand so you’ll be able to engage more fully in the meetings.  The SHRM website also has good articles and chats where you can ask questions and engage with other people.

Also, I’d encourage you to try again with the HR person at your office or maybe even a little higher up.  Do not approach this as you trying to do their job (or neglect yours), but just say you’re interested and feel that some cross-training would benefit the office.  You’d like to learn enough to be the “emergency backup”.  Not only will it help you learn a little more, it really will benefit your company.  This person could become ill, take another job, get hit by a bus or win the lottery and leave you all in a lurch. This is especially true in a small office which has a smaller talent pool to draw from.  There is no job on Earth that doesn’t need an emergency backup.  They don’t need to know 100% — just enough to keep things from falling apart till everyone adjusts.

As for me, my plans for self-study have changed/evolved a bit.  When I first started this blog in January, I had recently been unemployed and did this as a way to reach out, get more knowledge and not drive myself crazy at home with nothing to do.  I’ve since taken a job with a content marketing firm that assigns me articles and blog posts to write for our clients, many of whom are in HR-related businesses.  These require research and just doing that has taught me a lot.  I know that’s a bummer to say since not everyone has the ability to do this on the job and it’s one of the reasons I’m suggesting you try again, as nicely as possible, with your HR person at work.

In the meantime though, I’m reading blogs, I’m researching for work, I’ve occasionally got guests on this blog teaching me things (and I need to do more of that).  A delightful friend from Twitter, Liz Rominger, has agreed to loan me a SHRM PHR Learning System for the summer.  They are very expensive and I cannot afford one on my own, however, they are much less than a degree in HR, so perhaps you can.  Or maybe someone in your local SHRM chapter can loan you one.  Maybe even your local library…I never thought to check there.  You can even find older ones on eBay for a few hundred bucks less because they’re somewhat out of date.  We all know healthcare has changed since 2009, but the general principles in the rest of the materials are still the same and you can (and should) study the PPACA from multiple resources elsewhere anyway.  I wouldn’t go any older than 2009 – 2010, but that’s an idea.  Anyway, I’ll be borrowing Liz’s learning system once I finish finals on May 7, through about Labor Day.  I plan to go through the system in the order SHRM presents it and will post blogs on my progress. 

I hope you’ll keep me informed of your progress as well!  Hopefully we can learn from each other over the summer, but believe me, this is much more than a summer endeavor!  HR Pros are required to get continuing education for a reason.  Things change and the learning is constant.  This will definitely not be an overnight process for either of us, but we’ll get there!

Take care and good luck with your studies!

-HRGF

Did I miss anything guys?  Any additional advice you’d offer to K or advice of mine that was awful?  Let me know!

A Novel Approach to Intern Recruiting from MasterCard

I hate cash.  I really do.  I almost never use it and when I do, I always wonder if those bills were used for some type of nefarious purposes before they reached my hands.  Snorting coke, tipping a stripper, handled by someone who works at the CDC and didn’t properly clean the Ebola off themselves…who knows?  It’s gross.

SONY DSCWhat’s more, it’s inconvenient.  A few years back a friend and I went to a concert at the New Orleans Arena and parked across the street at the Superdome.  They gave us our ticket and we parked, went inside, and enjoyed the show without purchasing any beverages or food cause we had already eaten.  We never looked in our wallets.  It didn’t dawn on us until we were in the throes of the parking line that we’d now have to pay cash to be let out of the Superdome or be held hostage and delay hundreds of cars behind us.  We scrambled through our purses, the seats of her car, and the floorboards — and came up $1 short.  In her wallet, she had another $1 bill that she didn’t want to part with because a friend at her job had folded it into a perfect origami flower that she kept as a good luck charm.  We had no choice though, and had to unfold that masterpiece to get out of the garage.  I guess it was lucky we had it, but that seems like a poor reason to waste a good luck charm.

800px-Buick_Roadmaster_Wagon

That’s right. Grandpa was a balla’ yo!

My family also tells a funny story about my grandfather returning from a vacation in the Netherlands.  He took a cab home from the airport and did not realize until the driveway that he had not changed over any of his money yet.  I think he was able to pay the fare with a credit card but had nothing but Euros to tip this poor cabbie in Shreveport, Louisiana.  This isn’t DC or NYC where you can change that on any street corner.  This would have inconvenienced that cabbie quite a bit to accept a tip in Euros.  Instead, (and luckily) grandpa remembered that he kept an emergency $20 bill in a hidden compartment on the gas cap of his beloved faux-wood-paneled Buick Roadmaster station wagon/land yacht.  The cabbie waited in the driveway while grandpa had to get into the garage and fish out a $20 bill that had been in the gas cap for God knows how long and probably smelled of petrol enough to give the cabbie a headache.  See?  Cash is gross and inconvenient.

That’s why, when I read an article on Ryan Estis’ blog about MasterCard Worldwide and saw they were holding an internship contest around the idea of a cashless society, my eyes lit up IMMEDIATELY.   College students in the US, Canada, Italy, Turkey, China and Singapore will be developing ideas that might be implemented and lessen the need for gnarly paper money and stupid little coins.  Some people gripe about Big Brother.  Whatever.  I say bring it on!!  I can’t wait till I can pay for stuff with my retinas – and I bet these kids are going to have some GREAT IDEAS!

Add my bank balance and we have a deal.

Add my bank balance and we have a deal.

In the spirit of learning more about this global internship contest and how a huge corporation like MasterCard Worldwide runs their internships, I reached out.  Cut to – my teeny little blog here got an interview with Jen Cowan in HR at MasterCard!

mastercard_logo

Here’s our chat.  Jen’s responses about #internswanted are in BOLD.

How did you select the 6 countries?  Are those where the major MasterCard offices are located or were there other considerations? The six countries were not selected as much as they were the first to express interest in recruiting interns through this innovative social campaign method.

What do you prioritize in selecting interns?  Creativity?  Grades?  What is in the mind of the selection committee or individual during this process?   Overall, we like to see a well-rounded applicant. Our requirements are 3.0 GPA or higher, leadership experience, volunteer experience and demonstration of a work/life balance.  All of these characteristics fall within MasterCard’s vision, mission and values.

Internships will be held in areas of emerging payments, technology, marketing, issuer management and product management.  Apart from their major, how do you decide which team to place someone with?  The interviewing process gives us the opportunity to learn more about the students and what their interests are. From there, the students interview with the team to see if there is good fit.

We’ve all heard HR horror stories of interns being tasked with not much more than fetching coffee and dry-cleaning.  This sounds like a much more immersive process.  What is a typical day like in the life of a MasterCard intern?  We provide our interns with real life work experience.  Our interns will work on real projects.  At the end of the day, they can see how their efforts helped MasterCard as a whole.

Obviously the interns benefit from putting this experience on their resume and learning new skills and technologies in the corporate workforce.  What does MasterCard receive in turn from the interns?  The internship program provides us the opportunity to look at potential full time applicants.  We use this program as a 10 week job interview to see if the intern would be a good fit for their group and MasterCard.

globepic

This is the 3rd year that #internswanted has taken place, but the first year it’s gone global.  Why now?  Do you think including Millenials in Asia and Europe will give different viewpoints about the need for cashless societies?  We have seen such success with the campaign in Canada that we wanted to expand into other areas. This provides the opportunity to consider different parts of the business and different skillsets.

Are there any plans to expand to South America, Africa or Australia in the coming years? Yes, these would be locations to consider in the coming years.

Is there anything that was done in the first years that’s been changed or deleted?  Lessons learned from those programs that will make year 3 the best yet?  In the past, we asked a very broad question for the applicants to answer for the creative submission. This year, we are asking a very specific question.  From this, we should see some very exciting and creative submissions.

This process has been described as a 10 week job interview.  There are approximately 5 winners in each country, right?  Of those 30, how many do you estimate will be offered full-time employment with MasterCard upon graduation? If you come in and work hard, there are potential opportunities for full-time employment for post-graduation.  Depending on business need, we will be able to determine our full-time offers. Stefan from Canada is a great example.  He went through the program and is now a full-time employee.

Universally important.

Universally important.

What does an intern need to do to really shine and guarantee a job offer during those 10 weeks? To stand out at MasterCard, ask lots of questions, network, be well prepared, thought-provoking and punctual.

The application process includes a cover letter, resume’ and a creative/problem-solving element.  “Applicants are asked to submit an idea for a product, system, app or techniques that can help people go cashless in the future. Successful candidates will validate their application through social media using #internswanted— the more likes and retweets, the better the chances for success.”  Once selected, does the intern get to work on their idea at all or will they solely be working on other projects?  At this time, the interns will be working on business specific needs that have already been identified.

I’m sure a lot of ideas the students have are creative, but not ultimately feasible.  Do you encourage “out of the box” ideas or is MasterCard more focused on practicality? The #internswanted campaign provides us the opportunity to find those diamonds in the rough that are out of the box thinkers. The more creative the better.

What is the best advice you can give to an applicant to be successful in applying for this internship?  Think BIG and think outside the box. You have the opportunity to show MasterCard why you should be one of our summer interns.  Take the all the time you need to put your submission together. Be creative and have fun! If you have questions, reach out to the LinkedIn group for questions. We are here to help!

What is the best advice you can give to a winner to be successful during the internship? For any intern, I suggest being open-minded. Be open to feedback, ask a lot of questions and network as much as you can. You never know who may be looking for a full-time hire.

jonny_asking_questions_2networking539__1231533611_9633

This sounds like a fun program and I’m sure the winners will be glad to participate.  I was so thrilled to get to do this interview and it was very kind of them to answer my questions.  I am incredibly grateful.

There is more information at MasterCard’s website.  Even if you don’t plan to enter, the videos are cute.  I recommend them highly.

The US deadline for entry was April 7th.  The other countries will be accepting applications soon.  If you know a student in one of these other countries, I would encourage them to apply!  It will be great on a resume, it sounds like they’ll learn a lot, and if they can help the world go cashless then godspeed!!

Many thanks to @MasterCardNews, @CashCowan and @MasterCardBecca for their assistance and to @RyanEstis for that original blog post!

jen cowan

Jen Cowan is MasterCard’s Campus Program Manager tasked with identifying top innovators for their College Programs. In addition to campus recruitment, Jen is helping to shape the social media platform for HR and recruiting.  In her spare time, she is an avid tweeter, non-profit social media consultant, shopper and Food Network Groupie.