How to Find Out If HR Is Valued In the Company – Ask #HR Bartender

This is a very interesting question. And while it’s asking specifically about human resources, it could apply to any function within an organization.

I am interviewing (2nd round) with a small start-up company. The CEO is very inexperienced and needs HR badly. During my interview he asked if I was Lutheran…. and he started the interview with what he was thinking about the salary for HR.

From my perspective, the salary is way below market by about $30k, but it would be an exciting adventure to be on the ground floor. I’d like to have some savvy questions ready for him to determine if he truly values HR or if it would be a constant fight for survival. Any suggestions?

I do agree that sometimes what we can gain in professional experience can make up for a perceived shortfall in pay. I’d add that sometimes “the constant fight for survival” can be a great professional opportunity. It might not seem like it, but adversity could be a terrific resume building exercise. That being said, here are a few questions that could help you understand the role of human resources within an organization.

What do you see as the role of human resources? It’s simple and straight-forward. Find out if a person responds with administrative and compliance responsibilities or developing training and retention strategies.

Name the 1-2 goals you have for HR in the next 12 months. Another straight-forward question. Is it to write the employee handbook, create a talent pipeline, or design a compensation strategy? All important things but it tells you where you will be spending your time.

What kind of relationship would you like to have with HR? I’d ask this question of every single person I speak with during the interview process. Understand if the role of human resources is to be the employee advocate, business advisor, corporate culture keeper, or executive coach. Maybe it’s a bit of each. Or maybe it’s something else.

Any organization that is starting a human resources department for the first time should have some idea about why they want HR and what they expect HR to do. Also keep in mind with a start-up, it’s possible the role will evolve from a tactical one to strategic. Then the question is really not whether the company values HR but can you wait for the transformation to take place.

What question would you ask to find out if the company values human resources? Leave your suggestion in the comments. Thanks!

Image courtesy of the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas