Human Resources Internship Essay
Human Resources Internship
I applied for the Human Resources internship at Maryville Academy-Scott Nolan Center through the website indeed. com. During my internship with Maryville Academy-Scott Nolan Center, I supported the HR department and organizational initiatives. My responsibilities with recruiting initiatives included initial resume screening and on-boarding. Positions I screened for included but were not limited to mental health counselor, staff nurse, utility manager and receptionist. I also supported administrative aspects such as filing, data entry, and HRIS maintenance.
Since the Scott Nolan Center is in a transitional period, I helped develop several job descriptions. From the human resources perspective, I did payroll and disciplinary action forms, as well as legal documents such as FMLA. I completed 432 hours of the Maryville Human Resources Internship Program. Expectations Prior to Internship Before the internship started, I had an interview with my Human Resources manager to discuss my expectations as well as her expectations for this internship. I expected to get involved with daily Human Resources functions. I expected to be working in a fast-paced organization.
Also, I expected a certain amount of training since I did not have any relevant experience prior to the internship. One other thing I was concerned with was that there might be a difference when recruiting for non-profit organizations compared to for-profit organizations. I thought recruiters would pay attention to some unique personalities or rules when they screened qualified applicants. For instance, some for-profit organizations might focus on people who have the required skills, such as sales skills, customer service skills and presentation skills.
For this particular non-profit organization, I would pay more attention to personality traits, such as openness and agreeableness. Beyond My Expectations Beyond my expectations, I learned that every organization has its unique culture. It does not matter if it is profit or non-profit. Some organizations focus on employees’ training and development, while other organizations focus on select candidates who have certain minimum skills before they can be hired. These employees require little training and development.
The organization I worked for is a children’s psychiatric hospital. Its patients are youths who are suicidal or suffered from sexual and physical abuse in their family. These patients are very sensitive. Thus, they are looking for employees to be energetic, positive and have professional nursing or therapy skills. They want their employees to not only care about the patient physically, but also mentally. During the recruiting process, I considered not only whether candidates had the essential KSAs to finish tasks, but also whether their personality would fit the organization.
My expectations about this internship mainly focused on recruiting, as well as maintaining the employee database, such as workers’ compensations and payroll. Since the hospital was expanding, several new positions were created. Beyond my expectations, I had to update and develop several job descriptions. On the legal aspect, I was not expecting to get very involved. However, I had a chance to follow a FMLA case and to issue disciplinary action forms to employees who violated organizational policy. These legal documents made me realize the importance of legal documents in uman resources management.
Selection Process General Process A significant portion of my internship responsibility was recruiting. These responsibilities ranged from screening candidates’ resumes to interviewing and preparing hiring documents. I would screen resumes from our database and select whom I believed would fit in the position. Then, I would conduct a phone interview with the applicant. After the phone interview, if I still felt the individual fit the organization, I would schedule an in person interview with our Human Resources Manager for the applicant.
Our manager would make the final decision after the interview. If our manager decided to hire this individual, I would start preparing hiring paperwork including background check, reference check and medical record. My responsibilities would be all the above-mentioned tasks, which concluded with filing all the documents and sending it to the orientation group in order to prepare new-hire orientation documents. Screening Resume Before the internship, I read an article by Applicants (2009). He gave me several tips I kept in mind during the resume screening process.
First of all, I was aware of potential adverse impact during the screening process. I should not focus on screening applicants from particular race or gender group. Companies have significant discretion in defining the basic qualifications for each position that they fill so long as those qualifications are defined by the outset of the hiring process for the position. When I selected qualified applicants for phone interviews, I chose candidates who met the minimum qualifications. Then, we chose whoever had best matched our skill requirements to continue to the next phase, which is an in person interview.
These minimum requirements were determined by job descriptions. The job description helped us identify which candidate was able to perform the job, such as develop policy and communicate with patients. Thus, developing a job description was very important. After screening resumes for minimum qualifications, phone interviews were conducted. Importance of determine personality traits and Organizational Citizenship Behaviors (OCBs) during selection process We wanted to select employees who we believed would be successful in the job.
According o Barrick and Mount (1991), the “Big Five” personality dimensions are related to job performance. Their study indicated that Conscientiousness, which is a tendency to show self-discipline, act dutiful, and aim for achievement against measures or outside expectations showed consistent relations with job proficiency. Extraversion, which is characterized by positive emotions, surgency, and the tendency to seek out stimulation and the company of others, was a valid predictor for occupations involving social interaction. The other three factors- Openness, Agreeableness and Neuroticism had small correlation score.
Since most of the positions involved interacting with children, Extraversion would be the factor I needed to pay attention to. From this article, I understood the importance of using personality traits during the selection process. To help me determine useful personality traits for different positions, Raymark, Schmit and Guion (2006) talked about identifying potentially useful personality constructs for employee selection. They created the Personality-Related Position Requirements Form (PPRF), which was a job analysis form to be used in making hypotheses about personality predictors of job performance.
People predicted job performance by identifying whether the candidate’s personality matched the dimensions they determined in the job analysis. For example, the author conducted a job analysis and hypothesized that several dimensions were essential to perform the job efficiently, such as leadership, sensitivity to interests of others, cooperative or collaborative work tendency and general trustworthiness. Then, authors linked candidates’ personality with these dimensions to identify who fit the position best.
I did not get a chance to use the actual form due to the limited resources and budget at work; however, I learned from it. Before screening for every position, I read the job description in our database and analyzed potential personalities that would fit the particular position. I also discussed these personalities with my manager for suggestions. When I screened resumes and interviewed, I would look for the specific personalities to match required skill sets as well as the organization’s culture. Employees in the organizations are always helpful. They are very easy to talk to.
Everybody worked together and helped each other out. I talked to my manager about our organizational culture and she said that we are helpful, energetic and team-orientated. It was difficult to draw personality traits simply from the resume, so I looked at the format of the resume to determine if the candidate was detail-oriented or not. If the format of the resume was disorganized, there was a greater chance that the candidate was not careful, as opposed to one with an organized resume. If a potential employee was careless when editing their resume, I would conclude that they would not try their best at work.
If the candidate passed the resume phase it meant a chance for a phone interview. This was the phase where we could get a general sense of the candidate’s personality. I talked to my manager before conducting phone interviews to discuss traits I should look for. For example, I would look for people who are energetic and outgoing; and people who were patient and easy to talk to. Their tones on the phone and language they used would be a big part of the determination process. We were looking for candidates who had positive tones and good communication skills.
Even though there was no list of personality traits to look for, I tried to analyze the job description. I discussed the jobs with my coworkers and drew a list of personality traits in my mind when I phone interviewed candidates. When they responded to our questions, we were looking for people who answer calmly and respectfully. Other than personality traits, OCB was another important factor I paid attention to when I conducted the phone interview. OCB is the “performance that supports the social and psychological environment in which task performance takes places” (Organ, 1997).
Research results showed OCB has significant relationships with important organizational outcomes such as productivity, efficiency, and turnover (Podsakoff, Whiting, Podsakoff, & Blume, 2009). With minimum qualifications, I wanted to select candidates who showed OCBs in their phone interview. Podsakoff, Whiting, Podsakoff, & Mishra (2010) also talked about the effects of OCBs on selection decision in employment interviews. The article reports on an experiment examning the effects of job candidates’ propensity to exhibit OCBs on selection decisions made in the context of a job interview.
The result showed that candidates who exhibited higher levels of OCBs were generally rated as more competent, received higher overall evaluations, and received higher salary recommendations than candidates who exhibited lower levels of OCBs. When I asked job candidates questions, I was looking for people who showed higher levels of helping, voice, and loyalty behaviors in their answers. I believe employees who love to help others, who would express their feelings to improve rather than criticize, and who showed loyalty to their employers would work well in our organization.
I talked to my manager about these factors and she agreed with me. For example, for the receptionist position, when I asked the candidate about their past working experience, I would like to hear examples of them voluntarily helping their co-workers, or solving conflicts between co-workers. Also, I would want to hear them talk about what did they achieved at the past job, like what did they do to improve the company or themselves. Another thing I would ask them is why were they looking for a new job?
Candidates’ responses and attitudes toward their old employer would give me an idea of their loyalty if they were work for our organization. If these personality traits and OCBs showed during the phone interview, I would invite candidates to come in for an in-person interview. The reason for conducting a walk-in interview after a phone interview was because by meeting with the individual, it helped us to know the individual better. Our organization required employees to have an in-house observation to give them a chance to get in touch with patients and observe their reactions.
I was not able to participate in the in-house observations; however, I tried my best to select potential candidates from the first two rounds of interviews. Selection Decisions Dalessio and Imada (1984) talked about relationships between interview selection decisions and perceptions of applicant similarity. The study had shown that interviewers’ final decisions were related to: [a] the degree of similarity between the interviewers’ perception of the ideal employee and the applicant, and [b] the degree of similarity between the interviewers’ self-perception and the applicant.
This was a useful tip when I interviewed. I sat in several interviews before personally conducting one. I observed the communication between applicants and my Human Resources Manager. Since all these candidates passed the minimum qualification, my manager looked for someone who best fit the organization. “Fit” is the word we use in our selection process. Many applicants had the minimum qualifications for the job; however, we wanted someone who fit in the organization. Garcia, Posthuma, & Colella (2008) talked about how interviewers construct fit perceptions about applicants.
Their results showed that performance expectation had a direct effect on fit perceptions. Unanimously with the study, our manager wanted to select people who she thought would perform well in the organization. She had an idea of what an ideal applicant would look like in her mind. For example, when we hired nurses, my manager looked to see if the applicant was careful, sensitive, caring and good at teamwork. If the applicant used to work in teams and got along with his or her team members, she would be able to determine if this applicant fit our organization. This person should have high Agreeableness.
If we were hiring for a receptionist, we would want to look for candidates who love to help others. From these observations, I learned to study the interview questions and pay attention to personality traits and OCBs that we were looking for in an ideal employee. Each time, I would read these different interview questions for different positions and rehearse the questions in my mind. Also, I identified personality traits and OCBs that were related to the position. Combined with the PPRF I mentioned earlier, I discussed with my manager about our expectations for an ideal candidate before the interview.
What were the essential skills and personalities that fit in the organization? After I identified those aspects, I would start the interview process. The more the individual matched our requirements, the more likely this individual would be hired. Each position requires different personality traits; unfortunately, I am not able to list them out specifically due to the confidentiality policy of the organization. Difficulties Encountered Unavoidably, we chose some overqualified candidates to pursue to the next step, which are the background check and drug-screen test.
We chose these candidates because they would be quick studies and help others develop. However, our compensation was not the most attractive in the industry. We lost several over-qualified candidates right before orientation. Some left due to compensation limitations; some left due to lack of potential opportunities. We lost both time and money due to the unexpected losses. I discussed these issues with my manager. She told me that they lost more than 70% of over-qualified individuals among all over-qualified individuals during the recruiting process in the past.
Even though the turnover is high, they have better potential compared to individuals who have minimum skills only. Her ways to avoid the situation was to not interview over-qualified individuals if they required much higher compensation than what we could offer. I disagreed with her opinion. Compensation definitely matters to jobseekers, however, it is not the only thing that matters. I believed more factors should be considered before we decided if an interview should be conducted, such as potential growth, training and development, as well as a benefit package.
According to Wells (2004), there are pros and cons of hiring overqualified candidates. The potential advantages include they might be able to pick up tomorrow’s leaders today at below-market prices. If they were hired, they could help employees meet their goals sooner and potentially contribute a lot more to the company. However, there were disadvantages as well. Overqualified candidates were often too expensive. If we didn’t give them a better compensation package, situations similar in our organizations would be likely to happen again. Also, Wells mentioned that they were likely to intimidate others.
Hiring a person who is far more experienced than his or her peers or immediate supervisor could create upside-down reporting relationships and authority tensions. Careful assessment was required when intending to hire overqualified candidates. From the article, I learned that I should decide how to define over-qualification. I brought up the topic at one of our intern meetings. We agreed that being at the wrong level and salary expectation was one of the most important factors. It looked kind of like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (Maslow, 1943).
He used the terms Physiological, Safety, Belongingness and Love, Esteem, Self-Actualization and Self-Transcendence need to describe the pattern that human motivations generally move through. When primary needs were satisfied, people seek for higher level needs. I think over-qualified employees do the same. Compensation is a primary need for job seekers. However, it is not the only factor that matters. If we provide fair amount of compensation, they look for other factors such as personal growth. However, if the compensation level is much lower than the average, they seek for other companies.
Our organization does not have to have the most attractive compensation, however, it should be the average in the industry. We provided minimum pay at the phone interview. Also, there was a pay expectation on the job application. Comparing our minimum pay and candidates’ expectations, we would be able to draw a picture of the possibility of follow through the hiring process with the over qualified candidates. For example, we would give applicants a realistic preview of what the job would be. During the phone screen process, I told them the salary for the position and paid attention to their response.
If the candidate hesitated, they most likely would not continue the process. We would not follow up with this candidate. The next step was to ask if we could do something to position the job opportunity to better take advantage of the applicant’s experience. For instance, if the applicant’s past experience was specialized in child care, we would transfer the applicant to the childcare facilities within the organization. Or, if the applicant obviously had more skills and experience, we would offer a higher-level position instead of an entry-level position.
Also, we arranged in-house observations for applicants to give them a preview of certain responsibilities of the job and observe their reaction in the real work environment. Lastly, we assessed what career stage the person was in. We would like to know if they had ambitious goals and wanted fast growth. As a result, we looked at three predictors of candidate’s success on the job: the ability to do the work, the ability to work well with others and motivation. Motivation factors include, career growth like promotion opportunities and personnel growth, such as education reimbursement.
Following these assessment steps, we successfully decreased the drop off rate for overqualified candidates. During my internship period, we made efforts to hire seven over-qualified candidates, half of them went through the whole process, which is much better than before. Job Description Development Beyond my expectations, I had a chance to develop several job descriptions during my internship due to organization transformation and expansion. Brannick and Levine (2002) mentioned that the structure of the job description should include identifiers, a summary section, duties and tasks, and other information.
They suggest using a KSA modeling approach and critical incident technique to structure the job description. Due to the limited time I was given, I was not able to analyze these KSAs and critical incidents. However, I followed their format, which made the job description easier to read. Since the organization had their own format for job descriptions, which didn’t include a summary section, I discussed with my manager the benefit of adding a summary section for each position and edited all of our job descriptions.
The summary section gave applicants and mployees a clear idea of what their responsibilities were and linked with tasks and skill sets required. I believe the summary gave employees a better idea of what their daily functions looked like. During my internship, I developed job description for utility manager, staff development specialist, and executive assistant. Also, my coworkers and I revised all of our job descriptions in the database by adding a summary section. After the format was decided, I planned to start to draft the job description. Part of the job description was minimum qualifications.
Levine, Maye, Ulm, and Gordon (1997) provided a step-by-step account of the methodology and described the means by which validated minimum qualifications (MQ) were obtained. The authors indicated that MQs were created for education, experience, and closely related personalities needed to perform a job satisfactorily. In our organization, a closely related personality for nurse would be Agreeableness. We looked for people who would follow the policy and work with others. MQs are often used as screening devices in personnel selection. Our organization used MQs to screen out applicants as well.
Levine, et al (1997) mentioned that in order to determine minimum qualifications, a job analysis needed to be conducted. Its descriptors or components were both behavioral and cognitive in nature. Tasks, the behavioral aspects and KSAs, and the cognitive aspects were determined. Scales were developed to evaluate tasks and KSAs for their impact and relevance in establishing MQs. The authors indicated that this job analysis established a basis for the development of MQs, and defined domains against which to evaluate the MQs for content validity.
Preliminary research and observation by human resources specialists, including review of the dictionary of occupational titles, also helped to lead to the preparation of draft lists of tasks and KSAs. Interviews with current employees should be conducted to review relevant tasks and responsibilities required at their job. The authors also suggested a meeting with SMEs to determine the final task and KSA list. Using the list, people should be able to prepare a set of MQ profiles. According to the study, this methodology proved to have high inter- rater reliability.