HR Chat: Cert Prep 101

Here’s the top 5 questions from our Cert Prep Chat!

Q. I understand that the test is scheduled for 4 hours. Do most test takers utilize the full 4 hours?
A. The test is now 175 questions and you have 3 hours to complete it. We recommend you use the entire time by first getting through all of the questions, marking any you’d like to review and going back. You may not need all of the 3 hours.

Q. Hello! I would like to have some advice on the best strategy for studying for the PHR. There is so much information out there, I want to focus on the right information. Thanks
A. One of the best approaches to studying for the exam PHR or SPHR is the unique tools within the Learning System is a smartstudy tool that provides you with a detailed plan to study based on your current experience and knowledge since your time will vary based on those factors.

Q. Has the PHR exam changed much over the past few years? If I purchased used prep material that’s 1-3 years old, would that be a better investment than buying the 2013 material?
A. The body of knowledge changed in 2012 so you will want the most current materials. Also, the SHRM Learning System is licensed to only 1 user. Do not miss out on all of the most recent valuable tools.

Q. What is the difference between using the SHRM system as opposed to enrolling with a university program?
A. You will receive the SHRM Learning System in either learning option. However by attending a CU course, you’ll benefit from: An experienced, certified instructor, The SHRM Learning System, ranked the #1 certification prep tool, A structured learning experience that keeps you on track, Opportunities to network and learn from your peers, Tuition reimbursement and 3.5 CEUs.

Q. Is there a deadline between the time the pre-certification course is completed and when the test may be taken?
A. We recommend that you take the exam in the same calendar year as you purchase the SHRM Learning System.

Want more answers to your cert prep questions, click HERE  for the full transcript!


HR Pros Share What NOT to Do in an Interview

Headed to that next interview?  Here’s a list of things you should NOT do as an applicant. Take a look and let us know what you think in the comments box below:


Have you taken–or do you teach–a massive open online course?

HR Magazine editors are looking for examples of massive open online courses that would be relevant to HR professionals. They may be sponsored by any department at a college or university, not necessarily an HR department.  If you have taken such a course, teach one or know of one–or recommend MOOCs as professional development opportunities for your employees–please contact Editor Nancy M. Davis at

Thanks for contributing to HR Magazine.


Office Romance Advice for HR Pros (Infographic)



GA Team Chat: State of the Union


GA Team: Live Chat During the President’s State of the Union Address

President Obama will give his annual State of the Union address (SOTU) Feb. 12, 2013 at 9 p.m. ET. This speech is important because the president will outline his key priorities for the year. President Obama is likely to use his speech to outline his legislative agenda, including deficit reduction, tax reform and immigration reform, among other issues.

The speech will come in the middle of another set of difficult budget negotiations between Congress and the administration.  In his invitation letter to the president, House Speaker John Boehner said the country faces immense challenges and Americans expect the Congress and White House to work together on solutions.  Boehner said cooperation will require a “willingness to seek common ground as well as presidential leadership.” There is no doubt a great deal of work lies ahead for the 113th Congress and President Obama.

Future decisions made on these initiatives will impact you and your workplace and may affect the way you prepare for what’s ahead, manage your employer’s risk and stay compliant.  That’s why it is important for HR advocates to meet with their elected officials early in the year, before proposals are introduced, to discuss possible policy implications on the workforce. 

Please join the SHRM Government Affairs Team (GAT) and @SHRMATeam at 8:30 p.m. ET on Feb. 12 for a live #SOTU #GATChat with special guests Lisa Horn (@SHRMLobbystLisa), Kathleen Coulombe (@kcnshrmga), Michael Layman (@SHRMLayman) and Chatrane Birbal (@SHRMAdvocacy). We’ll be chatting about the president’s legislative agenda and HR public policy issues in the current Congress and will provide an insider’s view to SHRM’s upcoming Legislative Conference.

Eventbrite - Join SHRM’s GA Team for a “Live” Chat During the President’s SOTU

The 2013 Employment Law and Legislative Conference, taking place March 10-13 in Washington, D.C., is an opportunity for SHRM members to continue the public policy conversation. This year’s conference, with the theme “Prepare, Manage and Stay,” offers an information-packed agenda for attendees.  In addition to the latest compliance information, participants will hear about legislative issues pending at federal and states levels, and conduct Capitol Hill meetings with their lawmakers to discuss key HR public policy issues, including relevant proposals from the president’s State of the Union address.

Why should HR professionals #HaveAVoice during the SHRM Employment Law and Legislative Conference?

Do you have a strategy for advocacy engagement?  What are the burning HR issues you would like to discuss with members of the 113th Congress?

Q1. What HR issues are you hoping the President will include in his SOTU address?

Q2. Are you attending this year’s Employment Law and Legislative Conference? If yes, why?

Q3. Have you attended the conference in previous years? What was your favorite part of the conference?

Q4. Hearing the SOTU, why is it more important than ever for HR professionals to engage in advocacy?

Q5. What are the HR public policy issues you’d like to discuss with lawmakers?

Q6. How has the E-verify process impacted operations in your workplace?

Q7. How might changes to the tax code such as retirement plans impact your employees?


Toasting 20 Years of FMLA

By Lisa Horn (@SHRMLobbystLisa), SHRM’s Senior Government Relations Advisor

By now you’ve heard that this week (Feb. 5) marked the 20th anniversary of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). This landmark federal leave statute has no doubt afforded countless new parents opportunities to bond with children while allowing other employees time off to recover from major health issues or to care for seriously ill loved ones – all without fear of losing a job.

As someone who has twice benefited from FMLA leave, I can’t help but toast the statute’s 20th anniversary and the peace of mind it has provided to so many. On the other hand, I’m sympathetic to the HR professionals I serve, who routinely share with me the challenges they encounter administering FMLA leave.
So how did such a well-intentioned law end up being such a nightmare for organizations to implement? Unfortunately, what began as a fairly simple 12-page document has become 200 pages of complex regulations – a counter-productive attempt to anticipate and micro-manage every situation in every workplace in every industry – without regard for the evolving and diverse needs of today’s workforce, among other things.

Of all the rules and regulations HR professionals and their organizations must comply with, the FMLA may be the most vexing, which is probably why the SHRM Knowledge Center receives more inquiries about FMLA than any other federal statute. SHRM’s survey report illustrates many of the FMLA implementation challenges HR professionals encounter, with nearly half (47 percent) reporting difficulties when dealing with leave associated with an employee’s own medical condition, especially when the health issue is “episodic” in nature. The good news is that when it comes to FMLA leaves for births or adoptions, HR professionals experience far fewer challenges, likely because work operations can continue when absences are planned.

Given SHRM members’ experience with the FMLA, I was surprised (to put it mildly) to read this Department of Labor statement outlining key findings of its new survey “that shows employers generally find it easy to comply with the law, and misuse of the FMLA by workers is rare. The vast majority of employers, 91 percent, report that complying with the FMLA has either no noticeable effect or a positive effect on business operations such as employee absenteeism, turnover and morale.”

Whoa, what? How can that be when the HR professionals who are directly responsible for FMLA compliance have such a radically different experience?

To be clear, neither SHRM nor our members want to dismantle the FMLA and the benefits it affords American families. For years, SHRM has championed modifications and clarifications to the Act’s implementing regulations to improve leave administration in the workplace and to ensure the Act’s integrity by combatting misuse of FMLA leave. Simply put, after 20 years of experience, HR professionals continue to cite real challenges with certain (not all) FMLA provisions and SHRM believes these should be addressed.

At the same time, SHRM is leading a new conversation about workplace flexibility public policy in this country – one that is free of rigid government mandates so organizations can create innovative and more flexible ways to meet the needs of their employees. Our Principles for a 21st Century Workplace Flexibility Public Policy provide a roadmap to incentivize employers to voluntarily adopt flexible work arrangements and leave programs that may even go beyond FMLA benefits, ensuring public policy works for both employers and employees…….Now that deserves another toast!


Tips on the Getting #TheJob from Real HR Pros!

CBS’ new show THE JOB is adding a reality spin to the job seeking process and offering a glimpse into the hiring process for the world to see.  We asked some of our HR professionals, many of whom are hiring talent on a daily basis to share some tips for job seekers looking to find a new job or get back to work.

Job Tips from real #HR Pros!

Looking for #TheJob? Here’s some tips from the experts: #HR Professionals!

Storified by SHRM· Thu, Feb 07 2013 11:23:47

spell check your resume, that’s a buzzkill. Dress professional, even if the job is for a "casual" company…it doesn’t matter. Whoever you encounter in the office during your interview, be polite and respectful. I’ve seen people be so rude to my assistant and then come to me with fake smiles and attitudes. I can see through all that Maybelline to know when people are not genuine!Danielle Rebekah Raffield
Understand that the interview starts when you walk in the door. You will interview with security, the receptionist and everyone you walk past in the hallway leading to HR. Those interviews (although brief) are just as important as the interview with HR.Akilah A. Bradford
The best advice I have is to be positive, no one wants to hire a negative person, HR knows you left your last job for a reason (maybe yours, maybe theirs) but that experience should be rehashed in therapy not a job interview! If your last job ended on …See MoreCara A Winslow
Find out what can you bring to the table, what would make you an asset to the company..Evelyn Solis
be prepared, review the company website, make sure your resume and reference are accurate , dress to impressMiriam Dushane Phr
Take the time to tailor your cover letter & resume to closely relate to the job requirements. It’s aggravating to see a career objective that is VASTLY different from the job at hand. We have a lot of resumes to screen – do what you can to make our ears perk up (within reason!)Cecilia Bravo
Never short sell yourself during an interview. Plus research the company you are applying to, to have background to help ask the needed questions.Kelly Laskey
Be sure your KSAs are a fit for the qualification requirements !Paula Carey
keep your mommy out of the equation! Don’t have mommy call and see if we have openings. Don’t have daddy drop off your resume and never bring them to interview!Renee Frost
What answer can a candidate give regarding a former job that was positive in some areas but blatantly not OK in other areas (mgt)? There must be a reason one left the past job and some former ex-bosses are not good people.Sherri Springfield
Read the position requirements before applying. If you don’t meet them, don’t bother.Matt Charney
Know about the company that you are interviewing with.Grace Dobson
Be passionate!Christina Gibson
Be honest in your applicationMichelle Bohorquez
Not only have a professional email address, have a professional voicemail message.Melissa Rector Lock
practice your one-minute elevator speech….sell yourself.Tully Frank
Think about what you are about to say before you say it….words cannot be taken back.Cheryl Moore
A well-written cover letter.Anduiza Maria
Resumes should showcase evidence of accomplishments that are measurable and tangible to the business, not just list skills, anyone can list skills. I want to see how you have applied them successfully to meet the goals of your business.Colleen Malchodi
You need to have a firm handshake and speak clearly without using slang. Is a job interview not a gathering at a bar.Oscar Posada
Leave off your personal hobbies unles they are job related! Use resume space wisely and put relevant job related skills instead.Ann Steward
As interview basicly judge by what you present physically or mentally dont try to present what you dont posses. Just be original may it is that which you have exactly is what they are eyeing,you never can tell. Elewuro Akeem
Be prepared to talk about yourself! I interview so many that don’t want to "toot their own horn" and it’s like pulling teeth to get an answer. Know your strengths and weaknesses and be prepared to back those up with examples.Bobbi Jo Marie Jorgensen
Be professional and respectful to everyone you come in contact with, the receptionist, the recruiter etc. It’s not just the boss you need to impress.Sarah ‘Floyd’ Koustrup
Get a firm handshake (men & women!!). Be confident. Only speak positive about past experiences (companies, projects and bosses).Kate Coffman
Pay atttention to detail; proof-read and (if possible) have someone else proof-read everything that you submit. Your computer’s spell-checker won’t catch some distinctions – like the difference between "perspective" and "prospective" in this post from Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).Therese Donahue Schneider
Ask not what they can do for you, but what you can do for them. Don’t ask about benefits and pay in the first interview. Show what you have to offer them!Brandy Block
Get yr resume professionally done. If u don’t have the $ seek out an hr or recruiter friend. Be diligent n persistent In Yr job search Cater your cover letter for each job u apply for Be prepared for your interview (get professional or a friends help with that as well)Toni Wilson Pierce
Take the time to personalize your resume for each job you apply to! Realistically we only view resumes for a few seconds. If you don’t want to rewrite your resume, address the main qualifications from the job description at the top of your resume (instead of a cover letter, which does not always get read). You dress up when you meet for an interview….consider dressing up your resume for each opportunity!Kenneta Fabing
Follow up on your application… Networking is key –Selinda Guerrero
Maintain a positive attitude and present yourself in a professional manner, smile and shake hands with a purpose when you meet your prospective employer.Barb Sayer Holz
Do thorough diligence on the prospective company. Read the financials, look at growth, know the main product lines and ESPECIALLY know mission statement and/or core values. I structure my behavioral questions around my company’s core values, looking for fit into our company culture.John Kincaid
Make your answers aligned with your REsume and do not say , why they are asking me about information which is in the paper infornt of them , relax and enjoy the interview :) Ali Alhadheri
Even though you interview with a Tier1 Recruiter, make sure to be respectful and kind, regardless of the decades of experience you have, remember this recruiter is the person that can choose or not to introduce you with the "decision makers"Grecia Rivera
Be positive with your responses to questions. Not everything can be positive, but don’t dwell in the negatives. Have a positive lesson learned from past negative experiences and share those instead of bashing your ex-employers.LeAnna Harding
Answer the questions asked of you, don’t just ramble on about who you know.Kathy Pankau Bouma
Complete the application w/ correctlyl spelled words; when asked for a specific example, give a SPECIFIC example.Dorothy Stassen-Douglass
The tip I would offer is the one in my blog post here: E. Wright
Only apply to companies you have researched, know something about and are genuinely interested in.Suzi Benoit
I’d teach the difference between perspective and prospective.Warner Coffman
Make your resume stand out, but don’t do it with cute pictures, fodd fonts or outrageous colors.J Stewart Singleton
So many great suggestions here from SHRM peeps!May I add something about that firm handshake… don’t squeeze the interviewer(s) hand so hard that you break a blood vessel (yes, this happened to me last summer!)Susan Radecke Yates
1.Review the résumé. Review it again.2.Show up on time for the interview. That means plan on getting there early. Look around. Look friendly.3.Dress appropriately. O.K. This one is going to require some judgment.4.Know something about the company. Or…See MoreCarmelita Rojas
Use a normal email address. is not impressive.Katie Barnett Ervin
Be as flexible as possible.Patrina King
Be prepared for interview,dress code is mandatory, get information about the employer and don’t be late for interview.Lirije Haliti
Seek to determine fit with the culture and leadership, not with the title or role.Salima Nathoo
Apply to the specific position, not the career. It is obvious when a resume is a general resume sent en masse versus one catered to my specific position that is open. Take the time to alter words, descriptions, and experience to be in line (and truthfu…See MoreKev Leo Moss
Research the companyAlonzo Demand


SHRM HR Chat: FMLA 20 Years Later

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