A #SHRM17 Interview with Alexander Alonso, Ph.D., SHRM-SCP

I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Alexander Alonso, Ph.D., SHRM-SCP, SHRM senior vice president of Knowledge Development and certification, for a number of years. He is the guy behind the examination development and operations for SHRM’s Certified Professional and Senior Certified Professional certifications.   He was responsible for all research activities, including the development of the SHRM Competency Model.   I have always enjoyed my time spent discussing the SHRM Certification program and how it was developed, and got a much greater understanding of how it all came together and what makes it different from other certifications.

JJ:  What key highlights would an HR practitioner gain from reading your book, Defining HR Success: 9 Critical Competencies for HR Professionals? Why do you think that?

AA:  When I think about how HR professionals develop, I wonder how individuals use different paths to achieve success. Sometimes when I consider all the pathways, I feel for HR professionals because there are so many options that picking a path can be daunting. It’s like being lost without GPS. Defining HR Success is a competency-based roadmap for clarifying the path to positive outcomes. The biggest benefit of this book is finding one’s path to actual effectiveness without sacrificing personal career development.

JJ:   Are there other key points from your session that you feel HR practitioners would learn from that are outside your book?

AA:  During my session, I’ll share new anecdotes of success and highlight the major pitfalls individuals encounter when trying to reach new heights. I’ll share some great stories about career-limiting missed opportunities shared from HR professionals and thought leaders.

JJ:   What is a book you’d recommend, other than your own, that HR folks would benefit from? It doesn’t have to be a straight HR book.

AA:  If we’re talking HR, I always recommend Pat Wright’s A View from The Top as a great resource for thinking like CHROs. But, that is always what I recommend—my go-to resources look at dysfunctional teamwork; go get your copy of Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential. His cooking is delicious, but his tales from his lengthy career will feed your soul and make you re-think management as a practice.

JJ:  What speakers do you plan to see at SHRM17, and why?

AA:  I plan to see the standard bearers like Patrick Lencioni and Laila Ali; but Laszlo Bock is right up my alley.  I am a nerd by training, and love when people can tell stories with meaningful data.  It warms my soul.  If you are looking for a darkhorse presentation, I’d look for Shonna Waters on benefits and the role they play in talent acquisition.  It’s a new world and she’s got all the secrets for your success.

JJ: What is your can’t-miss recommendation for New Orleans, other than the conference of course?

AA:  I always recommend Commander’s Palace in the Garden District if you want to experience old-world southern charm and elegance.  But, if you want something different and off the beaten path, I recommend barbecue oysters at Drago’s in Metairie.  It’s on the other side of Lake Pontchartrain, but well worth it. (Yes, I love food and my waist shows it.)


Alex will be delivering an update on the SHRM Certification from the SMART STAGE on Sunday, June 18 at 12 p.m.

He will also be presenting on The Value of SHRM Certification at 10:45 a.m. on Tuesday, June 20.

He will be signing his book at the SHRMStore immediately following both sessions.



The SHRM Blog does not accept solicitation for guest posts.

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