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HRLitehouse: Human Resource Management

Friday HR Fun Thought - Couch-surfing

By Dennis Published: August 29, 2008

With business hotels in some cities hitting the $300 dollar plus mark, I believe couch-surfing may be the solution to your business travel costs. Couch surfing involves having travelers stay on the couches, floors, or spare bed of strangers in cities the person is visiting. Think of the money you could save by implementing a couch-surfing policy for business travel; except of course travel by HR staff and their consultants.

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Gas Prices and HR

By Dennis Published: August 27, 2008

As the price of gas rises, and prices rise, many lower paid, i.e., (low grade) employees will have to choose between moving to be closer to work or changing their jobs to be closer to their home. The result will be increased turnover, unless companies take steps to reduce turnover in lower grade jobs.

A general point - even in low grade jobs, where turnover is very high, half of turnover is not voluntary. In many cases, individuals in low grade jobs face seasonal layoffs. In addition, individuals may not make it through the probationary period.

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Ask HRLite - False Information on Application

By Dennisandpamela Published: August 26, 2008

Ask HRLite:  The job I have requires a college degree.  I lied when I applied for the job and said I had a college degree when I did not.  What should I do now?

HR Lite's Reply:  You have placed yourself in a tough situation.  As is often the case, it would have been better to be honest in the beginning.  There is a risk in this situation that if the information comes out you may be fired.  You lack one of the minimum qualifications for the job you hold.  You might want to talk to a lawyer or in a confidential manner to someone in human resources.

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Googling for Applicant Information Continued

By Dennisandpamela Published: August 25, 2008

Continuing our discussion of issues involved in Googling for information on job applicants, I looked at two legal articles (one really a presentation) suggested by Martin Anderson and Deonda Scott. Some of the more interesting conclusions I reached from the articles (my interpretations not necessarily the author's, and I am neither a lawyer nor do I give legal advice).

Overall conclusion is similar to that offered before. A lot of organizations and individual recruiters are already using searches of Internet information. There can be legal issues both with using information and with not using information. Overall, the legal risk may be less for publicly available information on the Internet than for other types of information. More specifics:

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By Dennis Published: August 22, 2008

I have to admit -- I am unprepared for disasters. When our house was hit by flooding several years ago, my home office was in the basement and the flooding caused a great deal of damage. Of course, people who have seen my desk at home or at the University would probably argue that both constitute permanent disaster areas, but that is a whole different issue.

As someone who is unprepared, I appreciated the articles on HR and Disaster Preparedness in the most recent Magazine of the International Public Management Association for Human Resources. I think it is great to be reminded of the necessity to be prepared and the dangers of a lack of planning. My own guess is that this is a much bigger problem for small businesses and employers than large ones. So we all need planning. And it does not have to be a big disaster, anyone who has had a computer problem knows how much havoc even a small disaster can wreck on a small business.

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News from Boston and APA - Torture and Locations of Employment

By Dennis Published: August 21, 2008

There seemed to be less news coming out of the American Psychological Association (APA) meeting this year. Maybe it was because of the dominance of the debate within the APA over torture and a resolution dealing with locations of employment.

For those unfamiliar with the issue, over the years APA has passed a number of resolutions opposing torture. This year a resolution is up for vote by the membership that could potentially be seen as restricting where psychologists could work.

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Cheers from Boston and APA - Detecting Lying

By Dennis Published: August 20, 2008

I just got back from Boston where I attended the American Psychological Association Meeting. 15,000 psychologists together in Boston.

I had to attend quite a few administrative meetings, but I also presented a poster. The poster was actually presented along with my coauthors, Kevin Mahoney, Jeffrey Walczyk, and Diana Griffiths-Ross of Louisiana Tech University. It dealt with the topic of detecting dishonesty during the employment interview and with an alternative to the polygraph.

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Ask HR Lite - Notes During Interviewing?

By Dennis Published: August 19, 2008

Ask HRLite:  My new job requires me to interview job applicants.  I was wondering whether I should take notes during the interview or whether it is more important to pay attention to the applicant's answers?

HRLite's Reply:  Our memories tend to be limited.  Therefore, it is a good idea to take notes during the interview.  Of course, you will need to balance this with paying attention to what the applicant says and also to nonverbal cues offered by the applicant.  So, take notes as needed but also be an active, involved listener. 

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Back to School Time

By Dennis Published: August 14, 2008

It's back to school time. If you don't believe me visit your local store, which probably already has the Halloween merchandise out as well.

I hate this time of year. Not only because it means summer is over, but because it reminds me I am growing older (and being a gerontologist I should embrace rather than despair over getting older).

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Using Applicant MySpace and Social Networking Information - The Replies

By Dennisandpamela Published: August 13, 2008

In January of 2007, a relatively young female teacher here in Northeast Ohio found herself in the middle of a local controversy, but one that has been repeated in similar versions around the country. The teacher ended up resigning her part-time high school teaching position following parental concern over the content of her MySpace page. Although we do not know if anyone has kept official numbers, this young teacher joined a number of others around the country who lost jobs because of controversies over personal materials found on the Internet.

Most of the news reports appear to have focused on individuals who were fired from jobs because of the content of social networking sites. However, it is clear that more interviewers, supervisors, and HR departments are now searching the Internet for information on job applicants, as well as current employees. This goes beyond traditional background searches to include social networking sites.

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Ask HR Litehouse - Integrity Tests?

By Dennis Published: August 12, 2008

Our intent is to have an interactive blog. We encourage individuals to write to us with questions and we will do our best to answer them.

The questions may range from the simple, including those from job applicants, to the more complex and involved from HR professionals.

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Question - Would You Use MySpace Info on an Applicant?

By Dennisandpamela Published: August 7, 2008

We thought we would throw a question out and see if we get any interesting replies. We have asked this question on listserves before, so we will summarize the answers next week. The questions:

1. Would you look for information on a job applicant on MySpace or Facebook?

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Why Are My Posts So Long?

By Dennis Published: August 6, 2008

One of my faithful readers told me my answers were too long. He said, "Dad, when you're asked what time is it? You give a three part answer, starting with Let's consider the function of the second hand." He was right and I was just glad he did not mention how I break out my Steven Hawking PowerPoint Slides. After great reflection, I realized it is because I have now spent 50 years in school without a break (8 years with the Jesuits). So I blame it on the educational system.

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NEO (Local) HR News - Future IPMA-HR Conference in Cleveland

By Dennis Published: August 5, 2008

Public sector HR Managers, mark your calendars for June 7-10, 2009. The 73rd annual IPMA-HR Central Region conference will be held at the Downtown Cleveland Hilton Garden Inn from June 7-10, 2009. The cost of this event is $275 - you get 2.5 days of training and all meals paid for (except one lunch). For updated information check out the central region website.

The event will be hosted by the local chapter of IPMA-HR in Northern Ohio. This fine group meets in various locations; their next meeting is on September 18th from 11:30 - 1:30 at the City of Brecksville Community Center; Topic: FMLA legal update and other leaves of absence. The cost of the seminar will be in the $5-$15 range and includes lunch. Meetings are a great opportunity to network with other HR professionals in the NEO area. For further information, contact

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HR in the Media #1 - The Bobs from Office Space

By Dennis Published: August 4, 2008

HR professionals tend to have a negative image in the media, and not sexy negative, like lawyers, but boring sexy. In honor of this distinction, last week I started naming top 5 HR people in the media. Number 5 was Frank & Lillian Gilbreth, 4 was Catbert, 3 was Toby Flenderson (The Office), 2 was Drew Carey.

And #1 - the Bobs from Office Space

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