Posts tagged ‘job search’

January 2, 2014

Are Employers Missing The Mark When They Demand Particular HRIS System Experience of Candidate Payroll Managers?


This question was raised with me by an experienced and respected Australian Payroll Professional and my immediate response to the question was “Yep!  I’ve been there!”…

Why do so many employers base the position criteria around particular HRIS systems, thus eliminating many otherwise perfectly qualified payroll professionals from applying?

I would love to learn the views of both payroll managers and those responsible for recruiting them, as to whether there are valid reasons to decree specific HRIS systems experience of payroll management candidates.

Although my own resume clearly shows that I have vast experience with a diverse range of HRIS systems and I’ve achieved significant improvement outcomes with each of them, I too have been rejected from the candidate pool from the outset because I can’t tick the particular HRIS system experience box demanded by certain job advertisements.

My view is that there are certainly roles and circumstances where this demand is warranted, such as stand-alone payrolls where there is no handover time and experience is required to hit the ground running, or for some HRIS system implementations that require exemplary knowledge of a particular HRIS system to achieve the outcomes for the business (with a big HOWEVER here, because successful HRIS system implementation requires a great deal more than just expertise in a HRIS system).

The greatest considerations of employers/recruiters, in my mind, before a job advertisement stipulates that experience in a certain HRIS system is a pre-requisite, should be:

  1. What are the outcomes required of the Payroll Manager in relation to the HRIS system?
  2. Which HRIS systems are comparable to the one in place at this employer?
  3. How can candidates demonstrate their cross functional capabilities from comparable HRIS systems?
  4. How do I as a recruiter, not exclude the best candidates from applying for this position?

The experience that should be sought from Payroll Management candidates should be based purely on their ability to achieve the outcomes of the particular role they are applying for and if a candidate can demonstrate they have similar or multiple HRIS system experience, they may actually be a far better candidate than twenty others with ten years user experience of the HRIS system used within the employing business.

What are the outcomes required of the Payroll Manager in relation to the HRIS system?

The following questions should be raised in order to determine the HRIS system specific position requirements and outcomes:

  • What exactly do we require the candidate to know about the HRIS system in question?
  • Why is the candidate required to possess certain HRIS systems knowledge?
  • Will they be processing the payroll?
  • Will they be documenting business processes?
  • Will they be required to maximise the functionality and efficiency of the HRIS system?
  • Will the candidate have a handover period or will they be thrown into the fire?
  • Does the candidate need to understand HRIS system configuration?
  • Will the candidate be required to create/write reports within the HRIS system?
  • What level of skill and experience is required in HRIS Data Analysis?
  • Will the candidate be required to maximise the efficiency of the HRIS system and build automations?
  • Do we have other Subject Matter Experts in the business with the required HRIS systems knowledge?

The outcomes required of the candidate in relation to the HRIS system will determine whether the candidate really needs to have experience in a particular system; whether proven experience in a similar operating system will be suitable; or whether it is even a requirement worth asking for.

Which HRIS systems are comparable to the one in place at this employer?

Payroll Software, SaaS providers and HRIS systems around the globe offer a multitude of points of difference but essentially, payroll is payroll and if you understand payroll, accounting and HRIS systems administration, there shouldn’t be a payroll/HRIS system that can’t be learned on the run by a professional payroll manager.

For those who can’t imagine how this may be possible, here are just some of the ways that professionals manage to learn new systems on the fly:

  • There’s always a Help button and usually a fairly decent user manual
  • More often than not there is a hefty support contract that can be utilised to seek additional information
  • Utilising Subject Matter Experts within the business
  • User groups, networking groups, forums and colleagues within the industry
  • Trusty old Google provides a world of answers
  • Payrollers are hoarders and there’s always someone who has the report writing training manual, configuration documentation or other precise information you are seeking
  • Most HRIS systems have a functional test database where professionals can model and test the outcomes they are attempting to implement

How can candidates demonstrate their cross functional capabilities?

Just because a group of candidates may have worked with a single system for the last 10 years, this does not automatically validate their ability to maximise HRIS system efficiencies, create reports or undertake data integrity validation.  It is important to understand exactly what their user experience is and whether they are actually super users, if that is a requirement of the position.

Again, the outcomes required of the position are an important pre-cursor to enable the recruiter to seriously examine each candidates HRIS systems experience.  Your candidate pool may be filled with people proficient only in producing payrolls and creating a handful of adhoc reports and may never even have heard of the concept of maximising the ROI of a HRIS system.

If I was employing a person who had 5-10 years’ experience in a payroll system and in payroll supervisory or management position, then I would be expecting they should be able to demonstrate a long list of improvements they’ve implemented along the way to that system.

I believe recruiters should be asking candidates to demonstrate their experience and previous outcomes in:

  • Improving data quality within HRIS systems to ensure data integrity and compliance
  • Creating cost and production efficiencies by implementing processes, creating automations and removing duplication of effort
  • Advanced report writing experience (or excel capabilities with extracted data) to increase analysis and reporting capabilities
  • Understanding the concept of and delivering  ROI on a HRIS system

How do I as an employer or recruiter, not exclude the best candidates from applying for this position?

In simple terms, employers and recruiters must truly understand the role… especially the required outcomes, as already discussed.  Where the employer stipulates particular HRIS system experience as a pre-requisite, an honest and open discussion by the recruiter will reveal whether this is a real or perceived position requirement.

Simply raise the questions voiced in this article with the employer:

  • What are the particular HRIS System outcomes required of this position?
  • Can this only be provided by a candidate experienced in one HRIS system, or are there comparable systems or transferrable skills?
  • Is there an existing Subject Matter Expert in the business that can be utilised by a Payroll Manager candidate with superior HRIS systems improvement experience, but lacking experience in the required HRIS system?
  • How can recruiters be sure that dedicated experience in a single HRIS system isn’t more than simple payroll processing knowledge? Does the candidate know how to manipulate data, write reports, analyse system efficiencies?  How will candidates demonstrate their experience in achieving the HRIS system outcomes required?

So, it’s over to the employers, recruiters and payroll manager candidates now… what is your experience?  Do you have a view point on whether HRIS systems experience is a transferrable skill?

If you have any questions you would like to raise personally, please email Louise Vidler at The Professional Payroll Manager.

© 2014 Louise Vidler T/As The Professional Payroll Manager.  All rights reserved.

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February 24, 2012

Are you playing nicely on LinkedIn? Recruiters are watching…


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 There’s increasing data on the fact that social media is playing a greater role in recruitment. I received just today, via twitter @shawnlyndon a link to the “2011 US Source of Hire Data” * Everywhere you look HR people and firms are talking about the upsurge.  Given that LinkedIn is a major player in the professional social media world, and again, an ever increasing beast, it is continuing to prove itself as the place to be, to get a look in for prospective jobs and clients.

This got me wondering whether recruiters just look at your profile or whether they do a little more digging around in your updates.  If they’re checking your facebook, surely they’d be looking at your activity elsewhere?

There are endless articles on how to present yourself and how to use social media to your advantage. What I haven’t seen discussed though (and serious discussion needs to be had) is the behaviour of people in discussion boards and forums and the content they place on them.

Typographical and/or spelling errors are rampant, even taking into consideration that English would be a second language for many.

My personal favourites are people that respond to job ads expecting the advertiser to chase them. They say something along the lines of “Yep I want a job, so here’s my lazy link with a sloppily written, poor attempt at an intro. Now come and get me!”  Do they then sit in front of their computer screens waiting for the recruiters to hunt them down? Since when?! If you show that much laziness and lack of initiative at the outset, why would they bother?

Then there are those that get involved in discussions (which is a great thing), but their language and use of it portrays them as elitists or simply ignorant.  I’ve seen some content that perhaps with another 60 seconds of thought process, may have helped the writer to reconsider before pressing the submit button.

They’ve pounded into the discussion with their worldly opinion and a complete disregard for whomever else may be reading their thoughts. Some are out rightly rude and others teeter on the line of disparagement.  Do we need to remind people about common decency?  I would call it stupidity, but in a world of political correctness…No, it’s still stupidity!

If people are as professional as their profile leads us to believe, then why do they allow themselves to appear on discussion boards as if they would struggle to write a letter, compose an email, construct a whole sentence, or even string a few words together?

When you write comments on discussion boards, please sit back for at least 60 seconds and take another look!  Check the spelling. Read your viewpoint from the receivers’ mindsets and consider how your comments may be interpreted. Does your contribution represent yourself, your industry and your employer or business well?  Ask yourself if a potential employer or client saw this conversation, would it secure you the job or put you out the door.

You can sell yourself all you like in a carefully constructed profile, but when you jump in feet first into the discussion boards what are you telling others about your professionalism, your ethics, your personality and quite frankly your basic ability to interact with another human?  Very revealing!

© 2012, Louise Vidler

Follow on twitter @louisevidler

Join the LinkedIn group The Professional Payroll Manager

Like the facebook page Australian Payroll Professionals

* 2012 Sources of Hire: Channels of Influence by Gerry Crispin and Mark Mehler

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