Human Resources Association's Julie Gentry on the 5 Key Mistakes People Make on Their Job Application

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Oct. 28, 2013 12:00 am  

Julie Gentry

Julie Gentry is president of the board of the Central Arkansas Human Resources Association, a chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management.

Gentry has worked in the field of human resources for more than 10 years. She currently works in the human resources department at Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in advertising and public relations from Texas Christian University and a master’s degree in human resources from Webster University. She is also nationally certified in human resources with a Professional in Human Resources designation.

How are demographic changes (the aging out of the job market by baby boomers, increasingly diverse workforces) affecting the field of human resources?

Currently we have four generations in the workforce. Each generation has different approaches and feelings toward working, and that brings about varying issues for companies and HR professionals to deal with. The aging out of the baby boomer generation in the workforce is also a big concern. This is a very large work group who possess a great deal of knowledge and skills. Companies will need to prepare for the knowledge gap once those workers are gone.

What are the most common questions HR professionals receive from their employers/clients?

Questions regarding employee discipline are common. With the rise of technology, those types of questions are constantly evolving. Social media has raised many questions on what information is private and what is public. For example, does an employer have the right to discipline an employee for a derogatory comment made about the company on the employee’s Facebook page?

Are you seeing in Arkansas a trend observed elsewhere, that of the increased use by employers of contract labor? How is that affecting you as an HR professional?

Yes, the trend is emerging here as well. In an age when traditional reference checking typically results only in dates and title verifications of a candidate’s previous employment, a lot of companies are opting for contract labor. The adage “try before you buy” is applicable here. Employers receive a firsthand look at the person’s work performance before potentially bringing him or her on as a company employee. As HR professionals, we work with the contract labor companies to find suitable candidates for our companies’ needs. We also work to ensure that contract labor follow our companies’ policies and procedures when on company premises.

How has technology that allows employers and employees to be in constant contact (computers, cell phones, etc.) affected the workplace and workplace morale?

Technology has had both positive and negative effects on the workplace. The positive effect is typically more work can be done is less time. The negative effect is what some employees refer to as “the electronic leash”: They always feel tied to their companies with no true separation for personal time. This can have a big impact on employee morale.

What are some of the key mistakes people make when submitting an employment application?

Leaving off all relevant work history, spelling and grammatical errors, nonprofessional email addresses and no message capability with their phone numbers are common mistakes. Also, applicants should try to limit the use of acronyms associated with their industries. They shouldn’t assume that the person reading their resumes will understand them.



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