Job Title: CEO Of A Human Resources Consulting Firm
Type of Company: My company provides a range of human resources services for companies that are too small to employ their own HR staffs. Most are high tech companies or not-for-profit agencies.
Education: BS, Mathematics, Simmons College (Boston, MA) M.Ed., Counseling, Northeastern University MBA, Simmons College School of Management
Previous Experience: I worked in human resources for several companies, progressing from a compensation analyst to manager to director to vice-president of Human Resources.
Job Tasks: My position as CEO comes with a host of responsibilities. First, I have be able to meet with the CEO or responsible top official in the client company and "sell" him on our capacity to furnish the human resources capabilities he's looking for. I have to negotiate suitable financial arrangements for these, and thirdly, and most important, I have to be sure we come through with the goods: that we provide those services in a timely and professional way. To be sure I understand in advance what the client requires, I have to be able to blend in with the culture of his company and become part of its organization.
Some companies need a full-service HR person, others only a part-time person to handle specific projects such as writing an employee manual or job descriptions. In other companies, I become a "coach" for the CEO and other executives and help them to manage situations as they arise. For other companies, I research and put in place benefit plans and compensation systems.
If a company has been experiencing tough financial times, I will come in and help to design a plan to reduce their staff with the smallest overall effect on the greater organization. I coach employees who have been "downsized" and help them to find other positions either in the company or in an outside company.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is being able to pick and choose whom I want to work with and the amount of time I will work in any given week. My schedule is flexible and I can do a lot of work from home.
The worst part is being able to balance the very busy times with the not so busy times. So my financial status can vary greatly from one month to another.
Job Tips: To become a consultant takes a lot of patience and time in the job. You would do best to study business administration at the graduate level. An MBA is really the key to being taken seriously in this business. Another route is to do graduate work in law school and major in Employee Relations.
The first job you take out of graduate school is probably the most important one you will ever have. Starting as an analyst in the more technical side of HR, in compensation, benefits or systems gives you an added advantage later on. Working hard to move up the corporate ladder into management is the next step. It usually takes five years or so to move into a management position. It is here that you will pick up the more generalized knowledge needed to be a good HR consultant. You will not be taken seriously as a consultant unless you have at least fifteen years of work experience in HR. I am not talking about recruiting here, which is an entirely separate field and is not HR management.
Additional Thoughts: The most common misconception about HR consulting is that you are a recruiter. While I do some recruiting at the executive level for companies, this is just a small part of my job. Also, if you want to be a recruiter you do not need an MBA. There is a lot of money, in a good economy, to be made in recruiting but you work extremely hard to make that money and your time is not your own.
Truly liking to be with people and being a good judge of character are important assets for a competent consultant to possess. Also, being versed in all the technical aspects of HR law (which varies from state to state) is important. Using the computer to do research and being able to tell the real information from the bogus, is also important. If you were to shadow me for a day, you would be bored, since most of the work I do is highly confidential and I could not have anyone with me in most of my meetings. "To be like Caesar's wife" is the motto of a good consultant. That is, one knows all but shares only that which one can. Being a good politician, in the best sense of the word, is key.
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