Playing Politics in HR:  How to Master the Game …Without Being a Sleazy, Back-Stabbing Little Jerk!

by Alan Collins

Question: Alan, is it worth accepting an HR position in a larger company, if that means I have to play company politics?  I hate people who suck up and I don’t believe in being a back stabber.

Here’s my situation. I’ve spent most of my HR career at a small successful start-up tech firm. I’m now being recruited by a large Fortune 200 corporation with a 25% bump in comp and more perks.

While the opportunity is great, they want to bring me in at a lower level as Senior HR Manager and I’m okay with that (I’m currently the acting HR VP at my smaller company now).

The hiring manager says I’m a clear high potential, but tells me that the corporate politics in the new company can be brutal and cutthroat and I’ll need to master them in order to grow at this firm.

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21 Stone Cold Truths For Moving Your HR Career Forward…Starting Today!

By Alan Collins

Below are some stone cold truths I’ve come across in my travels through tons of SHRM seminars, HR blogs, coffee chats, and personal reflections.

All were memorable, worth jotting down and sharing.

So here you go.


1.  “If you’re a candidate for an HR job and the hiring manager spends 45 minutes talking about himself, the company or his Harley — let him.  He’s going to come out of the interview saying you’re a great candidate.”
–Kris Dunn, CHRO at Kinetix, who blogs at


2.  “Go to or another domain name service, and buy a URL that represents something in Human Resources you’d like to do someday.  Just owning the domain lets you know that the possibility is there for you when you are ready.  In my case, I bought the domain name over eight years ago.  I held it for three years before I finally got off my butt and did anything with it.”
-Alan Collins


3.  “To get ahead in HR, you must continually make yourself relevant.  Don’t get trapped only learning what only applies to your organization.  Stay ahead of the curve by getting outside of your company and comfort zone regularly…to learn new ideas, meet new people working on interesting, leading edge projects and to build relationships.  Go to training sessions on topics like finance, business development and marketing that make you uncomfortable — especially if you’re the only HR person there!  All of this will help you become a better business partner and prepare you for a future of uncertainty in HR.”
–Theo Killion, Retired CEO, Zale and former SVP Human Resources at Macy’s, Lane Bryant and Tommy Hilfiger — spoken at a Future HR Leaders Seminar in Chicago


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HR Professionals: How You Can Survive Being Merged or Acquired By Another Company…

by Alan Collins

When Google bought Motorola, it laid off 11,000 people.

When Fedex bought Kinkos, it got rid of 9,500 people.

After AOL bought the Huffington Post, 900 people got pink slipped.

When Microsoft bought Nokia, it put 18,000 people on the street.

And many of those let go were HR professionals, just like YOU.

But what’s even worse is that these are just a few examples!

Large companies acquire smaller ones hundreds of times globally every year.  And chances are if you haven’t been involved in one of these situations yet as an HR pro, you soon will be.

With the volatile nature of the public stock market, companies are buying each other left and right like cheap antiques at an estate sale.  And when they do, corporate bloodletting happens and lots of unemployed bodies hit the street — especially those in HR.

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The Awesome Power of Standing Up For Yourself in HR

by Alan Collins

Years ago, I made an honest, but frustrating mistake many HR professionals make.

It was one that taught me the value of standing up for yourself and sticking to your guns — when you  know you’re right.

It occurred when a hiring executive called me and wanted me to make an offer to an outstanding engineering candidate.

The position had been tough to fill.  We’d been searching for months and interviewed tons of candidates.  But we had finally landed our person.

I called the candidate. Made a verbal offer of $130K plus our standard bonus and benefit package.  The candidate was overjoyed and he verbally accepted over the phone. Everything clicked.

Except one thing.

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4 Deadly Career Mistakes HR Folks Make on LinkedIn — That Can Be Corrected In 5 Minutes or Less!

By Alan Collins

LinkedIn recently went over 400 million active professional users.

And in my view that STILL makes it the best business card on the planet for HR pros. 

Hands down.  Nothing else even comes close.

So you absolutely, positively MUST be on Linkedin compellingly if you want to attract more opportunities to advance your career — especially if you’re in HR.

But if you’re like a few human resources folks, you may be making four very simple, but costly mistakes in maximizing your Linkedin presence.

Here they are…

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Lying On Your Resume: 3 HR People Who Did It, Got Caught & How To Avoid Their Fate

by Alan Collins

Clearly, most HR pros see lots of resumes and are more familiar than most with the hiring process.

So one might think they would be the least likely to lie on their resumes.

However, that may not be so.

Based on discussions I’ve had with hiring authorities in a variety of organizations, HR folks are no different than those in any other profession.

They spin, misrepresent facts and lie on their resumes too.

I’m not surprised.

Personally, in my career, I’ve encountered an uncomfortable number of HR folks who fibbed on their resumes. However, three specific individuals stand out in my mind because: (a) they got caught and (b) I was personally involved as part of the decision made by the recruiting committee.

Here are those cases (with the names disguised to protect the guilty):

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HR Professionals: How to Take Your Weaknesses & Capitalize On Them…

By Alan Collins

Wouldn’t it be fantastic to have every skill you need for a successful HR career? 

Then again, in an ideal world, it would be great to have fantastic hair, zero body fat and a winning lottery ticket in your pocket.

Unfortunately, we live in an imperfect world.  We all have to face the fact that we’re good at some things.  Just adequate at others.  And horrible at some that are really important.

For example, if you’re an HR generalist, it can be frustrating not to be brilliant in areas like: talent acquisition, total rewards, OD, labor relations and every single one of the 5000 other essential HR competencies.

You probably also would love to be able to constantly dazzle your clients with your brilliance, know the business as well as your CEO and be the nationally-recognized inspirational leader that everyone in your organization envies.

Well, guess what?  Chances are you’re not.  And I’m certainly not.  We both have areas we need (and want) to improve.  Just like every single one of the other 2 million HR folks on the planet.

So what do we do?  Typically, we toil for years working on and chipping away at our weaknesses until we have them under control.  Or we learn to live with them.

And for most HR folks, that’s fine and dandy.

But today, I want to offer you another, even better choice.   

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