People Persons Need Not Apply For These HR Jobs

Josh Tarr doesn’t hire people persons for his HR jobs.

Telling him that in an interview is the surest way to get the boot. What he’s looking for are people who tell him they like solving problems, who have business acumen and who never tell him they don’t like math.

Tarr is director of human resources at Red Ventures, a 2,700 person digital marketing and advertising firm. Speaking to a Charlotte, NC DisruptHR audience last fall, Tarr detailed the skills and attitude HR people need to be successful in today’s business world. “I have to intimately know the business I support in order to help me drive the people strategies,” he says. Having business acumen and asking questions to further business goals is what Tarr does and it’s what he looks for in other HR people.

But they also must, if not “love” data the way he does, at least they must understand it and know how to find it and use it to support a business case. “You don’t like numbers,” he says to his audience at one point. “Too bad.”

Then, he insists they take a pledge with him: “I do solemnly swear to never, ever, ever again say that I got into HR because I can’t do math. ”

“If that’s you,” he says, “This profession is no longer for you. There is a flood of data in today’s workplace and we have to leverage and mine it to help our business and to make our own decisions.”

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Tarr isn’t as rigid about the people part as his opening salvo in this 5-minute video might suggest. Listen through to the end and you’ll hear him admit, “This is a people profession after all.” But that skill needs to be coupled with the business skills that will bring HR to the big table in the CEO’s conference room.

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