Before retiring from full-time work outside of the home, I spent a few months working for the Human Resources department of my last employer. During those relatively few weeks, I had revealed to me a whole world I never knew existed.
There were a few people within the department for whom I was specifically assigned to work, with others welcome to any free time I had left. One of those people was my boss (she was responsible for another sub-department, where my job description formally placed me), another was one of her peers, and the other was her superior. My boss’s peer was probably the most educational of the bunch, at least as far as I was concerned. She offered me a wide range of opportunities for chores to do, ranging from proofreading website text to folding papers and stuffing envelopes to running monthly report.
One of her main responsibilities, with which I occasionally had opportunity to assist her, was managing the campus recruitment program. Of course, I saw the best part of that whole program as being the giveaways handed out to prospective recruits at the different events. Personally, I thought custom flash drives, imprinted with the company logo, would make a great impression, especially for an electronics-centered company like ours, but while I was there, the gifts of choice were travel mugs, can coolers, and those pen-size screwdrivers that always show up in Grandma’s desk drawer. We sent out hundreds of all of them, to I don’t know how many schools all over the country. Actually, I think some of them even may have headed beyond country borders to near one of our Mexico facilities.
It was amazing to me, to see how much time, energy, and effort is involved in recruiting college students before they’re even done with their schooling. Silly me, I’d always assumed that the big businesses would want people with lots of experience in their fields. In the case of this company, though, it seemed as though just as much went into finding rookies to draw into the corporate family. As much competition as our company met in vying for the attention of all those juniors and seniors, ours was, apparently, not the only company focusing on campus recruitment. I eventually decided that the theory had to do with assuming that inexperience would automatically lead to a teachable spirit, with the side benefit of thinking outside the box (since inexperience eliminates the understanding of “the box”). Funny, my contact with college students and recent graduates was usually that they tend to think they know it all—after all, they’ve just been graduated from some number of years of education!
Some of what struck my as being rather humorous was the attitude we all assumed the college students would have. A whole lot of the campus recruitment budget went to the giveaways, and I think just as much time got spent on all of that as on any of the literature that was given out with the gadgets. The gal for whom I was working seemed to sometimes agonize over making that one decision. Although I believe she did look into wholesale flash drives at some point, the can cozies won out…still don’t know why…. I have a sneaking suspicion that the unbreakable gifts were chosen for sake of shipping. Not only were they all lightweight—they were also fairly tough and unlikely to get broken during the extensive shipping process.
So, I decided, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that I was not called to work in Human Resources indefinitely, but I did enjoy the time I spent there. I learned a lot and got lots of experience in a fairly wide range of tasks.