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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1 Comment on “People Persons Need Not Apply For These HR Jobs

  1. If Tarr is soooo involved and all knowing about his business, perhaps he should read the very first line of his organization’s web site, which shouts in huge bold letters: “we are people persons.” Our perhaps he should revise his LinkedIn profile where he gushes about being an “employee advocate”.and all he does to nurture employees. He is steadfast at convincing us how tough it is with his mission of “changing the world.” Big on ego, but really light on experience, but good with the “buzz” words. But with limited experience in what, in the grand scheme of things is a a really tiny company, we will have to wait and see. While I agree with his basic approach to human resources, this is not the revolutionary new ground you would like us to believe. HR people need to spend less time talking about how they are “business partners” and actually doing the work.

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