What is the Biggest Misconception About You?

Kristen Flink
June 22, 2011 — 18,054 views  
Become a Bronze Member for monthly eNewsletter, articles, and white papers.

A few weeks ago, I had a phone interview with a CEO of a company. I was not nervous as I have had many phone interviews, to the point that I have become something of an expert on them. At this point, I am rarely shaken during an interview, and can honestly say that I had never really been stumped. At least, not until THIS interview.   
The call was going as I expected, and contained the expected, standard questions:  "take me through your employment history, tell me about your experience with such and such," etc.  And then it happened -- a question that stopped me cold. "What is the biggest misconception that people have about you?"    
It was a great question - insightful and thought provoking - and one that I think I will use in the future when interviewing potential employees.   However, at the time, it scared me to death. Why did it make me so apprehensive? I felt that if it was answered in any way that could be perceived as negative, I was done. Interview over.  However, if I answered as though there were no misconceptions about me, that would also be perceived as negative. 
I was silent for a moment. The thoughts were rushing through my brain: how do I answer this in a positive way? I could have said, "People are sometimes intimated by me," but I knew that answer would convey that I am unapproachable, which is not the case. I finally said, "I think the biggest misconception about me is that people underestimate my ability." It was an answer that accentuated the positive (that I am capable) and focused away from the negative aspect of misconceptions, and it was the best, most honest answer that I could give.  
This experience got me thinking, though - as a Human Resource Professional, how would you answer this question, and what do you think is the biggest misconception about HR?  Based on my experience, I think one of the biggest misconceptions regarding Human Resources is that we are Administrators, and as such we don't contribute to the bottom line of the company.  I wholeheartedly disagree with that notion!   
While at one time Human Resources DID perform a lot of administrative tasks, HR has definitely evolved. To be sure, we still have tactical administrative tasks that we perform, but in the current workplace, we also need to be strategic as well, keeping the goals of the company at the forefront of our work, and considering how we can assist the company in its path to achieving those goals by motivating and engaging the workforce.  I believe that it is the responsibility of all Human Resource professionals to change this misconception and prove that we are strategic partners for successful business -- that we can and do affect the bottom line with everything we do, from development of Policies and Procedures, to performance reviews, to training and development of people.
All of these things DO contribute to the bottom line of the business, push the organization forward and help to achieve the goals of company its employees.   

I look forward to the next phase of evolution for Human Resources; I find that the fact that it continues to change and grow is the most exciting part of our profession.

Kristen Flink

HR Contractor

Certification in Essentials in Human Resource Management SHRM offering a 6-year HR career distinguished by commended performance and proven results. Extensive background in HR generalist affairs, including experience in employee recruitment and retention, staff development, conflict resolution, benefits and compensation, HR records management, HR policies development and legal compliance. Demonstrated success in negotiating win-win compromises, developing teambuilding programs, and writing personnel manuals, corporate policies, job descriptions and management reports.