How to talk to an HR 

-Rujuta Joshi 

When going in a new job anyone is nervous. The environment will be new, people will be new, you might even face adversity in the beginning and sometimes people face harassment in their work place, even from their own bosses. What to do then whom to contact in a time of such crisis? The HR managers are there for just that. They are the link between the employees and employers. They help maintain peace in the office and resolve any conflicts or problems that arise.
They are the ones who oversee the hiring and recruiting of new employees, they also coordinate and help in strategizing plans. They make sure that the employees have all they need to work for and that they work up to their potential. You need to remember that when you talk to an HR you are talking to a person from a company so visit the HR only when the reason is very serious and you cannot tackle it on your own.

A Quick Guide to Human Resources Key Terms and Definitions – Career &  Internship Center | University of Washington

When to talk to HR

  • If you have witnessed something illegal happening in the office or around the office or if someone has invited you to join some illegal activity.
  • if you have any questions related to the company or about the company’s befit and programs.
  • if you have been discriminated against due to your gender, caste, colour, nationality etc than you have full right to go to the HR and report the person.
  • If you have been verbally or physically harassed by anyone even your boss you should march in the HR office and lodge a complaint. You have the right to do so.
  • if there is a change in your status and you need to take advantage of company or government programs like maternity leave etc.

When to not go to the HR

  • don’t go to the HR for minor issues like too loud phone calls, bad perfume, playing music in the office etc. try to solve such issues on your own first or take help of the supervisor. Unless it is something serious do not go to the HR.
  • if you think that your employer is not behaving properly first think that is, he behaving unfairly, is he discrimination or harassing you? If no then maybe its just his personality that he is not so friendly and warm. Don’t go if you think there is a problem due to the difference in your personalities that is a problem you will have to solve on your own.
  • When you don’t know the situation fully. If you feel that someone your same level is getting paid more than you, then make sure to first gather all details maybe there are reasons you don’t know and don’t go to the HR directly without any information. If you find that you are truly being underpaid than you can go with all your proofs with you.

These are the reasons that you should go or not go to the HR when you already have job. But what about when you are going for a new job? What type of questions should you ask there? How to know if this is the company you want to work for? 

What to ask the HR when taking on a new job- 

  • Ask about the benefits –

You should first most know what benefits you would get working for the company. The benefits should be appealing and should meet your needs otherwise it maybe isn’t the best company for you. You should have proper healthcare coverage with the benefits since healthcare is quite expensive nowadays. Find out how much you will have to contribute to the health plan and how much is provided by the company.

  • Negotiate the salary a bit-

Of course, the employer wants to pay less and they wont directly tell you that the salary is negotiable. You will have to dig a bit deeper for such kind of information. In most cases you will find that the salary is negotiable if the employee offers certain kind of skills that will benefit them. You will have to come right out and ask them or else you will never know.

  • Ask about other perks –

Companies are very competitive against each other these days. Offering a proper salary and benefits is sometimes not enough they even offer many perks to attract employees. Perks like paid holidays, flexible hours, promotion opportunities etc. 

  • Ask about holidays and vacation-  

It may seem a bit haste but you should know from before if you will be able to take days off from work and if these will be paid or unpaid. You should also ask if your remaining vacation days can be added to the next year.

  • Ask about additional expenses-

If you have to relocate yourself for the company than ask who is going to pay for it. You may have gone from one country to another for meetings, work etc ask them who will be responsible for all that payment. You need to know what expenses are handled by the company and what by yourselves

  • Ask about other opportunities- 

Some companies offer education opportunities to their employees, so they can take additional courses or brush up on their skills. Some companies even pay for tuition and allow you to take some time off work for studying. If you intend to work and study together you should ask this question.

  • Ask for everything in writing- 

Ask them to write down the salary, benefits, perks, expenses and everything they have promised you. They may back down afterwards say it was not included or you heard them wrong. A written agreement will be more binding and they will have to follow up on whatever they have written.

Remember the HR is Afterall someone who works for the company and not the employees. They will be always willing to help you and sort out problems, protect your rights but they are not there to solve your small problems. Make sure that the problem you need to deal with won’t get solved on its on and will need senior interference than only go to the HR. It should be the hard situation that is making you knock the HR’s door and not just your frustration.


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