I secured my first co-op for the Spring 2023 semester as a Human Resources Administrator at Heritage Office Furnishings. It was an immersive experience that highlighted the critical role HR plays in fostering a culture of collaboration, innovation, and employee well-being. Engaging in a co-op work experience has undoubtedly been the best decision I've made in my educational journey. There is nothing I regret or want to change about the whole experience.
Within my position, I was exposed to the recruitment and selection process in depth as I was the individual responsible for the majority of recruitment. With the continuous support of my manager, she taught me how to properly post job openings, conduct interviews, draft offer letters, and conduct reference checks. For posting vacancies, I would create drafts for job postings and share them with the hiring manager so that they could make any necessary changes. Then, I would post them on the appropriate online job boards. When we shortlisted potential candidates, I would coordinate with the hiring managers to schedule in-person interviews. If we were interested in the candidate, I would do reference checks and extend job offers. I would also prepare other HR documents like employment verification and change letters. For instance, if there were a new employee, I would need to complete an IT verification form; if an employee were terminated or left the company, I would need to do an IT deactivation form and inform the IT department.
Every week, we had our HR department meetings. During the meetings, each person gave updates to the team about their work and discussed any concerns. On multiple occasions, feedback from several managers indicated an acknowledgment of my proficiency in recruiting suitable and industrious candidates. This recognition signifies a successful execution of effective phone screening and interview techniques in the selection process.
I also had the opportunity to attend two career fairs, and I was shocked at how they were unbelievably busy, loud, and crowded. I connected and engaged with many candidates by actively listening to their questions as we had conversations about their professional experiences and expressed interest in the available positions at Heritage.
Moreover, I was exposed to another area of HR, Occupational Health and Safety (OHS). I was responsible for completing an employer's report of injury called Form 7. I would fill out the injury reports for WorkSafeBC whenever an employee had a work-related injury. To fully complete the form, I gathered as much information and details as possible from the employee about their injury.
Lastly, I got to participate in HR-related projects, such as revising interview questions for various positions and assisting with a new system to digitize the onboarding process to avoid repetitive tasks involved with documentation. An ongoing project that everyone worked on was to digitize any paper records as Heritage believes that corporate sustainability is vital for our community to thrive; therefore, they have dedicated themselves to a paperless journey.
My 4-month co-op experience has not only broadened my understanding of HR but has also shown the significance of effective communication, interpersonal skills, and maintaining confidentiality. I will return to school more knowledgeable as I have learned many valuable skills and experienced many work-related situations.
Having this experience as a student has assured me that I will select HR as my concentration for my Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration (BBA). It has helped me recognize that I want to have a career in HR in the future and to pursue the Chartered Professional in Human Resources (CPHR) designation.