Panel discusses shifting job hiring horizon during University Human Resources Organization event



The panelists answered questions from the students and offered suggestions.

Bob Jones University’s newest student organization hosted a panel of local professionals on Tuesday, March 14. This was the University Human Resources Association’s second event. Vicki Peek, executive vice president at Find Great People, a company recognized by Forbes as one of America’s best professional recruiting firms, shared her experience with the audience. She was joined by Kevin Taylor, the chief human resources officer at Bob Jones University. 

Matthew Zockoll, a senior business administration major and president of the UHRA, interviewed the panelists. He asked them about the pros and cons of the HR field. Peek mentioned hard conversations, downsizing and confronting misalignments of values as challenges. She then highlighted the opportunities and mutual return on investment HR professionals create. Taylor noted that the field often has little room for error and requires filing a lot of paperwork and tax forms. However, he loves creating freedom for the people in his organization and helping them enjoy their jobs. 

Peek and Taylor also discussed keys to success in HR. Taylor mentioned helping people adapt to changes in an organization as well as resolving conflicts and helping employees feel heard and appreciated. Peek talked about the importance of confidentiality and how the emphases of HR departments are shifting over time. “The second big trend we’re seeing is moving towards a people and culture function and environment,” she said. 

Taylor encouraged the audience of mostly business-minded students to read broadly, including reading about emotional intelligence and reading historical books with an eye on human relationship dynamics. When Taylor reads about Dwight Eisenhower, George Patton and Soviet Russia, he said, “I’m looking for the interactions with people.” 

Peek shared her perspective on what she looks for in prospective employees. She wants to see “quiet confidence,” writing and critical thinking skills, a learner mindset, high quality work and a winsome external presentation. She wants to know, “Do you have the capacity and capability to grow with us?” She encouraged the students to pursue excellence in more areas than just academics. “What else did you do?” she asks job applicants. 

Kevin Taylor worked as operations manager at Alro Steel Corporation near Flint, Michigan, before coming to work at BJU. “I get to help people,” Taylor said, summarizing his favorite aspect of human resources. Taylor manages HR strategy and benefits. During periods of downsizing, Taylor works with professionals like Vicki Peek from Find Great People to find new positions for employees, a process known as outplacement. 

Adam Banks, junior business administration major and vice president of the UHRA, said his favorite insight of the night was Peek’s explanation of choosing employees. “She wants to hire people that are not just qualified on a resume, but she wants to find people that are qualified interpersonally and people that can be good confidants for her business,” he said. 

Zockoll summarized the event. “It was an opportunity for both networking and for a deep dive into two professionals’ careers,” he said. “The questions that we asked were supposed to be broad enough to get long and comprehensive answers. And our panelists did a great job at giving us those answers. By the end of it, hopefully those who came received some experiential knowledge and wisdom from them, as well as just learning a lot about the field of HR.”