Do evil HR people ever get busted?

Hi! Love your blog. On the heels of being figuratively kicked down the stairs by another great employer and potential supervisor via another truly evil HR lady, do they EVER get in trouble for the way they treat recruits? This one was so bad it’s practically a cartoon. She was wearing a see through shirt that revealed both her undergarments and her tattoos (BEYOND awkward), was completely negative in her line of questioning (then seemed irritated when my answers were also negative), and I was bait and switched. I was promised two interviews for positions I expressed interest in and agreed to, then told I would only be interviewed for one of them when I arrived. The supervisor and other staffer expressed genuine interest in having me back to meet the team and to keep the process moving, but I received an email in less than two days. They have chosen to continue searching for someone more qualified (even though I exceed their education and experience requirements).

Do they EVER get caught? It seems like the perfect job. Most potential employees are going to just roll with it and not complain, and the few who do step up will be immediately identified as having a bad attitude and therefore bad candidates. What does it take for positive change? It truly is unfortunate as this is a good little community hospital with tons of great people to work with.

Yes, sometimes they do. But, like you, I am boggled by a company that puts up with that. And, it brings up the question, how on earth did such a person even get a job, let alone a position that involved hiring others.

How does this happen?

Well, we can’t blame everything on the recruiters. A hiring manager who wanted to have you proceed in the interview process wouldn’t be overruled by the tattooed-bra-baring recruiter. And “searching for someone more qualified” is the nice, pat-you-on-the-head thing to say instead of, “we interviewed you and didn’t like you one bit.” Of course, there may be some truth to the more qualified thing. People are often bad judges of their own qualifications. We say, “oh I have a degree so I’m more qualified than that person without the degree” or “I have 5 years of marketing experience so I’m qualified for this marketing job” even though that may or may not be true.

But, let’s get back to recruiters. How do they get away with being rotten? How do they get away with not following up with people who have interviewed? (Although, I’ll give credit where credit is due–this recruiter did get back to you.) How do they get away with rejecting candidate over little irrelevant details? How do they get away with rejecting candidates for scuffed heels while their own undergarments are showing?

Well, the reality is, for a very long time unemployment has been really high. Which means that the main goal of an in house recruiter is not to recruit but to reject. When you get 100 resumes for a position, you can’t possibly interview all 100 and only need to hire 1 so the real job is rejecting the 99.

Unfortunately, some recruiters are so good at rejecting that that is all they do. They blame it on their systems, but the reality is, it’s laziness. If you have 100 people apply for an average job, numerous people on that list are going to be able to do the job with the proper training. But, companies think that there are so many people out there that they shouldn’t have to train anyone. The ideal candidate will walk in the door with the exact knowledge, skills and abilities already under his belt and having the employee handbook memorized to boot.

Because managers believe that the perfect person is out there they assume that the recruiter is doing her job in rejecting the non-perfect ones, they tolerate it. And then they wonder why it takes so long to fill a job and then they scream talent shortage.

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11 thoughts on “Do evil HR people ever get busted?

  1. Actually, “begs the question” means AVOIDS the question, not RAISES it, as it is commonly misused. And, it’s “heels,” not “heals.” Good column, though, as usual.

  2. Yes this happened to me so many times when I was out of work. Three degrees, many years experience, public kudos all over the place for my industry outreach, blah, blah, blah, and yet employers were looking for the absolutely perfect person who could step in with no training…who was willng to work 90 hours per week at poverty rates.

    I eventually became that person and got no training. Literally, here’s your office, now you need to paint it and buy furniture for it for no more than $199, and your pay is bread scraps*. 10 minutes after I started he was out the door and I didn’t see my boss again for a month.

    I was so overqualified it was ridiculous but I needed something more than the nothing I then currently had.

    *Other than actual bread scraps, the rest is 100% true.

    1. I totally believe you. I think back in the day where you expected to spend your whole life at a company, training was just part of the deal, but now since we don’t expect you to stay around for more than a few years, why bother training?

  3. I actually got stood up for a phone interview by a recruiter just this week. He called the next day to apologize, rescheduled and then stood me up AGAIN.

  4. As an HR Professional, and currently in the recruiting mode, I think it is awful that anyone would treat others this way. I personally tell everyone I interview that they will hear back from me by a certain date, one way or the other. And I always follow through. If I am going to take the time to interview you, have you take the time to come into my office, I should at least call you back and tell you if you got the job or not. I don’t send emails or letters. I personally call people. And, I don’t interview for just a few jobs a year. I am currently setting up to hire over 100 people for our spring and summer ramp up. I do this by myself along with my other HR duties (as a 1 person HR dept.). I also dress modestly. 🙂 I can say that any HR professional that treats candidates, employees, or new hires that bad needs to be replaced. Just my 2 cents.

    1. It’s great that you contact everyone, but an email to reject me is just fine. 🙂 A phone call gets my hopes up and then I have to be all nice even though I am really disappointed.

  5. From what I’ve observed in the US (recruiting companies in the other countries where I worked operate differently), recruiters at the typical recruiting companies are paid 100% commission. They need to make 2 to 3 placements – minimum – monthly to keep their jobs. It is not unusual for people in these jobs to work 60 to 100 hours weekly. This is a very high stress job. The twin motivations to make money and reduce stress can cause these recruiters to behave in highly unethical ways in their pursuit to place job hunters with paying clients.

    To better achieve a high probability of placing job hunters, commission recruiters need job hunters in their files who will be relatively easy to place. Quickly culling the hoard of job seekers makes it much easier for recruiters to focus their long hours on placing stronger candidates. For job seekers, the criteria recruiters use rejecting candidates might seem arbitrary because we cannot see what motivates recruiters and the means by which they successfully place candidates.

    I will not defend recruiters. In my experience, 75 to 80 percent of them are not very good. Through the years I have known several truly outstanding and ethical recruiters with whom I happily did repeat business.

  6. When I went back to a new manager to talk about a new position at a place where I used to work, the HR apparatchik refused to shake my hand and then says “you know your way out of here, right?”

    Not joking.

    This 25 year old airhead still has a job. She is young and female, so she will NEVER get fired.

    HR must be the best job ever. Be a young, female judgmental jerk and get paid for it!

  7. i just would like to know what are the common questions employers can ask during job interviews? And what are the preparations to do? Especially that I am a fresh graduate and hunting for a job. I really need your support. thankyou

  8. Hi Evil HR Lady,

    I have been reading your blog for quite a while and have enjoyed it.
    I just want to put in my two cents about this subject. I used to live in the NYC metro area. Due to type 2 Diabetes, I was obese for many years. I have finally gotten it under control in the last five years so I am more of an appropriate weight for my height.
    Anyway, I was looking for employment in NYC and CT at the time I was obese. I recall I had 19 interviews in 14 months and most of them never even let me know I didn’t get the job. I had also used a few recruitment agencies at that time. I came in, interviewed with them, did a computer skill test. The recruiters sang my praises, but I never heard from them again. One even said ” I won’t rest until I find you a job’. All of the above mentioned interviews I had gotten on my own, not through recruiters.
    I went again to this same recruitment agency in Fairfield County CT about two years later and saw the same recruiter who promised to never stop until she found me a job. She did not recognize me. This was an agency that would post jobs on Monster and CareerBuilder to bring in prospective candidates. After a couple of weeks I saw that the same recruitment agency had advertised a position I was qualified for on Monster. I called the recruiter and asked why I was not being considered for this position. She then told me that this particular client had very specific wants for assistants. When I asked what they were, she said “they want very pretty and very thin”.
    I immediately wrote a scathing email to the owner of the agency accusing them of discrimination. She personally called me back and told me the recruiter had ‘no recollection’ of saying that to me. I told her even though I had a degree and 15 years experience, I could not get a job since I wasn’t a size two and even if that was what the client wanted, they are setting themselves up for lawsuits if they disclose that to candidates.
    So it goes without saying that recruiters leave a bad taste in my mouth. I have never gotten an interview, let alone a job offer through a recruiter. It seems like a waste of time.

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