HR’s Role in Hiring as Seen by Job Seekers
We all have had jobs, success, failures, and more jobs. But what is the one department I would like to bypass on most every interview? Human Resources (HR) of course. Why do you ask? Because the hidden goal(s) of any HR person/department are so varied and unchecked, they are the biggest wildcard/obstacle in the entire hiring process. Many coaches and recruiters try their best to steer their candidates out of harm’s way by getting around the HR rejection process in its entirety.
For example, why do they ask you your last four or five jobs and insist on learning your compensation? Is there a standard everyone in the country is following for writing job descriptions, reviewing and compensating employees? Do companies from the high cost of living states compensate their employees differently than those from the lower cost of living states? Do the competing companies in the same space share wages to level (or price fix) positions by title? I hope not. So why is the compensation portion on every job application I have ever received been mandatory to complete?
Companies are prying insecure creatures and don’t want to be turned down if they offer too low of a salary. But they will also reject you if your compensation is high compared to their midpoint, and automatically decide for you that this position will bore you and you will soon move on. I guess they are mind readers also and know everything about your social situation, wants, current and future needs. Someone should bottle that ‘knowledge.’
What about the rest of the process. Many large companies give you a series of pre-set questions in three parts you must answer so they can turn in their sheets for the EEO records. Even though most of the questions do not relate to the candidate’s ability to meet the job description or grow on the job, they seem to receive too much air time in the candidate review process. HR people also seem to like letting everyone else know which candidate they liked in this unrelated job qualification exercise. If the materials are not related to the job description, they should not even be discussed in my opinion. If someone is filling out the information incorrectly tell them in private. The point of a job interview is to find the best-qualified candidate, not someone’s favorite candidate.
I was at one small company (50+ employees), and they hired an HR person that thought they were a ‘handwriting expert.’ They would analyze the person’s handwriting from the job application and make judgments on what type of person they were. Based on their writing ‘analysis’ and application answers the candidates would or would not get a recommendation by the HR person to move forward. Being on site during this process I know it left much to be desired but was condoned by the President. Below is another opinion on graphology.
Here is the summary from an article by Steve Lander:
Effectiveness of Graphology
During the 1980s and 1990s, a series of academic studies that reviewed graphology’s usefulness as a tool to predict how an applicant will perform on the job were conducted. On the whole, the surveys found that graphologists were essentially no more effective at predicting job performance than non-graphologists. While some alternative surveys showed more positive results, they typically appeared in journals that are suspect, as opposed to appearing in rigorous peer-reviewed journals.
So what should be Human Resources activities during the candidate hiring process? Anything that is required to be completed or checked on for legal purposes should be done when needed. Reminding the hiring manager to review/update the current job description on file is a good idea. Running job adds with the currently approved job description, forwarding resumes to the hiring manager and setting up the phone and on-site interviews as candidates are identified, are all helpful tasks to move the process forward. Not rejecting candidates with resumes, proper work experience, and a complete job application (minus the compensation area) is also required.
Until companies take a serious look at their self-proclaimed ‘Gatekeepers’ in Human Resources, I don’t think they will prosper as quickly to bring in qualified candidates as their competitors may be doing. Know that word of mouth travels quickly, just like tweets on Twitter or posts on Facebook, and informs other candidates what companies to stay away from due to Human Resources overindulgence in the hiring process. I suggest you find out what is happening in your organization, and clean it up if it’s a mess.