What Happened to the ‘Human’ in Human Resources?

Experiencing the human resources of many companies from inside and out over these several years has left a bitter taste in my mouth. I question constantly ‘what happened to my profession?’ that I’ve loved and to which I’ve devoted so much of my career.

And as I look more closely I’ve determined it isn’t ‘my profession’ that has changed.

I have.

I’ve opened my eyes to the absence of humanity in ‘human resources’; applicants lost to cyber black holes, agencies focused on only the bottom line, disorganized hiring managers, and apathetic recruiters.

I’m disheartened to have resigned myself to those building foundations of companies so oblivious to their abhorrent treatment of the general populous.

And I’ve taken a stand for my values and expectations that I refuse to compromise in the work I’m capable of achieving.

Perhaps I’m just too human to be part of a human resources team.

With every – and I mean every – interview and phone screen to which I’ve been subject over these many months I’ve experienced:

– My interviewer having not a clue about me, regardless of my having applied to their job with my most recent resume

– Voice mails which I am unable to return due to the caller being incomprehensible

– My own voice mails and emails to my interviewers going unanswered – always

– Recruiters contacting me to discuss a software implementation or supply chain manager job…huh? (See #1)

– Reassurance that I am first on their list, only to receive a rejection of the job within days.

The list continues dramatically from there but you get the point, and I’m probably not alone in my experiences.

So what causes this rampant and ubiquitous behavior?

1) Apathy – recruiters out to eat what they kill can’t be bothered with applicants who can’t line their pockets, nor can the masses flooding posted jobs all be addressed

2) Arrogance – an applicant perceived as desperate to be employed or too eager to get the job unintentionally give recruiters the inch to go a mile

3) Workload – it is true that most human resources and talent acquisition teams are skeletal and stretched thin for their work and level of communication to be successful and productive

4) It’s the nature of the beast – human resources is not a money-making branch of any company like sales so not nearly as important to the bottom line of a company’s revenue, therefore, not taken seriously. The profession is so steeped in suffocating and muddled policy and political correctness that frank and forthright discussions are virtually impossible

5) Poorly trained employees – too often interviewers and screeners are not adequately educated to identify the best candidates; nor do they possess ideal interviewing, time management, or negotiating skills with onus falling largely on the shoulders of equally poor hierarchy

So how can it be improved? Trust me when I say it is not brain surgery.

1) Consideration – is the key factor, one that I cannot emphasize strongly enough. Recruiters, you’re dealing with humans: treat them as you would like to be treated. Conduct your communication and set your expectations with respect and professionalism, which brings me to my next line item

2) Communication – It takes fifteen seconds to answer an email, even if it is to say ‘I don’t have any answers yet; keep checking in’. If you find returning a phone call is ‘conflict management’ and you avoid them like the plague, perhaps it is time to seek out a more suitable profession. Maybe gardening

3) Expectations – set them appropriately. If you tell someone you will do something, do it. If not, keep your mouth shut. If the expectation you set changes, address it and relay it to necessary parties

4) Humility – dismiss the notion that you hold people’s lives in your hands; your position is important in more significant aspects. Respect, professionalism, and communication all go a long, long, long way in strengthening relationships – long lasting ones – and establishing credibility.

And it takes minimal effort, not grand gestures. You’d be surprised at what people appreciate – simple truth and acknowledgment. That’s all it takes. Really.

After all of that, I’m open to employment discussions  – nationwide in talent management, writing and copy editing, or consulting.

Perhaps even gardening.

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