I do try to keep my writings more in tuned with social issues or libertarian themed discussions but I find it necessary to skew away towards other diversions. One of my favorites is my beef with the human resources “world”.
Before you get irate with me; I have run into a few well meaning hardworking HR personnel in my life that worked hard and helped people out.
This isn’t one of those stories. This is one of those stories that decent HR people should tell as a training aide. Here we go:
(A little warning: I was a late college graduate compared to most. I served in the military and it took me a few extra years to get back into school. Most people could tell that I wasn’t a standard 22 year old college graduate).
I signed up to go to a major university’s career fair. It was well staffed and I had great interactions with the people that organized everything. This fair featured many major engineering firms, manufacturing companies, and petrochemical companies.
I had a few fruitful discussions with both human resources personnel and engineers from various companies about ongoing projects. I got great contacts and ideas about what I could get involved with. I also learned about where I wouldn’t be a good fit (but gained positive ideas).
But the most memorable part of my attendance was the table belonging to a major petrochemical company. (Company is in the top 100 of Forbes 500). There were three well dressed gentlemen in their early 20’s behind two tables that were covered with pamphlets. I saw a list of projects or major points of focus for their company. (I knew of the company because of the news and industry journals).
I attempted to strike up a conversation regarding one of their ongoing projects. The gentleman nearest me had this horrific fake plastic smile. He handed me one of their pamphlets instead of answering my question. I tried to ask him if he knew if they were hiring in (x) project. He told me :”Why don’t you just go to the website?”. I asked him if he could give me a contact in the company that might I might be able to speak with about a project. He told me that all he could say is that I should just read a pamphlet. I was getting relatively irate that he sidestepped several of my questions that were legitimate. (Please note: other representatives didn’t have any problems with these questions).
I decided to ask him one final question, although I noticed that he was getting an indignant look on his face:
Do you even work for this company’s human resources?????
He told me to have a nice day!!! His equally puzzled cohorts just gave me a sunken jawed blank look. They don’t know how to “interface” with people either.
I was told by someone that is more “HR friendly” than me that some companies will send contractors or even temporary employees to these job fairs. I was also told that they will often send them with no direction or additional information. (I took this as: stand here like an idiot and hand out pamphlets).
I wanted to ask you HR and company management types this:
Do you know how you look when someone clueless and rude represents your company?
Can you expect to hang on to talent when your interests are represented by people that have no skin in the game?
Is it wrong to think that an experienced professional would like to learn more about a position outside of your standard boilerplate that you use to make press releases?
I want you to learn something from this experience. It doesn’t matter if you are in recruiting, compliance, or human resources. I want you to know what your work force sees in you. If you don’t want them to see this; don’t re-inforce bad stereotypes. Don’t be a part of “inhumane resources”.