HR You Ever Going to Call Me Back?

Last week I was talking with a friend of mine about this blog, and how I fear I may be running out of things to write about. See, I’m no writer. I do marketing stuff. At least I used to, before I realized that my cats were falling behind developmentally, and decided I needed to spend more time working with them one-on-one. So far they’ve been doing really well with the flash cards.
I just mainly like to hang out with writers and literary people and artistic folks. It makes me feel creative and less corporate. So, when I was complaining about my struggles to come up with interesting topics, one of these writer-type friends told me, “Jenny, just write what you know.”
Now, I’m not sure if that advice is actually helpful to people who truly are writers, but to me, that’s about as useful as people telling me to “Just be yourself” before I go on an interview.
Write what I know. What I know. I know. Know.
So, let’s take a quick inventory of what, in fact, I know:
Marketing – I don’t even want to read about that, and I majored in it.
Laundromats – I’ve pretty much exhausted that topic. And, I’m never going back to one anyway.
Cats – I’ve got to be careful about too many cat stories. Makes me seem kind of loser-ish, don’t you think? I don’t want to be labeled a recluse.
Tap dance – hmmm… yes, still some potential there, but I need a different angle.
Unemployment – hey, wait a minute! I do know a lot about being a drain on society! This idea has legs – let’s run with it!
Okay, so the topic for today is unemployment. It’s a broad topic, so I’ll need to break it down into one specific area for this entry. Let’s go with the interview process, because anyone who has been in my situation knows that this is the most painful and drawn out of all the components of the unemployment machine.
This is the part of the process where the company is the star quarterback, and I am the treasurer of the chess club. I write him love letters. He ignores me. I tape notes to his locker. He calls me “four-eyes” behind my back. I ask him to the Sadie Hawkins Day Dance. He goes with me, but talks the whole time about how hot my best friend is and how badly he wants to get in her pa… oh wait – I’m getting off topic here. The point I’m trying to make is that the interview process is a lot like an unrequited love affair. You wait, and wait, and wait for the Human Resources people to finally deem you worthy of a rejection letter.
In addition to marketing, I also took a short sidetrack into the world of staffing, and worked for an employment agency for a while. The experience of working with the Human Resources departments at hundreds of different companies, across dozens of different industries, led me to the conclusion that the people who are drawn to HR roles are generally the least qualified to be dealing with people.
Now any of you HR people out there who might be reading this, I don’t mean you. I’m talking about the person who was in your position prior to you and really messed the company up before you were able to come in and institute all those employee-centric policies that won your company those awards that you won that one time. That’s who I’m talking about. Those HR people.
So now that we’re clear, what I mean to say is that, for people who specialize in dealing with “humans,” I have just found the majority of Human Resources professionals to be extremely cold and power-trippy individuals. My theory is that this stems from the fact that, aside from the head HR honchos, they really don’t have control over anything, except whether or not female employees get to wear open-toed shoes, and what the theme for the company’s 25th anniversary party should be. Therefore, they act with extreme contempt toward the few areas over which they actually do have control: staffing vendors and potential candidates.
Take, for example, the interview I had today: it was just a phone screen, nothing major. In fact, don’t tell anyone, but I was totally wearing jeans and a T-shirt. But it’s for a job that I’m really interested in, so I prepped thoroughly, quizzed some of my smart friends who know a lot about the industry, read every page of their website – pretty extensive research.
I responded to each of the recruiter’s questions articulately, concisely, and with great insight into the inner-workings of her company. I smiled while I spoke (you can hear that over the phone), gave detailed and specific examples, and was funny when appropriate. Heck, I was on Charm Factor 9, but this woman was unbreakable.
So when it was all over, she said in her robotic voice, “If we are interested in bringing you in for an in-person interview, you will hear from me by the end of the day Thursday. Click. Buzz. Otherwise you can assume we are passing on you. Whirr. Click. I hope that doesn’t sound impersonal, but you just would not believe the stack of applicants I have to go through.”
No, that doesn’t sound impersonal at all. In fact, I was going to ask if you used to work for Hallmark, because you just made me feel so warm all over that I’m almost teary-eyed. I love you, HR Recruiter. I love you so much it hurts my tummy.
So the countdown begins. Will she call? If she does, will she make me wait until 4:55pm just so I don’t get uppity? Will I mistake her monotone voice for an automated telemarketing machine and accidentally hang up? Will she… oh shoot! I gotta go – the phone’s ringing!

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