The HR department in most organizations is perceived to be a mythical being shrouded in mystery. You never know whether they’re on your side or on the side of the organization and you never know exactly how open you can be with them. However, you’re not alone in feeling unsure and uneasy about sharing things. People in your HR department feel so too and there are certain things they just will not tell you directly.
Do you think your résumé has all it takes to get noticed? Think again. Here are a few hacks into what the HR department is actually thinking about your résumé:
- “Once you’re unemployed more than six months, you’re considered pretty much unemployable. We assume that other people have already passed you over, so we don’t want anything to do with you.” –Cynthia Shapiro, Author
- “When it comes to getting a job, who you know really does matter. No matter how nice your résumé is or how great your experience may be, it’s all about connections.” –HR director at a health-care facility.
- “If you’re trying to get a job at a specific company, often the best thing to do is to avoid the HR entirely. Find someone at the company you know, or go straight to the hiring manager.” –Shauna Moerke, an HR administrator
- “People assume someone’s reading their cover letter. I haven’t read one in 11 years.” –HR director at a financial services firm
- “We will judge you based on your e-mail address. Especially if it’s something inappropriate like firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.” –Rich DeMatteo,
- “There’s a myth out there that a résumé has to be one page. So people send their résumé in a two-point font. Nobody is going to read that.” –HR director at a financial services firm
- “I always read résumés from the bottom up. And I have no problem with a two-page résumé, but three pages is pushing it.” –Sharlyn Lauby, HR consultant
- “Most of us use applicant-tracking systems that scan résumés for keywords. The secret to getting your résumé through the system is to pull keywords directly from the job description and put them on. The more matches you have, the more likely your résumé will get picked and actually seen by a real person.” –Chris Ferdinandi, HR professional
Have you ever felt utterly confused about how a job interview went? Did you get the hint that the HR manager had a lot going on in his/her head while the only overt response was a polite smile or a nod to keep you talking? Here are a few things interviewers admit to thinking:
- “It’s amazing when people come in for an interview and say, ‘Can you tell me about your business?’ Seriously, people. There’s an Internet. Look it up.” –HR professional
- “A lot of managers don’t want to hire people with young kids, and they use all sorts of tricks to find that out, illegally. One woman kept a picture of two really cute children on her desk even though she didn’t have children [hoping job candidates would ask about them]. Another guy used to walk people out to their car to see whether they had car seats.” –Cynthia Shapiro, HR professional
- “Is it harder to get the job if you’re fat? Absolutely. Hiring managers make quick judgments based on stereotypes. They’re just following George Clooney’s character in Up in the Air, who said ‘I stereotype. It’s faster.’” –Suzanne Lucas, a former HR Executive
- “I once had a hiring manager who refused to hire someone because the job required her to be on call one weekend a month and she had talked in the interview about how much she goes to church. Another candidate didn’t get hired because the manager was worried that the car he drove wasn’t nice enough.” –HR professional at a mid-size firm
- “Don’t just silence your phone for the interview. Turn it all the way off.” –Sharlyn Lauby, HR Consultant
- “If you’ve got a weak handshake, I make a note of it.” –HR Manager
- “If you’re a candidate and the hiring manager spends 45 minutes talking about himself, the company or his Harley, let him. He’s going to come out of the interview saying you’re a great candidate.” –Kris Dunn, Chief Human Resources Officer
So, these is what’s actually going on in the minds of people who run your HR department. Unbelievable? Believe it! That said, everyone is entitled to their own opinions, even HR managers. Moreover, the nature of their job is such that they often need to measure, size up and form opinions about individuals. There are countless myths that haunt the HR department while everyone seems to be trying to decode their thoughts. Keeping in mind what they think is bound to help you update your CV better and prepare for your next job interview!
What else do you think goes on in the mind of an HR manager? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org