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Monday, July 21, 2008

Why didn't HR give me feedback about my last interview?

As a former corporate recruiter for a publicly traded company, I got an inside look at this process. HR Managers, as you know, are the organization’s sheriff. They don't make the laws; they just interpret them and insist others in the company carry them out. Without perspective and a bit of common sense, deputized recruiters can carry out HR edicts so far that they become counterproductive to the goals of the organization, i.e., appearing so ridiculous and inflexible as to turn off good talent.

I have found that for the most part it is the recruiters (who usually report to the head of HR) with little ability to think for themselves that are the most rigid with rules. It’s very important to know exactly what the rules are and why they were put in place and equally important to use good judgment when working with prospective employees.

The main reason HR doesn't want managers telling interviewees why they didn't get the job is to protect the company from a lawsuit. Disclosure used the wrong way is a loaded gun. However, a smart recruiter can disclose lots of helpful information without equipping candidates with ammo for a lawsuit - so long as that information is based on goodness of fit, job qualifications, problems during the interview process, etc. For example, calling out that the candidate answered questions about key functions of the job incorrectly or took 20 minutes to answer each question is helpful. Telling applicants that they weren’t selected because they were too old to relate to the rest of the team or telling them nothing is just brainless and disrespectful.

As much as I liked recruiting, it’s much more fun to provide interview coaching where I get to tell job seekers about corporate HR’s true goals and provide them with ammunition to cope with the myriad of contingencies that arise during an interview. I also teach candidates how to interview the company. If a dimwitted recruiter with no judgment is calling the shots on behalf of HR, RUN! It won’t get better as you work your way up.

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