Why HR’s Just Not That Into You

By J.T. O’Donnell

At least once each week, someone e-mails me complaining about HR. Usually, they are angry because a company didn’t bother to acknowledge they got their resume, or failed to call them after an interview. These same people are always shocked when I don’t commiserate with them. But you see, I’ve been on the HR side, so I know why you aren’t hearing from them.

Just like the book (and now the movie by the same name) that explains to women why “He’s Just Not that Into You” – HR shares some of the same reasons.

Why HR’s Just Not That Into You

1) They only pursue candidates they are really interested in AND when they are ready to hire them. They’ve got your e-mail and your phone number and they know how to use them both. So, if you haven’t heard from them it’s because A) they aren’t ready to hire for the position yet, or B) they aren’t choosing you. FYI – Some hiring processes take months to complete. Hence, you can come off looking really desperate and hurt your chances of getting hired if you impulsively start harassing HR about the job. Following up to let them know you are definitely interested in the position is one thing, but stalking them repeatedly is another.

2) You are not their main priority. Filling the job is just one of HR’s numerous responsibilities. Finding a job may be the main focus in your life, but to HR, you are just one item on a long to-do list.

3) They don’t have the time, money or desire to let every candidate down easy. These days, some HR people are receiving more than 1000 applications in less than a day of posting a job. That’s right – 1000+ cover letters and resumes to review. Imagine having to look at them all? That is one overwhelming and potentially unproductive process. Especially, when many people don’t tell the truth on their resumes or apply in spite of the fact that they are completely unqualified for the job. As a former HR person who has seen this first-hand, I can tell you there is nothing more frustrating than to go through piles of resumes, pick the ones that look the best on paper and then call and find out they aren’t what they portrayed. In fact, I’ve been told candidly by more than a few hiring managers that when they get inundated with resumes for an opening, they don’t bother to look at all the applications and seek referral candidates from the bunch instead. Just like in dating, HR is interested in the ‘hot’ applicant that comes highly recommended. (Tip: The single fastest way to get your resume to the top of the pile for consideration is a personal recommendation from a credible source.) Moreover, most companies are not equipped with the personnel and technology (nor want to spend the money to acquire them), just so they can send out personalized rejection e-mails to thousands of people. Their thought process on this is as follows: If you are in the job hunt, you understand the rules. Not everyone wins and you aren’t owed an explanation. In fact, trying to get one (ie. Calling or e-mailing to complain about not being chosen or that you weren’t informed you weren’t chosen) is the quickest way to be remembered as someone NEVER to hire.

To sum it up, the next time you want to complain about how inconsiderate HR is, why don’t you try to put yourself in their shoes and think of ways you can do a better job of attracting their attention and gaining their respect…that is, if you really want to? Let’s not forget this simple law of attraction: It takes two to tango. Thus, maybe it’s better to just move on and keep searching for the right job where you will be valued and appreciated for who you are. If they figure out they want you down the line – they’ll be back. Then, you can decide if you want them too.