I often hear about the incompetence of many HR professionals nowadays. It is usually said about those who are responsible for hiring. Or, to be more accurate, those who decide if a candidate is suitable or not. As a rule, they are young and female.
The main cause of complaint is the lack of skills in proper evaluation of professional candidates and arrogant style of interviewing.
I think I will confirm these opinions because I have witnessed similar situations many times. One of them took place during a job interview many years ago when I was a young professional with an impressive experience. Afterward, I did get the job but not with the help of the HR manager who conducted. Instead, I got it by accident.
After I arrived at the appointed time, I was kept near the door for about one and a half hours on purpose. When my inner peace and endurance gave way to more vigorous negative feelings, I decided to wait. I wondered how this will end. Exactly one hour thirty minutes later supercilious female voice invited me into the office. Human Resources Director closed Solitaire window on her computer and gestured me to a chair. Then she pulled out my three-sheet resume and studied it as if she saw it for the first time. After that, she asked me a few general questions, which had nothing to do with my skills or job requirements: where I studied, where I was born, what was my previous job. The position I was interviewed for required the knowledge of two foreign languages. So I was asked how well I can speak them. I said “well” and the interview was over. She wanted to say goodbye, but I asked if she would like to test my language skills. To which she answered that she was confident in my competence. "Thank you, we'll call you", and thus she ended the meeting.
On my way out I met my future supervisor who was, in fact, the one looking for the expert with the knowledge in two foreign languages. I slowed down a little and saw him looking in the HR department’s door, asking how the interviews were going. "Not one suitable candidate," said the supercilious female voice. At that moment I was standing near the door and handed my resume to the man offering to talk to me. In this company I worked for many years, reached great career heights, bringing great professional and commercial benefits to the company and to myself.
Unfortunately, today the situation is not any different. In my opinion, there are two reasons. First one is the tradition. Despite the fact that "cadres decide everything" the Human Resources department has always been one of the most inefficient ones in any company. Therefore, professionalism of the staff is limited to filling various forms and documents and track working time. It does not require too much skill and knowledge and is not paid well. That’s why HR staff’s motivation is not excellent and, consequently, the same goes for their professionalism and experience. Because of this, they may not have sufficient competence to properly evaluate the candidates. They cannot verify the knowledge of foreign languages, as they themselves do not know any (if they did, they probably would not be working in HR). They cannot assess skills and competence, as they themselves do not possess them. And most importantly, they do not have the proper experience and psychological education, to see the potential of a candidate and to be able to reveal it during the interview, or at least help the candidate to speak freely and easily given the level of stress job interviews are associated with.
The second reason, which partly derives from the first one is the lack of internal maturity, wisdom, and self-sufficiency. This leads to the desire to assert oneself, to feel the power and importance, to bring to life internal unrealized ambitions. This leads to haughty conversations, embarrassing questions, and other actions masquerading as the parts of a "stress interview".
So you might ask what to do. I can only hope that this situation will change. It has already begun to change. HR departments are being given due attention.
Professionals who work in human resources are now appreciated more and are seen as one of the main company’s components. After all, it‘s people who do business. In most leading companies of today, there are professionals with extensive experience in business and management who have a degree in psychology. They can see the candidates in a professional light, are able to reveal the best qualities of their personality during the interview, and see their potential and future opportunities. And if were unlucky enough to meet HR manager “from the past”, here there are some real solutions:
Look for opportunities to meet your immediate supervisor. He or she will most likely to be able to appreciate your skills and professionalism. Otherwise, the company is likely to remain without a good professional, and expert.
And if you cannot break through to the supervisor then try to still pass the first stage – the interview. Do not bore HR managers with your knowledge and impressive experience. Try to look modest. Set yourself a goal to just get them to like you. Then there is a chance that you will pass to the second round.
You can also try to "adapt" to your interviewer and create a rapport. Try to find the leading motivation, most likely it will be recognition of the authority. So a couple of compliments to demonstrate the importance of the recruiter will not go amiss. But the main thing here is not to overdo it.
At the interview competent HR manager should ask questions which reveal your professional competence. If you feel that a specialist is not quite versed in the subject, there are two recommendations: talk about your achievements in a previous job, using the STAR technique (Situation, Task, Action, Result), but try to use simple and easy-to-understand terms. The second option is to politely ask to invite to the interview an employee who can evaluate your competencies. This, of course, is a very risky and extreme step but if you feel that the situation is hopeless you can try this.