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When Bad HR Happens to Good Job Seekers

The end of opportunityLet me tell you a story: One day (or it could have been over the course of several, I'm not exactly sure), I realized just how mundane my last job had become and how underappreciated my efforts were. So I got into job hunting and transitioned to the interview phase at a few different places. One in particular stands out as being among the worst interview experiences I've ever had.

It was with a PR firm that a college friend had recommended me for. Once I got into the hiring process with interviews, emails, and phone calls, I quickly learned how terrible their HR team was – at least from a job seeker's point of view. I went through all the right motions for following up on any steps we made in the process and was reassured by my friend that, while their HR department might totally suck, the rest of the company was great and worth the trouble.

But here's my beef: After some emails and phone calls with the same HR rep I'd been dealing with since day one, she sent me the following email:

Hey Brianna,

I was out of the office for much of last week on vacation, and will be training for much of the day on Monday and Tuesday. I will have info as to next steps Wednesday afternoon. Let's schedule time to chat for 5. Let me know if that works for you.

I replied that 5 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon was perfect and that I'd make sure I was available to chat. That Wednesday evening rolled in and right back out without any phone call. After calling her at 6 p.m. to reach only her voicemail, I gave my friend a call to vent about the lack of communication. Much to my dismay he informed me that it was her birthday and she left early to celebrate, "but don't take it personally because that's just how she is." You can imagine how thrilled I was to be blown off like that.

The point of this story? Well, there are a few:

  1. If I hadn't had a friend on the inside who convinced me the company was 100% better than the HR team that represented them, I would have walked away from the opportunity much earlier than I did. Trust your gut, and never put too much weight on just one opportunity (like I did).
  2. Even if the HR staff doesn't hold up their end of the bargain, you should always keep yours. While they should be trying to make a good impression on you, it's more important for you to impress them. If they blow you off without a valid excuse – like to go out for birthday drinks – feel free to ditch them in return (assuming you really don't want the job anymore).
  3. For all those HR folks out there: If you really want to provide a good public image for your company, remember that job candidates matter. Making a bad experience for them because of your own neglect could harm your image – so treat them well.

What was your worst HR job searching experience? Tell us about it below.

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