Each morning here at HRE, I sift through last night’s Google alerts in search of tidbits that might be of interest to our readers. Most of what I find isn’t at all relevant to them, but this morning I stumbled across exactly the type of thing that raises hackles around the HR profession.
In a Q & A excerpted from his digital book, Fearless Job Hunting, Book 4, Overcome Human Resources Obstacles, professional recruiter Nick Corcodilos urges a frustrated job seeker to follow up directly with a hiring manager regarding a job the applicant felt he was eminently qualified for, but hadn’t been contacted about by HR.
“The company didn’t turn you down, the screener did,” says Corcodilos. “When a human resources person rejects you, it’s like having the gardener tell you not to bother coming around to a girl’s house. What does that tell you about whether the girl wants to date you? Nothing.”
Huh. Interesting comparison, but I think some HR professionals would argue this implies they may not quite understand what their organizations and managers are looking for in job candidates; an implication HR practitioners would probably take offense to.
To be fair, Corcodilos acknowledges as much, and (sort of) gives HR credit for its role in the hiring process.
“Now, some of my HR friends will want to slap me for telling you this. After all, many HR representatives put a lot of work into interviews, and they expect their conclusions to be respected. I understand that,” he says. “But no matter how good HR is at interviews, if you think you need to talk to the manager directly to make your case, it’s your prerogative. You must take action: Get past the guard.”
Corcodilos goes on to offer some words of caution to job seekers who take this circuitous route, saying that “HR will cut you off if it learns that you ‘went around,’ and depending on the hiring manager, HR might succeed. That’s HR’s job.
“You can be respectful and still be assertive,” he continues. “But don’t walk blind on the job hunt, because if you do, you’ll run into every single HR obstacle.”
After reading this excerpt, I sent a quick email to professor, management coach and consultant, author and frequent HRE contributor Dave Ulrich; curious to get his take on Corcodilos’ advice to overlooked job applicants.
Viewing HR as simply a hurdle to overcome, says Ulrich, may present would-be employees with other problems down the road—if circumventing HR helps them succeed in getting the gig, that is.
“Sometimes good intentions have bad consequences,” says Ulrich, professor of business at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan and a partner at the RBL Group, a Provo, Utah-based consulting firm.
“Stepping on or over HR to get a job creates an early enemy in the organization,” he continues, offering a tip of his own to job seekers.
“It’s better to work with HR and find out why they may [have been] excluded. … HR assures talent, leadership and capability to drive sustainable business results. Wise business leaders recognize these domains help execute strategy. Applicants who recognize this will find HR is an incredible ally, not a foe.”