May 16, 2006

What does "human resources" even mean, anyway?

Now that I'm gainfully employed at MTV, I've been enjoying receiving boilerplate rejection emails from other companies. When one unexpectedly pops up in my inbox, I think: oh, okay, yeah, I remember you guys--I would have never worked for you anyway. Which may or may not be true--but the sting of rejection inspires such a response, regardless. One example:

Dear applicant,

Thank you very much for your interest in Lime Wire's film project and for taking the time to complete the first-round interview process with us. We very much enjoyed reviewing your application. Blah, blah, blah. However, although your skills and experience are impressive, we feel that your qualifications are not a match for our needs at this time. Thanks again for your interest in Lime Wire; we wish you the best of luck in your job search.

Sincerely,

[Name withheld]
Human Resources Associate
The Lime Group, LLC

First of all, if I were a HR person, I'd occasionally put the "blah, blah" in there just to be a dick. Within a split-second of opening the email (or envelope), the applicant knows that he or she didn't get the job, so the contents of the notification are just a formality anyway. On the other hand, actually hearing back from a job, one way or another, is better than not hearing back at all.

Second, if I were a HR person, I'd have to ask myself, what the hell am I doing?

Dealing with HR is widely accepted to be a consistently shitty experience. I know more than one person who had their hiring nixed by HR, even though their interviewer and potential boss wanted to hire them. So what, exactly, is the point of HR, other than to entangle employees (and potential employees) in a mess of red tape? HR seems to exist primarily to make things more difficult in life. Institutions that serve such a purpose make life so much more enjoyable. That was sarcasm.

It's no coincidence that the job that ended up working out for me was the rare position that did not involve going through HR--but that's another story, which I'll get to soon. The point is, HR department infrastructures are so bloated, it seems to me that anyone who could come up with a new way of leveraging online applications to streamline the admin processes--thus cutting out 75% of the personnel required to accomplish an inane task, and opening up more direct channels of communication for employees--could change the very definition of human resources, and make a fortune in the process. Of course, HR is another in a long list of institutions that are overdue for revolutionizing. Another obvious one? The film industry.

Your Comment

8 Comments

what is this really fpor u guys are not makin any sense of any thing tat u guys are sayin there well thank u very much

October 10, 2006 at 3:13PM, Edited September 4, 10:14AM

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jasmine

i have no idea

March 17, 2009 at 11:24PM, Edited September 4, 10:14AM

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bla bla

that is what i want to know what are human resources!!! give some examples so i can see please!!!

March 17, 2009 at 11:25PM, Edited September 4, 10:14AM

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bla bla

Employment/Recruiting is a very small part of Human Resources. If you had a worker's comp case, questions/concerns about health/financial benefits, a sexual harassment complaint, the need for FMLA leave, or concern about employment laws you may be singing a different tune about HR.

Yep, those little letters you get are form letters. The person signing their name doesn't care what the letter says because you were weeded out for not meeting some requirement specified by the hiring manager and the HR person who added your named to the "rejection" spreadsheet file just did a little mail merge and voila, your letter was magically written, stuffed into an envelope, and mailed along with hundreds and hundreds of other letters. Where I work, we very often receive 300-400 applications for ONE position. I was told I was the #1 choice for hire at my company out of 355 other applicants. I had to kick 354 other people's ass to get this job I hate. Impressive, yes? Or maybe sad. Anway, the cost of rejection letters for first-round applicants alone is enough to deter most companies from sending them, so yes, you're fortunate to receive such a courtesy.

The reason HR gave the red light for hiring your buddies is most likely due to results of a credit check or a criminal record check or a reference check. That's hardly HR's fault, and they probably prevented that manager from hiring someone who would not be as good for the job, overall, as another applicant.

Working in HR is a very shitty experience for someone like me, an introvert who doesn't give a rat's ass if your health insurance was terminated because of your own negligence. It's really not my problem. I'll do what I can to help you, but you really need to take your hostility elsewhere. The point is, it's a horrible experience because heinously ignorant employees make it that way. Guess what, it's not my fault something is federal or state law. It's also not my fault your manager wants to use me as a scapegoat because they screwed up. Get over it. I fell into human resources looking for a job in counseling. With my BA in Psychology, I was overqualified to be a mental health counselor at one level and underqualified to be a counselor at the next level. I wanted professional job experience before deciding what I what I wanted to study for my Masters or Doctorate. Let's just say after 2.5 years of being crapped on and dealing with total idiots 40 hours/week, I won't be going for a MHR degree in this life. In fact, I won't be seeking a career in corporate anything. What a waste of life.

August 12, 2009 at 1:35PM, Edited September 4, 10:22AM

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Julie

I also want to add...

At my company, we very often tell managers they *CAN'T* fire/terminate someone. There's a termination process/procedure according to federal and state laws, company policy, etc. So, it's possible you still have your job because of HR. I'm sure people are wrongfully terminated all the time without compliance to state & federal laws. Employees, in general, are so ignorant, many are not aware they may have been wrongfully terminated.

So really what I'm trying to say, is that instead of thinking of HR as the bad guy, you need to realize they're looking out for the wellbeing of the employees just as much as, if not more than, the wellbeing of the company as a whole. Profit driven CEOs would often get away with violating employment laws if not for HR. And emploment laws exist to protect employees. Assuring compliance with employment laws is one of any HR department's main tasks. Human Resources is essentially the conscience of any otherwise heartless profit-driven company.

August 12, 2009 at 1:49PM, Edited September 4, 10:22AM

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Julie

ok julie let me say u have no type of life wwat so ever

November 30, 2009 at 3:35PM, Edited September 4, 10:22AM

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keisha