A love letter from the HR department…

Two types of people need to read this post: anyone who has ever struggled to find a job, and anyone who works in HR.

I’ve recently completed a fulltime MBA.

I realize starting my post with that sentence makes me one of those assholes that needs to inform you of their degree the minute they meet you, to stroke their ego and feed their insecurity. So yes, I’m one of those assholes, but there’s a reason I started the post that way.

Thinking, on my graduation day, that I’ve now successfully studied myself into a higher pay grade, I merrily began sending CVs to recruiters and prospective employers. Initially, I told them how awesome I am, and what I could bring to their business. After a while, I changed my angle to highlight how quick I learn, and what high esteem I have for their company. Eventually, I was just applying for internships everywhere. Unpaid internships. E-VE-RY-WHERE!

Can you see where this is going?

I realize the economy is down. I realize good help is hard to find. I realize my field of work is quite niche so there are very limited jobs available, and I’m also not the world’s most experienced applicant. But, it’s been three months now, and I’m starting to become worried. I’m also beginning to feel very rejected. (Thus, the overcompensating opening statement.)

I would like to take a moment to talk about the HR policies of some the companies who decided they have no need for my mad skills. I think companies often forget that it’s people — not robots — who are applying to work for them.

Many companies tell you upfront when you apply to them for work, that if you are not contacted in two weeks’ time, you should accept that your application has been unsuccessful. This policy is rather cold, but fair enough. I understand HR managers have lots of other work to do. They can’t just spend all day sending handwritten, scented “thank you, but no thank you” notes to employment hopefuls.

What gets to me, however, is companies that just say nothing.

They give you bugger all. Nadda. Ziltch. And so, after staring at your phone longingly for a month, you eventually just accept that you didn’t make the cut. If someone had bothered to tell you that a little earlier, a lot of time hoping, pondering, dreaming and wondering could have been saved (and also all of your beautiful nails… and, dare I say it, your beautiful toenails too).

I get that letting people down is not only time consuming, but also hard to do. It’s like telling someone who got your number from a friend that you don’t want to go out with them. Awkward.

But I don’t expect flowers and a poem, or a love letter, or even a reason for the refusal. Companies can easily get into trouble if they provide rejected workers with a reason which isn’t exactly politically correct. So that’s okay, keep the reason.  I just think I deserve some sort of answer, in words.

Because, HR managers, when I send you my CV — with the good photo and the good references (which are actually real) — and I do the courtship dance in my motivational letter, to tell you that I’m an honest, hardworking, talented individual with great potential:  I am making myself vulnerable to you.  If, after two weeks (or however long it takes you to work through your list of applicants), you’ve decided, I’m not “the one”, feel free to say “No!” to me, but just say fucking something!

Something like this:

Dear sir/or madam, (Because being gender-specific offends people nowadays)

Your application to work at our awesome, fancy-ass firm has been unsuccessful. (Dis nou sleg!)

All the best with your future endeavours. (Paying bills with no income and so forth)


HR (xoxo)

Why should you say something? Because I’m human. And if you didn’t have that cushy HR job, you could easily have been in my position.


Author: Anna Greenfield

Anna is a creative writer with a background in radio and theatre. One day, when she becomes a proper adult, she will direct and produce movies and have a big boat and a little baby with her dashing (and also height appropriate) husband Dean.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s