HR’s Double Standard


The purpose of this post is NOT to vent, but to highlight some of the oddities that I have observed as I have been in search for more than 12 years.

I have a client that retained my firm to hire a Vice President of Sales for a $250mm division of a larger Medical Device company. This was a repeat client with whom I had placed three other VP’s in the past, albeit with a different division. Working with different HR executives at this company, I acknowledge that each has a unique approach and style. With one of their HR executives, it went quite well. Unfortunately, I wasn’t quite as lucky with the others.

After extensive recruiting and vetting, we presented a slate of candidates and scheduled an array of telephone interviews for the President to meet these prospects. What happened next was an example of a double standard coming from HR that they don’t seem to recognize. For the second time in a matter of two weeks time, the President, who was scheduled for a telephone interview with a VP prospect, had to cancel the interview only minutes before the call would be placed. This didn’t happen once, but twice! After the second cancellation, my candidate made a snarky comment about the recurrence and eventually, said that he understood and would be flexible.

The irony is that the same HR person informed me that because a different candidate cancelled his interview only a few hours before his interview due to a conflict with his schedule at his current company, her company was no longer interested in interviewing him stating that “he didn’t show enough interest and it obviously wasn’t important enough to him to keep his appointment.” So here I find myself wondering why it is NOT OK for the candidate to cancel the interview on short notice but it IS OK for them to do the same thing not once, but twice!

Could this HR person be that out of touch with their own reality? Is this Double Standard acceptable? Is the Customer Always Right?

I would love to know what others think…

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3 thoughts on “HR’s Double Standard

  1. Drue, for most positions HR is placing an ad and weeding through resumes of active (often unemployed) candidates. The candidate wants and needs the job or they would not have applied. They don’t recognize the difference between wooing a passive “superstar” candidate and vetting (not recruiting) active candidates. There is often this arrogent attitude that it is the candidate who would be fortunate to work for their company and not vica versa. The best companies know they have to sell the candidate on joining their team at the same time they are vetting them.

  2. This is a double standard. Things do come up but is the person’s time doing the hiring more valuable than the prospect’s? I think not. When I go to the doctor and have to wait long after my appointed time I understand if there is an emergency. If it happens again I begin to think that the doctor thinks his/her time is more important than mine. It’s about respect. If I had been the VP and I was rescheduled twice I would think, “is this someone I really want to work with?” On the other hand, I would never cancel an interview with a prospect at the last minute unless it was a dire emergency. Double standard, indeed! …Definitely not acceptable.

  3. When the ego is on display it can be obvious. The HR person took the position that most take, without consideration as to the nature of this person’s situation. The gamble is they could have really costed the company a great new hire.

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