The Biggest Lie We Tell in HR (and Why Need to Stop Telling It)

I believe that telling lies can render a person insane. Seriously.

When a person makes a habit of lying, they eventually begin believing their own lies, and then they become a little crazy, unable to distinguish fiction from reality.

And so it goes with HR folks who insist on perpetuating the lie that money doesn’t matter.

BS walks … all the time

Word on the street is that it’s a candidate’s job market.

Hmmm …

I’ll believe THAT when I stop getting crappy job offers.

But what’s worse than getting a crappy job offer? It’s hearing an HR “pro” claim her offer isn’t crappy because she doesn’t see pay as reflective of my value.

Well, how magnanimous of you. I’m calling BS.

Culture instead of cash?

I can’t agree with Laurie Ruettimann that company culture is a myth, but I did nod my head at this line in her recent article:

We pay employees in culture when we can’t pay them in cash.

I nodded because I know from first-hand experience that some HR folks are still touting the untruth that culture is as valid a medium as a fair wage.

And with that untruth comes another untruth, namely, that the amount of moola an employer is willing to assign a position is all about financial ability and has nothing to do with how the employer views the function or the candidate.

Yeah, I know it sounds nuts, but that’s what the employer wants the candidate to believe when the employer tries to undercut the candidate and then says: “We’d like to pay more, but we just can’t afford it.”

Cut the baloney, please.

Article Continues Below

Wanting something for nothing

Money always tells a story. In 99.999 percent of cases, if an employer isn’t willing to pay at least the market rate for talent, the employer doesn’t value the talent, or it doesn’t value the function. Period.

And said employer shouldn’t waste his breath talking trash about budgets, financial constraints, diminished sales, or funding cutbacks, because for every poor, underpaid sucker slugging away for culture instead of cash, someone else on that same payroll is being paid handsomely. Trust me on that.

So please, let’s stop lying to ourselves and to candidates.

It’s rude. It’s disingenuous. It’s a waste of time. It causes good employees to bolt. And, it makes us look silly.

I don’t want to hear it

Money talks. It always has, and it always will.

And no, I don’t begrudge an employer the right to assign a dollar amount to certain positions, or even to certain people, as it sees fit. These distinctions are necessary.

But please, don’t tell me your job offer doesn’t confer value.

That’s just a big fat lie.

Crystal Spraggins, SPHR, is an HR consultant and freelance writer who lives in Philadelphia. She also writes at her blog, HR BlogVOCATE. For the past 15 years, Crystal has focused on building HR departments in small- to mid-sized companies under the philosophy that "HR is not for wimps." She is also the CEO and Founder of Work It Out! and partners with HRCVision, a full-service HR consultant practice specializing in leadership and diversity training. Contact her at


182 Comments on “The Biggest Lie We Tell in HR (and Why Need to Stop Telling It)

  1. I’ll believe it’s a “candidate’s market” when…
    1. The networking groups of people looking for work are empty.
    2. Wages are rising.
    3. Companies take something less than eternity to make a hiring decision because they know other companies are also looking for people.
    4. Companies start treating job seekers with respect and communicate with them about the status of their application/interview.
    5. Companies stop looking for the perfect-fit fantasy-date purple squirrel.

        1. David, I read your article, and agree. John, you might like it. It does get right down to the fact that folks look for what they “think” is the perfect fit without realizing that experience is transferrable, knowledge is acquirable, and looking for a perfect fit, is like saying that people’s experience and knowledge are fixed at the time of hire. Some of the worst hires I’ve ever seen in business are when someone fit the “qualifications perfectly.” What failed? The fact that historical qualifications are not a predictor of future success. You simply can’t measure someone’s ambition with a set of skills. For me, find me someone close to what I’m looking for, and let me MEET them. I love to hire ambitious, willing to work individuals with 80% of what I’m looking for, knowing they’ll blow out of the water in 6 months anyone who was a “perfect fit” and walked in with an attitude of knowing it all…

          1. LOL! Not right now. Last IT hire I made was a couple of years ago, and I think my team is happy enough, it’ll be a few more years before any of them go anywhere. 🙂

          2. Skip you may like to hire those types but how do they/we get past the HR screening Robot Programs to you and those like you? (and all of your points are valid) Most HR types have no knowledge of the Job they are advertising for and no proper background to determine valid qualifications for most positions. Thus they end up relying upon incorrect data or Qualifications from the employee seeking Manager (who may also have some of the same short-comings) and the other mechanisms referenced in these other posts. Nice to see that there are still some quality seeking types with knowledge still out there. Regards

          3. Amen to that, you have no idea how many offers I get for engineering positions. I DO NOT have a four year degree. I am a designer not an engineer. Is isn’t that hard to read that on my resume if they actually took the time to read any of it.

          4. Ah yes, the recruiters that use the key word search and deem you to be a match. I get dozens of systems administrator, help desk analyst and .NET programmer emails because my resume says that I have led/managed all of those types of people in the past.

          5. I’ve found that the best way to get past the HR process is to have that happen after it has been decided that you should have the job. The only way I’ve found to do this is through your existing relationships within your industry – you’d be amazed how much weight is given to a resume that lands on the hiring manager’s desk via an internal reference that knows you. (I’ve been a hiring manager and can attest to this)

          6. Oh I agree wholeheartedly with that. But these days even that is getting harder and harder to do. You see I’m getting up there in age and in some sectors Youth is valued above all else. They can Hire two or three for the Price, my Knowledge, connections and experience are worth and thus they do.
            It’s that Bottom-line management by Qtr Ideology that has undermined US Industry for the past 2.5-3 decades now.

            I recall one time I was interviewing for a network job and the Bldg’s network crashed as the Hiring Manager and I were talking and near the Datacom Room. We walked in I immediately noticed what was wrong ( a telco uplink was in loopback mode) I asked himif he was aware of any testing begin doneor scheduled for his site and he said no. I asked him if he wanted me to try and clear the problem now or wait a couple hours until the telco got the call, cut the ticket, assigned it and it got investigated etc. Needless to say I did a reset on the Telco card and service was restored within 30 seconds and he was happy as a clam.
            I worked there for the next few years and saved them 10s of 1000s of dollars just in cable costs as I pioneered Twisted pair Cabling before AT&T came out wit their version of it. Replaced every bit of IBM Twisted Coax and Belden cabling with Twisted pair wiring for multiple device types. Apple, IBM, Sync and Async Terminals and PC Ethernet. Now with all that experience I can’t get in the door because I know more and have done more than the senior staff and quite honestly they are intimidated.

            I always believed it was my duty to hire the best man or woman for the job even if that person was better, brighter and more experienced than myself. And I did. Nowadays they are too insecure in themselves (and to some degree I can’t blame them) and their abilities to hire the best person for the job.

            Sorry for the long-windedness, occasionally I need to get that stuff out. Time to check my investments at the close of the day. Since I’m not getting too many offers these days.

          7. After I retired from the Navy I put in 72 applications. I had been one of the Chiefs, and was really just looking to join a team and become one of the Indians. 1 call back, 3 E-mail responses saying they wanted someone younger( I’m pretty sure openly saying that is illegal). Only Sears bothered to conduct a serious interview, evaluate me, and hire me. I loved working there while going to school. Getting idiot HR managers to read is some serious magic trick even beyond David Copperfield’s abilities. Actually having people in HR that can judge whether or not a person can adequately fill a position would be nice.

          8. Been there Done that and can and will seriously sympathize with you and I have little sympathy. VEV 68-74 Co.E, 1st SFG 1st SF SAFASIA 31s3s

          9. What nailed it? The interviewer asked me why with 1 opening she should hire me over the other 30+ candidates. I told her simply “Do you really want to go with someone who doesn’t understand loyalty and duty that isn’t even fully domesticated or do you want someone that actually trained, groomed, can deal well with others?” She hired me on the spot.

          10. Biggest issue is that us ‘quality seeking types’ that have reasonable expectations are not usually receiving the resumes direct to review. The robot has done its part. The ‘recruiter’ in India has done their part and you finally get a resume of someone that is 100 miles away, not relocatable and doesn’t have the skills needed.

            The process is clearly broken. On the sad side is that it’s the candidates that have driven a lot of this since submission sites often make it so easy to apply that if ‘real’ people had to review every resume, it would take months to get through the initial review.

          11. Deceit, dishonesty and outright lying on resumes have made it a problem. When I worked at IBM (for a decade +) I saw a lot of Hires that were Not Qualified but were hired based on the above elements. A few even openly admitted it to me since I was not their manager nor responsible for them. Screening is tough and People Lie. But that still doesn’t excuse the HR dept from doing a better Job and asking better questions.
            For Example. What % of the Job is this aspect. There are far too many people being overlooked because there is no breakdown of the positions and an assignment of workload based upon actual time spent performing the various functions of the Job. This was Highlighted above by another HR Professional.

          12. A friend made this suggestion just today.

            In your resume/CV, in white text so it is invisible to the human eye, place as many “trigger words” as you can think of.

            Your resume will pop up on more job searches. It may not be PERFECT, but it will get you over that first hurdle.

          13. That’s a tough one. Personally, I think that’s the hiring managers responsibility. I ask for ALL resume’s and personally look through them, in addition to what HR’s screeners produce. I’ve personally moved folks back into the interview bucket, because there’s nothing to substitute a REAL conversation. As an interesting note, I’ve passed over qualified (screened) candidates because they don’t bother to tailor their cover sheets or resume’s to the job. That’s a big thing for me. If you can’t bother to change “Dear hiring company” to my company’s name… it’s not exactly a winner when I read, “I would love to work for your company,” later in the letter. LOL (or not LOL…). When people show a genuine interest, it goes a LONG way to making sure they end up in the interview pool. I’ve recently seen things where folks are being told “don’t follow up, because it annoys managers.” I’d say that may be true with some, but with many… showing ACTUAL interest goes a LONG way!

          14. Ah, the HR screening process. Working for an oil major and having been involved in the interviewing process the past few years for skilled craftsmen, the HR screening process we have in place is terrible. Here’s an example:

            Two years ago, we decided to hire between 5-7 electricians. Nationwide, a search of who knows how many hundreds or thousands of candidates netted 16 interviewees with the requisite electrical skills to perform the work required based on the screening process HR put in place. Of those 16, after interviewing them, we only found 7 that we felt even remotely comfortable could safely perform the work we required…and two of those were iffy. I complained to our HR manager about it, stating that there might be one or two problems with this process; either there isn’t a large enough pool of truly skilled candidates or the screening process sucks.

            Fast forward a year, multiple skilled crafts were being hired again. Despite concerns raised, the same process was used and the results identical: few of the interviewees of the thousands of original candidates have the required skill set. Voiced my concern to my HR manager again who really doesn’t want to hear it.

            We successfully used a local recruiting company to screen candidates for years; however, in the past few years, HR, in their infinitely clueless wisdom, decided that they could do a better job. Their inability to do so would be astounding if it weren’t so expected. I could give more examples, but it’d be better if I wrote a novel.

          15. Did you actually get to see the ad they ran? I hope you had a say in its wording and what skill sets were being screened for. If that was not the case then its time to go to a senior management person and see what “corrections” to the process can be made, “especially since it effects the Bottom-line”.

            Wasted Money on non or poorly producing ads cost the firm in time, money, effort and repeated lost time, money, and effort as well as retaining time and poor on the Job performance. I heck of a case/reason to jack up the HR Manager.

      1. I second. 🙂

        (And my wife recently attended 2 interviews where the interviewer or recruiter mistook, or didn’t even know, what position she had been invited to interview for. I wonder what sort of view they would have of an applicant who showed up not knowing what position he/she were interviewing for?)

    1. re: #5…average company has no idea what they are actually looking for….they make it up as they go
      #4? pipe dream….they have no respect for their process let alone those going through it.
      #3 – they are too afraid to make a decision….good or bad because they don’t know what they are doing.
      #1 – Most networkers only take and rarely give…..networking is only helpful if one does it with no expectation of anything in return and yet getting a lot in return….odd thing
      #2 – you are worth what you negotiate. If you don’t get the offer you want, you did not sell them on your value.

      It is your career…own it and drive it….don’t let anyone else drive your career….but the vast majority do.

      1. “#3 – they are too afraid to make a decision….good or bad because they don’t know what they are doing”

        The flip side to that is making a quick decision that is openly acknowledged as being a bad hire, but you gotta fill the slot before it gets yanked out from under you. I know…I’ve had to do it.

        1. But not getting quality candidates to select from is a symptom of another problem….that usually goes back to the requirements of the job as posted and filtering being done before you get to look at a resume.

          In my previous job, I was hiring for a couple positions. I was working with a recruiter who knew NOTHING about IT. The recruiter was local and we talked regularly. I gave her guidance and even questions to ask on initial screens along with the right answers to rate people against. After several failed interviews that she passed on to me, I asked her for resumes of people she had weeded out. The best candidates were in this group! One actually was hired, but she made assumptions without asking for guidance, just like a resume robot.

      2. Somebody actually allowed you to “negotiate” your salary and benefits and didn’t show you the door as soon as you wanted something that didn’t fit they’re narrow little view?
        You are lucky. 99% of people in the workforce do not have “careers”. They have “jobs”. And you try negotiating such things for a “job”.
        You are one of those people that truly believes that you need to “Sell” yourself. Get over yourself. You may be a product, but you are also a person. I have value. I know I have value and I do not devalue myself, but I also am not going to kowtow and kiss the butt of a potential employer and “Sell” myself. I am not an apple or a boat.
        If you want me, fine. If you don’t, fine. Your loss. I can prove my worth and I have a myriad of skills, experience and people that can attest to that.
        You are not buying me. You are employing me. If you are not willing to respect me enough to do a little background work as I did about your organization then I don’t need you.
        There are other fish in the see.

        1. Excellent point, I totally agree. These companies buy (or buy into) these metrics on what a given position should make.
          “Oh, they are going to be a Customer Service Technician I? That position pays X to X+$5,000 in your geographic area within your geographic area’s industries”. Negotiate outside of that HR defined area and you’re toast.
          “Sorry pal, this is Customer Service Tech I. You want the pay of Customer Service Tech III and we’re not hiring for that.”
          You’ll be labeled as someone who won’t be happy, overqualified, etc. If you get lucky…and you might….and talk your way into the highest salary for that given position you won’t ever get a raise unless you get promoted into the next level position. I had an estimator in that boat and I wasn’t allowed to give him a raise because he was at the top of his salary for being an estimator. Nor would they allow me to create the next level of estimator position for him. He has been stuck at the same salary for years.
          And good luck going in and selling yourself as the best customer service person ever based on…..? Even sales people have a hard time quantifying themselves let alone a back office person.
          “I’m the best ever Java programmer…” Yea ok. You and everybody else. You can’t quantify that. You can’t quantify being the best ever accountant because you can close the monthly books on time and can add and subtract faster than your colleagues. Or that you like everyone and everyone likes you, Pollyanna.
          Give me a break.
          Negotiating anything anymore is just a pipe dream unless you’re lucky enough to find someone in such a bind, with so few prospects of candidates that they are in the rare position of being over a barrel. The only people selling that story of “selling yourself and your value” are HR recruiters that the candidates pay. And all they do are basically teaching non-salespeople how to knock on a door and “sell themselves” to a company. Nice try. Doesn’t work.
          I hate to say it, but truly the best and only way to find something is to “network” which is really just whoring yourself and groveling at the feet of friends and acquaintances. And even with that, you still better be the purple squirrel. Or at least lavender.
          It’s simple, there are too many college educated professionals for too few positions. Factor in age, looks and other intangibles like whether the hiring manager likes your style (or as they call it “fitting into the culture”) and that defines whether you’re the right purple squirrel or the other person. Along with if your resume “checks all the boxes” as they like to say. And literally when I interviewed candidates I had a sheet with boxes in which I had to rate candidates from 1-5. I’ve seen it all, from presentations and slick introduction letters to people showing up unsolicited requesting a meeting to sell themselves. Great, come on in and waste your time and money….I’m not hiring and won’t be anytime soon. But talk away about how you’re going to save my company and I can’t live without you and why you’re worth more than the company pays me.
          Face it, the middle class is under assault. You better either start your own company, change a career for a job and learn a trade that is the latest fad (and hope that doesn’t get outsourced too) or get an Obama job in the service industry.
          FORGET THE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE….LOOK AT THE PARTICIPATION RATE. That, and only that, is the key to a healthy workforce. That and rising wages. We have neither.

    2. “Companies stop looking for the perfect-fit fantasy-date purple squirrel.”
      I totally agree and I believe the reason for that are the leaders of the company aren’t leaders. They’re lazy ass managers who are now in a bind and need to find a hero to get them out of it. So instead of finding a great candidate to mentor, train and develop they need to find the purple squirrel to fix their problem RIGHT NOW. I see it in sales all the time when they say “bring a book of business” or in a software person who needs a set of precise, yet obscure, skills. It’s even more evident when they use online HR systems, like TALEO, to vet their candidates for them using matching software as means to find the “perfect” candidate. That is absolute proof that your HR area is full of lazy idiots.
      Corporate America, I mean the big companies mostly, are just nothing but a collection of idiots and morons at the top who have either won the sperm lottery or managed to fly under the radar and look innocuous to upper management until they can slither their way into a job that is bullet proof.
      I mean this sincerely and utterly – I hope China continues to kick our asses. And then India. And then Korea and Japan. Russia would be doing it had they not decided to be stupid…again.
      Maybe at some point corporations will get serious about casting a wider net for true talent, not just regurgitating the same old people.

      1. Who Cares Two things.

        1. ATS really means “Application Termination Systems”.

        2. I believe that, in many cases, companies have run so lean for so long, they’ve created amalgam positions that – in reality – there is no such person because there is no such position anywhere else. A huge part of this comes from attempting to REPLACE a long-time person who left/retired, rather than investing in finding a SUCCESSOR and then bringing them up to speed.

        1. David. Exactly.
          I cant tell you how many resumes I sent to companies and either received a quick ding letter or nothing at all. Then I see the advertisement still advertised for months after I applied.
          Yet my resume is exactly what they are looking for.
          Finally I went the self employed route and started getting calls from the same companies that I had applied for. They were willing to pay me 4 times what I would have worked for as an employee. Then all I heard was complaints because they couldn’t find employees like me. When I mentioned that I had applied to work for them they didn’t believe me. Further checking found that my resumes were rejected because the system that scanned the resume rejected it because it believed he resume wasent properly filled out or didn’t meet the requirements. A living person never saw it…

          1. And then companies turn around and say they can’t find people. You know, I understand – truly – that in this economy every company gets swamped with resumes. That’s a given. But given this incredible abundance of people looking for work – if a company is not getting “qualified people” through the ATS to a person, that should be a signal that something is awry.

          2. “You know, I understand – truly – that in this economy every company gets
            swamped with resumes. That’s a given. But given this incredible
            abundance of people looking for work – if a company is not getting
            “qualified people” through the ATS to a person, that should be a signal
            that something is awry.”

            It’d be trivial to check – every time that the ATS didn’t produce enough good resumes for human reading and interviewing, the hiring manager/HR should pull 100 rejects. Read those, and if more than a few good ones were rejected then the system didn’t work.

          3. Just track the number of resumes submitted for a position vs. the number passed through – which should be a trivial exercise. While I understand that not every person is going to be a 100% perfect match, I suspect most people don’t apply for jobs that they are CLEARLY unqualified for.
            If the ATS is not passing at least, say, 50%, do as you say – pull some of the rejects and let the hiring manager evaluate them.

          1. Kudos to you for rising to the challenge.
            I think part of this is perspective. When you see something done effortlessly by “a veteran of the position” you come to see it as routine. Except, of course, it’s not.

      2. Purple squirrel here. You have no idea how many companies I’ve gone in to as a consultant and solved their problems “Right Now”. Fortunately, it was as a consultant and I got to leave when the job was done.
        I can’t imagine trying to be that purple squirrel on the job hunt. It would be gruesome and, now that you mention it, just what kind of expectations did I leave behind.
        Perhaps it is us Purple Squirrels that are partially to blame for it.
        Over and over again, I see the companies that I just cleaned up try to hire someone to maintain it and fail. The companies often expect something that is non-existent.
        There’s a big difference between coming in and solving the problem and being able to leave rather than coming in and solving the problem and then have to stay and be expected to solve every other problem!

        1. You are pointing to a bigger issue which is that much of the ‘leadership’ team in companies these days don’t really understand how everything really fits together in the ‘well oiled machine’ you leave behind. Maybe you should offer further consulting services in the form of a candidate interviewer for the roles they look to fill once your work is done. Offer it…all they can do is say no and then fail…again and again and again…. 🙂

    3. Nice itemization of untruths! Company communication and follow-up is below target, as they say. We, as candidates, are expected to follow the letter of the law on strong formal correspondance – and 60% of the time, the companies fail to exhibit this. Awful, incorrigible trend.

  2. The market is what you make of it and since most people are sheep, it is a target rich environment if you are willing to do the work.

    Be lazy? Immediate results.
    Be smart? Great results.

    Simple game

  3. H.R. I have felt for years that the term H.R. meant Human Refuse.
    It is one of those oxymorons that has way to much power and influence, in my humble opinion.

  4. you are considered a “supervisor” of nobody but a “supervisor” just the same. (so we can expect 50 hour work weeks)

  5. Most HR people allow a computer program to chose the people they want to interview. And then they might look at a resume. But bottom line they are looking for someone with tons and years of experience… And the same person has to be willing to work less than 40 hours a week… be on call all the time and get paid an entry level wage

    1. No, they must be willing to work 60 hours per week, but for 20 hours per week pay at an entry level rate.

      1. And don’t forget they need you to have 10 years experience and pay you $9 an hour for your knowledge, or even better yet the “temp to perm” lie… love that one!

    2. My son in law looked for 5 months for a job as programmer. Everything was done online. Never a face to face interview. He has MBA and another master degree from LSU. over 20 years in the field. There is no human side to employment these days. I retired in 94 and after a while of boredom I took a job with a local business on a face to face interview. The interview lasted about 20 minutes with the facility manager. He only ask one question. What can I offer him. When I gave my answer, the next thing was when can you start? That has been taken out of the process today.

        1. I do not smoke so I do not take breaks for that. I do not drink so I will not ever come in with a hangover and grumpy. I have been in sales for 30+ years and most of my business is due to customer relationships not gimmicks and slick sales tactics. If a customer is here at closing time I will stay as long as they want to stay so they will be happy. I will add this also. After about 45 days I had people that I had worked with previously that would wait for me to shop. In 6 months there( l left due to knee problems). I was top $ salesman in the store 5 times. Only month not top was the month I started.
          Selling is all about people not products.

    3. I haven’t hired anyone in more than a decade (retired now), but I read the resumes and did the interviews for the offers I made.

      Usually I preferred people with less experience and more drive.

  6. I worked for a fortune 1000 company for 10 years and our HR Dept would always lecture us on hiring and say employees want recognition from their supervisor more than money. BS, BS, BS! I ran a great department and would always go to bat for a hard and reliable worker and HR would always came back with same old BS. FV#% these people, I got sick of being given the same old lie and expected to perpetuate the lie to my people.

    1. Yep.
      In 2008 I took a entry level position (I couldn’t find anything else and I have 20 years experience in my field).
      I was promised a raise in 4 months if my expertise matched my resume.
      After 4 months I was called into the HR office where they slapped my back told me how good I was and promoted me by giving me a title and 20 more hours per week. But no more pay.
      I was told that the title alone was worth $30,000 more. I told them I don’t want the title. Just the extra pay. They said no.
      So I quit.

    2. I agree. At my current company, the bosses are OK but my co-workers are the most unpleasant nastiest people I ever had to work with. The only reason I stay is that the pay and benefits are well above industry average.

    3. That is indeed BS…. Screw recognition — if I’m really as good as the bosses say, they’d give me a raise…. money talks, BS walks

  7. Applying for jobs is a waste of time. They’re looking for desperate people who already have a job and want to make about the same money they’re currently making doing the exact same thing.

    They’re are plenty of people qualified to do a particular job but they’re ignored. Because they’re missing 2 out of 10 “so-called essential” skills or they have little to no experience for a job, because there’s no more training anymore.

    I recently saw a job for a File system software developer. WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?

    1. Pretty much true on what you said.
      In regards to the “essential skills” part of your comment – it drives me nuts when I see skills list that are things you would pick up just by working there in a month. I have nearly two decades in doing what I did and yet, had to walk from opportunities due to some stupid superficial skill requirement. It often made me wonder if the department or department head that is needing people was the one that created the ads or if someone in Ops or HR that THOUGHT that they knew what was needed makes the ads.
      I know that when we were able to hire out way we used specific and essential 3D CAD tools and we had no problems bringing in people with little exposure (when HR or Ops was not deciding who we got to look at) simply because software is trainable while their experience sitting in their heads could be from decades of working.

      1. A fellow co-worker of mine was a Associate Professor in Computer Sci at University of Texas. He tells me he could not get most of these jobs today based on the set of skills required is overwhelming, I’m in the same boat with him.

        1. Let me guess – the skills that were missing are something as stupid as “must be able to type 50 words per minute” or “must know how to create pivot tables and charts in Excel”. You know, things you could learn from a book and by messing around for a day.

          Isn’t great how people can overlook someone’s demonstrated abilities in a technical field and weed them out on some skill that can be picked-up on the job, from a book, or by messing around at home for a couple of hours over a few days.

          It’s as if they only hire if someone can hit the ground running (in their minds) when nearly every job / career you still are going to be trained in how that specific business does things. Typically it is much more complex to learn a company’s systems than some new skill or a skill related to skills that you already have.

          1. They’d rather wait six months waiting for that (non-existent) “risk free hire they don’t have to train” rather than hire someone who has 90% of what’s wanted NOW.

      2. I have seen in some cases, they already have a candidate in mind and tailor the requirements to that person. Especially if they are trying to get a visa and need to prove there are no qualified American candidates.

        1. HA! I once saw an ad that could have been written based on my resume – it was that close a match. Well, until the last line: “Must be fluent in Hindi and Mandarin.”

      3. When I was hired by my next-to-last employer, I had been doing 3D CAD work for years and years… but had never even heard of the specific program they had installed. Did that stop me? NO!
        Because I had experience in knowing CAD in general, because I had the ATPITUDE, I went through the manuals, used the tutorials, and was designing complex pieces and assemblies BEFORE I was sent to the training. Yet I can’t count how many times I’ve been rejected for a position – simply because I wasn’t already an expert in the CAD software. Or hadn’t used it in a while (e.g., SolidWorks, which I’ve used for six years… just not recently).
        As a recruiter (and, I daresay, friend of mine) once said (paraphrased): “Companies are missing out on incredible people because they lack one thing that could be easily learned.”

    2. (OK, another shameless self-promotional link embedded. 😉

      I attend networking groups for people who are looking for work… these people (like me) are skilled, educated, accomplished… but are also unemployed, and overwhelmingly white, male, and over 40. Note that this is not to say there are no members who are women, or minorities – far from it. But looking at the demographics… it’s clear who is not “wanted” in the corporate world.

      Companies that want skilled, educated, accomplished people who will likely stay longer than a Millenial looking to pump their resume for two years would be well served to consider mining such groups.

  8. Salaries are based on market demand. If a person is not in demand than their salary will be reflect it. Employers will never overpay for talent. Simple business principle.

    1. total baloney. Simple business principle since the first slaves, bring in cheap labor.

      Experienced IT guys in DC, make $150k, a similar job in Florida 60k-90k, in NY/Philly 80k-110k.. It’s still 2008 salaries for IT people have not changed too much. Yet we’re told we need IT people such that H1-B’s need to be increased to 300,000 a year.

      1. I love the IT crybabies who think they should get six figure salaries for clicking a bunch of microsoft buttons and calling themselves engineers or gods. Pay is low because a monkey could do your job.

        1. Ahhh… More evidence of “Because I don’t understand what you do, it must not be valuable.” This attitude kills business innovation, employee motivation, and countless conversations.

          1. An easy assumption to make except we all know what happens when we make assumptions. I worked in IT consulting and am keenly aware of the IT ninnies that cry about the H1B’s. Sorry you can teach junior high school kids to write code, that is why the pay is so low.

          2. That and market economics. Supply and Demand play a HUGE part. Because there is no scarcity, there’s no incentive to pay more. A glut of IT professionals (especially in some regions of the USA, because outsourced IT to other countries leaves job searchers galore…) results in lowered pay. The exact same thing occurs in regions with gluts of any type of professional. Regions with schools are especially tough. A glut of graduates makes it every easy to find “someone” who is willing to take a lower salary, because they’re not willing to move.

            My mother told me my whole life, that “in 8 years you could be a Doctor, no matter what you’re doing today.” While that may not be true for everyone, what IS true, is that people can switch careers. I did it. Started out as a School teacher, and when I couldn’t make a decent living working 3 jobs, I switched to high tech. Standard of living is MUCH greater, and I’ve found the things I loved about teaching can be found in the professional tech fields as well (the opportunity to change lives positively). It required going back to school for an advanced degree in Business, and lots of training in things like Six Sigma, but I’ve made a fantastic second career. I’d do it again, if I had to.

            The most successful individuals I’ve met in the “job hunt” are those who spent the time acquiring new skills while they were laid off for 18 months… Whether that be starting a business, going back to school, or taking additional training, it always seemed to pay off.

            As for the H1B’s, and their willingness to work the same job for tons less money… Every business is interested in turning a profit… As I posted earlier, in your home “Domestic Business” that is your life, don’t you also buy less than highest quality to save a buck sometimes? Don’t you also LOVE it when you can get a high quality product for less than market value? Same thing for a business. We shouldn’t expect anything less.

      2. Yet in 2004 the company I used to work for outsourced most of the IT work to India, so the IT department lost their jobs.

      3. @Boyd Cord….you hit the nail on the head on salaries. I literally just got back up to my 2008 IT salary this year. So I’ve basically had 6 years or negative growth. It hasn’t been due to the H1-B’s but merely discounting the value of true IT leadership. Every leadership role I’ve had, I’ve paid for my salary + more in negotiated savings with vendors and/or improved services with reduced cost (i.e. more or more reliable bandwidth for less $$).

        Companies have no idea what they are looking for, this is true. So often they are trying to combine two or more roles into one job at the lowest possible salary. One was a Director of IT and in my interview with the CIO, he told me 30% of my job would be writing SQL queries. I passed on the opportunity.

        Another was a Director as the senior most member of the IT team (i.e. CIO, without the title…and of course without the comp).

        Another was a more or less title lateral move that BEFORE the interviewing took place, I told HR my comp expectations and was told, based on other candidates we have recently onboarded compared to my skill set, they would be able to go up that high. After the interviews, the offer came and was $3K above what she told me they were bringing in junior level people at in similar roles. I countered back at what we had discussed. She went back and the hiring manager declined to meet that stating he ‘felt the offer was competitive.’ I respectfully declined.

        I’ve also seen small companies looking for VP’s of IT at $60K a year. Basically they want a SysAdmin and will give whatever title as a carrot to get the candidate. I’ve never been a title hound, but rather look at the role and the responsibilities of the roll. In a nutshell, companies are all over the place.

        I typically look for 75-80% of the role to be stuff that is a basic slam dunk (been there, done that). I also want to LEARN in my new role, so I want a new industry and/or new technologies to face. I would hope that companies would value that, but they seem to want ‘more of the same of what they have.’ I find that to be a poorly conceived ideal, since I’ve found that bringing a small amount of inexperience, ignorance or naivety to the table gets people thinking differently and looking at problems differently. So often people are so close to the department/problem that they can’t muster a clue about how to do something in a different manner. It’s also not about me bringing in ‘my way’ of doing things since that is all I know. It’s leveraging what is working, best practices and experience to eliminate mediocrity.

        I often wonder what market salary surveys companies are using, since I see my min/mid/max and that of all my employees and that certainly isn’t randomly generated. So I know what positions in my region/area should be paying at various levels, but it seems that most companies are still trying to hire back to 2008 levels!

  9. there’s a ton of good young talent out there ignored. A smart company would hire these people instead they want some immigrant Asian with a degree form an obscure Asian college. I’m seeing kids from top $50,000 a year US colleges being ignored for an immigrant with 3 years experience in their home country graduating from some never-heard-of-it school Then when I speak with the guy I can’t understand what the hell he’s saying

    1. Its not just the language barrier, either. A lot of the “talent” coming in on H1-B visas is fictional.

      They have a piece of paper from an obscure Asian college and a resume with every buzzword on it, but they don’t have the skills.

      But of course they will work 60 hours for 30 hours worth of pay, so all of the qualified Americans are skipped over.

      1. I have seen the same thing in some Asians and it all depends on what university they graduated from. I have seen some that know more than graduates from our own universities and wondered what they really learned from the place they wasted their money at.

    2. When I was hiring in China, I only considered degrees from about a half-dozen universities that I knew.

  10. “I’d like to work for you, but I just can’t afford it” Culture? I’ve seen so many companies try to substitute cash for culture, then you find out – too late – that there’s no culture, either.

  11. A few years back when I applied for a higher position within my company, they had advertised X amount for the position – a nice little increase from what I was making in my current position. I got the job, but not the X salary. Apparently money was tight and they just couldn’t offer me the additional $$$. Then why did they bother to advertise that amount if they couldn’t afford it? Whatever. I felt then, and still believe today, that one of the reasons they picked me for the job was so they could fill the position without having to pay the actual salary for that position – they could just keep me on the payscale I had been presently making. After a couple months I did finally get a raise to the promised salary – mainly, I think, because after I left my previous department they had to completely rearrange the system and hire two new people to make up for all the work I had been doing and they realized, gee, she’s really underpaid. In the five years since, I’ve since had my salary increased over 30% more and also moved into a higher position. But. It is still well below market rate. And they can whine and complain about budgets and all that, but I and everyone else knows that the tight budget hasn’t stopped the executives from paying themselves a quarter to half a million, so whatever.

    1. Kudos to you for understanding the system, and working to improve your lot within it.

      I find it fascinating when people start working for a business believing that the company will simply and willingly just offer to pay more for their services. Sure, that’d be great! But ultimately, a business is really about making money. Buy low, sell high! I struggle to understand when people DON’T remember that, and think simply because they’re “worth more” a business ought to pay more.

      When we buy things for ourselves or family (otherwise known as “domestic business”) don’t we look for things on sale? Don’t we love it when we can pay less for something worth more? After we’ve acquired an item (such as on a car lease), do we go back and OFFER to pay more, when we discover the lease is worth more to us than originally realized? Heck no! A business won’t do it differently, either.

      I think it’s great that you’ve recognized that a business isn’t buying you, though. Businesses only LEASE employees. What makes it work for us and our salaries, is #1 our willingness to MOVE… Get a new job, work our way up, etc… Jill, you’re a GREAT example of someone willing to better their condition by a willingness to do new things. Are you paid what you’re worth, yet? probably not. But you’re paid 30% more than someone who wasn’t willing to move. 🙂 To keep you, the business had to up their lease price!

      And someday, when you’re willingness to move to a different company results in being paid what you ARE worth (or at least closer), the company you leave will be wishing they’d hadn’t offered firesale rates for the lease on the premium product. Mostly likely though, they’ll just find someone else worth more than their value, and simply offer them less, because they’re not willing to move.

      Best of luck to you!

    2. @Jill….that is common practice. Promoting from within usually means they can get someone for less $$ than going external. I’ve had several situations where I was interviewing and an internal candidate popped up and got the job. One case, I had gone through 4 rounds up to the department VP. So that is usually a question I ask before moving forward with a company, ‘do you have internal candidates still under consideration?’

      I have a colleague right now interviewing for an internal role which would be a promotion for him and he has that same concern and has told me point blank, if they offer him the role, without the compensation, that he’ll decline the role and step up his external search as it would be indicative to him of how the company values him. After all, if they are willing to pay someone with no company experience more…

      Most often, from my experience, when this happens, it’s because the company expects that the employee will be thrilled with the promotion and any sort of increase that goes with it. Minimally, they feel it buys them time since employees who feel under-valued will often take the role (after all it’s a better title and more $$) and update their resume and start shopping their talents.

      I’m also a firm believer in promoting people proactively and not getting into a situation where they have another job and are leaving. If they’ve made it to that point, either I’ve not been able to do my job effectively as their leader/mentor or money isn’t the reason they are leaving. I’ve been able to do pretty well in keeping strong teams by handling things like this. The 5 people I’ve had quit while working for me in the past 20 years left because:

      1) One was there for 5 weeks and didn’t like not having an office…good riddance to the ego…you knew there was no office for you when you got hired! 🙂
      2) Resigned 1 week after being placed on a PIP (pretty much confirmed his poor attendance was because he had a second job)
      3) Resigned to be a stay at home Dad…kudos to you!!
      4) Resigned because she found a job 15 miles from home and had been commuting 60 miles, one way…she took less pay, as well and I’ve done that too.
      5) Resigned as the outsourcing of IT writing was on the wall….

      If you care about your team and ‘do the right thing’ by them it goes a long way. I think the HR function is so obviously aligned to protect the company interest that to expect them to do anything proactively for the employee is an error of judgement.

      1. When I got the job and they informed me that they couldn’t pay me the higher salary, I admit I was very tempted for a couple of weeks to request that they put me back in my old department. Why should I do five times as much work for the same pay? I didn’t, though, and I just stuck it out and went along with it on the hope that they would see my worth and give me more money sooner rather than later (which they did) and I had a better chance of advancing in the company in the new position than if I stayed in the old one. But I do wonder what they would have done if I had asked them to put me right back where they found me, that I applied for the job because I wanted more money and if they’re not giving me the money then there’s no reason for me to do it.
        Oh, and I learned a long time ago (independent of this situation) that, despite what the corporate mottos and team building meetings and all that, the company gives jack about the employees. In a way, that’s perfectly understandable and forgivable. You want to do right by others and help them out in any way you can, but at the end of the day you have to watch out for yourself. But on the other hand, so do the employees, who are working to pay their own bills, not their boss’s.

  12. The best way to catch HR in a lie is to ask the same question twice. They tell so many lies they can’t keep them straight. Professional lairs they are, but if you’re a bit sneaky you can catch them at it. Worse part is they think they are doing the companies bidding by lying and deceiving people but in the long run it just casts a negative image for the company and ultimately degrades the franchise.

  13. It’s pretty simple really. If you want to make more, tell them. They say no, go back to your desk, collect all your work, put it on their desk, and tell them to have a nice day. Then walk out.

    1. Easy to say. Not easy to do if you’ve got a family to feed and want to keep a roof over their heads.

      1. Resistance, perhaps. I will call that fair. I am coming from the perspective of a single that is self employed. So my view may be viewed to be a bit more of a “stand up for yourself” mindset than somebody who has liabilities.

          1. That is an emotional response. And most people have it. But nonetheless, any cost is a liability. Financial cost or other. Women, children, and the elderly are all liabilities to the individual that provides for them or society that supports them. In a survival situation, the majority of the liabilities are counting on the able bodied men to protect and provide for them. That is why for the majority of human history, men go to war and assume combat roles.

          2. Actually it explains why if I were employed, (self employed so not) I could walk away whenever I wanted, and you cannot. I have no liabilities. You do.

  14. The only reason I work at all is for money. If it wasn’t for the pay, I wouldn’t work at all. Therefore, I want to be paid as much as possible for what I contribute. Earning money isn’t just for fun; it’s survival.

  15. Thanks to automation/digitization businesses just do not need that many people anymore to produce goods and services. When they advertise for an opening, they get a flood of candidates because so few people have jobs. If you are wondering why companies have become so impossibly picky is because they have so many choices that they cant decide. They can (and do) pay people crap and still they will get countless candidates. NO COMPANY TODAY IS PAYING EMPLOYEES A FAIR SALARY. They don’t have too. They can just keep the money. Why do you think the rich are getting richer while the economy is not improving. Welcome to the automated economy where the people who own the capital, own everything while everyone else is scraping by.

  16. I was a contractor with a huge commercial bank. They offered me a full time position. I asked for “x” which was bascially my hourly rate over a year. They came back with “What if we offer you all the benefits and that adds up to x?”. Without disclosing numbers I looked at their offer and realized I couldn’t buy groceries and keep a roof over my head with their offer. The HR ditz was completely flabbergasted when I rejected their offer. What part of “I can’t afford to work for you full time” did she not get?

    1. Here’s a nasty secret you should all know when a big company touts its “fantastic benefits package.” I worked for the number-three defense contractor for six years. On all of its benefits communications, it broke down employee benefits ad nauseum. The point was, we were supposed to be thrilled with all the money we could not see that was being spent on us. Guess what the 5th or 6th item on the list was? The company’s diversity program. I am a white guy in his 50s and I would much prefer that if a “diversity program” is going to be billed as an “employee benefit,” that it be put on a list of cafeteria-style benefits – which are optional. After all, as a white mail I do not benefit from “diversity” one iota – if anything, I’m hurt by it. (Go ahead, argue with me!)

  17. I bought into the “culture myth” at my job with all these “perks”. The perks are there but the company bemoans you when you use them. The best was when “occasional” Saturdays became every Saturday. Then when you hear from other associates that your boss is a narcissist and it’s why there is always an open position in your department that you realize you have been duped good.

  18. A company shows you how much they respect you by how well they compensate you. Culture is a BS excuse! I was employed by a very high profile company who has the world believing they have an incredible culture. Truth is it’s a backstabbing narcissistic environment that promotes slackers and brownosers. If you know what you’re doing they work you to the point of exhaustion or death.

    1. Been there and have gone through that. Now I’m retired and I sometimes think about what I went through then shake my head. I’m really glad to be out of the workforce in this country now. The harder a person works and the more they produce gets them no where in this country because these big companies want it said that they can get more out of some uneducated dimwit in Asia.

  19. Culture? Right that’s the word used to mask that everyone you work with will be more interested in sipping lattes, uploading pics on instagram of their lunch, posting to fb and texting their friends. HR is completely worthless.

  20. I resigned from a 6-figure income because I worked for and with idiots. They seem to think they knew my job better than me. They were so stupid all they wanted was a client list. Sales is about trust and relationships, not orders. It’s been six months and they still haven’t found a replacement for me. How can you write a job description when you don’t know what the job is. Most of my clients followed me because they too are professionals. HR doesn’t have a clue what to do about anything.

  21. Not sure which is worse – HR or a recruiter. They rank down there with lawyers and politicians. The smarmiest of the smarmy. It used to be “those who can’t do, teach”. I think that’s wrong, it should be “those who can’t do are in HR”. HR is filled with former female cheerleaders and know-it-all feminine douchebag men.

  22. HR is nothing but hype. The last company I worked for all they talked about was respect and culture. Neither existed and people walked out daily. When they left the response was always, ” They didn’t fit the culture.” Keep telling yourself that. What they wouldn’t tolerate was 60 hours a week and calling it work/life balance. Doing their work and 5 – 6 others while they played ping pong. Working with bullies and backstabbers.

  23. I would hope most people would realize that the majority of the time the HR person is not the person who comes up with the salary/hourly rate as to what can be paid as well as any other terms of employment such as benefits and so forth. HR is there to make sure plocy & procedures are followed & that everyone is treated equally. HR takes the hit from every angle. HR is not an easy job!!!

  24. I have said this in other venues, but… I am becoming convinced that the quest for the “fantasy date” on the part of hiring managers is really a subconscious avoidance of having to make a decision.

    You see – hiring is a HUMAN PROCESS. By definition, therefore, it is done with incomplete information, and has risks. Given the hammering I have seen in the “recruiting industry media” about the horrific consequences and costs of the (cue dramatic music – dah duh DAAAA) BAD HIRE, the safest thing for a hiring manager to do is to set the bar so high that NOBODY can pass it.

    By creating a fantasy-date list of requirements:

    Hiring managers can relax, secure in the knowledge that nobody can pass through their filter – and they don’t need to make a decision.

    “Making decisions in the face of incomplete and sometimes contradictory information is the responsibility of leaders.”

  25. I soon realized that the HR is out to protect the company and has zero interest in the employee. Also those who can do and those who can’t work in HR.

  26. The antidote for all of this is for a worker to always have multiple sources of income which are not disclosed to the employer. Buy a modest home or one in need sweat equity, get the place paid for, and be ready to move on to the next job. Employees have an obilgation to themselves to have multiple income sources which are totally under the HR radar. It is easier to generate your own six figure real estate paycheck than it is to climb the corporate ladder, so just work both angles simultaneously. Do this, and you will see how much easier it is to identify nefarious HR activity and just laugh to yourself. Life is too short not to enjoy!

  27. I was extremely passionate about my career and well compensated too. But several years into it the leadership team began to resign and the ones who came in lacked integrity. They would crawl over anyone to get ahead. Steal your ideas all in the name of collaboration. They were big on “coaching” instead of training. So you were surrounded by constant mistakes and no one taking accountability for them. Everyone communicated via text and no one returned a call or responded to an email until it was critical. At which point the opportunity was gone. Coaching is the new word for incompetent. HR does not know how to hire. Qualified candidates are on their doorsteps every day and because they lack the skills to move them to the next phase, they hire their friend or neighbor.

  28. It is an employees market. You are your brand. HR has no idea how to move you through the system. If you know the hiring manager or can find their name, contact them. They know who they want to hire, HR doesn’t. That’s why when you meet a new employee at your company, you may wonder how they got the job – because HR couldn’t figure out the skills to access and the postion had been open months. The deparment was desperate for anyone.

  29. I disagree and note that there can be a huge difference in culture between organizations and that working in a company with a health culture can be a great experience, while working in a company with a bad culture causes you to continually think about leaving (and leaving is difficult when you have earned promotions and seniority). There is a value associated with this difference. Having said this I should add that there are well-paying companies that have good cultures. But don’t be dismissive about company culture: even a high stress job at a company that respects you and values your work can be something that you look forward to each day. And a high paying job at a company whose leadership manipulates, criticizes employees behind their back, shows overt favoritism, etc. will be a company that you should exit before you begin to accrue seniority.

    1. you can’t pay the bills with ‘culture’. If they’re not giving me more $ or saving me money I’m not interested.

    2. I agree somewhat. Money is important as others have said “you can’t eat culture”. But if you dread going to work everyday because of bad culture, it is not a good position to be in. Previous job was like that, I would get a stressed just thinking about going to work. The company I work for now does not pay the highest, but I enjoy the job and respect the people I work with / for.

    3. CULTURE is why I am not at my last full-time employer. Was the pay OK? Sure; not the greatest, nor were the benefits, but I knew that going in – so that’s not an excuse.
      But as Artie noted, there are good and bad cultures. I regret leaving my before-that employer because they HAD a great culture… my primary reason for leaving was being a Mechanical Engineer in an ocean of Chemists/Chemical Engineers, with no real & practical career path forward.

  30. It’s very much an employees market. You just need to know your value. HR will low ball you every time. You can’t eat culture and any company that promotes culture and family is dysfuctional. I know I’ve worked for several high-profile ones. People can’t wait to get hired and then they can’t wait to leave.

  31. I was offered a position in a different area of the company. The position had a salary range associated with it and the hiring manager felt I was qualified to fill that position. However, HR types higher up the corporate hierarchy thought the pay raise was too high (not the pay rate, just my change in pay) and wouldn’t allow the hiring manager to give me that title and pay rate. I was placed in a lower level title and pay rate which was still a raise from my current position. THe hiring manager was able to promote me to the initial title and pay range within a year. Point being, a Joe from off the street with same experience could get the higher title and pay, but, not an internally transferred employee.

  32. The only way I would take less pay for great culture is if that “culture” consisted of things that saved ME time/money, like free healthy food and drinks available all day, an extended lunch break during the day for an hour’s exercise at the company gym for free, transportation provided or compensated for to/from work for commuters, shares in the company, no “managers” doing nothing while telling everyone else how to do their jobs; on-site free child care, and other things that are actually VALUABLE like that. Unfortunately, THAT kind of “culture” actually costs money to implement, so that isn’t what you get; you get the “culture” that consists of “Hey! You can wear jeans on casual Friday!” and a dusty suggestion box sitting on the managers desk.

    1. I like the “culture” I saw in The Wolf of Wall Street – at the end of the workday, hookers were paraded into the office to service the employees.

    2. @sggriff – yep, the idea of ‘total compensation’ seems to be all salary (and typically low balled) or a bunch of ‘cultural’ benefits with an absurdly low base salary, but hey, we have free coffee.

  33. One of only a few Honest HR Commentaries If’ ever Read. I have had similar discussions with retired HR folks who would agree with this author. Sad part is HR actually places a higher Value on itself and its functions than it actually is worth since they produce nothing, consume resources and create Legal entanglements that also cost time and Money as they try to justify themselves and their all too often bloated budgets and salaries. (most often an overpaid, burdensome, bureaucracy of inefficiencies made necessary by Gov’t Regulations
    from the same type of inefficient, incompetent type of bureaucraps)

    As for a candidates market place, perhaps in the low paying service sector and then at starting wage price. (16 states raised their Min. Wage on Jan 1 and that will likely cut back on that sector too) Certainly not anywhere else. (and turnover there is still high and adding to the cost of ownership as the need to continuously train new employees eats into the bottom-line)

    Salaries are still stagnant for the most part, job openings in the mid-level positions are virtually non-existent, Growth, expansion and R&D are still widely sidelined by management who are more concerned with making Quarterly numbers than actually growing and developing the company. (got to get their Bonuses even at the expense of the company in the long-run.) (though some sections of the American and Canadian Oil sector did experience a small growth spurt no thanks to the Gov’t or its policies.)

    1. increased government regulation and Obamacare is also reigning in on funding available to expand, grow and invest in R&D, further undercutting job creation.

  34. “Culture” where I worked was free coffee, big product discounts, annual trip ( same place every year because the boss liked to golf), bring your dog to work day, ping pong tournaments, bocce ball and happy hour. Even that wasn’t enough to keep anyone long term. Very shortly after your were hired you realized you were in the most toxic chaotic company in the world. People left all the time with or without a another job.

  35. Amen. When the board can splurge 10 of thousands annually on the CEO’s country club memberships, stock options and prepaid retirement plans not to mention his golden parachute, giving me $10k more is nothing.

  36. I knew before I interviewed what the salary range, in my ares and field paid, and I always asked what the salary range for the position was before I commited to an interview.

    I always made more from a past job to a new one, except when I chose to change careers. I took huge drops in salary, but bounced back over 5 years.

  37. I think it is important to note, because it isn’t referenced in this article at all, that when it comes to salary decisions, that comes from the Hiring Manager. Human Resources will provide recommendations, but they aren’t the decision makers. Which can often make it difficult because their role in taking care of the ‘human resource’ of the company, they have to be the voice of the company and its decisions.
    To address the ‘culture’ aspect, this has been a growing trend in many organizations and, if done right, can be a benefit. Look at Google as a perfect example for mixing quality pay with the right culture. Associates there have flexible schedules, rooms to lounge and relax in, an on-site cafeteria that is of little to no cost to them. But not everybody is Google, and creating a strong culture in an organization is difficult.
    Now, I’m not disregarding the point of the article, which is that salary is important and to keep good talent, you will need to pay for it. But on the other hand this article unfairly portrays those in the Human Resources field and their ability to truly affect the salaries offered and provided.

  38. I always got that same old story about how much your getting payed doesn’t matter, and always wanted to say to her (HR), If the attitude here is like that , then can we trade? I have your check, and you can have mine.

  39. #1 common sense of all is to not have any a-holes or b**ches at any level in the workplace period and everybody at any level must treat one another with sincere appreciation, kindness and respect…duh! It is a shame how any adult in the workplace and especially people at the top or supervisory position of either gender engages in any drama, is unkind or fake/2-faced as totally unprofessional and unacceptable that automatically tarnishes themselves. Below, are big exposures that needs to be brought to light of worst, unacceptable behavior which I hope leads to bad karma for the perpetrators.

    1. There is a black female General Manager named Stacey at World Market in Baton Rouge, LA which nobody likes as it is brought to attention how she treats everybody badly and has no sense of appreciation. She needs to be fired if doesn’t change and someone who is more humane is obviously better.

    2. There is a head cook of Italian restaurant Pan e Vino in Huntsville, AL who is known for screaming and cursing at his innocent staff which is unacceptable, unprofessional and total bullying. Hope karma bites him in the rear and he deserves to be removed with how he is acting.

    3. It is suspected and brought to attention that a senior person named Walid of a company called GTL (Global Technology Logistics) is not liked by anybody with even disliked by his own Sudanese cousin in the company and plays nepotism badly.

    4. Lastly, let us hope Hospice Complete in Birmingham, AL which used to be Kindred Care Hospice in 2007 has no bad apples at all from top to bottom and is transparent. They will always be remembered for having one of the worst of the worst one-sided, trashy female bullies in November 2006-January 2007 who was a Volunteer Coordinator named Susan Jones from Northport, AL who is remembered as extremely hot-headed, constantly yelling at people and embarassing some in front of others, blaming, maliciously gossipping, lying, breaking promises/commitments. acting out with senior citizens, talking badly about everybody and a sick, dysfunctional micromanager blowing things out proportion and this Susan Jones revealed her own insecurities as being a former alcoholic, not doing well at school at all. Thankfully, they fired her and swear to God nobody must ever hire one like her and not tolerate for more than a second if so. It is sad that a receptionist they had back in 2007 at the Trussville, AL location who may still be there and is remembered as being unfriendly and talking behind people’s backs as no reason to do so. Let us pray this hospice has no bad behavior at all from top to bottom as is commonsense professionalism and people can find out easily. Not having any bad behavior of anybody at any level is good karma..simple.

    1. you might want to edit your comments as to personally identifying info (names etc) as they could be viewed as defamatory/slanderous/libelous and get you sued.

  40. I worked for one of the highest profile companies in the world. All they ever did was talk about their fabulous culture. They had NO culture. They paid me well but I earned every penny. 14 – 16 hour workdays, non-responsive to text, email or phone, inability to execute anything, constant upset stomach and headache, bullied, top performer in the company, high blood pressure, unable to sleep or eat and yet every year I brought in more profit at a higher margin than anyone else in the company. Everyone trying to take credit for my sales and relationships. Dropped into other departments when they wouldn’t be close to making their quota so that my numbers would help them achieve for the year or exceed. Finally I walked out and they still haven’t found my replacement. HR wanted to do an exit interview and I said, forget it. You didn’t have any interest in my viewpoint when I was here why would I share it now.

  41. When I was getting ready to graduate, the job placement
    office at the school I was attending gave us some mock interviews. They asked me what
    type of position I was looking for. I honestly said “I want to make the most
    amount of money for the least amount of work”.
    Very shocked at my answer, they told me that I had the wrong attitude. I
    came back with “Anyone that answers that question any other way
    is lying to their face”. They agreed with me & the interview process
    continued. My response made a lot of people talk & it became the subject of
    discussion in my classes over the next few days. Basically, I say let’s stop
    all the bullshit & just tell it how it is. Why do we all have to lie to one

    1. maybe but if I were the hiring manager it’s the last attitude I want to see/hear. Employees who obvious about looking to take and not give back much will be weeded out early in the process, and given how much competition there is in the job marketplace, why automatically eliminate yourself? Hiring managers will figure ‘you can do a whole lot of nothing sitting at home, why should I pay you to do that?”

  42. I’d love to post the name of the people and the place I worked for before I resigned. Everyone would recognize it, but it would also be career suicide. I’ve had a number of media outlets and publishers ask for comments or for me to write a book. I never comment. Idiots are always found out. Their HR team was the worst I have ever experienced in my career. Shocked that no one has filed a lawsuit against them.

  43. Right on, Crystal. This is so true and its refreshing to see other HR people say it. Not only is it true with job offers, its true with job retention. When I was in retail, it drove me nuts when HR told me people don’t leave because of money when I knew that was exactly why they left.

  44. I’ve managed people since the 70s. I always liked the programs that tried to separate increases from performance.

    Lots of insane crap happens in business. Yet they tell women that they cannot be fully actualized unless they subject themselves to corporate stupidity.

  45. Thank you for the praise. I like to think I’m committing only one sin: that of pointing out the blindingly obvious in a way that cannot be misunderstood.

  46. Absolutely agree with the writer. I could give a flyin’ fig about the “culture”. I don’t need ping-pong and weekly cocktail hour or beanbags and “casual wear” to do my job.
    It is about how much you are willing to pay me. I may be cheap, but I’m not stupid.
    BTW – where do these people get their “Market Rate”? Apparently it comes from the rate they were willing to squeek out the cheapest possible candidate they could find that has no self-esteem and does not know their own worth.
    Sure – we were desperate for jobs a couple of years back, but it isn’t that way anymore.
    I’m not even one of those people that looks for a huge salary – just a liveable one.
    But I see this in my company too. You’ll pay your new Regional 140K a year to schmooze, but you won’t pay the person who has to train, implement and administer your database and manage all the functions of it for 150 different people more than 30K a year? -or- For some reason you think that the person you hired as an Help Desk person that you now basically use as your entire IT Departments administrative, purchasing, logistical and trouble-shooting person isn’t worth more than 30K a year? Even in the cheapest markets you’re being silly. And you wonder why you can’t hold on to one of these employees for more than 6 months before they walk off.
    Nobody likes long hours, massive workloads, huge responsiblities, far outside the parameters of anything you might have given them in the original job description, AND a payrate that is only barely above survival while they watch you hire 100K after 100K+ person that all of us know darn well are just pointless figureheads that will order all those underpaid, hardworking 30k’ers to do yet more work without any additional compensation.
    Me – I know I’m underpaid for what I do (even at standard market for my region), but I’m not greedy and don’t need much, and I’m doing it because the work has to get done because I love what I do and what our mission represents. Sure, I’d like more, and, sure, if push came to shove and somebody offered me more for my actual Job Title (and I have received offers), I may, one day walk away for something else.
    Somewhere along the line, employers started to think that only they and they’re bottom line were important. Employees are a dime a dozen. True guys, they are a dime a dozen. But a GOOD employee is hard to find.
    We employees allowed them to take all the power and install the revolving door.

  47. I was involved in the hiring process at a tech company. The pay scale was $10.00 – $17.00 hr. We were told we could not consider anyone who had indicated looking for more than $12.00 hr. regardless of experience or qualifications. At a point a candidate pulled up in a car with out of state plates and his family in the car. We were told we could only offer him $10.00 because he looked desperate. He bites, but was gone as soon as he got settled and found something better. Our manager was as happy as he could be, what a deal, look at all the money he’s saving the company. In the office were pictures of him getting awards for his cost savings measures. Of course he drove a new Porsche, took cruises and went to the Super bowl every year. It’s all about bonuses; get you as cheap as I can, spend no money on you unless mandated by law. Keep staffing cut to the bone just dance faster employees. Keep smiling while you deal with customers who constantly complain about no service, long wait times, etc. Yep all about the bonuses, daddy needs a new 911.

  48. Been there and left to work for myself.

    It’s been eight years, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    Not only do I charge (and collect) what my work is worth, I can defenestrate fools and go on with my life without blinking an eye.

  49. absolutely David Hunt…the total lack of respect from HR departments at this point in time is reflective of how much they value us, which is not at all. No phone calls, no actual person ever really answers the phone, they don’t return messages, and they takes months to actually hire, if they ever do actually hire and you don’t get a “the job was put on hold, or eliminated”, after you have gone for 5 interviews. HR is a dead department, and they need to go.

  50. We must accept the fact that business, racism, work conditions all stem from a military / or militaristic point of view which stretches far back into history and survives in society today. Take the wealth of others, enslave their off spring and society, build gain and become fat and weak. Companies desirer slaves, and one need only look to the top echelon of business to see the top SLAVES. Many are self enslaved, but sadly though they are diseased as is an alcoholic, drug addict, fame monger. We shouldn’t follow them and should discourage their behavior.

  51. I HATE HR!!! Bunch of D-Bags that can’t make it working in any other department because no one can stand them.

  52. I am impressed that an HR pro wrote this… Great comments here too. IN my own experience as a 20+ year salesman – the problem isn’t just horrid software or automated processes – its the method of hiring that doesn’t fit with the position. I am a proactive, cold calling, business drumming machine. When I have looked for jobs, I pick up the phone and do the very task you claim you want… aggressive and proactive new business development with a phone and a computer. And yet – 99% of the time… it’s almost offensive to the HR/hiring person; because you are not doing the proper “method”
    It’s like looking for a carpenter who can first clean your teeth… one has nothing to do with the other.

    I am really glad someone mentioned the false expectations of a good salesperson – that you “carry a Rolodex of business” I have news for you – if I had a gold mine of business waiting to be placed, I would be interviewing YOU. Now if we go 1 step further – what kind of “valuable employee” would I be if I toted my business around, with zero loyalty to a company I am working for? What exactly would I be selling – product or service – that was so important to just me – and not the very net result the client bought in the first place. Do I just interrupt a 2 year SaaS license with my “Rolodex” – and force said “awesome Rolodex client” to pay an out fee, without the work getting done? It’s insane and moronic.

    Lastly, my favorite myth – akin to the Rolodex myth – is “the best talent is already working somewhere, not unemployed” Wow – so you are expecting me to be poached or looking for a new job the moment I am hired, after you have spent time and money to hire me? Brilliant logic. I mean, clearly the best potential wife or husband is already a wife or husb… yeah – you get the absurdity.

    Overall I think the cultural shift to service as an industry + technology = really bad methods and lazy results. The days of 20+ year loyalty are over – not because employee’s aren’t loyal, but because employers aren’t loyal. My father was a 25 year IBM’er – who also happened to be a HS drop out, who served on a Naval Sub, got his GED – then worked his ass off to 4th level Manager and ISO rep to Armonk. That could never happen today. Oddly enough – his 25th anniversary present from IBM was a $5,000 Rolex. Today- IBM’ers get a Chili’s gift card. That’s employer loyalty for you right there…

  53. People need to understand something about salaries. Don’t go postal on me, but nobody EVER gets paid what they are worth. They ALWAYS get paid what the employer thinks the job is worth. The question is whether a person seeking a higher paying job has the chops to do the work. If they do… then low-balling that person is purely stupid, because that is how you lose people. Think about it. You train someone for the job (because nobody ever comes in totally aware of what the job is all about). Then, just as the person is fully trained, somebody makes a better offer and >poof< your training expenses just went down the tank.

  54. HR is the biggest scam in the entire Universe. A person that doesn’t understand the first thing about your job, and couldn’t do it in 10,000-years of trying, sits in judgment of you like some communist party apparatchik asking you stupid questions to see if you will give the sheep-answer.

    And people wonder why REAL productivity is dead.

    The best thing any business organization can do in America is fire the entire HR staff and start hiring people based on your instincts instead of hiring drones.

  55. “We pay employees in culture when we can’t pay them in cash.”

    LOL! So will they offer some sort of certified “Culture Allocation Note” that my bank will accept for my mortgage payment?

  56. I call BS on SPHR! Society Professional Human Resources?! This is an organization you pay to be a part of, they give you a paper certificate, register your name and as long as you keep paying the dues to the SPHR you’re in. How ridiculous to make a statement like “money talks” look like an epiphany on the writer’s part-lol We ALL know money talks. What would be great from the author would be to see an article about why a candidate NEVER hears back from HR after an interview or why the boss’s niece makes more than I do and she has 1/2 the education and experience. Another nice article would be on why the American worker over age 50 is discriminated against… or why it takes 2 months to get a callback….now that would be decent reading; not this Captain Obvious BS.

  57. All of those are true. The fundamental problem is that business has forgot the one rule the Army taught me – In order to get loyalty from an employee, you have to show loyalty. Businesses let that go, 30 years ago.

    1. Hooah. Not to mention leadership by example. Employers love to throw around that “leadership” word pretty loosely, but I’ve seen precious little of it in my years of civilian employment. And when I have seen it, I’ve noticed that the quality of leadership is inversely proportional to their position in the “execusphere.” The 3 best leaders I’ve seen in 22 years were my immediate supervisors.

  58. How about getting an answer to this question, how do you get experience if no-one is willing to give you a chance to get some

  59. After relocating this past year I have been hunting for a job. All jobs through the internet because you can not walk in and see a person anymore. I have been a Chef for over 35 years. I’m looking to make a living to support me and my daughter. I put in over 100 resumes on all kinds of sites. And not getting call backs. What happened to the call back at least to show the gave a shit for you trying for a job..

  60. It’s amazing to see people searching for that perfect rather than exploring the potential of talent within their organisation. Recruitment and retention solved in one fell swoop…

  61. My experience with most HR people is that they have little understanding of the job posted, the more technical the least knowledge. They are wordsmiths with a list of “BUZZ” words to match up in resumes. They can’t correlate the experience or proficiencies of tools, software usage to the requested “LIST” of “BUZZ”. How many different CAD or CAM software of varying complexity exist that have changed names or been acquired/absorbed into a new product? Often there’s only the time and learning curve to come up to speed on a different product, HR people don’t often understand what is or is not in their list.

  62. The painter’s house often goes unpainted. In most cases, the very department, HR, that is supposed to drive change will not change itself.
    -Director of HR

  63. My experience says ‘ never underpay’ a worker. We can always make up for overpaying but when we underpay, they leave, we need to retrain, and prior to them leaving work is poor and the staff becomes more upset.

  64. Most applicants rely solely on the computer programs and the patience of one person to look at all the resumes the programmed deemed worthy. When I look for a new job I followed up my application with either a phone call or personal visit to the hiring managers and let them know why I was suited for the position. I think it’s laziness to depend only on the computer to do your networking for you. I didn’t get some of those positions but I did gain some contacts that became very helpful in the future. People like to hire people who have drive, everything else can b e taught.

  65. Crystal, we pay employees in culture when we WON’T pay them in cash.

    So when organizations “refuse” to pay market rates, they’re saying that people AREN’T the most important asset.

    What makes this equation even more perverse is that most in HR have no idea what their culture really is – it’s what people say and do when no leaders are there to hear and watch them – instead preferring to use the same definition as other “leading” companies. The HR Business Partners are themselves defined by an idealized sense of what they think CEOs should think of them. If HR were so important to many businesses – other than risk mitigation – then the heads of HR would be called into crisis situations to assist with the “human” side of the response.

    But this rarely happens (think Ray Rice and the NFL).

    On the other hand, the “talent” is equally at fault, believing that tenure qualifies one for raises. Talent also overestimates their ability to solve any type of business problem. Sorry folks but there really are C and D players who believe they’re A material – and it’s pretty easy to figure out during even a halfway decent interview.

    As far as recruiting and interviews, both sides are equally unprepared; given this, is it any wonder that so many are left pointing fingers at the other person instead of looking in the mirror and asking, “How can I get better at this?”

    It takes so much time and effort to break down the walls of mediocre hiring behavior and most simply don’t have the stomach to stick until the improvement takes place. Instead we point fingers, write and read articles like this, then comment because we feel better about getting it our chests.

    Someone writes things like,

    “Money always tells a story. In 99.999 percent of cases, if an employer isn’t willing to pay at least the market rate for talent, the employer doesn’t value the talent, or it doesn’t value the function. Period.”

    They had me until 99.999% – then showed me how little they know about finance.

    But it sure plays to the audience.

    So we’re doing everything except fixing the problem.

    Look in the mirror.

  66. If you go into a company for an interview and find their ‘cultural values’ statement posted on every flat surface, run away no matter how much they offer to pay you! The stuff is posted everywhere because the company’s culture is in actuality 180 degrees from what they say it is; the positive values and proclaimed great culture are likely run no deeper than the ink on all that poster board adorning the walls.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *