What HR People Won’t Tell You About the Job Interview

HR pros reveal job interview dos and dont's.

Condensed from Reader's Digest Magazine | April 2011

Human resource pros tell you what to do—and what not to do—when meeting to discuss an employment opportunity.

Plus: What Does Your Office Say About Your Work Style?

1. “It’s amazing when people come in for an interview and say, ‘Can you tell me about your business?’ Seriously, people. There’s an Internet. Look it up.” –HR professional in New York City

2. “A lot of managers don’t want to hire people with young kids, and they use all sorts of tricks to find that out, illegally. One woman kept a picture of two really cute children on her desk even though she didn’t have children [hoping job candidates would ask about them]. Another guy used to walk people out to their car to see whether they had car seats.” –Cynthia Shapiro, former human resources executive and author of Corporate Confidential: 50 Secrets Your Company Doesn’t Want You to Know

3. “Is it harder to get the job if you’re fat? Absolutely. Hiring managers make quick judgments based on stereotypes.  They’re just following George Clooney’s character in Up in the Air, who said ‘I stereotype. It’s faster.’” –Suzanne Lucas, a former HR executive and the Evil HR Lady on bnet.com

4. “I once had a hiring manager who refused to hire someone because the job required her to be on call one weekend a month and she had talked in the interview about how much she goes to church. Another candidate didn’t get hired because the manager was worried that the car he drove wasn’t nice enough.” –HR professional at a midsize firm in North Carolina

5. “Don’t just silence your phone for the interview. Turn it all the way off.” –Sharlyn Lauby, HR consultant in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

6. “If you’ve got a weak handshake, I make a note of it.” –HR manager at a medical-equipment sales firm

7. “If you’re a candidate and the hiring manager spends 45 minutes talking about himself, the company or his Harley, let him. He’s going to come out of the interview saying you’re a great candidate.”  –Kris Dunn, chief human resources officer at Atlanta-based Kinetix, who blogs at hrcapitalist.com

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  • Your Comments

    • Kalibecc

      Be careful of places that always hiring as well. It’s not worth your time. It also says, that people don’t stay there long because of internal situations, due to management, or their not making money.  A lot of places, right now, are hiring many employees for part time because they want to get out of Obama Care.  

    • guest

      While these are frustrating to read, if an employer doesn’t really want you, you probably don’t want to work there.  These say more about the level of internal culture decay than they do about you not getting hired.  Most of these tactics show that the hiring manager is a person I wouldn’t want to work for and, most likely, will not be successful in the long run.  

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/L7MIRQPSVWE5ODWV5HNDX4L6VE Kenneth

      You can’t spell “Who cares?” without “HR”.

    • GladI’mWorking

      Since HR people are so blindsided by their egos, find out which staffing company handles employee hiring for the company and go through them. They are eager to place you for the right reasons, and they will collect a handsome fee from the company hiring. Network with friends too.

    • Chicles

      Complacency breeds contempt.  I’d like to see what would happen to these HR clowns if they lost their jobs.  The invisible barriers they create are pitiful.

    • Laura Harrison

      Unreal, how do people that do this to the public sleep at night?  Judeing people by kids, weight etc?  Shame on you all.  Karma will come back!

      • Grossed Out by “professionals”

        These people are gross. Shame on them. They even posted their names. I would never hire them. Shameful and disgusting.

    • Miss5ft12

      What is the HR manager is the one with the weak handshake, then what do you do?  LOL!!    

    • Eastlake93

      If your field is really really in demand, say for instance a software developer, NEVER, EVER place co-workers as references.  We will call them and RECRUIT them. Many times I had friends competing for the same jobs.  Recruitesr need to make as many submittals for a postion as possible.

    • Yes Sir

      I personally have been turned down for a position last year because in the past I made too much money (5-6 years ago made 90K).  I was unemployed for 1 year after that and have been underemployed for the last 3 years (making 45K a year) and working two jobs.  I was also called out for working two jobs.  The employers concern is that I would continue working at least one of the two jobs in addition to the career I was seeking with the new company.  Ridiculous!   I did it out of necessity to make ends meet.  I also have been recently ruled out by a recruiter for ADP because I currently do not make enough money to even interview for a position (no joke).  The recruiter was very interested in my background and experience and when I told her what I currently made, she couldn’t get me off the phone fast enough using that as a reason.  I work in sales and am at 140% of quota in current position with a 70 million dollar company a year.  Industry just doesn’t pay well.  Its discrimination against a persons income level.  What does it have to do with actually being able to perform and excell in the position?  NOTHING!  They are weeding people out from the interview process based on income not based on their experience and ability (which is what should be happening). 

      • ben

        I know this is old, but the reason the recruiter wanted you off the phone so fast was becaused he/she was being paid on commission.

        They’re trained to negotiate with their client using your current salary as a base salary you will accept a job for. If they think you will accept a job for a low salary, you are worth less to them because they make less commission.

    • bombshell

      if ur interview is faster then 5 minutes YOUR NOT HIRED! if they dont care to tell you about themselfs and the job YOUR NOT HIRED!

      • Worship Dancer

        themselves and YOU’RE.