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25 Things Your HR Department Isn’t Telling You

HR professionals reveal their insider secrets, including what they think about the hiring process, your resume, and even how you send them thank-you notes.

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It pays to get along

"The No. 1 thing in job security is your relationship with your boss. Even if he says, 'I'm sorry I really wanted to keep you, but they made me lay you off,' that's almost never true. He probably made that decision."—Cynthia Shapiro, former human resource executive and author of  Corporate Confidential: 50 Secrets Your Company Doesn't Want You to Know

"Even in jobs where you test applicants and those with the top scores are supposed to get the job, I’ve seen hiring managers fix scores to get the people they like." —HR representative in the manufacturing industry. These are things HR won't tell you about writing your resume.


It's network or not work

"Networking does not mean using Facebook or Linked In. It means going to events, getting your face in front of people and setting up informational interviews."—A human resources professional in New York City


Don't get too friendly with HR

"If you have a question, come to my office. Don't corner me in the bathroom."—HR professional at a mid-sized firm in North Carolina

"My LinkedIn profile is for myself, a way for me to find another job. It's not a way to find a job with me."—A human resources professional in New York City

"Don't stalk me."—A human resources professional in New York City. These are the different types of annoying co-workers.


Be professional at all times

"Children and hobbies do not belong on a résumé. And never, ever say, 'Now that my kids are in college, I'm ready to get back in the workforce.' "—HR professional at a mid-sized firm in North Carolina

"I had somebody list their prison time as a job. And an exotic dancer who called herself a 'customer service representative.' "—Sharlyn Lauby, human resources consultant in Fort Lauderdale, Fla


Don't "be yourself" in an interview

"Someone might tell you to 'Be yourself' in the interview. Don't be yourself. That's the worst advice ever. We don't want people who are neurotic and quirky and whatever else. All we care about is your skill and experience."—Laurie Ruettimann, HR consultant and speaker in Raleigh, N.C.


Be wary of office romances

"I know many of you met your former spouse at the company. But the thing is, for every one of you, there are five people it doesn't work out as well for. And your office romance can and will be held against you."—Kris Dunn, chief human resources officer at Atlanta-based Kinetix who blogs at 


Use unemployed time wisely

"It doesn't take 40 hours a week to look for a job. So if you're unemployed, do something: take classes, meet people, go to industry meetings, start a blog, read a book a week. Just don't sit on the couch and eat Doritos." —Ben Eubanks, HR professional in Alabama. Here are the worst mistakes of first-time job hunters.

Thank you Writing

Be appropriate when saying "Thank you"

"I once had someone send me Forget-me-not seeds with their thank you note. Yes, thank me for taking the time, that's great. But sending me seeds? That's weird."—Sharlyn Lauby, human resources consultant in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

"One time a candidate sent—I love this—a thank you card with a professional picture of herself, which quite honestly became the running joke for weeks. The picture was blown up and posted in my office with hearts drawn around it."—HR director at a financial services firm. These are secrets your boss won't tell you, but you need to know.


Be original with your answers during an interview

"In interviews, everyone works well with others, and everyone learns quickly. Please tell me something else." —HR manager in St. Cloud, Minn. These are the interview outfit mistakes that could cost you the job. 


HR knows more about you thank you think

"You're right to be paranoid. The company is always watching you, and there's a record of everything you do: every phone call, every text, every tweet and instant message. At most companies, they save that data forever."—Laurie Ruettimann, HR consultant and speaker in Raleigh, N.C.

"I know a lot more about you when you walk in the door than you realize. I'll search for you on the web and often use my own personal network to do a pre-interview reference check."—Senior HR Executive in New York City

"I have better things to do than deal with who slept with who, or who's talking about you behind your back. Sometimes I feel like a high school guidance counselor."—HR professional at a mid-sized firm in North Carolina

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