Things HR Never Says Out Loud

The HR department has been a thorn in the side of many a CEO and seen as a nuisance by employers en employees alike. It seems that HR is constantly stuck between a rock and a hard place. Or so they teach us in college anyway.

The human resources department fulfills a crucial role in the organisation (as does any department I should add). Perhaps the most apparent activity we, as HR, fulfill is recruitment and selection. We make sure that new talent and skills keep flowing into the organisation.

Because recruitment and selection is one of the oldest and most important of HR activities we have become well-versed in reading and evaluating applicants by looking at their application letters, their resumes and during face-to-face meetings. There are, of course, things that we don’t tell applicants. In light of this, 10 American HR-professionals recently spoke freely in Reader’s Digest about their own recruiting-experiences. They mentioned things that you should pay attention to when applying for a job and things that recruiters pay attention to. Read the list below:


‘When you’ve been unemployed for over 6 months, you’re seen as incompetent or inadequate. We assume, unconsciously, that more than one employer have turned you down.
– Cynthia Shapiro, former HR-executive and author of ‘Corporate Confidential: 50 Secrets Your Company Doesn’t Want You to Know’

This quote might seem quite blunt, but maybe she’s just being honest. Make sure you have an explanation for that ‘hole’ in your resumé! This is something I’ve experienced as well, gaps in a resumé without any proper explanation. And it doesn’t look good, I can tell you that.


‘When talking about job applications, your network is very important. No matter how great your cv is, or the amount of experience you gathered. Connections are everything.’
– HR-director at a health organisation

This quote bothers me a bit personally, because I’m still at an entry-level and thus I don’t have any real, professional connections yet and a very limited experience. Especially in the current economic situation this might pose a problem as most job openings I read requests at least 2-3 years of experience.

Avoid HR

‘If you have a specific company in mind to work for, try to avoid the HR-department as much as possible. Try to gain access to the company through an acquaintance.’
– Shauna Moerke, HR-administrator and blogger on

I can relate to this statement. Many spontaneous applications get lost in a heap of paperwork never to be seen or used again. Also, many companies have a sort of refer-a-friend policy which increases your chances.

The danger of the email address

‘From an email address we can discern who you are, and you will be judged on that. Anyway, you promote prejudices by using a childish address such as’
– Rich DeMatteo, recruiter consultant in Philadelphia

It’s true, even if you don’t want it to be I can assure you of that. If you’re a recruiter you will make a mental note of their email address if it is a childish one. Word to the wise: make an account just for professional contacts.

Key words

‘HR often uses systems who track key words. The secret to getting your resumé through the system is by copying the keywords from the job profile. The more matches, the larger the chance that your resumé will stand out and gets read by an HR-professional’
– Chris Ferdinandi, HR-professional in Boston


‘Resumes don’t need colour to stand out. With a bit of colour my smile disappears and an overdose of colour makes me cry. And going by the company to drop off your resumé is not done, it’s even frightening.’
Rich DeMatteo

I’m afraid I have to disagree here. A little bit of colour makes everything more pleasant to read (No, I don’t mean flashy pink text but some light colouring to highlight titles and headings). Moderation is key here though, it needs to stay light and readable.

That pretty much concludes the article I read and my views on it. I didn’t include everything from the article but I chose the ones that were the most interesting. I do have one more point to add here. A lot of applicants use template resumes, and it shows because it looks very standard and shows no creativity or individuality.It only takes a small amount of effort to personalize your resumé, and adjust it to match the job opening you’re applying for.

Anyway, that’s all for now. I hope you enjoyed the read and stay tuned for more!



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