I have the shittiest time dealing with HR.


As the title says, I have the shittiest time dealing with HR people. Ghosting, long recruitment processes, onboarding issues, contract problems, heated conversations, etc. - these have happened way too many times to me for it to be a coincidence.

I'm sure some of the HR personnel I've dealt with were either incompetent or just fckin dumb. At the same time, since these issues have been fairly consistent and the problems I've faced seem to be unique to me (at least among my peers), chances are that I'm the one who's the cause of all these issues.

What do you guys/girls do to make sure that you do not have a shitty time with HR (whether you're applying for a job or you're in one)? I'd really appreciate some tips on how to avoid issues like the ones I've dealt with.

Comments (59)

  • Analyst 1 in VC
Sep 26, 2019 - 2:48am

Cool story bro.

On a serious note, I don't think it's about me being entitled / an asshole / both, I think it has more to do with me just not getting how HR operates and how I should communicate with them.

Ex. Should I follow up if it's been a month since my 2nd round of interviews? How and when should I negotiate comp? What should I do when my contract has been extended by my boss but HR hasn't sent me a written copy of it?

These are all scenarios I've been in. Despite me keeping my correspondences with HR polite and professional, most of these still ended badly.

Sep 26, 2019 - 3:17am

Just to elaborate, if you initiate contact with someone under the assumption that they are incompetent or dumb, they will most likely see through it pretty fast and act accordingly towards you.
Also, you need to understand that they are in a position of power and you are not. You need them but they don't need you. If they're at a reputable shop they will have hundreds of applicants and why should they go out of their way to help some asshole when they just got of the phone with another applicant capable of addressing them with professional courtesy. Bottom of the pile you go.

  • Associate 2 in CorpDev
Sep 26, 2019 - 3:54am

OP I feel you. Truth is, I've yet to meet a competent HR person - delays, basic mistakes in document-related processes, screwing up communication between me and the hiring teams are part of what I expect these days.
Having said that, the poster above is right that they are in a position of power (I sometimes wonder if that's the reason they go into HR from more challenging roles actually, i.e. so that they can retain some form of power to make themselves feel better and cope with their insecurities - I've seen people in functional roles move into HR at F500, consultants moving into HR at consulting firms, ex-bankers moving into HR in banks, etc.. I'm aware some might be nice, I'm just saying I've not had the privilege of meeting any.

Also to be frank, HR is not exactly a highly sought after job, so their motivation levels to deliver are probably low) - so I am courteous / respectful to them, but if I can get around it and communicate directly with the hiring team I usually do that instead of depend on the dumb birds.

TL;DR - you can expect to have a shitty time cause you're dealing with shit..

Sep 26, 2019 - 6:43am

Most of not all of the things you mentioned are not HRs responsibility. I think your biggest problem is going to HR and expecting them to resolve everything, without realizing that they have no say in the decision.

For all of these items, you really should be going to your business contacts, not HR. The best HR can do is relay your question and wait for a response.
Also, keep in mind that it’s HR’s job to cover for people. If the company is dragging it’s feet and somehow HR convinces you that it’s just an HR issue, they’re doing their job correctly.

Sep 26, 2019 - 7:06am

The lack of professionalism across the board in HR, recruiting and throughout a large number of organizations is, in general, endemic. Globally.

Combine that with being in a very competitive space for certain roles where supply certainly exceeds demand, them potentially having flexibility on timeline of hiring (or may not be hiring at all) or the ever increasing prevalence of ghosting people in general across society and what results is exactly what the OP is describing above.

This is not to say that the OP is not making mistakes (he or she may be). But it is to illustrate that his or her situation is nothing special and equally frustrating for many.

TLDR - yeah HR usually sucks. Combination of many things.

OP - Keep firing away and applying. Try to see what you may be doing wrong but understand that what you have gone through is probably par for the course and that you are not alone.

Good Luck

I used to do Asia-Pacific PE (kind of like FoF). Now I do something else but happy to try and answer questions on that stuff.
Sep 26, 2019 - 1:31pm


The lack of professionalism across the board in HR, recruiting and throughout a large number of organizations is, in general, endemic. Globally.

Or maybe it's because HR departments are subject to a ton of conflicting demands from a number of sources and it's not always possible to square that circle? Generally speaking, HR departments are beholden to the their company, not to the people looking for jobs. What may look like incompetence on the part of HR from the perspective of a potential employee may actually be HR being given no direction, or contradictory direction, from internal sources.

Sep 26, 2019 - 2:15pm

You are correct and... this actually underscores how messed up the HR function is.

There is a structural disconnect between HR's "client" (the Company) and their "product/service" (the candidates they bring and manage to the Company). If we use this framework, it's obvious that there are conflicts of interest between these two parties, but HR does a horrendous job managing this conflict.

It's no different from a banker (clients want the lowest priced loan but this would hurt the bank more internally), a consultant (clients want lots of value for low cost, company wants efficiency and utilization), etc.

HR does not care for their product or service as much as they need to. They also do a bad job at communicating up the chain to their client (the Company) about the benefits/costs of their product / service (the people) and how to manage that across different cycles and business environments. As a result, business Strategy / Ops teams actually dictate HR requirements and the HR team is just some weird cost center, rather than being a strategic partner.

tl;dr banking analogy: HR is the "Credit Risk" team of strategy when they should be more like "LevFin" and a trusted partner to deliver good and bad news according to market benchmarks.

Be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes.
Sep 26, 2019 - 8:10am

1st Year Analyst in Venture Capital :
What do you guys/girls do to make sure that you do not have a shitty time with HR (whether you're applying for a job or you're in one)? I'd really appreciate some tips on how to avoid issues like the ones I've dealt with.

You make sure your main contact is with the hiring manager, not the HR person

Commercial Real Estate Developer
Sep 26, 2019 - 9:14am

You had a bad experience with HR and you're surprised!?

It's like getting a call from a lawyer and expecting it to be good news...

Ordering food from McDonalds and expecting it to look like the picture...

Most Helpful
Sep 26, 2019 - 9:19am

I'll add one more thing.

I was gunning for this analyst position at a boutique IB long ago. When I hand delivered thank you notes to the receptionist, I also hand delivered a bag with a bagel for the HR person who was actually helpful in working around my schedule to interview covertly. She was wrapped around my finger ever since giving me immediate email replies, following up on voicemails, and openly admitting she hopped I get the job as some of the other gunners were a bit disrespectful in their demand for an update. It's not like she had any real pull, but it is helpful to have an alley inside the inner sanctum.

The job opening was cut as this was mid 2008 (yes, I'm an old bugger on WSO), but it was a trick I never forgot and have used many times since. A $2.19 bagel to call in favors; that's worth every penny.

Sep 26, 2019 - 9:24am

When you begin by looking down your nose when speaking with an HR individual; it's unlikely they will read you as a professional peer they would want to deal with in the future.

  • Analyst 3+ in CorpDev
Sep 27, 2019 - 9:43am

This comment is beyond entitled. I assume you work in REPE/Finance based on your username. Well, a significant portion of the population frowns upon Wall Street/"Financial Engineering" for (among many reasons), being an A-Hole

A blanket statement that all people who work in HR lack ambition and creativity speaks more to you as a person and only serves to reinforce that idea. This type of negativity is absolutely horrible. So many people in Hollywood began their careers doing hourly minimum wage jobs... I bet you think cashiers/servers/janitors/etc. all lack ambition and creativity as well

Sep 27, 2019 - 12:50pm

what are you doing on a finance forum if you think we are all "wall street" and we are all "financial engineers"? You are either HR or have had better experiences with HR than the rest of the world. I am sure there are some great people in HR but crappy people exist and not a few self select into HR. We cannot avoid living by judgment calls, so making the right calls is important.

Sep 27, 2019 - 9:50am

I have a slightly different perspective as my girlfriend is an admin at a bank and has close contact with their head of HR/biz dev.

From what I've heard, unless you are a senior level hire all recruiting matters are very bottom level of importance. HR seems to be inundated with the most ridiculous internal matters ranging from drama between coworkers, people complaining that work that falls ever so slightly outside of their job description, and countless other pointless disagreements and transgressions.

This doesn't change the fact that HR isn't a fucking awful place, it actually supports that, I just think they're actually busy with other things. Also, students/analysts on the other side of the recruiting fence think their hire is more important than it likely is to the bank.

Sep 27, 2019 - 10:26am

Eeeh some mixed experiences. If the hiring manager is pushy, then HR will do its job. I have had an experience with interview+verbal offer the day after+contract, onboarding and all that within a week and half and I was moving to another country.

With another company I joined the first contact was January, the final interview and verbal offer halfway March, I started working at the end of April, for an almost 4 months of recruitment process.

Sep 27, 2019 - 10:32am

Honestly, they are dumb and incompetent at pretty much every shop I've been at. Including a top 3 MM shop. Back office people in general are pretty dimwitted and you just have to suffer through. However, this is a good lesson for you in learning how to get what you want out of people regardless of their aptitude or pre-disposition towards you. Learn how to connect with them on their level, make them feel important, etc. It's just like dating the 6 temporarily in college just because her dad can get you a solid internship.

Sep 27, 2019 - 9:30pm

I think the issue with HR on the recruiting front is that its really admin work but the people working in HR don't want to be seen as admins, they want to be seen as "strategic partners" to quote one poster above. So they complicate shit to feel more important. When in reality they need to just get things scheduled and follow up with confirmations like any other admin (which is valuable work BTW).

Sep 28, 2019 - 7:48am

Since this thread has become a referendum on whether HR people are professionals or not...I actually quite like mine.

They’re kind, courteous, go to pretty great lengths to configure the shit show that is recruiting so that front office people can explore our every whimsy. They organize and oversee countless on-campus events months in advance of recruiting so that there is a natural forum for “informal” networking. They help me optimize within the recruiting system to get me the number and quality of human fodder I need to prevail in the trenches of this brutal industry.

Sure, they’re not a bunch of hardos that get off on how lengthy their last week was or how manicured their spreadsheet is - thank god, generally those people suck.

Facts have shown that WSO is mostly comprised of college kids. I suspect further that WSO is disproportionally representative of butthurt college kids who did not get the offer they dreamed about.

In time, when these kids find what they’re looking for, and are stretched to their very physical and emotional limit working 100 hrs/ week enriching their bosses and clients, they may come to have a different perspective on the value of HR. Certainly, if said person shows enough pluck to be asked to stay on as an “associate of the bank” to lead the younglings into the fuego, I imagine they will come to appreciate the gatekeeper that works to provide them with an adequate flow of reinforcements.

Oct 3, 2019 - 6:24pm

So I have mixed opinions on HR, from a myriad of experiences at different firms. Two stand out in particular.

I had applied to the big M at MBB for an analyst role in a ME office, with a partner and an associate backing me and sending my resume to the hiring manager. I applied online for safe measure too, since I was kinda unsure of how an internal referral works in MBB. At first, I got the rejection email from this woman in Poland. Being the optimist I am, I thought I would just ignore it and wait for the actual invitation. Fast forward 6 months, and I heard nothing until I called up the Partner and chatted him up about it. Turns out, he had forwarded it to the hiring manager, who had forwarded it to the same woman in Poland, and somehow that incompetent woman forgot about the entire application and left it in the backwater. Firm bureaucracy at work.

On the other hand, at my old MF PE firm, I had two SMDs backing me up, and had past experience there, so it was naturally a shoe-in from start to finish. Fastest process I might have gone through (less than 3 weeks). Guess that efficiency was also partially driven by the lower volume of applicants to the latter firm.

TL;DR: The more referrals and connection you have to the firm you're applying to, the better. HR behave mostly like that 7 in school who thinks she's a 10 and starts ghosting you.

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."
Oct 6, 2019 - 12:47am
GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."
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