Rant about HR phone screens

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Rant incoming:

I am unbelievably frustrated by the phone screens that HR does. They're so actually useless in assessing whether or not candidates are good. I've had three processes now with absolutely fucking stellar firms for stellar internships, where I've networked well, asked good questions of people who worked in investment related roles, impressed them, and they've referred me to 1st round interviews.

Then I get a first round and my interviewer is an HR person who doesn't know anything and asks your standard "tell me a time when you faced a difficulty?" or something. I answer the typical behaviourals fine, but not to a standout degree, and I've gotten dropped all three times now. It sucks that I never get an actual chance to prove myself to investing related people within the interview process who only do final round interviews! My resume is decent but not great probably when compared with the quality of applicants to the previous firms, and I'm just frustrated that my one edge, my hustle and passion is just completely negated in HR screens.

Sorry about the rant I just am really disappointed by the opportunities that I've lost so far. If anyone is willing, I'd love to try and practice answering behaviorals better with someone, or just work on other things we can improve on. I'm pretty good at technicals and networking now I'd say. I'm recruiting for investing related roles, so if that overlaps we can probably help each other better, but if not, that might be fine too.

Comments (30)

 
Most Helpful
Oct 3, 2018 - 3:31pm

I definitely feel your pain, and you seem kinda young/green behind the ears, but just realize that the job market isn't a strict "who's the smartest/the best worker". A lot of it is luck. A lot of it is also can you make people like you. People will give up IQ points of someone they are working with if they can have a better time working with them. I do agree that the recruiting process isn't great, but just work with what you have/can do.

Here's an example, were Tom Brady/Michael Jordan/Peyton Manning all drafted #1? Nope. How many guys didn't make it to the NFL who probably would have been WAYYY better QBs than say a Ryan Leaf or Jamarcus Russell.

Same thing in acting. There's probably guys waiting tables in L.A. who can act circles around a Tom Cruise/Chris Pratt/Jai Courtney, and who probably hustle harder and are better looking too. Just didn't get that one role, or weren't in the right place/right time.

I myself have had interviews were they actually say "you/your resume is a perfect fit" and didn't end up getting the job. Sometimes it just happens.

The thing you have to realize that hustling doesn't mean getting what you want on the first try because you want it. Hustling is when it's your 1,000th time doing something, but you act like its the first time you've done it.

 
Oct 3, 2018 - 4:01pm

I know and I understand that... It just that these are firms I'd give my left nut to work for, think KKR, Capital Group and Citadel, and they just haven't panned out how I really wish they did for factors that I am frustrated that I have less influence on than I'd like.

And I mean I am a likeable person, not to sound narcissistic, but I mean I am. The people who referred me did so because I think because they saw I was passionate and but also because
they liked me.

Is there like any advice you'd have? I guess it's just keep doing it? I guess I don't really have any other choice if I want to get to where I want to go, but it just feels demoralizing.

And thanks for the response - I do appreciate it and feel better.

 
Oct 3, 2018 - 4:27pm

I would say, obviously you didn't do everything perfect. Don't sit on what you did well/good, people get better when they practice the things they are bad at. So figure out what you think you can improve upon and do that.

Keeping with the sports analogy (hopefully you follow football), look at last years super bowl. Brady threw for over 500 yds and 3 TDs (no INTs, 1 fumble). That would win probably every super bowl ever before that, but is just wasn't enough. I guess he can second guess himself, or get down on himself, but I'm sure he did his best. Didn't play perfect, but did his best. Just didn't work out. Now he's figuring out how to get to another super bowl, not complaining his defense sucked (relatively).

 
Oct 5, 2018 - 11:02am

twinshk2:

I know and I understand that... It just that these are firms I'd give my left nut to work for, think KKR, Capital Group and Citadel, and they just haven't panned out how I really wish they did for factors that I am frustrated that I have less influence on than I'd like.

And I mean I am a likeable person, not to sound narcissistic, but I mean I am. The people who referred me did so because I think because they saw I was passionate and but also because
they liked me.

Is there like any advice you'd have? I guess it's just keep doing it? I guess I don't really have any other choice if I want to get to where I want to go, but it just feels demoralizing.

And thanks for the response - I do appreciate it and feel better.

Maybe re-assess your "likeable"-ness? Maybe ask the tough question of, if you are that likeable, then why can't you get past HR, where all you have to do is be likeable? (Not to attack you or say you are not, just suggesting a self-assessment)

Not sure how much value I can add beyond everyone else's points above, but do you have any friends in HR/marketing/sales? They could be a helpful resource to practice with.

BTW love the football analogy - you can add Vinatieri, Welker, Harrison, Gates, Romo (broadcasting GOAT imo), and Kurt Warner to some of the undrafted players who became all-stars, or at least better than Johnny Football.

 
Oct 3, 2018 - 10:41pm

Youre right about Peyton, I confused his and Leaf's order.

Sam Bowie was still drafted over Jordan.

Brady is an anomaly is the whole point of the conversation. Probably the greatest player ever, and he went in the six round. Here's his scouting report:

"Poor build, Skinny, Lacks great physical stature and strength, Lacks mobility and ability to avoid the rush, Lacks a really strong arm, Can’t drive the ball downfield, Does not throw a really tight spiral, System-type player who can get exposed if forced to ad lib"

Point is, they couldn't measure his determination, leadership or heart. And recruiters can't tell that about you. Yet, you yourself can turnout to be the greatest investor ever.

 
Oct 5, 2018 - 8:40am

This 100%. I got rejected after 8 super days before I finally got an IB offer. 5 of those 8 super days I thought I absolutely crushed it but left empty handed. Sometimes that's just how life is. It sucks but you can't let it get to you and you have to keep on pushing

 
Oct 3, 2018 - 4:13pm

Ironman is completely correct, a lot of the job market depends on luck, but it takes the hustle to create that opportunity to get lucky. My advice would be to keep at it, you are obviously doing something right landing these interviews. If you are passionate, technically sound, have a solid resume, and are likeable, you will breakthrough. PM me, I can help with any of the bullshit behavioral questions you have specifically encountered so that part is up to the same level as everything else.

 
Oct 3, 2018 - 6:07pm

You’re approaching phone screens wrong. They are all about sounding personable, likeable, and being articulate. Interviewing is as much about psychology as anything else. My conversion rate after phone interviews is probably 90%+. Guaranteed you are doing one of these things wrong.

 
Oct 3, 2018 - 6:08pm

dude, HR screens are a joke

a) find out if its HR grunt or HR manager

if grunt, just answer questions etc etc while on your yacht or casually on your motorbike bluetooth

HR managers are slightly different (especially head of HR) if you get more senior - they need more care and attention. When I was trying to get a job at Columbia for free tuition in a financial operations management position, I had to talk to on the phone and meet with the head of HR for the school, etc.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

 
Oct 5, 2018 - 2:59pm

Jamie_Diamond Dude go away. You always just put up the most annoying GIFs as responses to people's questions/comments (too much time on your hands, much?). It's doesn't add value and most of them aren't even funny. If you're going to put them as comments, at least be selective so the ones you post, land.

 
Oct 5, 2018 - 8:58am

I worked retail (at the same company) all through college and would constantly ask to interview for supervisor even though I wasn't interested. They needed to interview at least 3 in-store people and I needed experience. So I'd get feedback from different managers at different stores.

My point is: find someone you can practice with. Write down thought out answers to different behaviorals and practice answering them.

 
Oct 5, 2018 - 9:47am

A few people have added some valuable insight. Let me just say this, HR is the laziest group of people. They have to go through a ridiculous stack of resumes just to get to the people who they phone interview with. They call candidates all day long. They are practically looking for any reason to drop you and move on to the next candidate. You absolutely must sell yourself and why you’re the right person.

This reminds me of an office manager that my step father hired for his private practice. She had amazing energy her first week of the job. All the nurses were thrilled. Six months later, she had a stack of referrals two months old and doctors calling daily about why their patients hadn’t been seen after referring them to my step father. She was a huge set back for the practice and a major screw up. But damn, did she do an excellent job selling herself.

Don’t give HR any reason to cut you from the first round. Sell yourself.

 
Oct 5, 2018 - 11:05am

Everything people have said is pretty spot on so I won't go in too deep. There's always something to improve/develop so you have to reflect on every interview, even ask for feedback if you get shot down. You can't get too rattled in life let alone the job search. Always be confident but never stop looking at current weaknesses. "Not too high, not too low."

Not too high, not too low
 
Oct 5, 2018 - 1:27pm

Don’t give up. It’s all about prep and luck.

In my experience, analyst - associate and HR interviews were the worst. I remember interviewing two BBs at the same time and they gave me similar questions. BB1 was with an analyst. She got in the room looking grumpy. Her body was covered in Chanel and you could tell she really didn’t wanna be there. Looked at my CV, immediately picked up my placement at a no-name boutique and asked what’s this? Never heard of this. Whereas with BB2, the analyst who interviewed me was so nice we got on instantly. Needless to say I failed BB1 and passed 2.

 
Oct 5, 2018 - 1:42pm

Gonna buck the trend here and say that if you got screened out from an HR interview you likely wouldn't have made it far in the follow up rounds. The bar is set very low in HR interviews, and you generally know exactly what they're going to ask.

 
Oct 7, 2018 - 10:25am
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