The Interview

HR Personnel really have their jobs cut out for them.

They are charged (theoretically, at least) with the vitally important task of safeguarding the corporate mothership from invasion by enemy organisms in the form of incompetent slackers…yet they are also responsible for feeding new raw material–in the form of fresh workers–into the great teeming maw of industrial machinery that comprises the all-mighty company.

Caught between the lethal Scylla and Charybdis of these two functions, is it any wonder that monumental hiring mistakes are made? After all, there are thousands of online sites offering explicit details on the best way to pad one’s resume (read: LIE) or how to make an outstanding first impression during an interview (even in the absence of anything in the way of essential skills and even less quantitative experience). A friendly smile, we are told, goes a long way. So does sucking up to the interviewer.

Then there are the serious losers who misappropriate or over-inflate the contents of their resume, and present it, rife with misspellings and grammatical errors, into the keeping of a hiring agent who simply doesn’t care who or what is being hired, or for what reason, just as long as the correct (and trendiest) buzzwords appear within the margins of the CV, or as long as the proper business mantras are passionately intoned during the interview process.

Still worse are the cases when the HR professional is actually one of the enemy. Too often this sets up a weird kind of hyper-inefficient feedback loop in which the inept go right on hiring the equally-inept, ad infinitum… or at least until someone outside the HR department figures out what is actually going on.

Mix in a little ill-advised nepotism (recalling at every turn that birds of a feather do, indeed, flock together; as do talentless clock watchers) and you have the perfect recipe for corporate disaster.

To all Human Resources personnel out there laboring daily on the payroll of corporations everywhere– you should be keenly aware that you are the thin gray line that stands between continued corporate functionality and profitability, versus a complete breakdown in fiscal and productive efficiency. You stand astride these two outcomes like the Colossus of Rhodes, your actions forever determining the fiscal health and well-being of your company.

You are the gatekeepers. Upon your (hopefully) capable shoulders rests the future work experiences and financial security of countless hordes of vulnerable workers. It is your job to keep the foxes away from the hen houses; or perhaps more to the point, to prevent the criminally self-serving and the cripplingly incompetent from attaching themselves to the soft white underbelly of the corporate host like a pack of parasitic lampreys to drain every last bit of credibility or generosity from the company coffers.

It is the soft, flaccid bodies and cloying limbs of such inept souls who ultimately clutter the corporate stairwells (both literally and figuratively), blocking and slowing the access of the better-skilled, harder-working, and far more deserving ranks of conscientious and rational employees. And if the mighty corporate edifice should ever fall victim to an errant spark and become a blazing inferno, it is a safe bet that those same self-obsessed corporate lay-abouts will still be clogging those same stairwells, blocking any potential escape by others.

Rest assured, if that ever happens… while you and the rest of your hapless fellow employees crawl coughing and choking through the smoky inferno, someone will be lazily lounging around roasting marshmallows. Probably the same someone YOU hired in a sudden burst of ennui that obnoxious day last October when you hurriedly rubber-stamped their job application because you had to leave early to see a doctor about that suspicious-looking mole on your neck, or whatever.

On behalf of the rest of us employees everywhere: thanks a whole damn lot for that.