It has happened multiple times for me: Someone in the company refers me or I apply for a job, technical interview goes very well and technical team/person seems very interested and excited. Then a HR person contacts me or interviews me, she/he looks not interested from the beginning and has socially and professionally unacceptable behavior (generally I have high tolerance and regardless of the situation I try to be professional especially with people who I don't know). Eventually I don't hear back from her, she rejects me or I just walk away even if there is still a chance to continue.

I always assume a bad HR means a bad company and don't mind that it didn't work. Is my assumption true? If no, what's your advice?

closed as primarily opinion-based by Jim G., Dawny33, gnat, Jan Doggen, user718 Dec 11 '15 at 3:33

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    Would a "bad" IT employee mean a bad company? – Brandon Dec 9 '15 at 1:10
  • Context could matter. Are you applying for jobs in every city on the planet or does your experience have some concentration? Have you applied to companies of every size from Fortune 100 companies to near start-ups that have 1 or 2 HR people? These are parts that somehow get no mention in your question that I would see as useful. – JB King Dec 9 '15 at 1:17
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    All HR is bad. – DA. Dec 9 '15 at 3:59
  • "Eventually I don't hear back from her, she rejects me or I just walk away even if there is still a chance to continue" - These are pretty distinct possibilities. For example, if you don't hear back from HR, you could follow up. If you "walk away even if there is still a chance to continue" then one could question your motivations here. Did you really abandon a job prospect only because the HR rep did something awkward? What was it? – Brandin Dec 9 '15 at 12:20
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    Isn't hiring ultimately the decision of the manager of the department? HR acts more or less as building the bridge so you can work for the company and go through the on boarding process. Are you sure you didn't just fail the interview overall even though the manager seemed "excited" about you? – Dan Dec 9 '15 at 14:17

I always assume a bad HR means a bad company and don't mind that it didn't work. Is my assumption true?

No, that's not a valid assumption.

Bad HR means bad HR. You cannot generalize about an entire company based on a few individuals, or even a bad department.

While it would be far better if the company had tighter control over HR, as they are the face of the company for some, the position you apply for may be in a terrific department. You could be losing out on a terrific opportunity by branding the company as "bad".

I worked for a terrific company that had a lousy HR rep. They let her go a year after I joined and replaced her with someone far more competent. Fortunately for me, I didn't let my assessment of her cloud my assessment of the company itself.

Conversely, I know some terrible companies that had great HR reps. My interviews with the HR person went so well (compared to my impressions of the remainder of interviews), I wondered why they would even work for such a poor company.

If no, what's your advice?

Don't judge a book by its cover.

Unless you are applying for an HR job, a poor HR group isn't fatal to an otherwise great company. Look past HR and judge for yourself.

  • Bad recruiter != bad HR. – user42272 Dec 10 '15 at 13:41

To add on to the above answers with one more thing to consider:

As companies grow, some departments lag behind others. HR can certainly be(but does not have to be) one of them. If they are understaffed then can take way longer than they should to reply to candidates and their stress of being asked to do too much without sufficient process, can lead to a sub optimal experience. And there can always be a single negative person/experience in even the best process/company.

But I would also not ignore it. Treat it as data. Your whole experience with interviewing and your own research provides you data on what sort of place it would be to work at.

Great companies eventually get the HR hiring/on-boarding right. But almost never right away.


Joe's answer is excellent. To put some spin on it to offer up a slightly different POV, though...

You can probably judge a company fairly from dealing with one or two departments, but you can't judge all departments from dealing with one or two departments.

Point being, even in the most inept of large corporate behemoths, there can be some great departments to work for. And yes, they likely have bad HR departments.

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