We have met the enemy, and it is HR

Posted on February 29, 2012


I’m job hunting right now.

I won’t bore you with the details. It’s a bitch, but that’s the way it goes.

I just want to talk about one particular application I recently completed for an editing position.

After registering with them (which is mandatory for pretty well every company now) I’m finally allowed to actually apply for the position. At this point they ask me to upload my resume.

Just my resume.

There is no way to upload two documents, so I can’t give them a resume and cover letter. This is a problem because I’ve read that one-third of all employers won’t even look at a resume that isn’t accompanied by a cover letter.

So now I have to combine two documents — one of which has columns — into a single document. With Wordperfect this would only take a couple of minutes. Unfortunately (possibly due to widespread brain damage), the whole world now uses MS Word, which they actually believe is a word-processor.

I’m not kidding. Many of them also think professional wrestling is real.

This is NOT a wordprocessor. Know the difference.


So, one-and-a-half hours later I finally succeed in combining my cover letter and resume into one document. I upload it and am taken to a a new screen with a message: “Don’t forget to include a cover letter. Studies show that one-third of all employers won’t even look at a resume without a cover letter.”

Underneath this is an upload button.

To upload your cover letter.

Because a cover letter is essential, you see.

But this isn’t what pissed me off. Or rather, it pissed me off, but no more so than does every other company’s application process. No, what raised my pissed-offness to nuclear levels was their statement on “Equal Opportunity Employment.”

Here is the quote, unaltered.

The McGraw-Hill Companies is committed to the principles of equal employment opportunity for all employees and applicants for employment. Advancement opportunities and employment decisions will be made without regard to race, religion, gender (including gender identity/expression), ethnicity, creed, color, citizenship status, sexual orientation, age, disability, marital status, national origin, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected under federal, state, or local law.

Furthermore, when filling open positions, managers are expected to seek out a diverse pool of candidates for consideration. Toward this end, the Corporation develops annual Affirmative Action programs as required by its federal contractor status. Management plays an active role in demonstrating the Corporation’s commitment by providing equal employment opportunities at all levels of employment. For advice or assistance in meeting this obligation, managers are encouraged to consult with their Human Resources representative.

Now, I won’t waste any time on the rather bizarre phrase, “filling open positions.” I mean, what other kind of positions would they be filling? Closed positions? Are companies now hiring people for positions that are already filled?

No, what I want is a clarification on how you can enact Affirmative Action programs “without regard to race, religion, gender” and the rest?

Janus -- the two-faced god of human resources

Seriously. How do you do that? Affirmative Action is based entirely on very closely regarding those very things they’ve just finished declaring that they won’t be regarding.

It’s like setting up a library and saying, “We will select books for our library without regard to their type. We are also dedicated to having a library composed of 20% fiction, 30% history, 40% history, and 10% Dan Brown.”

If they want to be prejudiced, then they can be prejudiced. Affirmative Action uses a point system which allots so many points for being a visible minority, so many points for being female, so many points for having a physical disability, and so on. That kind of left-wing prejudice has been around for so long now that it’s merely part of the crazy-quilt that makes up our society. But for Christ’s sake, don’t be fucking hypocrites!

Human resources is just down the stairs to the left, by which I mean it's up the stairs and to the right.

On the other hand, I guess when you have to pay close attention to things like race, gender, religion and the rest, but also have to claim not to, it’s pretty difficult not to be a hypocrite. All I ask is that they have the decency to hide their hypocrisy a bit better.

If nothing else, they can at least separate the contradictory phrases by a couple of paragraphs.

After all, some of us may not score too high on the point system, but we still have the ability to read and understand the language.