Generalist experience

Since leaving university I have gained five years’ experience in recruitment-based roles, as well as my CIPD qualification.

I have tried to extend my experience into generalist areas of HR, but I have taken this as far as I can in my current company. So for the past year I have been looking for a new generalist role.

I have seen numerous positions advertised, but have only applied to those that have seemed open to applicants who want to develop into the role rather than having generalist experience already.

I have been invited to a number of interviews. At all of these interviews, the panel have assured me that they are looking for someone who can develop into the role, and that my lack of generalist experience is not a barrier. However, for all these roles, I have been rejected with the feedback: “You interviewed well and have good skills, but you don’t have enough generalist experience.”

This is incredibly frustrating.

First, why do they waste my time, and their own, interviewing me when they can see from my CV that I don’t have the generalist experience that they obviously want?

Second, why aren’t they honest about what they are looking for?

And third, surely HR is supposed to champion people development and lead the way in spotting potential.

So why the catch-22 situation of: “We will not appoint you as an HR officer until you have experience as an HR officer”?


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