‘Rude’ HR must be tackled by CEOs

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I am writing to you with some thoughts about graduate recruitment, brought to mind by way of my second-hand experience as my son attempts to find suitable employment.

Like many of his fellow students, he has applied to quite a few large companies, many of them household names. Again, like many others, I am sure most of those applications have resulted in no reply whatsoever.

In today’s world of communication by e-mail, this seems to me to be unacceptably rude, and very lazy on the part of the HR department. I should make it clear that I am not in HR but I am a member of the senior management team. It really shouldn’t be beyond the ability of HR to reply to e-mail (or written) applications to say: ‘Thanks but no thanks’.

There is always talk of the HR team adding value to the business, so let’s have a quick look at how they have added value on this occasion: they have alienated a potential future employee; even worse, they have alienated a potential customer (and their family and friends); and they have, in my son’s case, increased the risk of an age-related discrimination tribunal hearing.

I think that the tribunal chair might be interested in the answers to the following questions: how many first-class honours graduates did you interview this year? How many of them were aged over 30? How many graduates with first-class honours degrees who were aged over 30 did you reject? My son returned to his degree at 28 and has just been awarded a first.

To any chief executives who might read this, is your HR team alienating dozens of potential employees and customers every year? This really is a board-level potential problem and should be addressed at that level.

A J Martin, details supplied

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