Special Report: Inside Ireland’s HR Departments

HR manager Dublin

Over the previous month, The Potato gained permission to shadow a number of Human Resources (HR) departments in a variety of companies around Ireland. With the CSO estimating national unemployment at a figure of 13.6 %, HR departments are on the front line of converting job-seekers to full employment. However, this special report has identified a nationwide disregard in HR departments for those seeking work; alongside other disturbing findings.

In a recruitment company based in the Midlands, the HR department receive over 200 applications per advertised position. The manager explained: “We advertise positions on behalf of other companies and as a result, a high number of applications pass through our hands. But we only have a small team, so we typically just grab three or four applications from the pile and call them to interview.”

Shredder

As for the applications that are not selected – many of which come with detailed letters of application and position-oriented CVs – the HR manager noted that the company has an industrial shredder which is in constant operation. “The strange thing is, we had to hire someone to shred all the excess applications,” the manager quipped, “which meant we received even more applications later that week. First thing the successful candidate got to do was shred all the other applications…”

A different company in the South West reflected a similarly poor attitude towards job seekers. The HR department talked through some interview strategy and described the techniques and questions they use. “I always ask about previous positions first,” the HR assistant stated, “and while they rabbit on about whatever hick-who-cares job they had, I check my emails on my phone.

Responding to the assumption that this was intended as a psychological test of the interviewee, the assistant simply declared: “Oh no, I’m not feigning disinterest; I’m 100% not interested in these people.” The HR manager’s attitude was just as galling. “As a man interviewing a woman, I’ll give 90% based on appearance. When I’m interviewing a guy, I’ll throw in the what’s-your-greatest-weakness question so that he has to do that gimpy make-a-negative-a-positive thing – so even if he gets the job, which is unlikely, he’ll always know that I think he’s a twat.”

In Dublin, a number of companies all share the same approach to hiring for Internships. “In all fairness, calling a spade a spade,” one HR manager began, “the job specs we write for interns are taking the piss. I mean, I published a call for applicants recently asking for recent graduates with a first class honours, evidence of extensive extra-curricular activity, their own car and 3+ years’ experience – all for an unpaid position! I don’t know how I wasn’t called out on it.”

Jokes

Other HR managers shared similar stories, with one joking: “My favourite part of the internships that I advertise is posting them on the window. Then I can watch the interest on people’s faces all the way down the page until they read ‘Job Bridge’. You can actually see the moment the last shred of optimism they had disappears!”

Of course, these points were moot according to a Senior HR manager from a high-profile company based in Dublin. “In reality, the biggest lie of internships is any suggestion that the position will lead to something more permanent in the future. When you think about it, what the HR manager means is three years down the road when you find a full-time paying job elsewhere, the internship will have led to something more permanent…”

In the North West, a HR manager of a financial services company explained the intricacies of HR work with current staff. “Of course, we still need to look after the staff that we have. We need to ensure women don’t earn anything near what the men are on or the whole thing collapses. We need to ignore all cases of harassment in the workplace – it’s usually only people taking themselves too seriously, you know? Also, LGBT or disabled staff; if we can’t get away with not hiring them in the first place, it’s the responsibility of HR to remind them that they’re different to everyone else as often as possible.”

While these findings resulted from the most prominent HR activity over the month of shadowing, further investigation outside of the arranged hours uncovered some telling truths about the nature of HR management in Ireland. In essence, all HR departments are connected to an organisation known as the ‘HR League’ which imposes rules on HR departments nationwide which may go some way towards explaining the above attitudes from HR professionals.

Rules

For example: HR departments are not allowed to have water coolers in the unlikely event that the water was blessed by a priest, as this will result in the HR staff melting. Ideally, HR departments are windowless; otherwise, direct sunlight must be blocked out. HR departments remain closed until the afternoon following a full moon as the HR team spend the previous night participating in satanic rituals.

A senior HR Manager from Dublin was candid about the HR League, noting that: “Generally, as a HR department, we’re doing our bit every day to ensure this world is just how our Dark Lord would like it when He inevitably rises. And we’ll be there, on the front lines, willing henchmen in the struggle against innocence and virtue.”

The Potato will continue to monitor this situation in Ireland’s HR management and report on its development. Until then, all readers and prospective job applicants are encouraged to be meticulous in reading the fine print on any contract that has passed through HR before signing. If you are unsure about any clause in the contract, contact a solicitor or a priest.

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