Ask HR


Some HR managers play office politics for own gain

Q. I sat for an interview in a state corporation and later got reliable informal feedback that I came first. Unfortunately,  the tribal balance came into play and so the job went to someone else. I feel they should have at least sent me some formal feedback; that they didn’t convince me of what I have heard before, that some HR departments deny those that deserve jobs and instead give them to those that they favour. 

Credible recruiters will always give feedback to candidates who impress them. They will do this first out of appreciation of the candidate’s capability, and second, to manage good relationships for potential roles. It is thus quite unprofessional of the HR team at this organisation to fail to give you official feedback after inviting you for a formal interview; they should be shamed for this.

HR managers are trusted with very critical responsibilities in their role as chief custodians of employees’ agenda in any organisation, yet loved and hated by employees in equal measure. I am sure we all know of one or two who play politics to influence outcomes in their favour, is high-handed and ensure their decisions carry the day whether they are objective, fair or not; being indecisive on misconduct that intimidate employees such as bullying, sexual harassment, favouritism and nepotism.

I do understand there is a requirement for diversity in the public sector, ensuring that the workplace is as representative of different regions in the country as possible, however, this does not excuse hiring incompetent people. A professional HR manager knows they have to search and ensure the person who is picked on account of diversity is still the most suitable and competent from the pool of candidates. At this point, influencing skills of the recruiting manager come in handy, coupled with good interpersonal skills to manage pressure from the executive and the board. We all know how costly it is to hire wrong people into jobs, and how HR always gets blamed, and rightfully so. It makes no sense therefore to compromise this process. As the key gatekeepers of these organisations, HR managers should advise against nepotism and promote competency-centred recruitments, knowing that there are many competent people across different tribes and that it is their responsibility to search smarter and present their panel with a diverse pool of competent candidates.

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