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13+ Things HR Won’t Tell You

Whether you’re searching for work, or already employed, discover what HR professionals secretly think about the hiring process, your résumé, and how to keep your job.

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Photo: iStock

Get Along with Your Boss


“The No. 1 thing in job security is your relationship with your boss. Even if he says, ‘I’m sorry I really wanted to keep you, but they made me lay you off,’ that’s almost never true. He probably made that decision.” – Cynthia Shapiro, former human resource executive and author of “Corporate Confidential: 50 Secrets Your Company Doesn’t Want You to Know.

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Your Personality Can Get You Hired

“Even in jobs where you test applicants and those with the top scores are supposed to get the job, I’ve seen hiring managers fix scores to get the people they like.” – HR representative in the manufacturing industry

(Photo: Wavebreak Media/Thinkstock)

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Get Out From Behind Your Computer

“Networking does not mean using Facebook or Linked In. It means going to events, getting your face in front of people and setting up informational interviews.” – A human resources professional in New York City

(Photo: George Doyle/Stockbyte/Thinkstock

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Edit Yourself

“Children and hobbies do not belong on a résumé. And never, ever say, ‘Now that my kids are in college, I’m ready to get back in the workforce.’ ” – HR professional at a mid-sized firm in North Carolina

(Photo: Photodisc/Thinkstock)

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Think Hard Before Dating a Co-Worker

“I know many of you met your former spouse at the company. But the thing is, for every one of you, there are five people it doesn’t work out as well for. And your office romance can and will be held against you.” – Kris Dunn, chief human resources officer at Atlanta-based Kinetix who blogs at HRcapitalist.com.

(Photo: Photodisc/Thinkstock)

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Be Original and Specific

“In interviews, everyone works well with others, and everyone learns quickly. Please tell me something else.” – HR manager in St. Cloud, Minn.

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We Come to the Interview Prepared

“I know a lot more about you when you walk in the door than you realize. I’ll search for you on the web and often use my own personal network to do a pre-interview reference check.” – Senior HR Executive in New York City

(Photo: Digital Vision/Thinkstock)

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Show Us You’re Serious

“If you call to check on the status of your résumé and I ask, ‘What job did you apply for?” If you don’t know, you’re done.” – HR professional at a mid-sized firm in North Carolina

(Photo: Photodisc/Thinkstock)

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Never Sign a Contract on the Spot

“Never accept the job immediately. Say you need to think about it overnight. Once you sign on the dotted line there’s no room for negotiation.” – A human resources professional in New York City

(Photo: iStockphoto/Thinkstock)

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You Could Already be on the Chopping Block

“Companies do have black lists. It’s not written down anywhere but it’s a list of people they’d be happy to get rid of if the opportunity arises. If you feel invisible, if you’re getting bad assignments, if your boss is ignoring you, or if they move your office, you’re probably on it.” – Cynthia Shapiro

(Photo: Stockbyte/Thinkstock)

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Don’t Leave Quietly

“If you get fired, don’t just stomp out and go on with your life. The company may be willing to give you some severance, especially if you can point to someone different from you who didn’t get as severe a punishment. Just saying, ‘Well, I talked to my attorney’ (even if you don’t have an attorney) can also give you some leverage.'” – Suzanne Lucas, a former HR executive and the “Evil HR lady” on bnet.com.

(Photo: iStockphoto/Thinkstock)

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I’m Trying to be Polite

“I may say ‘I’m terminating you because you didn’t meet performance measures.’ I’m not going to say it’s because you’re a pain in the butt and piss people off every time you interact with them.'” – HR Manager at a healthcare facility

(Photo: iStockphoto/Thinkstock)

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Be Vocal About Your Contributions

“Many people think, ‘If I work extra hard, I’m going to get noticed.’ But it doesn’t work that way. If you want to advance, some of the responsibility falls on you to toot your own horn. Make sure your supervisor and your supervisor’s supervisor are well of aware of what you’re contributing.” – Michael Slade, HR director at Eric Mower and Associates, an integrated marketing communications agency

(Photo: Digital Vision/Thinkstock)

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Be Patient When Negotaiting Your Salary

“If we ask ‘What salary are you looking for?’ say you’re flexible, or say it depends on the responsibilities of the job. Try not to name a salary unless we really push you, because that gives us a leg up in the negotiating.” –A human resources professional in New York City

(Photo: Comstock/Thinkstock)

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Don’t Dress Up Your Résumé

“We get résumés on fancy schmantzy papers. We get them with gold-pressed lettering. We get them in binders and in document protectors with ribbons. None of that sways me.” – HR Manager in St. Cloud, Minnesota

(Photo: /Thinkstock)