Follow the process… but trust your gut.


This is my first secret diary so, just to give you a bit of insight, I’m an HR professional facing the daily challenges and frustration you face too.  And what I want to do each month is share some of the things that we dare not speak out loud!

Working in Human Resources is such a varied environment isn’t it?  It highlights the best and worst of people as well as the bizarre.

It’s a job I love, but it’s also incredibly stressful and challenging. For anyone who has ever wondered what HR professionals do, and the people they deal with, I’m here to share some secrets.

Like the candidate seems super keen – but doesn’t turn up on day one?

Everything was running smoothly; the department manager had selected a shortlist of candidates from the longlist I’d created.  A telecoms role.  The familiar process began…

I went through some scenarios relevant to the role over the phone with the applicant and booked them in for a formal interview. Right from the start, they were enthusiastic.  They got in touch to ask about how to prepare for the interview and understand the interview approach itself; it was being held virtually. To me, these were all positive signs that the candidate wanted to make a good impression and was serious about the role.

We next spoke after the interview and I assured them there would be feedback once everyone concerned had been interviewed. If I’m being honest, they were being a bit needy, getting in touch several times to check whether or not they had got the role. But it was nice to see how enthusiastic they were…I thought.

Good news followed.  They had secured one of the available jobs!  Everything seemed okay as we agreed on the start date… but from here things started to take a turn for the worse. They started asking about later start dates, whilst maintaining they could start as agreed. Eh?  In my gut, I knew something was up, but I ignored it because of their enthusiasm.

Their first day rolled around and they didn’t turn up.  They weren’t answering their phone either.  Instead, I received an email from them explaining they couldn’t start on the day stated as it was such short notice.  Once again, they asked about later start dates.

So I really had no choice.  I had to rescind their offer.  And that should have been the end of the story.

But it wasn’t.  I ended up sending multiple emails, repeating to them that because they didn’t start on the agreed date their offer of employment was no longer on the table. It became a time consuming battle of to and fro as we exchanged the facts.

And their continued response?  Repeatedly asking when the next start date for the role would be!

Needless to say, I eventually escalated the situation to my manager to ensure the candidate got the message loud and clear.  But it still hasn’t stopped them from getting in touch occasionally since, apologising and asking about future start dates!

For me, the lesson is simple.  Follow the process but don’t ignore your gut.


The secret HR diarist

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