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HR - reflective of the organisations they represent?

#1 HR - reflective of the organisations they represent?
11/10/2006 19:32

HR nemesis

I find it really frustrating how incompetent HR departments can be as a graduate applying to consulting firms. Is this a feature of the consulting industry or just a fact of applying to firms in any respected industry as a graduate?

I always thought that HR was supposed to perform a number of different functions including being able to present the company in a positive light to possible future employees. Unless you are already in the MC industry and work with colleagues who have been employed at other firms I think it can be difficult to find objective feedback about what it is like to work for a consulting firm. Thus I would have thought that given this HR departments would try to be more competent as every mistake they make is a poor reflection on the organisation as a whole which they represent.

These are the problems I have so far encountered – are these typical of the industry or should I probably take these as a reason not to pursue a career at these firms?

[] IT Consultancies that have online forms that do not work (eg. Not counting words accurately, produce database errors, or are just very poorly designed).

[] Consultancies that ask for fluency in English as a prerequisite and then have a foreigner interview you that has an extremely poor grasp of the language to the extent that you have to constantly get them to repeat what they have said, and you have to slow down and keep repeating yourself for them.

[] Consultancies that cannot keep their HR websites up to date – constantly displaying the wrong dates and other information.

[] HR departments that take months to get back to you and keep telling you that they are ‘reorganising their HR function’.

Is HR for consulting what the ‘white sock brigade’ is for industries like investment banking i.e. at the bottom of the pecking order? Should I just learn to accept that no matter how useless the HR departments are, they are probably not reflective of the wider organisation they represent?

I currently work for a blue-chip company in the financial services industry whose HR department is not great, but is still way better than any I have encountered so far in consulting.

And yes before anyone says it, this is a case of sour grapes….. :-)

Any thoughts on this greatly appreciated.

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#2 RE: HR - reflective of the organisations they represent?
11/10/2006 20:17

Anon to HR nemesis (#1)

Always remember this...

HR are always useless in any industry

IT companies always have rubbish IT themselves

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#3 RE: HR - reflective of the organisations they represent?
11/10/2006 20:25

jorge to Anon (#2)

welcome to the layer cake, son.

remember 4 things:

1) WHy do you think HR gets outsourced?

2) HR are not part of the business model

3) If they want you - they will find you. And its not HR.

let me example you give , son. I interviewed with SBA 5 years ago at the Old Bailey offices. I left, and before I even got to Waterloo - the Partner that interviewed me - not HR, was on the phone wanting me for the next round. HR called the same eveining to say the same thing.

I went from first interview to offer in 5 days.

Im not trying to brag - all I am saying is that if you impress your interviewees - they will make sure to see your face again.

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#4 Lets Get Rid of HR Crusade
11/10/2006 22:31

I hate HR to jorge (#3)

Look what I simply can't understand is why does HR still seem to yield so much power.

When good candidates call them regarding recruitment these young shallow dumb blonde females give them the cold shoulder and are uncooperative.

But apart from that they are a pain internally. The HR at all the firms I have worked in - all blue chips have been pathetic at best. They have mucked up my payslips, my holiday and all the other useless admin that they do.

Now what I just don't understand is why don't the same ppl who have had bad experiences with them - just replace/outsource or fire them. Surely you shall get to a position of authority some day - I urge u not to forget your experience and do away with them. I sure will and this only adds to my reasons of making it to the top. HR SUCKS - Repeat after me

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#5 RE: HR - reflective of the organisations they represent?
11/10/2006 22:35

Javelin to HR nemesis (#1)

In the latest HBS time series study, quality of HR practices was the best indicator of the effectiveness of the wider organisation. It's a more important indicator the more knowledge and intelligence-intensive the industry - banking was the main example given in the report I read, but I'd imagine consulting fits the bill too.

Anecdotally, organisations that treat their support functions (their PA's, finance, IT, HR, etc.) poorly also have little respect for their consultants.

Setting aside who does the managing of human resources (dedicated HR staff, line managers, business partners, etc.) unless the firm manages its resources it's running a high downside risk without upside potential for returns. The same goes for financial resources, or for physical resources. Simple economics - a firm that wastes labour or capital puts itself at a commercial disadvantage - which shows up in your pay (even if not the partners' in the short term).

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#6 RE: HR - reflective of the organisations they represent?
16/10/2006 10:27

HR nemesis to Javelin (#5)

Ha, thanks for the replies guys - good to see there are other bitter and twisted individuals out there!

Found that my point was again proven at the TC careers fair on Friday. Fair was excellent by the way, would definitely recommend it to anyone considering going next year. I asked one of the HR people at one of the stands where his company was positioned in the IT consulting industry and what kind of work they took on. I had a fair idea of what kind of work the firm did but wasn’t entirely sure. HR guy told me the exact opposite of what I had previously come to believe. He was also quite rude and very patronising. Anyway, I then went on to speak to a guy who worked in one of the practices of the firm and also attended the presentation given by one of the senior guys. Both pretty much said exactly the opposite of what the HR guy told me……what a joke.

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