Dealing with Human Resources?

I 'm currently a recent grad looking for a job.
The difficulty I’m finding is knowing how to deal with HR people.
In two specific cases, after submitting a portfolio and getting past the design managers I get held up at HR.

Case 1: I 'm told an outside staffing agency handles all the interview scheduling and to wait to hear from them. That was over 2 months ago, and this 4 months after making initial contact. This can’t be normal can it?

Case 2: HR director says he 'll call on X date and never does, a couple of emails and 6 weeks later I get an email confirming that I applied and want to work at X studio, as if he totally forgot ever speaking to me in the first place. 10 days into that, and no word at all, and he NEVER answers his phone so I’m stuck with email as the only way to reach him.

I thought getting the design people to show interest in my portfoliio was the hard part?

Any tips on how to be persistent in the RIGHT way?

the best way to get around all of the HR crap is to get in contact with someone who you know personally at a company. maybe you meet that person on a plane, or in line at a restaurant, or from school, or other business, or conferences, or professional group meetings, whatever…

that way they can put in the good word for you, and match a name with a face…because otherwise you are just another good portfolio in the pile or another message that is not going to get returned.

IF you do not know anyone who works at the company or is affiliated in the company in any way, you have a few options. you can just stop by and personally check in on how things are going - if it is a small place that should not be a big deal “oh, I was in the area, and I just wanted to make sure that I did not get lost in the paperwork” seems to work usually. and if it does not, then it is probably not the kind of place you want to be at anyway. that is unless you want to be a huge, conglomerate, devil of a company.

or if you are really audacious, try to go directly to the head of a department, or work a networking contact through the friend of a friend of a friend on email or the phone.

good luck.

A few of things might be going on:

  1. The company may be stalling because their hiring budget may be thin through the end of the year.

  2. They have a contract with a headhunter/service that’s complicating the situation.

3.They think you suck and you aren’t worth their time. They may be waiting for their first pick to accept their position.

4.They suck and have no experience dealing with multiple applicants.

Did you send a thank you letter to the people you interviewed with? This may be a way to find out some info. It may work out in the end, but I’d keep looking.

Rule #1, never talk to HR

Go to the company website and try to find the contact info of someone in the design department. Whether it is a junior designer or the director, its better than HR.

Prepare a nice speech, write it out beforehand if needed and call the design department. Tell them your story and see if they take the bait. Ask if you can send them some portfolio materials and get an email address. Then make sure that the email is specifically addressed to the person you talked to, none of that “Dear Madam or Sir” “To whom it may concern” crap.

In the email, thank them for taking the time to talk to you and look over your materials. Try to write a well composed email, and for god sakes use spellchecker. Type it in MS Word and spellcheck there if your email program doesn’t have it built in, then copy and paste.

I think stopping by or calling too much might seem kind of stalker-esque. I’ve even seen places put comments like NO CALLS PLEASE!!


The only way to get a good job most of the time is to know someone who work’s internal, HR will filter your resume based on their judgement and knowing many HR Managers in the past that’s a scary thing. This filtering that never get’s your resume to the right people who know more then tunnel vision HR people can cost you plenty of interviews.

The thing is knowing someone internal when you don’t and having no luck in getting past the receptionist to get this info. Many companies don’t give out info so it can be hard in some cases. Not always talking to the direct source is a sure thing either.

Just like winning the Lotto it’s all luck.

…usually hr people just filter resumes to the reqs listed in the job posting, so if you do not meet the min reqs your res gets tossed…some might have hidden reqs given them by the hiring manager as a final filter…it is unusual that your stuff went to hr after the hiring manager, my guess is they hired someone else or the open position is no longer active after 4 months…it happens for a variety of reasons, budgets and what-not, and most places these days do not follow up with candidates…sad to say but get used to it and move on to the next.