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Time after time, bright starry eyed graduates have gone forth into job interviews only to have been stopped by HR hacks. We pause halfway through eloquent diatribes about the drying up of private label securitisation, only to gaze upon pig-eyed stares of utter confusion. Needless to say, we didn’t get the job. No ‘communication skills’ – unlike the graduate who succinctly proclaimed that the property market was going ‘up’ and not ‘not up’.

Having attained the job, the graduate enters the dark world created by HR. First come to annual self-assessment questionnaires. How do I adhere to the values of my company? How do I demonstrate self-actualisation and team focus in my daily activities?

The entire process might lead some – not I, and others who wish to keep their jobs – to believe that HR are nothing more than an incompetent bunch of management majors who couldn’t make the cut with a real degree, like Arts, and hold on to the pretension that they are good with words like ‘demonstrates adaptability to new work cultural environments’.

That is why Westpac’s recent decision to increase interest rates 45 basis points (20 bp higher than the official 25bp rise sanctioned by the Reserve Bank) is such a travesty. It provides positive confirmation of such heretical beliefs that HR is a dying ground for managers too stupid for any other position. After approving the now infamous ‘banks are like bananas’ ads/emails, Peter Hanlon was demoted from Westpac’s retail head to head of HR and technology.

For those of you who are unaware that IT is just as evil as HR, here is a Dilbert comic:

But for those of us who know that the market always gets it right, we have a much simpler explanation. If you’ve been recently fired or demoted, then you have direct personal experience. You can empathise better with the graduate you are about to horizontally transfer to the Antarctica division of the Bank. It takes one to know one.


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