Katriina Tahka
April 10, 2023

The Sh*t HR Says

Ever received a ridiculous comment from a HR professional? We’ve been sharing some HR horror stories with you over the last month. In case you have missed the posts, here are the most cringeworthy ones.

“We’re going to throw everyone in the pool….because we want to keep the good people“…..overheard during a meeting to talk through the company restructure and redundancy process…


Do these sound horribly familiar – the top 3 excuses we’ve heard HR say to explain away a high achieving toxic boss >>

1. “Oh he’s just joking, he didn’t mean it”

2. “That’s just the way he is, it’s one of his quirks

3. “He’s very successful and we really can’t do anything about it because the business relies on him”

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“You’ve performed really well this year, you’ve been excellent. Unfortunately though I only have two ‘Excellent’ ratings to give out and I’ve already used them so I have to give you a ‘Good’ I’m sure you’ll understand.

Well done, congratulations on a great year!” 

HR Director to Senior HR Manager (at ASX 100 company)


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“Do you think you could keep the candidate warm for 3 months while we decide whether we need the role?”

 – HR Manager to Headhunter


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“ We are very interested in you, however, I just want to make sure you’re aware that the ‘Boss’ wants the women in the office    to only wear skirts. He doesn’t like pants on women…”

 – HR Manager to Candidate



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“Don’t tell anyone as I’ll lose my job but my boss said to offer you a lower contract rate seeing as you’re a mum with kids”

 – HR Manager to Candidate


 (via GIPHY)

“We’re promoting you because you’re a woman. And we’re measured by the number of women in leadership”

 – HR Manager to Team Manager


If you have any HR horror stories, send them to [email protected]. All entries will be kept anonymous!

If you’d like to know more, talk to us, A Human Agency is here to help.

Confidential consultation

We offer an initial, confidential appointment tailored to address your questions and guide you in the right direction, whether you're embarking on a new HR journey or seeking expert advice and guidance on complex workplace issues.

This allows us to learn about your business goals and objectives; and for you to get to know our team and how we can support you to achieve those goals.

Our sessions are designed to:

  • understand your specific questions, covering your current situation, potential challenges in culture, behaviour, performance, diversity or inclusion, and any other concerns you may have.
  • Collaboratively assess your current landscape and outline actionable steps towards meaningful change, providing assurance and support along the way.
  • Most importantly establish a foundation for working together. We want you to feel confident that we are the right HR partner for you, because this is your business’ future you are about to invest in, so we need to get it right. 

We look forward to meeting you.


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