Business Jargon

How rude: Dealing with disrespectful employers

Elizabeth Bromstein|

True story: I recently applied for a position I heard about through a friend. After not hearing anything for a while, I followed up through our mutual contact and finally landed an interview. At the interview I was given the impression I was going to be hired. A week later I received an email saying they were “impressed” but that there was a hiring freeze at the moment. Despite this, they said they’d like to bring me on freelance, then full time at a later date. I said that sounded fine and asked how they would like to proceed.

I never heard from them again.

I waited and waited, but never followed up. I figured that if they wanted to hire me, they’d let me know. So, that was that.

I’m still shocked at the stunning rudeness. But, while this is a particularly bad example, the job search can be an exercise in putting up with what feels like endless insult and incredibly bad mannered behaviour.

Resumes are sent out into an abyss and met with radio silence. Introduction emails go  unanswered. You wait in vain to hear back after meetings. It can be enough to drive you crazy and mess with your self confidence.

So, what to do when you’re starting to feel brushed aside an ignored?

First, companies please take note. This sort of thing reflects badly on you. Someone might be a job candidate now, but you might wish you never ticked them off later. You never know who someone might become.

I got some information from a few hiring managers on their company’s follow up policy. These were the best:

John Francis, president of ACareerjob, says. “When we receive resumes for a job posting we send all of them a standard Thank You for applying email … For the applicants that we interview we will call them directly and tell them if they have been successful or not. This enables us to provide the applicant some critique, what they did well, what they did poorly, why they weren’t chosen. We have found this direct communication the best policy for our business. It keeps us in a positive light with the applicants, they appreciate concrete feedback, and we have received some favourable referrals because of our actions.”

Darnell Clarke, author of Employmentology: A Practical Systematic Methodology of Finding Employment by a Hiring Manager, says, “Our resume/application process is autoresponse. Once I make a decision on if I want to interview the candidates, I would personally contact the candidate and set up next steps. All other candidates that I do not select for next step interviews will receive an autoresponse from us letting them know that they have not been selected for an interview.

“For those who get selected for an interview and do not get selected for the job, I would personally contact each of them to letting them know they were not selected for the job.”

I’m particularly impressed with the offering of personal feedback, and with informing applicants that they were NOT selected for an interview. That is ideal.

Of course, not every company is able to do this. However, they should at least send an autoresponse acknowledging receipt of application, with personal follow up after interviews. Anything less is rude.

What should job searchers do if they don’t hear anything?

Michael “Dr. Woody” Woodward, PhD, author of the job hunting book, The YOU Plan, says, “Once you release your application into cyberspace chances are slim it will

ever actually be reviewed by human eyes. It’s entirely appropriate to follow-up. The job market has and always will be about who you know. I recommend following-up by connecting with recruiters on LinkedIn. It’s a great way to get on their radar and an opportunity for them to see your profile. That’s what LinkedIn is for!”

And Kent Lee, Career Consultant for Yahoo, and the CEO of Perfect Resume, which provides resume writing and career coaching to executives, offers the following:

“It is very important to send an initial thank you letter the day after completing the interview. If a candidate does not hear back within one full week after the interview, it is OK to call and/or e-mail the person you interviewed with to ask for an update. Be sure to respect the hiring manager’s time and DO NOT go into a long sales pitch about why you are a great fit for the job. You already had your time to do that in the interview. If you follow-up with an e-mail, make it short and sweet. 2-3 short sentences is all it takes.”

If you don’t hear back, leave it at that. You might be tempted to send them an email telling them off for failing Manners 101, but don’t. Calling others out on their rudeness reflects poorly on you, even if they deserve it.

Follow Elizabeth Bromstein on Twitter @missbromstein.


Category: Job Search Strategies,