Thursday, May 22, 2008

Manners On Both Sides of the Table

A while ago, I applied to a job at Harvard Divinity School. I didn't get the job, but in addition to Harvard's usual automated email rejection notice, I did get a letter. An actual letter, on paper, office stationary, saying that I just didn't make the cut, but thanks for applying, and actually signed by a person with a pen. I saved that letter. Why would I save a rejection letter? Mostly to restore my faith that some hiring managers actually have manners these days.

Why is it that people cannot simply call/email/mail an applicant to say "Sorry, but we're not hiring you." I would think that it would be nice to wipe people off the list in such a definitive way, considering the competition for jobs today. If you tell me that I didn't get the job, I'm quite likely to stop calling/emailing a hiring manage to ask for the status of their search.

Last month I had not one, but two interviews with Company X, and yet, even though I sent out my thank you notes, called and emailed the hiring manager, I still cannot get a simple reply. I saw the job I interviewed for re-posted last week, and so I emailed the manager, saying, I assume you're not going to hire me, but would you mind giving me some feedback as to why you passed me over? I'm not holding my breath for a reply.

Now, I know this is becoming standard practice, the non-response. But I still think it's poor manners. If a job applicant must bend over backwards to pitch the right skills, run the dress-for-success gauntlet, perfect her handshake, write impeccable thank you notes, and so forth, why isn't this applicant entitled to a response?

I take all of this as a lesson in management and hiring. If I come to a point in my career where I'm hiring, I will definitely send a response back to every applicant, even if all I have time for is a two line email.

4 responses:

Matt said...

You were posted on universal hub this morning (thats how I found it)...

I agree, it is rude and inconsiderate to not send anything out to an applicant. Some companies have an automated system that will email EVERYBODY who applies telling them they recieved the application, and then an email saying that youve been rejected. I once spent 3 hours, you heard that right, interviewing for a job and was not given an answer by HR until a week after they reposted. It was a crazy interview system with multiple levels (for 30,000 a year, not CEO levels mind you lol) and I made it all the way to the top. An email saying "Thanks but no thanks" would have been nice.

Kate Hutchinson said...

@ Matt-- Exactly! Certainly it's not fun to deliver the bad news, but it's still their responsibility to tell you if you did or didn't get the job. Particularly when everyone tells you to be so persistent in following up, why should I waste my time doing so, when they have no intention of hiring me?

Miss. Von Schtoop said...

I call that the internet blank stare. So frustrating. But now I am compulsive about returning emails!

WorkingDefinition said...

The Americorps system is pretty harsh - if you don't want to consider an applicant (and many appear unqualified,) when you delete them from the queue they are sent an automated reject message. I don't really love the thought of that but I suppose it does take care of things at a certain level...


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