Angry Candidates of the World, Unite!

Angry Candidates of the World, Unite!

by Kerry Scott on 5 August 2009


This week Laurie Ruettimann from PunkRockHR spoke at mediabistro.  She was supposed to talk about work/life balance, but apparently so many of the attendees were out of work that it turned into a discussion about job hunting.  One of the things she said she learned was that when people don’t hear back from a company after submitting a resume, they blame HR.

Then Alison Green from Ask a Manager had a post about how it annoys her (and everyone else) when companies don’t get back to candidates after interviews.  In fact, she’s looking for a programmer to make her Ask a Manager You-Suck-As-An-Interviewer Automatic Letter Generator dream a reality.  I’m pretty sure she’s serious too.  Soon, pissed off candidates whose interviewers have stopped returning their calls will have an outlet for their frustration. (UPDATE: It’s here. I have no idea how it got done that quickly. Make sure you read the section marked “Important” on the right before you use it.)

So apparently, this whole thing about unresponsive companies is the topic of the week, and I’m curious.  Do you expect a response to every resume you submit?  Is an auto-reply okay, or are you looking for some sort of personal one-on-one response to every submission?  What are your expectations after an interview?  If you interview for a job, and you never hear from them again…do you blame HR, the hiring manager, or both?

What are your expectations when it comes to communication throughout the hiring process?

Photo by a2gemma

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GeekChic August 5, 2009 at 3:00 pm

Interesting questions… I’ve done the massive spray of resumes before (sent out almost 300 looking for my first job) as well as a more targeted approach (more recently in management jobs and senior systems work).

In neither case did I expect a response of any sort just because I submitted a resume – though I was always happy when I received a form letter / email saying that the company had received it. However, if I reached the phone or in-person interview stage I do expect to hear back from the company about my progress or lack thereof. I don’t particularly care whether the contact is by email, letter or phone call (I’ve had all three) – just contact me.

I always ask about time-lines and am not put off by long ones – I just expect organizations to contact me and to do what they said they would do or to let me know otherwise (things can change, I get that). I have a very long memory for places that don’t bother to contact me to say I’m not being considered – especially those that give definitive time-lines.

Sabrina August 5, 2009 at 5:35 pm

I agree with GeekChic, once I get to the interview stage, I think manners alone mean I should get SOMETHING even if it’s a blow off email telling me thanks, but no thanks. I once had a phone interview with a company that went well and they wanted to bring me in for an interview. It was out of town, but I liked the company, so I rearranged my schedule, got time off of work at my current job, booked air fare, hotel, and car all at my own expense and all at the last minute, to make the interview the following Monday. I thought the interview went pretty well. But I never heard anything. I had sent an invite and kept trying to follow up with the HR person a couple of times (nothing too annoying) and never a word. Not even an email saying no thanks. Nothing at all. I was TICKED! I mean here I had wasted my time, two vacation days, and several hundred dollars of my own money (and yes they were aware of that fact) and I don’t even get rejected? WTF? Here’s how this turns out badly for them. Their business relies on advertisers. And I happen to know A LOT of their clients/potential clients in a very large city that generates a lot of income for them. Karma baby!
.-= Sabrina´s last blog ..Hamburger Review: Cheeseburger in Paradise =-.

Ask a Manager August 5, 2009 at 7:05 pm

It has launched!

It’s low-tech, but it works.
.-= Ask a Manager´s last blog ..It’s here: the You-Suck-As-An-Interviewer Automatic Letter Generator =-.

Julie August 5, 2009 at 7:19 pm

I totally agree with GeekChic and Sabrina on this one. While I don’t expect a response simply for submitting my resume, it is only proper that a company keep candidates in the loop with regard to their status once a phone or in-person interview has taken place. As a job seeker, I know that the news may not always be in my favor, but I always appreciate just knowing one way or the other for sure without having to make assumptions. It’s amazing just how rare it is for companies to actually call/email after an interview, though, and rather frustrating as well.

Anon August 5, 2009 at 7:57 pm

Sorry to be anon on this. But yes, I expect a response to every resume.

In the past, this would’ve been extraordinarily burdensome. But try filling out 20 online applications from 20 different application vendors [btw, someone at Taleo should figure out how to centrally store your application and "connect" it to a particular company's profile]. It takes a LOT of hands-on effort do to. Not to mention drafting an appropriate and specific cover letter, resume, etc.

On the employer’s side, it’s almost completely automated. They get resumes into a virtual inbox, sift through by keyword, etc… and designate those that have been selected to move forward. RIGHT THERE, most of these automated systems can immediately kick out a “thanks but no thanks” e-mail.

And further on down the review process, it gets even easier. In fact, at one former employer, you actually have to UNCHECK the box to send out notifications when someone is moved into the “non-selected” pile. So the resume system developers get it… why don’t the employers? (This same employer’s policy, btw, was to uncheck the box.)

Seriously… with all the automation, I don’t think it’s asking for much. I’m not requesting a personal response. I’m not suggesting that I get a detailed rejection letter… I’m simply asking for the courtesy of being notified.

Sean August 5, 2009 at 8:20 pm

I don’t expect an email every time I submit one, but what I do expect is that a representative within the company follows through with their appointed timeline. If they say “We will have a decision by the end of next week”, I would expect some response by then. Even if it is a comment such as “We’re a bit behind, we will need more time to make a decision”, that would be fine with me.

abdpbt August 6, 2009 at 12:02 am

I don’t really expect a response, no, for every submission. But I do tend to blame HR for not getting a response or not getting an interview. It’s kind of like when you call up the insurance company and there’s some bureaucratic bullshit you have to deal with, when you know if you could just talk to someone who knows what the hell they’re talking about then everything would be fine? That’s how I feel about HR. I understand why it exists but I don’t really believe they hire the right people most of the time.

I shall now duck from flying tomatoes. I should say that reading your blog has increased my esteem for HR professionals like eighteen thousand fold, if it’s any consolation.

mouse August 6, 2009 at 7:48 am

I don’t expect one for every resume submitted (though now that I’ve read Anon on automation I think it’s silly we don’t see it more) but definitely for interviews. This is always a question I ask; will you be notifying all candidates of your decision or just those that are selected. So for a company to still not reply at after answering, “yes,” is retarded.

class factotum August 6, 2009 at 9:10 am

Yes. If you have flown me from Memphis to Milwaukee, rented me a car, taken me to lunch and spent all day interviewing me ON MY BIRTHDAY, I expect at least a ‘go to hell’ email.

I am talking to you, Brady Corporation.
.-= class factotum´s last blog ..Marriage 101, Lecture 288: When I’m 64 =-.

Charles August 6, 2009 at 10:22 am

Response to a resume? I know that many people are clueless and classless; So no, I do not expect a response (even though the recruiter asked for it).

Follow-up after an interview? You better believe that I do! And when the recruiter doesn’t I tell all my family and friends what a awful organization it is.

Heather Hollick August 6, 2009 at 1:29 pm

While I understand the frustration, I am a little dismayed at all the negative energy directed at nincompoop employers who do not extend the courtesy of a reply after an interview. However, coercing, shaming or lecturing an employer into action is not going to get you a job.

I am a big fan of the Interview Series by the guys over at Manager Tools. They recommend a weekly follow-up FOR 15 WEEKS after an interview. No pressure. No comments on “a reply would be nice.” No shaming. Just a simple note to let them know you are still interested. Mix it up. Email on week, call the next, send a hand-written note the next. Your persistence will speak volumes.

And if they never respond their silence speaks volumes as to the culture of company. Better to look elsewhere.

p.s. The Manager Tools guys also recommend a lot of other great stuff in the Interview Series. I can’t recommend it highly enough.
.-= Heather Hollick´s last blog ..Building Your Brand =-.

novice_hr August 7, 2009 at 10:53 am

I agree with Anon. I do expect a response for every resume submission, especially for candidates who take their time to work on their resumes and cover letter for that specific position. From the candidate’s perspective, we’re always encourage to take our time and really personalize our application. Never to send out mass submissions is the number one no-no. So from the employer’s standpoint, I don’t think that it’ll be too much to ask if the candidates will receive a response in return. As anon pointed out, with all the automation that is going on during the hiring process, sending out a response email should not be that time consuming.
.-= novice_hr´s last blog ..Unemployment rate finally drops… =-.

Kerry Sandberg Scott August 10, 2009 at 3:08 pm

I was going to respond here, but my response ended up being so long that I turned it into today’s blog post. Here it is.

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