“I’ve been applying for jobs since 2010,” says an outgoing young woman still searching for that first career job in the field of her college major. “I’ve been shocked by the number of places you never hear back from. You start to wonder, should I even apply?”
When I go to the comments sections at career advice sites and job boards, listen to the locker room talk at the health club, and talk to friends who are looking for work, one thing I hear constantly is about the black hole where job applications disappear into. That abyss that apparently swallows the contact info. of candidates, maybe even after they have had seemingly successful interviews, background checks, drug testing, etc.
Back in February I posted this story on Staffing Talk about what potential employers owe job applicants. We received some really good comments so I thought I would revisit the topic.
In the body of my previous article I quoted a job seeker who calls potential employers cowards and disrespectful when they perpetually leave job seekers in limbo. Our first commenter said at the very least Acknowledgement and Closure is due the candidate.
“I’m sure there are systems that are in place to send out automatic form letters for both of those items. I know I am not grateful for the reject letter, but lately I am more thankful due to the fact that other companies only offer limbo as a choice. As far as the cowards and stuff talk, I would tend to think that it is not cowardliness but more just a lack of consideration and lack of knowledge. They only want to see the list of acceptable candidates. Candidates that do not make the cut are not a matter of their concern, and that goes back to the systems in place just like they send the automated acknowledge email they can send the automated closure email. But sometimes I just call until I get a voice that gives me closure.
I know I am not grateful for the reject letter, but lately I am more thankful due to the fact that other companies only offer limbo as a choice.
Following the posting of that comment came this one in response.
“I hate to be ‘that guy’ but I have to,” says Kevin Prow. “Liability plays a factor in the lack of closure. You’ve been unemployed for a year and are on your last dime in litigious America. What a better time then now to utilize the Land of Possibilities’ legal system to earn you another year on the couch… only this time, it’s paid. So what if your case doesn’t have merit? What’s cheaper for the company that rejected you–fighting you in court, or paying you to just go away?”
Liability plays a factor in the lack of closure.
Then “Stevie” chimed in. “I have to agree with Mr. Prow. Employers need to be very careful when giving an applicant “closure.” One wrong word could cost the company a lot of $, and earn the applicant yet another year of sucking on the teet of the system!”
Daniel – This is a huge problem in today’s world of recruiting. Many companies, I’d say approximately 75%(probably more) don’t have the common courtesy to let you know what their decision is. Sometimes, I understand if I send in an application online and I’m not a good fit, then the company doesn’t respond back. Fine, I’ve gotten used to that, so I guess that’s just how it is.
The worst part is when you complete a 1 1/2 hr. assessment or have a phone interview or worse yet, have a 3 hr. face-to-face interview with a few of the hiring managers and many of these companies do not have the common courtesy to send an email or make a phone call letting people like me know what their decision is. They just ignore you and leave you in limbo, holding onto any hope that maybe they are still considering you. 4 weeks, 6 weeks, 2 months go by without a word. There’s been a couple instances where I’ve told maybe 3-5 companies what I thought of it and that I thought it was very disrespectful and the least they owed me was a simple email or phone call communicating the decision to me based on the time I took to make a good impression on them.
Corporate America makes me sick these days. Full of jerks and insensitive a-holes who only care about themselves and have zero consideration for the hard working people who are trying their a$$es off to find employment. They need to put themselves in our shoes and then maybe they will get it.
Corporate America makes me sick these days. Full of jerks and insensitive a-holes who only care about themselves and have zero consideration for the hard working people who are trying their a$es off to find employment. They need to put themselves in our shoes and then maybe they will get it.
Gerald – Hi Daniel, I understand your frustration. However, lawsuits have made it so that it is “safer” to not tell a person why they didn’t get the job — it’s hard to sue someone for discrimination when you don’t have any feedback whatsoever. Maybe it’s a sad reality, but I bet that’s the case for a lot of companies.
Is that what’s at the heart of this? Litigation? Or is it lack of time? Or something else? When I was at a job board site a recruiter who said they work for “a very large placement firm in Chicago” made this comment.
I’m not going to lie. I’m guilty of this same thing. The main issue here usually boils down to time. I, just like you, have only 24 hours in a day, usually 8-9 of which are spent at work. When I have a job posting out there, depending on the position, I usually get between 60-100 resumes a week for each position and I usually have 4-5 going at once. Sometimes I can’t even get through all the resumes, let alone respond to them. To be able to respond to everyone would take almost my entire day and I would never actually be able to find that right person which in the end may be you. Unfortunately, even at a company my size, we don’t have any way of clicking a button to automatically send out an email saying ‘Thank you, but you’re just not a fit’, because of the way we interface with job boards. So please take this into account. We’re not all horrible people that want to screw you over. One other thing I will say though is, even though many times I might put “No phone calls” in the ad, if someone calls me I take the time to talk to them and go over their resume with them on the phone.
So is this recruiter saying that at least part of the problem could be addressed with software? That if he could click a button to generate an email that at least a candidate would hear something? Gregg, are you reading this? Sounds fairly simple and straightforward.
As for the rest of you, what are your company policies regarding acknowledgement and closure? When a req or position is filled, do you have a mechanism for contacting everybody else in the pile to inform them of this, and perhaps encourage them to apply again for another position? Do you think a job applicant deserves anything when they apply for a job with you?
We’d love to hear from you again.