During my job search, one of the things that’s maddened me the most is the lack of response to inquiries from prospective employers. “Closure” is a hokey, overused term, but maybe that’s because the concept is so valid. Maybe Heisenberg enjoyed contemplating a state of uncertainty, but I sure don’t. And neither do my friends, who get to hear my whining on the phone about how I still haven’t heard back from so-and-so, even though I am so clearly the best candidate, boo-hoo.
As I’ve noted, completing an online job application is like dropping it down a virtual black hole; e-mailing an application barely differs. Although I agonize about hearing from HR managers to set up an interview, I honestly don’t expect them ever to respond if they’re not interested. Occasionally, I do get a form e-mail or even a real snail mail letter, sent weeks or months after I’ve forgotten that I even applied; in fact, I just got one this week. When that occurs, I definitely give these people points for their courtesy, if not their job-hiring savvy.
However, once someone has actually contacted me and interviewed me, by phone, in person, or both, then yes, I do expect you to let me know that you’ve hired someone else. Or, at the very least, respond to my e-mail asking what the status of the job is. I can’t tell you how many times that I’ve had incredibly responsive employers suddenly turn dead silent once the job is closed. All of a sudden, promising job candidate is now persona non grata. An unperson. I’m just like that Norwegian blue parrot (lovely plumage), only less funny.
I find that behavior unspeakably rude. Once you’ve reached the interview stage, the number of prospective hirees is so reduced that it really shouldn’t be too much trouble to send out a form e-mail to all of the losers–sorry, the poor, unsuccessful applicants–telling them that the job is filled, thanks very much. The sort of thing that most job-hunting veterans refer to as the FOAD letter (since I’m keeping things mostly clean, I leave it to you to figure out the acronym if you don’t know it).
A dear friend of mine, whose ears I have drowned with this repeated plaint, always responds quite bluntly. No, they don’t owe you anything. Yes, this is common behavior today. Get. Over. It. While I’ve never quite agreed with point one, I agree vehemently with point three (intellectually, if not emotionally, anyway), and have done my best to come to terms with point two. In fact, I stole her response and used it in my Vook, Ace the Job Interview. Perhaps I put it slightly more diplomatically. Slightly.
Apparently, though, there’s a site out there that has dedicated itself for the past three years to changing the status quo. If weeks have gone by and you’ve heard nothing from your interviewer, spread some moral indignation around by visiting Email Your Interviewer. It will send your no-longer-prospective employer an anonymous e-mail which politely informs the interviewer that not getting back to interviewees is cruel and unprofessional.
I love the idea, but frankly, I think it would be too risky for me ever to put it into practice. I mean, what if they figured out it was me? The site does offer the caveat that it’s probably not a good idea to try this when the interview pool is small and the employer is tiny. I think even if the employer isn’t tiny, they would probably associate the e-mail with whoever’s been most persistent lately in following up. Which is probably me.
Also, I think I am far too cynical to imagine that someone who’s too busy or too professionally detached or too worried about legal repercussions to send out a simple “Sorry, we found someone whose skills better fit our needs,” e-mail will have an “Amazing Grace”/Saul of Tarsus moral conversion to the Interviewer Path of Righteousness.
And, of course, sending the e-mail is certainly not going to get me any closer to my actual goal, which is getting a darn job already. Hmm. Just. Moving. On. is sounding better all the time. Maybe.