Common Sense Treatment of Candidates

Why is a ‘Common Sense’ Treatment of Candidates in Such Short Supply? There is no easy answer except to say that what job seekers view as ‘common’ just isn’t.

The all too frequent jobseeker complaint about employers failing to keep them informed is simply the obvious cover for the deep disappointment they feel. And no matter how you cut it, our culture equates ‘ignore me’ as a personal affront.

It never is personal however even though explaining this to the applicant is likely to fall on deaf ears.
After all, lots of firms (if not most firms) offer a variation of this clear yet quaintly impersonal and robotic response to every job seeker’s submission of interest:
“We are in receipt of your application.
We will be in touch…if we are in any way interested in you for this position.
Please do not reply to this email.”

This is the current “common sense” of employers throughout the US.
In the analysis of the first sentence it should be clear to anyone that saying, ‘Thank you for considering us’ is probably beyond our self-centered conception of the universe. Our one-sided attitude has always been and continues to be that you (the job seeker) should be thrilled there is even a way to apply (no matter how onerous) and the fact that we are actually acknowledging to be in receipt of your credentials means you can stop trying to apply. Lucky you.

In the second sentence we affirm that you will be contacted…if we are interested. The rest of you ought to realize (based on inferential logic) that if you aren’t contacted… we weren’t interested. And, the obvious absence of any noted time in which this will happen is to legally avoid holding ourselves accountable…at least in any public way and reduce any embarrassment for not taking a promised action.

No need to add that for each 100 candidates who apply, 90 will receive neither text nor email let alone a phone call. Five will receive one call offering hope…then silence forever. Only the final five finalists who interview might score some meaningful ‘interaction’.

The last sentence is simply a reminder that our interest in your questions, opinions, and especially your feelings are of little interest.

So you see- it isn’t personal. We abuse everyone equally.

And there is no excuse. Financial, legal, technical, traditional and practical considerations have all been eliminated in our increasingly transparent, social and collaborative world. It’s purely a matter of personal pride and role incentives as to whether a recruiter or his/her respective firm changes their behavior in the short term…or not.

The good news…the glass isn’t empty (though not yet half full).

Some firms are making a difference in how they treat candidates and it is impacting them in many positive ways. Part 2 of this blog will tell you about the 2012 Candidate Experience Award Process and which firms were winners.

Gerry Crispin, SPHR

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