One of the most common complaints that job seekers have is the silence that frequently follows resume submissions and interviews. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve heard one of these statements.
- “I sent in my resume 2 weeks ago but haven’t heard anything in response.”
- “The recruiter reached out to me to see if I might be interested in a specific position. After a brief conversation, she said she’d talk to the hiring manager and get back to me. That was 3 weeks ago and I haven’t heard from her since.”
- “Last month I interviewed with the hiring manager and it seemed to go well. I was told that I would be contacted in a couple of days to schedule follow-on meetings with his staff, but it’s been radio silence since. I even called the recruiter and she hasn’t responded. I just wish someone would tell me something one way or the other.”
I find it incredible that the recruiters involved in these situations fail to communicate to the candidates. The common wisdom is that if you don’t hear anything, they’re not interested. So what? If this is the case, the recruiter should have the common decency to contact the candidate to let him know that he will not be considered further, preferably by phone but at the very least by email, including an indication of the reason for rejection. This show of respect will allow him to move on to other opportunities and perhaps adjust his search strategy, grateful for the feedback.
But to the ever hopeful job seeker, silence doesn’t always equate to rejection. Many things could be happening. The hiring manager could be on vacation, traveling for business, caught up in an office emergency. Any number of issues may have occurred to slow the process down. Communicate this to the candidate, providing status updates with a revised timeframe for continuing the process if applicable. Even if you don’t have any substantive information yourself, notify him of that. He would much prefer to know even if the news is negative. Avoiding contact, not responding to emails and phone calls, is not acceptable procedure.
Sure, we’re all busy and time can easily slip away from us, but this communication doesn’t need to take long. I think we may have become too complacent and fail to realize just how important these common courtesies are, both in terms of etiquette and the effect they have on your personal and corporate brands. Perhaps it would be more obvious if you think of yourself as an employee working on the other end of the business, in marketing or sales, and consider each of these applicants as a customer who will carry away an impression of what it is like to work with you and your company. Behave as if you expect to see yourself reviewed on Yelp or Glassdoor…and as you would like if you were in their place.
Mauri Schwartz is President of Career Insiders, a career management and talent acquisition consulting firm, and is a leading figure in the San Francisco Bay Area career management community. She is a frequent speaker at conferences, job fairs, and career panels and serves as Adjunct Advisor of Career Services at the Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley.