Respect the Jobseeker’s Valuable Time

Respect the Jobseeker's Valuable Time
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Whether my clients are discussing their frustrations with the current job search environment, or seminar, workshop and career fair attendees are venting, some complaints remain constant, and one of those complaints is “why are companies wasting my time?”  I know organizations are busier than ever, and employee and management hours have increased, but if you are going to take the time to write a job ad, put that ad on your website, job board, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc., or gather referrals from employees, seek out retained recruitment firms, or publicize it in any way that includes collecting resumes – then review the resumes, do interviews and hire someone!!!

Would you like to know why jobseekers call and “bother” you about your job openings?  It’s rarely the common assumption of desperation or anxiety issues – it’s because they receive no answers and would like to know something… anything.  This is both a lack of decision-making and a disregard for jobseeker time and energy by the organizations that put these ads out there and then don’t follow through.  I literally just received a call from one of my clients about a local organization which put an ad on their site for a specific job months ago.  This particular job is a great fit for my clients’ experience, but they can’t even get a group of employees together to review resumes to set interviews.  My client is careful about NOT bugging them, only calling every few weeks to check on the progress, but this client also needs to change their focus on this organization if the job is filled or the interview process has already started.  And let’s not even get started on companies refusing to let jobseekers know by a simple email if a job has been filled for which they applied.

Hiring Managers, HR Managers and Recruiters tell me that they are annoyed by jobseekers calling to check on whether jobs are filled – well right back at you ladies and gentlemen.  Having pointedly called you out, please don’t think I am unsympathetic to your plight.  As anyone who reads my blog, LinkedIn profile, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook posts, goes to my seminars, etc., knows, I’m a former HR Director.  Our company never put an ad out that didn’t include evaluation of resumes (and this was pre-ATS or Applicant Tracking System, for the company), interviews and then hiring someone within a reasonable amount of time (weeks, not months)!  Furthermore, I am still involved in HR, advising organizations to facilitate their job search process, including interview and selection of candidates, so I am keenly aware of the issues around job search, the ATS systems, and time limitations. You’re crazy busy, I understand, but you’re contributing to the very issue you complain about consistently.  Processes must be established to help eliminate this problem, making your job easier and offering the due respect that jobseekers deserve.

If a jobseeker spends what can be an hour or more to fill out all of your ATS system requirements, and expend time and energy to personalize their resume and cover letter, shouldn’t you offer them the respect of completing the job search process in a realistic time period.  Shouldn’t you follow up and let them know the outcome with a “Dear John” email if they aren’t selected for interview.  Every company I have assisted in the job search process knows up front that this will be how their process will progress – no stalling, no excuses, no posting of fake jobs or jobs for which you don’t have permission to hire yet, no complaining about jobseekers checking on interview and hiring status, and… a follow up email will go to all candidates who applied regardless of receiving an interview.  I will even help the company craft a simple email template that can be sent to all candidates not selected for the available position (interview or no interview).

This isn’t rocket science and the disrespect shown is costing you good candidates.   Applicants talk to other potential applicants and do tell them how shabbily they were treated.  The ill-treatment of jobseekers reflects on your company poorly, and this information gets passed around to others, and many of those jobseekers may choose not to apply to your company.  I hear candidates talking about this at career fairs all the time, and the other jobseekers often say they won’t consider that organization anymore because it is most likely symptomatic of the overall treatment of employees. While you grumble that you cannot find qualified applicants, some of those qualified jobseekers have decided your company isn’t worth the time for an application – as their time will be wasted with a litany of excuses, you will simply ignore them, or won’t treat them appropriately as employees.  Despite the fact most jobseekers worry a great deal about finding a position, people will only put up with so much before they don’t apply to your job postings any longer or never apply in the first place.

So, why not make your life a bit less problematic as an employer, and treat the jobseekers with the respect they deserve:

–Don’t put out any ad for an employee without a plan for reviewing of resumes, holding interviews and making a hiring decision within a realistic period of time – meaning one to three months at the most.

–Do make your ATS system user friendly and stop asking so many questions that tell you very little to nothing.  Instead, ask three or four specific questions that will give you real information about candidate qualifications for the actual job along with having them attach a resume AND cover letter.

–Do send candidates who don’t make the interview cut and those that do but aren’t your chosen hire a simple email or letter stating that you have “gone in another direction,” decided on another candidate with more experience,” etc.

–Answer the phone or call back those that contact you when you are slow to interview and hire.  All you have to say is you will send them an email or letter if they aren’t selected and call them directly if they are chosen to interview.

Simplify the hiring process by following the above suggestions.  My corporate clients do, and there are zero complaints.  Candidates have even sent them thank you letters or left thank you phone messages for actually responding so their job search time can be spent wisely.  Ultimately the respect you show a potential employee will pay huge dividends far beyond that individual’s experience and your time spent ensuring a quality outcome.

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