Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Clueless Coffee Drinkers and Rude Recruiters

A friend and I were talking the other day about how common  rudeness has become. He told me about a woman standing next to him in Starbucks who elbowed her way into a seat, seemingly unconcerned with whether doing so invaded anyone else’s space, and I told him about the driver who tried to mow me down while I was crossing the lot at Macy’s.

Then we both shared stories about a favorite  pet peeve—recruiters and hiring managers who invite job applicants to interview for positions and then just disappear. With them you get no “thanks, but no thanks” email messages or letters. You get nothing. You get silence. You get the sound of crickets.

My friend and I have hired people, so we know what it’s like. We know it’s no fun sending out rejection notices, especially when you have to say no to someone you really liked but who wasn’t quite right for the job or for a more sensitive reason—like her workplace personality assessment tests showed she probably wasn’t very truthful with her responses. But, we also know that it’s plain rude to invite someone to speak with you about a position you need filled and then leave that person hanging. A quick email with the standard “You’re great, but we’ve offered the position to an applicant who more closely fits our needs” is all it takes, and it’s not that hard.

Yes, even this guy deserves a follow up.

I’ve heard stories of recruiters receiving hundreds of responses to a single ad, and I wouldn’t expect someone in that position to respond to every inquiry sent. However, everyone the recruiter or hiring manager interviews (whether via telephone or in person) deserves a follow up. And, sadly the norm has become to leave that person flapping in the wind. It’s unbelievable, really, and absolutely lacking in common courtesy.

Career advisor Alison Green of Ask a Manager admits that this “bad interviewer behavior” gets under her skin. She regularly gets questions from frustrated job seekers complaining about insensitive interviewers who just don’t get back to applicants. In fact, Green got so many complaints she created the You-Suck-As-An-Interviewer Automatic Letter Generator. The “automatic” feature is now defunct, but you can still click on the link and read the letter.

If you’re a recruiter or hiring manager who’s made a habit of this practice, I sure wish you’d stop. To quote Green, your candidate deserves better, and this behavior makes you and your company look really unprofessional.

If you’re a job seeker who has encountered this type of behavior, take heart. It probably had nothing to do with you. Some people are just rude. And apparently they’re getting more rude every day.


  1. Ha! I loved reading your Musing "Clueless Coffee Drinkers and Rude Recruiters". Having recently found myself back in the search for a job (I'm a tertiary qualified Business Administrator in Australia), I have been exposed to the lack of respect and rudeness recruiters exude. Whilst not all recruiters can be tarred with the same brush, most can.

    I spent 2000 - 2010 living and working in Texas and moved back to Australia in late 2010. I landed my first job within one month of being back through a recruitment office. This was a rare experience as I was contacted, interviewed and offered the job within a week. This could have had something to do with the company needing to fill the position ASAP and I didn't have to give "notice" anywhere, or it could have mean't that I was just a great fit for the position and this is how that recruitment office does business.

    I am now in another city in Australia (my partner was transferred) and I can tell you that my experience in trying to secure employment is a completely different story. Application after application has gone out with some replies via email with the generic "thanks, we'll be in touch with short-listed candidates only" and other applications with nothing, nadda, zilch in the way of a reply.

    I do believe however that recruiters should have the decency to contact candidates that they have interviewed whether by phone or in-person and give them an update.

    It's stressful enough to be out of work let alone the time it takes to research a company, prep for the interview, take time to drive to the company and then perhaps do this all again for a second and third time to meet with different company staff. Then to not hear anything...? That's just plain rude and to be honest, if a company has an agency that represents them like this then they are obviously not great at screening people.

    I read have about this behaviour from people time and time again...I've decided to obtain my HR credentials and look for a position with a recruitment company where I can have a positive effect on job seekers lives. My new motto...don't be on the receiving end any more.

    Good luck to every job seeker with their hunt.

    1. "My new motto...don't be on the receiving end any more."

      Shell, that is too funny! If you can't beat em, join em!

      Good luck to you, and thanks for sharing!