Monday, July 22, 2013

An Open Letter to Every Ineffective Hiring Manager, Everywhere

A friend sent me this text the other day:

Well, no news on my front. Can you believe this company? Early Friday, we agreed on a starting salary and a start date, and they had me complete a New Hire Form.

Then they set up a meeting late Friday titled “Review Job Offer Details.”

That meeting was rescheduled because a VP needed to sign off on the offer paperwork. Then on Tuesday [the following week], they scheduled two more interviews.

I was told that I would be reporting to someone else [than the first person they’d told my friend about], but that this wouldn’t affect my offer.

Then on Thursday, I was told that there was no position, only contract (temporary) work.

I haven’t heard from them since.

I could honestly write a book (maybe I will) about all the lousy treatment employers are dolling out to job applicants these days.

Hey employers! We know it’s still a buyer's market for talent, but that’s no reason to forgo common courtesy, let alone common sense.

And we know you’re busy, blah, blah, blah, but so is everyone else, including your applicants. Plus you know what? Your applicants are also anxious, because looking for a job these days is an anxious proposition. Have a heart, okay?

But if that's asking too much, consider all the money you’re throwing away on false starts and stops, multiple rounds of interviews, and time spent crafting advertisements, revised job descriptions, and so forth.

You can’t just file this under “the cost of doing business.” Uh huh. This is flat-out wasteful.

So get your act together, please. 

Seriously, I’m begging you.


  1. I agree. I had an employer that sounded so eager to hire me that and that they needed the person to start like yesterday. They never contacted me on whether I got the job or not. They did not return my e-mail nor my phone call.

    1. Dear Anon: I don't doubt your story for a second. I have similar stories, and while an employer certainly has the right to change her mind about a candidate's suitability, once someone takes the time to interview with you, you owe them a follow up. Period.

  2. I totally agree. I would always contact applicants about their status in the employment channel. Hey, you don’t know if number 1 will turn down the offer. Then you go to applicant #2.

    All too often, the hiring manager thinks everyone wants to work for them and only them. Seeing 5 applicants, over a 4-week period (they never have the time to interview) is never enough. Typically, they really don’t know what type of person and experience they want in an applicant (they really just want someone they think they can get along with). So, we keep interviewing and interviewing, but the PERFECT person usually never showed up - in the manager’s mind. In my mind, I saw several applicants that could have fit the job, department and culture well. What usually happened is that the manager’s boss would call me and ask why I haven’t been sending good candidates. It’s so much fun being in HR, but I do love it. I would go to the boss and show him/her the applicants with my recommendations attached. The boss may not have agreed with all of my recommendations, but he/she would find enough viable candidates. We would all have a meeting and we would start over with the boss getting involved. We would eventually hire someone of course, but my time to file the job would be extended so much longer than necessary. At the end of the process, all applicants that were interviewed were notified, if they had not called before the process ended. This represents one type of hiring manager.

    My favorite type of hiring manager would see an applicant and say, “that’s the one. I don’t want to take a chance losing this person. If we think the person is so good, so will other companies.” I would check references and the entire process could be completed in less than a week.

    What these companies forget is that bad news travels so much quicker than good news. The applicants are communicators of the way they were treated by the company. In a world where world-class customer service is demanded, letting the HR department fall short on their customer service requirements is so foolish. If the company is a consumer products company, the company can be assured that everyone will know how that company treated the applicant consumer. The message that will go forward will be especially negative.

    As companies become more strategic and employees become human capital, I think executives should start rethinking their strategies about people in the company and outside of the company. If they are treating applicants differently thank their customers, clients, consultants then their HR team make be focusing of what they term “critical issues”, but this critical issue of how the company is perceived in the public’s eye is getting tarnished and black. Do you really want that? I’m taking the humanist view and practical view. Do you think Zappos or Virgin Air would conduct business in this way? I don’t think so.

    1. Blanche, thank you so much for your comments! You are talking sense, girlfriend. I don't know what's wrong with these people. If nothing else, what comes around, goes around.