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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

calling to follow up?

This. Read this immediately.

28 comments:

Aubrey said...

but...doesn't "no calls, please" really mean "please call?"

I'm glad you're out here, kicking common sense into people.

jennable721 said...

I love this... whoever started telling every college student across America that they should call to "check on the status of their application" needs a swift kick in the you know what. The status is there is no status--if your application had a status we would've taken the time to inform you, I promise! Thanks for more words of wisdom--you rock!

Hank Hill said...

You seem quite ornery lately, which I understand. Every open rec you have probably gets flooded with a tidal wave of responses. It's tough to be a hiring manager right now.

But you know what's tougher? Being unemployed. It's a jungle out there. Many excellent people, through no fault of their own, are unemployed. The dark abyss that is the employer's applicant tracking system often neglects to give any information other than an automated form letter, if that.

People are getting desperate- they need an income and they are reaching the point where they will do anything to get it.

So lighten up a bit, will you?

Vermilion8 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
theolderepublicke said...

I'd like to add a little bit to what Hank Hill said.

It is, of course, valuable information to know that employers often (usually?) find it annoying when applicants call on the status of their application. As someone who will reenter the workforce soon, I very much appreciate this information and the other information I find on this website and sites it links to. I look at these sites as a service for which I am grateful.

But I respectfully (and I do mean respectfully) suggest, to the author of the post that Ask a Manager linked to, and to Ask a Manager herself, that sometimes the HR person's exasperation at the antics of job seekers is far exceeded by the desperation of someone who is trying to find a way to pay the bills or put food on the table.

Ask a Manager said...

The vast, vast majority of job seekers are great. But there's a small minority who behave in ways that are just silly -- irritating, obnoxious, whatever.

I don't think anyone is suggesting that our having to deal with that kind of bad behavior is in way as bad as having to deal with unemployment. Of course it's not! But it doesn't mean it's not annoying and interesting to talk about.

Hank Hill said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hank Hill said...

I spoke with someone in HR today, and she said that she averages about 400 responses per job posting right now. You yourself have said that there are no tricks to cutting through this.

That means that a job seeker is faced with a choice: Either send their resume into the abyss, or do something like calling and hope that their persistence is rewarded.

Faced with 1/400 odds, some people might think that they have a better chance of getting someone on the phone who will look upon that favorably.

I guess my point is that I find it odd that a hiring manager would complain about this. Dealing with idiot job applicants seems like it would come with the territory. If you don't want to deal with a flood of 400 resumes and various pestering phone calls, just hire out of your network.

PS- I do love the quirky stories about cracked out applicants' boobs falling out of their shirts as well. Keep those coming!

Kara said...

It seems like the point AAM makes all the time is that the way you get the job over 399 other people is by being the best candidate for the job. No secrets, no tricks, no gimmicks.

I think some people are bitter and taking it out on hiring experts who are calling it like they see it. Personally I like reading honest opinions from people doing the hiring and don't want it sugarcoated to make you feel better.

Anonymous said...

Hi Hank,

Sorry to burst your bubble, but:

HR is not there for job applicants to vent their frustration.

you said: " People are getting desperate- they need an income and they are reaching the point where they will do anything to get it. "

I agree. But that does not mean that a Hiring Manager need to spend all his/ her time answering cold calls instead of doing real work - like screening the resumes and shortlisting the desirable applicants.

How may times have you listened to to the end to telephone solicitors cold calling you and trying to sell you their services? Why do you expect that just because we are in HR, we have to put up with obnoxious behavior from appicants who cannot even follow a simple instruction?

If you really want to follow up, drop the Hiring Manager an email. It is far less intrusive of you.


"I find it odd that a hiring manager would complain about this. Dealing with idiot job applicants seems like it would come with the territory. If you don't want to deal with a flood of 400 resumes and various pestering phone calls, just hire out of your network."


What make you think we do not? "Dealing with idiot job applicants" is an occupational hazard. That does not mean that we like doing it. We are not paid to do that. We are paid to pick the best from out there.

That said, fellow HR people, please please please, send out your rejection letters as soon as you can. It is not polite to keep people waiting.Even if it is form letter.
-Surya

class-factotum said...

Isn't it kind of like dating? In my 20s, I made the mistake of chasing men, even though my mother warned me not to. "If he wants you, he will call you," she said. "He's not in the hospital. His grandmother did not die. He did not lose your number. He's NOT INTERESTED."

I didn't believe her and had a few disasters.

I finally figured out that yes, if he wants me, he'll call me. If they want to interview you, they will call you.

theolderepublicke said...

Kara,

You're right. In spite of what I wrote above, I do prefer the non-sugarcoated advice, because it is upfront and honest.

Hank Hill said...

Anonymous: I'm currently employed and not really looking for a gig right now. I was merely trying to explain the thought process of someone who is, not excuse it.

In the end, a hiring manager/HR dealing with stupidity comes with the territory, just like being one out of 400 comes with being unemployed right now.

Kara said...

Right, no one thinks it doesn't come with the territory. But it's still interesting to talk about, just like it's still interesting for job seekers to discuss things from their perspective. A lot of job seekers like hearing about it from the perspective of someone on the other side. If you don't then don't read it.

Sabrina said...

Hank, the point is, since you've clearly missed it, is that calling to follow up after you've applied just to make sure they got your application is a waste of time. End of story. I am unemployed and I can tell you my thought process is nothing like yours. I do not want to purposely annoy someone who might help me find a job. In fact I will go out of my way to make their life as easy as possible. Sure there's some folks out there who are follow the Horshack model of attention getting, but I'm willing to bet that's just how they are, and not due to the fact that they're looking for work.

Hank Hill said...

Sabrina: I'm not sure what you're talking about. Perhaps you missed it when I said this: "I'm currently employed and not really looking for a gig right now. I was merely trying to explain the thought process of someone who is, not excuse it."

You may want to work on your literacy skills, since I clearly stated that I was just explaining the behavior, not excusing it.

Barbra, Bio Writer said...

On the other hand, if someone sent flowers or chocolate I might just remember them favourably :)

Kerry said...

I'm the author of the post AAM linked to.

Hank, I totally get that people are frustrated and out of money and want to DO something. I'm actually not working now, so I'm no longer just looking at this from an HR person's perspective. My frustration now comes from the fact that so many of my friends are unemployed, and I see them doing self-defeating things that will keep them out of work even longer.

I've found that when I politely say, "You shouldn't call to follow up. The people who tell you to do that are people who have not hired very many people recently," nobody hears me. When I rant and rave, sometimes it gets through. So I rant and rave...in hopes of getting my friends (and readers) to avoid doing things that will hurt their chances of getting the job.

People are frustrated, and they want me (and AAM and others) to tell them what the magic trick is to getting a job. There isn't one. I wish there was, because it sucks to have to tell people, "You're going to have a really long job search, and you're going to get turned down a bunch for jobs you would have totally gotten a couple of years ago." No one wants to hear that.

But the truth is, there are 4-6 job seekers for every opening right now. No magic trick is going to trump that math.

So I figure the best way I can help is to use whatever means necessary to at least get people to stop doing things that will make it worse. It won't solve the basic math problem here, but at least it may help them keep from getting knocked out of the running before the race even starts.

I also agree that if I'm the recruiter, it's my job to cheerfully put up with annoying candidate behaviors. Absolutely. But that doesn't mean I have to HIRE the annoying ones...so if you want me to put up you, I will. If you want me to HIRE you, you need to know what the annoying behaviors are (collective "you" here, not you personally).

Susan P Joyce said...

I'm normally a fan of AskAManager, but this Stick a Fork in My Eye blog post is balderdash!

* Most employers DON'T respond to resume submissions! - those resumes just fall down a black hole.

* What if you are the "most qualified candidate" but your resume is stuck in a "junk mail" folder, or, worse, was deleted as spam? Oh, well...??? Better luck with the technology next time??? (Too bad for the employer, too, but HR is just too busy handling all those polite/passive job seekers to notice.)

* What if you've attended national recruiting and career professionals conferences where recruiters from employers of all sizes and industries tell the audience that following up with a phone call is a measure of interest and enthusiasm - a way to "stand out from the crowd" and that your resume will be ignored without that.

There needs to be a better solution to this process that dropping resumes down black holes and/or deleted hundreds of voicemails without listening to them.

Frankly, my sympathy is with the job seekers, NOT HR. I've been there (HR) - it's not that hard a life, and it's a JOB with a paycheck!

I've also been part of a massive, extended corporate layoff and seen the suicides and one murder/suicide in just my area (and just those I heard about or read about in the local newspaper).

Check the research! With a 1% increase in unemployment (we've had 5!), the following go up:

* Suicides
* Hospitalizations/serious illness
* Drinking/alcoholism
* Abuse
* Crime

Sorry about all those pesky phone calls, HR, but show some compassion for the job seeker while you earn your paycheck. You may be a job seeker some day.

Anonymous said...

The point is that phone calls do not help and they may annoy. How is it "compassionate" to hide that from you?

Anonymous said...

Okay, so, everyone vigorously defending your right to make unsolicited phone calls about jobs:

How many of you have received interviews or job offers from unsolicited phone calls?

Susan P. Joyce said...

Wake up, Anonymous(!).

The point is that being annoyed with people "caught between a rock and a hard place" is unfair to everyone and a VERY BAD long-term strategy for employers.

Do you think job seekers don't FEAR someone may be annoyed by their call? Do you think they WANT to call up and risk annoying you?

THEY CALL BECAUSE - 99% OF THE TIME - NO ONE HAS LET THEM KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TO THEIR RESUME, OR IF IT WAS EVEN RECEIVED.

So, when the economy turns around (please God) and the job market tightens up, don't complain because you don't have enough high-quality applicants.

Remember how you treated desperate job seekers in this job market, and KNOW that THEY remember too.

Do NOT expect discarded job seekers to buy your products or services, now or in the future, and don't expect them to think kindly of your "brand." Treating them rudely now is tarnishing your brand, and you may never recover.

Really, can't we all just play together nicely? Mom was right!

Richard said...

When it comes to calling, I always follow a line of etiquette:
- If it says 'Do not call.', then do not call.
- Email is less intrusive than calling; unless they have an atrocious record of responding the emails (which is generally affected by how many applications that they're handling!), do not call. Email them.
- Check the application deadline after you've applied: It is not acceptable to call anywhere within a week after this deadline has passed if you have had no contact. Two weeks, even.
- It's perfectly fine to ask 'When can I expect a response?' at an interview, whether it be phone or face to face. The same rule above applies to the date that they give you; do not call within a week or two after the date they specify.

Comments?

Kerry said...

I've already responded to Susan's comments on my own thread, so I won't repeat myself here.

I would like to know where the statistic that 99% of candidate phone calls result from the candidate not being told the resume was received. That seems very high to me, and since I've always acknowledged resumes, that would mean every single call I ever received was in that remaining 1%.

My guess would be that most calls result from either (a) the fact that candidates are frequently told that they should call to follow up by "career advisers," or (b) candidates call to follow up because they really want the job, and it's frustrating not to take some sort of action to make it happen. In the (b) case, I sympathize, and I've offered a number of more suitable suggestions for actions. I just don't think phone calls are the right choice.

TheLabRat said...

Along similar lines, is it possible to get people to stop advising that you call to respond to an email? This has become a common tidbit for people who don't know how to use technology properly when they want to help folks avoid distractions at work. I seriously just read this on the atrocious excelle offshoot of Monster.com (formerly WomenCo and just as awful then as now). What I said there basically amounted to, "if email is a distraction for you then you're doing it wrong."

Kerry said...

LabRat--that's interesting. I hate that too, but I always considered it more of a personal quirk of mine.

I'll add it to the List of Posts to Write on a Day When I'm Crabby. It's not a long wait for such a day, but it is a long list.

Anonymous said...

Susan,

Anonymous#1 here:

I always reply to emails within 24 hrs including weekends - even to LinkedIn requests - except when I am on holiday & not checking my emails.

I always, always send a rejection letter as early as possible.

If someone is blindly emailing me, if it is an employee, I direct them to the right HR manager. If it is a Linkedin email, I direct them to the correct web address or LinkedIn profile ( No, I do not handover my colleague's mobile numbers to strangers.)

If it is a rejection letter to an internal candidate, I add both mine & the hiring manager's names & email IDs there so that they can follow-up. And if they take up the offer for feedback, I arrange the meeting & sit on it.

If it is a rejection letter to an external candidate, we send out the form letter, unless they were part of the final round of interviews. Then the hiring manager calls - or is made to call - them.

I work for a technology company, and this is standard practice among many of my colleagues - of course, there are some who just send out the form letter and forget all about it.

And to be clear, we are extra polite to those whom we do not like - just that we give a generic reply of 'we will let you know'. It does not work to the advantage of the candidate.

Most of us have company provided mobile phones. So if someone calls us on that number and if we cannot take that call, we send an sms to that number asking them who they are and why they called. If we do not get any reply on that, we do not give that number a call back to see what it was. Not many of my colleagues use voicemail, but I would assume that even if you leave one, they might not reply unless you moved to the interview level. But really, send an email is the best thing you can do to follow up.

But... this is usually how it is in large technology companies. Other sectors, and companies of smaller sizes may have different practices.

And this might come as a surprise to you Susan, but really, HR's job is not to be the drum that the rest of the world can beat to vent their frustration.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous#1:

And Susan, I took a look at your link.

Why do I feel that to paraphrase Aubrey, you advocate that ""no calls, please" really mean "please call?"