Important Notice:
This site has moved to, please update your bookmarks. If you were looking for a specific post, you can use the site search option, archives, or categories at the new domain to find it. Thank you!

Monday, August 3, 2009

You suck, interviewer!

I'm on a bit of a rampage about interviewers who don't bother to send candidates notices of rejection after a candidate has taken the time to interview with them.

You put hours into preparing for the interview. Maybe you buy a new suit. Maybe you drive several hours to get there, spending gas money you don't really have or taking a vacation day to do it. Then you sweat it out through the interview itself. They tell you that they'll notify you of their decision in a week. And then ... nothing. It's like you don't exist to them.

This behavior is inexcusable -- it's callous and dismissive and lacks any appreciation for the fact that the candidate is anxiously waiting to hear an answer -- any answer -- and keeps waiting and waiting, long after a decision has been made. It's just not that hard to send a quick email, even a form letter, letting the candidate know she's no longer under consideration.

Employers owe interviewees a response, period.

This particularly pisses me off because sane job seekers aren't going to call employers like this on their rude behavior, lest they burn their bridges with the organization. So employers get to act like this with impunity, and the rare person who does complain about it is generally dismissed as naive or crazy, simply because no one else does it.

I'm seriously thinking of offering a service on this site that job seekers could use to generate an anonymous letter to the employer, telling them how rude they are. It would be a public service: the Ask a Manager You-Suck-As-An-Interviewer Automatic Letter Generator ® .


Tian said...

I wish all the employers are as cool as you!

Charles said...

Yes, this is reaching almost epidemic proportions.

In my 3 decades of working I have seen all sorts of rude behaviour on the part of recruiters; However, I have never seen so MANY be downright rude, callous, and dismissive. There is NO excuse for this or any bad behaviour.

While others might blame it on the tight job market; I don't, it is very simple:

"Their Mamas and Papas didn't raise them right!"

And it isn't just some organizations; It is also organizations that I would expect to have higher standards!

I am tempted to give a shout out to several of them here. But won't.

Paul said...

I think this still leaves a very bad mark on them, which will come back to haunt them later, even in this economy.

People take these impression with them, and will eventually share them in their circles with other people.

In contrast, companies who treat interviewees fairly will rather have an advantage out of that than companies who don't.

Daniella said...

hahaha! I am SO tempted to print this out and send it to the last place I was interviewed at!

Karla Hernandez said...

ahh, this is why I love your blog so much. Thank you for saying everything that you said in this post!

There's been a handful of companies that I have interviewed with that I'm pretty sure would have never given me an answer had I not followed up a week or two after the interview. I always feel so weird having to e-mail them and ask them what is going on. I don't want to sound pushy, but then I laugh at how unbelievable the replies are: "Sorry. I forgot to e-mail you. The position has been filled."

Anonymous said...

I am dealing with this RIGHT now. Fortuitous that I saw this. I "interviewed" 6 weeks ago (two distracted, on their part, conversations with two team members) and was told I would be called in for something more substantial with the division VP when she returned to town. That never materialized and at some point my emails/calls stopped being returned. I finally called the HR director yesterday to confirm that the position had been filled; in fact, interviews are ongoing. She had to investigate my candidacy and called back later to say I have a great background in a related field, but "none" in my current one. The one I just got my master's degree in and have spent three years in. I'm baffled. And hurt. And disgusted at their lack of professionalism. Trying to convince myself I wouldn't want to work somewhere so sloppy. Did I mention that they are a ***communications*** firm?!?

Kerry Scott said...

I totally agree. Anytime you've had contact with a candidate beyond the receipt-of-resume phase, you need to personally communicate to them what's going on. That includes phone screens. I don't understand why this doesn't get done, because it takes so little time to send a quick email. Why is that so hard?

And you should start that service, because you'd make a fortune.

Unknown said...

Agreed ... As a recruiter for a large company, I make sure I send every candidate that applies for a position of mine an email ... Sorry for anyone that has experienced this!

smith17 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rebecca said...

It's to the point where, instead of considering a response to be adequate and no response to be rude, I consider any response (even a form e-mail) to be awesome and no response to be typical.

It still ain't right.

Any recruiters (or someone else on the hiring side of things) wanna come out in defense of not responding?

Anonymous said...

A note from the other side: I hire in an academic context and personally call everyone we interview to let them know that they haven't been forwarded to the final interviews. (Those who don't make the first interview get a form letter.) Those calls suck--they are my least favorite part of the hiring process because no one wants to deliver bad news. But they do tell me a lot about the candidate. Some are polite and, even in disappointment, say thank you and it was nice meeting you all. Others? Anything from obviously upset and ready to get off the phone to downright rude. Since I can sometimes offer PT temporary employment based on initial interviews, those phone calls can matter; if someone is gracious, I'll keep them on the list for the future--but a snippy response just confirms that we made the right decision not to hire.

So I would encourage job seekers to think of their response to the "no" call or email as part of the interview process. It's possible that there could be another path for you at that employer, and it doesn't make sense to burn bridges. And I completely agree that it just ain't right to leave candidates hanging--they've invested time, energy, and possibly money to interview and deserve to know the outcome.

A Girl Named Me said...

I recently hired a new salesperson for our small business. We received more than 500 resumes (most of them crap, but that's another story).

I telephone interviewed ten people. Found three I wanted to meet in person. Sent mail to the others to thank them for their time, etc.

About a week after that, I got mail from one of the applicants. Apparently, I missed him and didn't send him the rejection letter. His mail wasn't, "just checking..."

It was...angry. I'd TOLD him I was GOING to get back with him AND I couldn't even have the CONSIDERATION to do THAT!!!!


My point is: if you don't hear back in the stated time frame, you should call or email to check in. It could be that there's a delay in the process, you missed an email, or (as in my case) the person doing the interview goofed.

Alyssa King said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alyssa King said...

I actually just received a rejection letter for a job without even having been interviewed. I was disappointed of course, but it was SUCH a nice change to know I should stop hoping. And, since I actually had a thoughtful letter from someone's direct email address, I wrote back to thank her for the letter and to politely request feedback. Her response? They just never read my resume before hiring someone.

Ouch. My morale.

Anonymous said...

I agree wholeheartedly with this! I am *still* waiting to hear back on a job I interviewed for last September (that would be 2008). I can pretty much guess the decision by now, though. I too find it dismissive and completely rude, especially since I asked if candidates would be notified either way and was assured that they would be.

Anonymous said...

I once received a very polite rejection letter, thanking me for applying for the post but regretting that there were better qualified candidates.

Slight problem. I'd never applied for the post and my interview with the organisation had been 12 months prior to that for a different post!

Katie said...

I interviewed at a doctor's office two months ago. The doctor was INCREDIBLY FRIENDLY and during the interviews, constantly harped on and on about how all of his employees MUST be SUPER FRIENDLY and outgoing and pleasant, and you have to come in to work with a smile on your face every day. I ended up going in for three interviews, one of them lasting for two and a half hours as they showed me around the office and taught me how to use the computer system. They said they'd get back to me by the end of the week.

And then... nothing. Two weeks go by, and I call up the office, where the phone is answered by someone who did not work there before my interview (I had met all the staff.) So I very sweetly requested to speak to the office manager, who is very flustered to hear from me. I say "I'm just wondering about the status of my application... I just had such a great time at my interviews and you were such great people, I can't wait to work with you..." and she got very uncomfortable and said "uh, lemme transfer you to the doctor..." He comes on the phone, and I again exuberantly gush about how I called because I just couldn't wait to find out if I'd gotten this great job with such friendly, nice people, and he said "Uhh... I thought I sent you an email... ummm.... yeah, we hired someone else."

Yeah, he never sent me an email, and even if he did, I think a phone call is appreciated when it's down to two candidates and I've been on three interviews.

Lisa said...

I wonder, though.. how often should you follow up after an interview before giving up? I had an interview on a Friday, and she said that I would here from her during the following week. I followed up via email the following Friday morning and then the Monday morning after that. Still no response.

Lisa said...

ohhh.. I really wish I didn't misuse "here" on that post. If I could replace it with "hear" I would.

TheLabRat said...

Bad interviewer form letter machine.

Do. It.


Ask a Manager said...

I'm going to do it. Stay tuned...

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for letting me know that not every employer thinks its ok to leave candidates hanging.

Being a recent graduate, and new to the jobsearch, I was never sure of proper follow up etiquette. I spent over a month waiting for a confirmation of a position that I had been essentially offered at the interview. I sent three follow up emails over the month, but I didn't want to pester them lest they change their mind.

I sent them one last email right before graduation wishing them luck and attempting to "tie up loose ends". I was informed that they had gone into a hiring freeze a few weeks after my interview and thought they had emailed me to tell me.

I was definitely less than pleased.

Anonymous said...

I've had this happen to me twice with the same company. The first time I came in for an interview, they promised me an answer but never got back to me, despite several polite follow-ups from me.

A year later, they contacted me about a position they were looking to fill. During this round of interviews, I casually mentioned this issue and was told that this was due to the responsible person leaving the company (which by the way is not true, as I know since I work for the same company in a different branch).

Needless to say that this time, I am not getting any response, either.

Anonymous said...

Can i just say this is so nice in a wierd kind of a way for me to know that i'm not the only person going through this annoying process of waiting to hear back from an interview. I had my interview last week and they said i would hear back either way by 12 o clock today. well its now 5-15 and i can honestly say that i have recieved no call.

Once i had a second interview with a company for them to say ' your exactly what were looking for but we havent got the next contract so we cant start you were sorry, followed up by the next excuse of 'sorry weve all been on holiday and only just had a chance to discuss the hiring process'

As much as i try and forget this i sometimes i really do think its a personal thing.

But life goes on and i know deep down that i have been brought up to treat others how i would like to be treated.

Needless to say i had to bite my tongue!!!!

Anonymous said...

I generally don't expect a refusal letter or email after the first interview, for the reasons you described. But I was upset recently when I went through three interviews and was told that I am at the finishing line just to get scrapped the next day without a reason. Personally, I think this behavior hurts the interviewee's confidence.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this.

A few years ago, I interviewed for a public, health-sector position. I was polite after reading all kinds of articles and books (they even asked that!) I didn't hear anything back. It wasn't the typical, "we're busy" response. I called and left voice mail to no avail (without harassing them). I finally emailed them, and they cowardly emailed me a response back.

My opinion? I don't want to work under people like this. I believe it can say a lot about the way things are run in general, and who wants to work for a company that you can't respect. I know times are tight right now, but I will always consider the company who has class 2 times over the one who has clout even if there is a pay difference. It just isn't worth it to work with people with low personal skills and lack of consideration for others as people (hiding under we're busy, we're corporate, this is our standard practice, etc.) I think you attract what you are.

Anonymous said...

I'm going through the same thing right now myself; I was told Thursday that I'd be hearing from my new Boss for an Offer and it's Saturday; I filled out paperwork as well. I'm waiting until mid next week to politely contact the HR Rep to inquire as to my Status. I'm not expecting to be hired at this point and I can't help but honestly admit that I'm not so hot on working with a Company that can't even follow-up like I was told they would...I'm moving furiously forward on Monday ignoring my phone and not expecting much; it's all I can do, as well as the rest of you...keep your head up and good luck!!

Anonymous said...

I understand completely what everyone is saying here. I went through 11 interviews for a single postion with a company and I was supposed to hear back "hopefully by the end of the week"(That was last week) Now it's Monday and I sent a followup e-mail and still have not heard anything. All of the interviewers, HR managers, recruiters stated they thought I would be a perfect match and that I could truly benefit their company. Well I just cannot understand why they do not just hire me then. I feel like I'm hanging by a thread, cannot stand getting up to go into my current job, even though I know I should be thankful I'm not laid off, but this is just driving me mad.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this! I just went through this very same ordeal last week: the person who interviewed my for a receptionist position said she would call me within two days. Well, you know what happened? You guessed it: nothing! She never called me back, and when I called her today, I was told she would be "in meetings" all day. Yeah, right.

I really ought to print out this post and mail it to this flaky person. There is no excuse for an interviewer to treat a job-seeker in such a shabby manner.

Anonymous said...

Yeah...I'm going through this as well. I called a week after I had a great conversation with the hiring manager, and after she told me she'd call me later in the week to set up an interview.

When I called I was told to "call back later," even after I had identified myself, because evidently she was "too busy" to deal with me at the time.

Not too sure I want to call back. Which is unfortunate because I am(was) a regular customer of the business.

Unknown said...

I think that it comes down to manners, regardless of the role we play. If I am an interviewer or a candidate, after interviews if I decide the role is not a good match then it is surely good manners to notify the other person/company that we do not believe it will work.

I feel very uncomfortable giving bad news, (I want to fix things, not cause upset) but it is the right thing to do - to be honest and not mislead someone or give false hope.

Anonymous said...

I have loads of stories, but I'll just share two. Both occured in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida in 2004.

I applied at Teleflora to do outbound sales. Not my dream job, but not horrible either. A nice man interviewed me, liked me, and hired me on the spot, telling me to come in Monday and who to report to.

I come in Monday...and the lady he said to report to has no idea who I am, why I am there, etc. I explain to her, and she says 'Oh, he had no authorization to just hire someone.'

The next one happened in a small brokerage firm. I was interviewing for their customer service office. I met with one of the brokers--he liked me enough to pass me on to the ladies I'd be working with. They liked me too, and I went on to HR. HR liked me, so they passed me on to the office manager, who made all the decisions in the end.

this guy was a total dickwicket. He would ask me questions, and smirk at my answers. He looked at my resume, back at me, smirked and chuckled, shook his head as if to say 'why did they send me such an unattractive idiot?'

I didn't get the job, and really, I wouldn't have wanted to work with that a-hole anyway.

Ask a Manager said...

That Teleflora story is outrageous. Also, thank you for teaching me the word "dickwicket."