Education

New book explores the rejection letter

A new book touches on the art of the rejection letter. Those who have been unsuccessfully looking for a job might appreciate the sentiment.

If the old adage is true that misery loves company, and you happen to be someone who has been unsuccessfully looking for a job, then you might like the new anthology, Other People's Rejection Letters: Relationship Enders, Career Killers, and 150 Other Letters You'll Be Glad You Didn't Receive.

First let me say that I hate to be a Pollyanna here, but consider yourself lucky if you received any kind of notification at all from a company you've interviewed with. What I'm seeing more and more of lately is the absence of any kind of closure on a company's part after an interview. I've heard of people receiving the ole thanks but no thanks months after having submitted a resume or taken part in an interview. But most of the time, things just dissolved into the ether, never to be heard from again.

A couple of historical examples Bill Shapiro includes in the book:

  • Before his noted career officially began, Andy Warhol donated a sketch of a shoe to the Museum of Modern Art. It was soundly rejected and he was asked to come and get the sketch at his earliest convenience.
  • A young artist named Mary Ford applied for an illustrator job at the Walt Disney Co., in 1938. The rejection letter explained, "Women do not do any of the creative work with preparing cartoons for the screen." But "girls are qualified to trace the characters on clear celluloid sheets...according to directions." Ford ended up being a middle-school art teacher.
  • Aerospace engineer Clay Anderson received 15 rejection letters from Nasa before he was finally accepted into the training program. Anderson says he considers these rejections badges of courage and he's proud of the fact that he never let them deter him from his goal. Of course, it might have helped that the rejection letters weren't written in a soul-crushing manner.

Rejection letters are tough to receive but it's much better, in my opinion, to get one than never hearing anything at all.

(By the way, if you're an IT manager reading this blog and need some pointers for crafting a good rejection letter, you can download a sample by clicking here.)

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

64 comments
Gis Bun
Gis Bun

At least some get rejection letters. Some of those lazy buggers in HR [well not all are from HR] can't even bother with a rejection Email after an interview and good luck in getting ahold of them. I had a case where I had an interview that the guy only at the interview said would last 15 minutes. If passed a second interview at another time would be an exam and a third interview at another time if you got through the second one. Well, I never got passed the first one. Waited a few weeks, tried to get ahold of the guy [he wasn't HR] with no success. So I figured out the Email address of the president of the company and the VP in charge of IT and nicely blasted them [in an annonymous Email]. Example, why so many interviews? Come in for 15 minutes? [Hard to find parking in the area.] Wouldn't a phone interview be better. Within 12 minutes, I got a call from their HR giving me the rejection notification. This has been the first and only time I did that.

jmarkovic32
jmarkovic32

From my first "real" interview to my first real offer letter. Getting rejected hurts alot but when I looked at what I became from my first interview to the one that landed me a gig, it was like two different people. Getting a rejection letter was the best thing to happen to me from a personal growth standpoint.

RSBPublishing
RSBPublishing

I love this post! But then I love most of your posts!! I take GREAT delight in my 9th grade journalism teachers pronouncement that "You can't write. You should plan on getting a job scrubbing toilets." After a life-time of winning writing awards I think I'm way beyond toilets....Becky Blanton

santeewelding
santeewelding

Leaves me wondering where I went wrong. I wrote for a living and scrubbed toilets at the same time. Preferred the toilets, actually. People were more immediately appreciative.

snideley59
snideley59

Or so my wife keeps telling me. I'm not allowed to do laundry any more (cost me 120 dollars for a new cashmere sweater that didn't survive the trip) but I haven't managed to screw up the trash to the point that I've been forbidden that chore, not for lack of trying. She, on the other hand, is not allowed to mow the lawn any more. I think it's retribution for the sweater incident. The desire to mow large rocks with the tractor must be deliberate. Glad to hear that you've triumphed over your 9th grade teachers' fortune cookie proclamation though.

mike.w.public
mike.w.public

"Oh... I burned my lips on my chamomile tea!!!" - an epic CATASTROPHE has taken place and I simply must circle all the old women and discuss it TO DEATH. I subscribe to this rag for TECHNICAL crap... not the Oxygen network. You (the royal you) are a failure, *by definition*, if you read this garbage and think it has a point, a place or value and should have a comforting, kind-hearted, thoughtful rejection letter permanently tattooed on your forehead to save future unsuspecting job-providers time. Work is about killing things.. problems.. obstacles.. stupid and unproductive ideas.. being useful in a way that someone will value enough to pay for, not these kind of ridiculous moaning emo dumps. You KNOW the odds are 1 in a 1000 you're not going to get a job today... quit expecting the part of the economy that is busting hump to make a comeback to stop doing real work to sooth your poor little feelings. Assume you'll be rejected (especially if you read this column regularly) and celebrate when you land something. 3 more minutes worth of heartbeats I'll never get back... welcome to my spam filter.

eHealthy_Dee
eHealthy_Dee

Mike, I'd think most of us reading here have been 'busting hump' (as you so delicately put it) in a horrendous job market. Most of us here have been working other (temp, nonprofit, startup gigs) in ADDITION to looking (expand skills, keep up in the game, etc.) This topic just hit a common nerve, that's all. If you cannot see the lack of follow up with candidates (which is businesslike) for what it is--just another tickbox on 'have a bad day', something you have to steel yourself for, uncivil and BTW bad PR for these companies (but do they care?)--wait until it happens to *you*. With your attitude and short fuse, I'm glad I'm not your dog, cat or wife. Or work for you!

mike.w.public
mike.w.public

Donna, our styles give away much. Your voice says corporate.. at or near the executive level.. Not some engineer or IT geek. And if that's true, you were the single responder with enough potential understanding of business dynamics to have known better. I can obviously "see how the lack of a follow-up ruins their day". Your and the other whiner's point is I should care enough to send them and the 100's of others who apply for a job a rejection letter because it'll "validate their very real feelings" or some such crap like that. There's some guy in Hell that "wants" a cold glass of water. Too bad... he's not getting his either. In both cases, there is "want" and there is "is". Reality matters, Utopia doesn't. And in a downturn, reality matters even more. You need to THINK some more about what "business-like" means... it's not a synonym for "summer-camp-like". Your company is in competition for very limited dollars in a downturn. From the scary-ignorant replies (and the useless original article), it's clear that many don't recognize that A. there is an emergency and the rules are "different", and B. they are part of the overall machine fighting for those limited dollars. PARTICULARLY in a bad economy when their team has been trimmed as close to the bone as possible, organizational bandwidth is massively limited and you are just screwing your own team by prioritizing strangers instead of contributing every bit of your bandwidth to the fight. In any company where there have been layoffs and where more are possible, there are two people that should probably care the most. The last person let go, and the next person to be let go. If you're the former, you should be irate if your team wasted any bandwidth at all on activities unrelated to maximizing business... one more deal... one more PO and maybe you would have kept your job. If you're the latter, you have a vested interest in encouraging every person on your remaining team to allocate every possible effort... every second... every single action... the totality of the team's and every individual's effort into improving business to ensure you don't lay off ONE MORE PERSON. Whether you're the president or the security guard, you always, always, ALWAYS put YOUR team ahead of STRANGERS and feel-good crap all day every day. And despite the grossly uninformed venting of others, that is EXACTLY who you want to work for. The ACTUAL catastrophe that exists right now is the economy, not political correctness... not the old days of being extra nice on the owner's/stock-holder's nickel... not the Utopia of life on the daisy farm. This lousy article does nothing more than pander to the "poor me" crowd, and in feeding that element, trains them to be even less employment-worthy. Teaching people to be dependent little whiners instead of problem-destroying ass-kickers HARMS them... harms the economy... it puts emotion above reason and results, and teaches people that everything BUT what generates the actual value is important. So while you're being nice, I'll continue with my track record of at least four economic downturns with zero layoffs and know that I could burn my company down today and get a job before the ashes are cold. Do I really seem like a cat person? That hurt...

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

You know, it doesn't have to be an either-or situation. Nor do I understand the point of bringing up lay-offs when we're talking about hiring people. Obviously, it's easy to avoid lay-offs if you don't hire anybody - attrition will handle it. Poisoning the water-cooler works fine too. Other than that, being a professional means more than faster pussycat, kill, kill, kill. A company that doesn't handle its communications well, is not doing it's best to stay in business. Laziness and/or negligence in the area of making a fair impression on would-be employees predicts laziness and/or negligence in other areas as well. Next you'll stop communicating with unisatisfied customers, then with hostile media and then, all of a sudden the whole world is set against you, and you wonder how they knew you're a bad guy... The little things count too, especially ones that are of negligent cost.

pmwork1
pmwork1

THE ISSUE IS THAT ANY IT COMPANY WORTH ITS SALT SHOULD BE ABLE TO AUTOMATE THE "DEAR JOHN LETTER" NO BIG DEAL NOT HARD WORK, JUST UNTICK THE BOX FOR THE SUCCESFUL CANDIDATE AND SEND OUT A DEAR JOHN AS A COURTESY TO EVERY ONE ELSE. EASY !! JUST LOOK AT THE SORT OF QUALITIES THAT ARE ASKED FOR IN MOST JOB ADS " GOOD COMMUNICATOR, TEAM PERSON,ABLETO WORK UNDER PRESSURE ETC ETC ETC MY POINT IS THAT THE RECRUITING AGENT/HR SHOULD CHECK THEMSELVES OUT FOR THESE QUALITIES

doaks
doaks

a.) Being professional and respectful don't amount to being unproductive. b.) The suggestion that work is about killing things is sad - unless you are an exterminator, in which case, it really is. Work is about creating - ideas, value, product, solutions and yes, relationships. c.) Courtesy's such as advising an applicant that they are no longer under consideration pretty much fall under that "do unto others" rule we learned back in kindergarten. Clearly, some of us have better retention then others. d.) The royal "We" are obliged to encourage you to let your tea cool and assure you that those of us with any self-respect wouldn't waste much time in the employ of a verbally abusive person such as yourself anyway.

GoodOh
GoodOh

If mike.w.public thinks this is the way for a Senior Manager to behave then the company will, at some stage, realise why they are bleeding talent and can't recruit anyone worth a damn. Then mike.w.public will certainly discover that *his* chances of a new job are no better than 1 in 1000 while those who attract and maintain good people through the basics of common decency in their behaviour (while being as "tough but fair" as the realities of business life demands) are snapped whenever they become available.

snideley59
snideley59

Some of the people that subscribe to this "rag" may actually find some value to this topic. I'm sure that if you get "downsized" your attitude will change. If I were your sys admin, I might just change your password at random intervals to see if I could make the vein in your forehead stand out. There's nothing wrong with being humane and telling someone that you bothered to interview that they didn't get the job. No one expects anyone to personally answer the hundreds of responses from a monster.com posting, but if you've had face to face contact, be a human being, not a Richard Cranium. Your attitude only emphasizes the need for this kind of topic.

Baruch Atta
Baruch Atta

My son, who is a truck driver, was bitchin and moanin that it is sooooo hard to get a JOB. He finally got one, after about six months. I asked him how many applications did he submit, really. Less than ten. The jobs are out there if you are 1) willing to work for less money and 2) do anything. Oh and 3) apply for the job and 4) show up. I think it was Woodey Allen who said that 90 percent of life is just showing up.

_Pete_
_Pete_

Actually its 1 in a 1000 you ARE going to get a job today. So that's 999 in a 1000 you're NOT going to get a job today. I'm just sayin... Now go have some tea. ;-)

santeewelding
santeewelding

But I didn't think I would get far. Too many veins bulging.

J-R-Doe
J-R-Doe

I once applied for an internal position which in some thought was a promotion. The rejection letter from the hiring manager was written to expound on the numerous qualifications of the two successful candidates. The second page had two CC: lists, one that included the unsuccessful candidates and the second for their managers. My boss asked me if I had gotten the letter, I responded "yes", and his comment was "tacky".

R Woell
R Woell

I worked for a company which didn't acknowledge the receipt of resumes. That bothered me and when I went to work for them I talked to the HR department about at least sending a postcard saying they had received it and had put it on file. Their response was to shrug their shoulders. Bad manners in my book. If someone has taken the time to consider your company and pay to copy/mail a resume, you should be at least be somewhat honored and respond. Otherwise it is like meeting someone in the hallway, saying "Hello" and having them look the other way. Some of you will say it costs too much time and money. To quote Colonel Potter, "Horse feathers!" It is plain good manners and good PR, something most companies have a budgeted for. BTW - I had sent in a unsolicited resume to that company and didn't hear anything for months. Then one day I got a call to fly in for an interview. It seems that one of my college professors ran in to an engineer from this company at a conference. During the happy hour talking about staffing needs vs graduating students. My professor mentioned my qualifications and when the engineer got back to his office had HR pull my resume. They had simply filed it. The rest is history.

Sirgwain
Sirgwain

Ah, rejection letters. How VAGUE they are in their content, not informing you exactly why your were REJECTED! After graduating college with an engineering degree, and being a non-traditional student, I have enough rejection letters to wallpaper a room. And I have keep them all to remind me of the indifference and callousness by HR people when they CLEARLY discriminate against those who are more mature. If Obama wants "social justice", and in the truest sense he DOES NOT, he would change the laws and put the burden of proof on the Employers when they are sued for age bias. It's done every hour of every day, yet no one speaks up about it, yet alone our spineless politicians change the laws and equal the playing field among applicants!

deb waldman
deb waldman

The sample IT rejection letter could result in an EEO complaint. Family and dependent status is one of the areas protected under EEO regulations. The example used here should NEVER be the reason an applicant is not selected. I'm an HR consultant with 25 years experience, and I agree people should receive well-worded information as to why they are being declined.

DadsPad
DadsPad

If you never had an interview, do not expect a rejection letter, but if you did, note the company and try applying in 6 months. You might be on the short list. If you get an interview, be an active part of it. Not only just pay attention to what the interviewer is saying/asking, but look around the room,especially if it is his/her office. Most offices are decorated with personal items of interest. After an interview (there may be several) make notes immediately after on what was discussed. To follow up any interview of a place you would really like to work for is necessary. How you do it makes a difference. Today all anyone talks about is email. If the interviewer was like most people working, emails already take up too much time, and might just be deleted, especially if there were a lot of interviews. Receiving a well written follow up letter that is not a form letter, on high quality paper is most impressive. Email contact should be used sparingly, too many could cause a negative effect. The most important thing in an interview is to be noticed in a postive way. I have been called by a manager that I was the number 2 candidate, the one they hired had a little more experience. Six months later, the manager called wanting to know if I was still interested in working there. Seems the number one candidate lied about his experience on his hiring papers. You never know.

eHealthy_Dee
eHealthy_Dee

DadsPad, thank you for this and people on this thread should read this. I'm a grizzled survivor of the hiring wars and this is very valuable. I'd only add--if you get a sympathetic HR person or hiring manager, don't burn them with constant contact, just stay in touch at 3-6 month intervals. If you've really bonded, use LinkedIn. Just as you've said--you never know!

net.minder
net.minder

For many great companies, HR can be skimped on, just like IT. I've heard senior managers claim, "No matter how many HR, Accounting and IT people we hire, they will always say they need more." That can be a pretty pervasive attitude, and it seems to be up to people like us to overtly prove our value to guys like that. Over the past 2 years, I've noticed even our HR group get downsized. So are they in a position where their workload has pushed right to the edge? Are they overwhelmed by the record-keeping and letter-sending tasks? You bet they are. If you don't get a rejection letter, that's likely why. Over the years, I've only worked with one HR person who I believed was ruthless and uncaring. The rest are really wonderful, and are in the job because they value people. I've even suggested that my daughter consider this career.

net.minder
net.minder

Yes I'm an IT manager. And my group always works closely with HR. We have to, and it has worked that way in every company I've worked for. So I get to know the HR people very well. And they have helped me hire the best IT people I've ever known. Senior management often really does skimp on HR and IT staffing, and HR people get a lot of blame if a truly bad employee gets hired -- usually unfairly, I believe. Here's another common reason you may not get a rejection letter - after the interviews, the manager doesn't get the decision done, because he or she doesn't get approval to raise the salary level. When you do the interviews, you often find that the only 3 good candidates deserve a lot more money than you can approve. So you get mired in trying to convince senior management that they should give you special permission. They will say things like "wait 3 weeks till the quarterly financials are in" or "the new personnel budget is in draft, and if approved by the CFO I'll give you the thumbs up". So you tell HR to sit tight, and two months later you realize it's not going to happen. So you temporarily put a junior into the vacant job, and request a fresh junior position posting. Meanwhile you know you still need a good senior, but you limp along and the HR request goes stale. And two more months go by before you can start again from scratch. Do you see how this results in no rejection letter? It can be that the candidates were never rejected! Anyways, you guys are thinking of HR as the enemy, but they aren't. Believe me, they get treated much more rudely than you do!

eHealthy_Dee
eHealthy_Dee

Net.minder, actually a very good description on how jobs go sideways. I've seen this myself on the hiring side--being unable to fit anywhere near the right money to the position. Jobs 'go sideways' and vanish--I had one do that after the offer because the parent company laid off staff. Then I saw it reposted about a month later at an even lower level (40% off). Or they hire an internal candidate that they've dangled for 3 months (real vote of confidence there). Etc. The problem is the COMMUNICATION--the candidates in progress are never advised that the position is on hold. And what is more, we never learn why. We don't know what we've done wrong, which is a helluva place to be when your morale and finances may be down to the ground. When there's maybe 10, 20 at MOST--why not call or email a short, non-cliched status (the job is on hold etc.) That is hardly any time at all. \ There's a reason for professionalism and pro forma--it's businesslike consideration, and it's only business. Even if you are rejected from a company, how they handle that makes a difference in your opinion about them as a company. And it's WOM! Nothing wimpy or Oxygen-y about that. BTW you might be able to get that higher value person if the company can flex a bit on comp time, title or even days in (4 instead of 5, flex work, p/t to start etc.) Pick the candidate you want and propose a 'Plan B' which gives you negotiating room (which I assume will be formalized and honored). Not in your shoes, so just a suggestion. I know some companies are inflexible, there are grade levels and policies--more to their loss. Thanks for contributing to the discussion!

pmwork1
pmwork1

sure it touched a nerve cause it is RUDE. People often put their life on hold awaiting a reply !!! This is the reality. Where I am in Australia it is illegal to advertise (Fish) for jobs which do not exist !!

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

What for? If they are any good they'll be working somewhere else by the time you get the decision. As for deserves more money. They deserve as much as you are prepared to pay, which should be based on the value you believe they could add and the value you need them to add. HR do get on my nerves, in my experience their entire input into the hiring process is designing an obstacle course to reduce the number of applicants they have to bother dealing with. Eventually you end up with people who can satisfy their requirements. Not your's, not the company's, not the role's and most assuredly not mine. One of my litmus tests when applying for a role is how much they are allowed to interfere, too much and it's them who get the rejection letter from me. Did it recently in fact, if I wanted to jump through hoops, I'd apply for a role as a pomeranian at one of those icky dog show things.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Come on fess up... I'm sure statistically there must be one or two worth a lungful of my atmosphere, the rest...

GoodOh
GoodOh

You are seriously telling me that HR is too busy to type a list of email addresses into a BCC field and paste in a standard, "Thanks but not this time", email text? Either you really have no idea how little work is required in an office run by people who don't think in quill pens and ledger terms or you are making a long complex joke that has passed me by. It's the modern world. Anyone who expects more than an email as a rejection note is kidding themselves and any HR department who is full of people who "are too busy" to do this simple task needs some sackings to get the blood flowing to their brain again (starting with the HR Manager who has fallen into such slovenly and company image damaging lethargy and incompetence).

snideley59
snideley59

As a systems administrator, I save draft emails as answers to my end users frequently asked questions. When the question recurs, I simply call up the appropriate draft, change the addressee and voila! Total time 30 seconds on my part. I showed the HR department in my company the same technique. They use it faithfully. The I'm too busy excuse is utter BS. They just don't care.

qhabib
qhabib

I too think some kind of closure is important. Just because rejecting someone is uncomfortable doesn't mean it is not necessary. Last year I applied to multiple jobs and in all but I received no reply from the firm or the interviewee. Many times they were a director or a GM of that firm. Their favorite tactic seemed to ignore phone calls, messages and emails.

eHealthy_Dee
eHealthy_Dee

No matter where you may live...if you apply for a position from a website, you are one of hundreds. I haven't received a reply at that level in years. After an interview, there should be some follow up but--accept that you'll be doing the following up. If you are treated kindly and professionally, let that person know it because here in the US it is certainly not the norm. If you hear nothing and you're in the interview process, that says something about the company, doesn't it? Where the real rudeness comes in is when you've been referred to a person in the company(and by someone they do business with), politely ask for contact and perhaps consideration because that person is a decision maker or a referrer--and receive no acknowledgement whatsoever of your inquiry even after follow up. Unfortunately in these days of LinkedIn that is getting more and more common, no matter the level.

flores.cm
flores.cm

REJECTION LETTER A number of years ago, we had a new staff member who had the job of sending rejection letters. As part of her training, she was handed a book of "sample letters" that she could use to send various replies. Across the top of the sample letters the words REJECTION LETTER shouted from 2 inch high type on a KROY machine label (which tells you how long ago this was - 20 years). Those of us who are still around still laugh about it to this day...she created and sent her first big batch of rejection letters the same way as the samples...right down to the 2 inch high Kroy labels at the top so the recipient was in no doubt whatsoever that this was a REJECTION LETTER!

doaks
doaks

This story made my day!

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

...until you've been [b]REJECTED![/b]

besquared2
besquared2

Three weeks ago I went through the last of three interviews with the same company. Of course, I waiver on whether or not to mention their name, they could still call, you know. I was told it was down to two candidates. The last interview was on a Thursday afternoon and I would know the results by "early next week". I can't help making the analogy with a date telling you "I'll call you". You just know in your mind they must have died or something just awful happened such that they were unable to fulfill the commitment.

Tesla2012
Tesla2012

You state the obvious that current methods in speed of light communications does not a gentleman make. Whatever happened to common sense and common courtesy? I can see chivalry and protocol are of bygone years. You suggest protocal now and someone will think you mean TCP/IP. Modern hiring managers can't spend 1/100 of 1 calorie to click an email update? This is progress? Working faster with less pride of craftmanship is progress? What a mess. What BS.

terry.cann
terry.cann

The best company I ever worked for had this approach. 1. Pick the CV that appeared to fit best and invite for interview. 2. Conduct a technical test and multiple interviews with 2 peers, a line manager and the MD all on the same day. 3. If ok, make a job offer on the spot. If not, reject on the spot and get the next CV. Failed candidates were nearly always rejected without personal critisism and some went on to become customers! You never left an interview without knowing the outcome.

GSystems
GSystems

To a certain extent, I'm pleased that I am not the only victim of this horrid human resources practice of just, realistically, disappearing. It incites ideas that I may have been qualified for the job, but that your (HR Manager) personal interests or prejudices caused you to hire someone else who may not have been as qualified. Truly, it makes the company seem rather egregious, to be honest... Receiving a rejection letter--at the very least--let's me know where we stand... Great blog, Toni!

Just J-22513639993676671791495310609907
Just J-22513639993676671791495310609907

Hi Toni You hit the nail right on the head of one of my favourite annoyances, the old 'never hearing anything again'. OK, I understand that if I submit a CV, it's probably gone into a pile of perhaps hundreds of others. If I'm not shortlisted and don't hear anything back, I can pretty much guess that I'm not getting an interview this time. But...after being invited to, and attending interview, I would expect to hear back either way. Personally, I'd sooner receive a thanks but no thanks, than not hear anything at all. OK, I can guess after a period of time has passed that I didn't get 'that' job either, but it would be nice to hear after attending interview. I'd even go as far to say it's common courtesy to let an interviewee know they were 'unsuccessful, on this occasion'. I can understand postage costs, and savings to be had by not sending rejection letters, but an email costs nothing. (I'd rather get an email than nothing). If I'm not shortlisted, then fine; but if I've been to interview, please let me know either way. It's a waiting game. How long do you wait before you realise you didn't get it? My pet peeve! (One of them anyway).

Nidlog
Nidlog

WoW! Over the years, I as others here, have submitted my CV to various firms. While I totally understand the non-response from a company that does not invite you to an interview - I am truly perplexed by those that do and don't respond. Those of us who have spent the time to thoughtfully craft a tailored resume and cover letter, put a suit on, show up on time and wait, answer your intelligent and yet sometimes rediculous questions, take the time to inquire about your needs and how we can help your firm, are often left wondering... It's just rude. My mother taught me better and (as a hiring manager) I've honestly given candidates that have shared their time with me the kindness of a reply. Too bad we all know way too much about this. Miss Manners would be ashamed! Leesa G.

edh1215
edh1215

If someone is sitting around wondering if they're being considered they can always call the company and find out what's going on. This is your life/career, if they don't get back to you with a simple courtesy, call them. If they don't like it...too f'n bad.

eHealthy_Dee
eHealthy_Dee

I think we'd better get over something...which is that HR will do any kind of follow up, even if you've reached final stages of candidacy. Why? Because they can. Because they are 'too busy.' And because they cannot say why without bringing the staff attorneys down on their heads. I always follow up and ask for my status. Generally what I (and others) will hear is either (1) noncommittal, (2) the good old 'candidate found who better meets our qualifications' or (3) nothing. They all mean the same thing. You didn't get it. Don't overly focus on or invest in one opportunity, try to generate multiples, work on other projects (get a plan B and C) and try to be resilient (which is tough). This is from the perspective of a marketer in healthcare tech who got roughed up badly (different industry) after 9/11 and who's getting it in the shorts now.

PMPsicle
PMPsicle

While what you say is true ... it would still help. Especially with recruiter submitted jobs if only to confirm that your name was submitted.

peter.melrose
peter.melrose

9 times out of 10 I'm lucky to get any response having sent in my CV. However, on a couple of recent occasions, I've had a letter back saying they are snowed under with other work and they will keep me posted in due course! Nice of them to take the time and effort!

alistair.k
alistair.k

that is harsh. I struggle to follow employers being so rude. I assume its just HR departments getting off on the fact they can get away with it in the current climate or something. When we advertise we specify "if you don't hear back by xxxxx date your application was unsuccessful" - this saves us some postage when we get maybe 100-150 applicants per post and mulitply that by posts per year and its some money. But every person who attends an interview gets a phone call to tell them no. And we talk through why we gave it to someone else. it might help that person raise their interview game for the next one and get it. I spend 2 minutes to half an hour on the phone to unsuccessful interviewees. Not to even put a rejection note in the post is unfathomable to me.

eHealthy_Dee
eHealthy_Dee

Alistair, if only the US companies/HR departments would follow your business standard lead. However over here it's always the legal department that warns HR departments not to provide ANY feedback (some nonsense re EEO liability). So HR people do nothing or you get the standard boilerplate 'candidate who better meets our qualifications'. It's easier for them to do and say nothing. Meanwhile capable, professional candidates are in the dark and resentful.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

haven't been all that useful. The other guy was an ADO expert. Like choosing an author based on their skill with a pencil sharperner that. Might not agree with the boss when they are wrong. Too forthright. Was likely to follow the strategic company goal, instead of direct manager's personal one! Didn't have skill X, which of course they never advertised for. Didn't go to a redbrick university. Too qualified in parts of the role that we need. Ignorance is sometimes welcome...

JonathanPDX
JonathanPDX

If you've bothered to prepare, attend an interview, and the prospective employer doesn't have the courtesy to contact you afterward, perhaps that is a warning sign of the company in general and how little they actually value their employees.

fletchem
fletchem

I'm definitely noticing a trend here. It sounds like our British counterparts are considerably more considerate in this area than those of us in North America. It saddens me to realise that we have really sunk so low in our 'me first, and scr** you' culture over here that simple common courtesy has all but disappeared in our business dealings and in fact in most of our daily lives. I applaud you for taking the time to provide candidates with feedback in hopes that there next foray into the job market would be more successful. I know I would always welcome that sort of feedback but as a consultant have grown used to not even receiving any feedback on the job I just completed, let alone how I did in an interview.

PMPsicle
PMPsicle

In 30 years of job hunting I've never had anyone give me feedback on an interview. So kudos to you. And putting a respond-by date is an uncommonly gracious touch. However, one suggestion... most people included their email address in applications (at least over here). Why not send an email thanking the submitter but advising them they did not make the cut. If you use software to track your candidates you should be able to send standard emails easily. Slightly more work but it will also help to build your brand. Glen Ford, PMP http://www.TrainingNOW.ca http://www.LearningCreators.com/blog

pmwork1
pmwork1

Glen This article was written because people are not getting any form of communication after interviews unless it is an offer. Yes it should be dead easy to what you say but I suspect HR and recuriters do not read this blog.

markb91731
markb91731

I understand not responding to people if you do not interview them. If you do a phone interview and definitely if you do an in-person interview the company should have the common courtesy to send you the form rejection email. I never call the hiring manager or HR, but send out the post interview thank you and then a check-in email 1 or 2 weeks later. 90% of the time I never hear anything back so have to guess I didn't get the job or just see it re-posted a couple of weeks later. As to feedback why I didn't get the job that has never happened. People forget the most important rule treat others as you want to be treated, and HR is often the face of the company that prospective employees see.

pmwork1
pmwork1

A few times i have had a rejection with an offer to "clarify" however when I chase this up I have gotten fobbed off, so I do not bother.

GoodOh
GoodOh

I think if I got a thank you note (and I never have in hundreds of encounters) I'd find it creepy. Interesting how different cultural ideas impact in different cultures.

olddognewtricks
olddognewtricks

I have always sent a thank-you note to everyone on the interview committee, and even the HR grunt who walked me up to the interview room. But this seems to be a dying art as well. When I sat on an interview team for a chief budget officer, out of a dozen candidates we interviewed, we received one thank you email, and the head of the interview team - the CFO - received a thank-you note from one other. And since the topic has been raised, I'm not sure we sent rejection letters out to the unsuccessful candidates. And I don't know we didn't. Seems to me the whole personalized follow-up etiquette has fallen on hard times.

edh1215
edh1215

HR, hiring managers, and companies do not care about employees, especially prospective employees. They care about the company - or more accurately their own wallets. Interviews, companies, resumes/CVs, HR, management, the American obsession with work is all BS. I work simply because I need to have food and a roof - I don?t work because I enjoy it and I certainly don't work because I want to please someone else or be a slave to a company. Now when I go into interviews I am totally relaxed and if they don't hire me...oh well. I've found this attitude to help my sanity and stress levels and I've gotten more positive results as well.

WiseITOne
WiseITOne

I've noticed in our American society we hate confrontations - we fear them, and we fear letting people down. I have also noticed that in America we pride ourselves on our intellegence or POWER and AUTHORITY and so it is with HR. They are either too prideful to reply or they fear confronting the person who did not get the job. In some way if I were HR I might not enjoy a conversation with someone who did not get the job ONLY because they might become obnoxious and continue to ask WHY, WHY? However, I doubt that happens in a PROFESSIONAL environment (rare). To the HR person above I commend you! What an amazing service to a fellow professional to give them your time and coach them for future success! We have become rude and crass these days and do not care much for the feelings of people with whom we do not associate and that I fear is our great problem. I send a shout out to all HR and hiring managers - drop the pride routine and give everyone the common decency of a response, at the bare minimum via e-mail.

mike.lambert@cps.gsi.gov.uk
mike.lambert@cps.gsi.gov.uk

... its exceptionally rude not to reply. I think one thing that is getting in the way is a legal challenge to anything other than the most bland of letters. Still, even that should be sent.

pmwork1
pmwork1

Recruiting agents are generally people who have no experience in the business that they recruit. They are just rude, slack, lazy and discourteous assuming that every one is desparate for a job. They need to walk the talk of the quality canditates that they are seraching for. In this day and age there is no reason why they could not use a CRM system to handle these rejection letters. This forum should be naming and shaming the bad ones !!!!

steve
steve

Spot on, Toni. Over the years I've seen dozens of hard-crafted applications disappear into the mysterious black hole, never to be seen again. I've even sweated blood over the dreaded 'Personal Statement', tailoring it so it exactly matches whats on the Person Specification, doing everythng I can to get past the first HR paper shuffle. On the occasions I've been asked to attend interviews, had a pretty good session, then on leaving got a firm handshake and a promise to be in touch soon. And to be honest, I think I've only had two occasions when I heard absolutely nothing, and on eventually chasing it up on both occasions I was told it was an administrative oversight, in that one person had thought another had sent the brush-off letter and vice versa. So in my opinion its the initial application letter that tends to go adrift...if you get an interview then they generally do the courtesy of letting you know the outcome.

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