Left hanging in the e-void
I have been astounded by the number of potential employers who just didn’t get back to me. As an older millennial, I span two mindsets: that of a tech-savvy young professional, and that of an appreciator of correctly spelled words, full sentences, and face time — not the app, the real kind — with the people who matter in both my personal and professional realms. I also appreciate good manners. Recently, I had the unfortunate experience of looking for additional work outside of my independent and freelance endeavours. I wanted the extra cash flow, but I didn’t really want to be on anyone’s staff, which I suppose made it quite convenient when multiple prospective employers dropped contact mid-consideration. I sent requested work samples to three locations, and participated in a video interview with one of them. All three silently receded into the background after, I must assume, deciding that they were no longer interested in hiring me.
I’m not interested in them, either. Their poor manners and disrespect toward me and my time take them clear out of the running of companies I would consider working for.
This cluster of events is only the most recent in my experiences with failed communication follow-through, but that it happened three times within a week is a pretty solid case in point, if you ask me.
What each employer had in common was that not one of them shook my hand, sat in a room with me, and spoke to me on a human level. I will not condemn technology’s role in the hiring process. Despite being problematic in various ways, I understand that it’s a product of contemporary society. In some cases, because of a company’s structure, it’s just not viable to have in-person interviews, for example if a single human resources department hires for multiple locations across the country.
It is not technology’s fault — it’s our abuse of technology that is to blame. Allowing the dehumanizing effects of remote communication to lead to inconsiderate, unprofessional behaviour is entirely in the control of those who neglect to follow up with very real people who are struggling to be noticed from behind their computer screens.
A polite, “Thank you, but we have decided to pursue other candidates” is respectful. Leaving people hanging in the e-void, wondering when they will receive feedback, if at all, is unacceptable conduct.
Lean job markets produce desperate job hunters, which in turn produce employers with superiority complexes. With so many candidates to choose from, companies in many industries have the upper hand, and impersonal communications make it easy for them to be careless toward the plights of the unemployed.
Certain niche industries are operating on different trajectories. Want to pilot an aircraft for an airline? Now is a great time to drop many thousands of dollars on your education, training, and licences. Want to seat people at a restaurant? You had better know a staff member with influence.
The issue of communication trails gone cold is only compounded by the frustration of trying to get a job below one’s qualifications, due to highly competitive job markets. Left hanging by a company I didn’t even want to work for? Insult, meet injury.
The bottom line? Stop being rude, because it’s bad for community morale.
I’m not saying that employers should respond to every inquiry, but once the communication circuit has been closed, at least complete the standard exchange of sentiments, even if that sentiment is, “thanks, but no thanks.”
Laura Furster is a fine artist, literary writer, and journalist living in downtown Hamilton. She can be found on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram, and at www.laura-furster.com. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lean job markets produce desperate job hunters, which in turn produce employers with superiority complexes.