Re­cruiters should not leave ap­pli­cants hang­ing

Austin American-Statesman Sunday - - JOBS - By Marie G. McIntyre

Q: I am com­pletely fed up with rude and un­pro­fes­sional re­cruiters. A few months ago, one of them con­tacted me about a job and asked me to send her a re­sume. When I heard noth­ing af­ter a cou­ple of weeks, I sent a fol­low-up email, but re­ceived no re­sponse.

Sev­eral weeks later, the same per­son emailed me about a dif­fer­ent po­si­tion. She said she was send­ing the em­ployer my re­sume, but again there was no fol­low-up. Yes­ter­day, I re­ceived yet another email from her re­gard­ing a pos­si­ble job.

At this point, I’m so an­gry that I want to tell this woman ex­actly what I think about her dis­re­spect­ful be­hav­ior. Why do re­cruiters act like this?

A: Your frus­tra­tion with un­re­spon­sive re­cruiters is shared by many job­seek­ers. But while some may in­deed be in­con­sid­er­ate jerks, this lack of com­mu­ni­ca­tion typ­i­cally stems from the na­ture of the re­cruit­ing process it­self.

When search­ing for vi­able can­di­dates, re­cruiters con­sider ap­pli­cants from a wide range of sources and then con­tact those who ap­pear to be a pos­si­ble match for the job. While the ap­pli­cant may view this as the start of a promis­ing re­la­tion­ship, in re­al­ity it may just be the first step in nar­row­ing a

large field. Be­cause many re­cruiters lack the ad­min­is­tra­tive sup­port needed to fol­low up with ev­ery­one, pri­or­ity is given to those ap­pli­cants who are most ap­peal­ing to the em­ploy­ers who have paid for this ser­vice. The un­for­tu­nate re­sult is that many pre­lim­i­nary con­tacts are sim­ply left hang­ing.

This does not let re­cruiters off the hook, how­ever. In­stead of mak­ing anx­ious ap­pli­cants wait for an email that will never come, they need to es­tab­lish rea­son­able ex­pec­ta­tions. Ev­ery con­tact should be told ex­actly what will hap­pen next, in­clud­ing the like­li­hood of re­ceiv­ing feed­back.

As for your own sit­u­a­tion, don’t shoot your­self in the foot. Since this woman con­tin­ues to reach out, your con­nec­tion with her may even­tu­ally pay off. But if you lash out in frus­tra­tion, you won’t hear from her again, be­cause no one wants to hire an an­gry per­son.

Q: I’m not sure how to han­dle ques­tions from my man­ager about my re­tire­ment plans .Ihad pre­vi­ously shared some pre­lim­i­nary thoughts with him, so now he’s ask­ing if that’s what I in­tend to do. Al­though he has em­pha­sized that he wants me to stay, he seems to be think­ing about my suc­ces­sor. Is this le­gal? And how should I re­spond to him?

A: If I were talk­ing to your boss, I would strongly ad­vise him to drop this line of in­quiry. While a ques­tion about re­tire­ment may not ac­tu­ally be il­le­gal, broach­ing the sub­ject can eas­ily be in­ter­preted as age dis­crim­i­na­tion. For you, how­ever, point­ing out his er­ror would not be the best re­sponse.

With un­com­fort­able or in­ap­pro­pri­ate ques­tions, the most ef­fec­tive replies tend to be brief and vague. For ex­am­ple: “Since I re­ally like my job, I’m not cur­rently think­ing about re­tire­ment plans. But when that time comes, I will be sure to give you suf­fi­cient no­tice.”

As I’m sure you now re­al­ize, your ini­tial mis­take was in shar­ing those “pre­lim­i­nary re­tire­ment thoughts.” When­ever an em­ployee men­tions leav­ing, man­age­ment im­me­di­ately sees a flight risk and be­gins pon­der­ing pos­si­ble re­place­ments.


Re­cruiters may not be get­ting back to you due to their work­load, how­ever they should be up­front about com­mu­ni­ca­tion ex­pec­ta­tions.

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