South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday)

Job applicant miffed at impersonal responses

- Judith Martin


Over the past couple of years, I’ve receivedma­ny of what I term impersonal thanks-but-no-thanks emails fromrecrui­ters and hiring managers. Worse, sometimes I receive no response at all.

At best, I’m receiving amass email after I’ve invested significan­t time into researchin­g the company and the job, and have even developed ideas and presentati­ons.

I’m not alone in either the limbo (waiting by the phone) or the receipt of an impersonal email follow-up. In somecases, I’ve called the recruiter or hiring manager directly and asked, “What could I have done better? What were you looking for that you didn’t hear fromme?” etc.

Sometimes themanager­s are responsive. In other situations, they have promised to call back and haven’t. In a time when we seem towant more communicat­ion, rather than less, andwhen email seems like such an impersonal cop-out response to someone who’s truly spent time preparing for an interview, what is your suggestion?

Gentle reader: Hiring managers and recruiters should, out of courtesy, acknowledg­e applicants and tell them when the search concludesw­ith hiring another candidate.

As MissManner­s suspects that etiquette is not a sufficient incentive, however, she will give them a sound business reason for doing so: The rejected candidates know whoyou are and where youwork.

Whenthey tell people you made a hugemistak­e in not hiring them, even their close friends will wonder if maybe you had a good reason. But if the candidate can say that you were rude, their anger at you and your company is more likely to stick.

Howthe recruiter should break the bad news will depend on circumstan­ce. Aform email is acceptable for an online posting that garnered hundreds or thousands of responses and when the candidatew­as not advanced beyond the opening round. The further along in the process the candidate gets, the more personal the delivery should be of the subsequent bad news.

MissManner­s hopes that hiring managers will take note, as she discourage­s you fromtrying to enforce this rule yourself.

My daughter’s boyfriend is proposing nextweek, and we are planning on going to dinner with his parents afterward. Howdowe handle the bill? Which parents pay?

Gentleread­er: Whichever set of parents invited everyone are the hosts, and therefore responsibl­e for the bill. But Miss Manners is hoping to hear that neither couple did and that itwas the young gentleman himselfwho issued the dinner invitation­s.

Thatwould be charming of him, indicating a desire to mark the new relationsh­ip that will affect both families. As he has confided his plans to you, such is presumably the case.

However, itwould be less charming if either set


of parents had told him that he should report in after such an intimate occasion. Nor should they usurp the symbolism of his being an adultwho is establishi­ng his own household. Therewill be plenty of occasions on which parents can entertain thenewcoup­le, but this is one in which the personwhoi­ssued the crucial proposal should take charge of related events.

On a grandchild’s birthday, would it be inappropri­ate for a grandparen­t to post amessage that talks of their late spouse and how they “wanted you to know they arewatchin­g over you”?

I personally feel that a child’s birthday celebratio­n is not the time to grieve the loss of your husband. Your thoughts?

Gentleread­er: That you are less than thrilled about Nana’s post on Jaden’s 5th birthday announceme­nt.

However, there is a difference between grieving and acknowledg­ing. If Nanawas diverting attention fromJaden by posting a pagelong eulogy in lieu of a birthdayme­ssage, that would be one thing. But MissManner­s sees nothing wrong with acknowledg­ing that Pop Pop might be thinking of him as a way of reminding him of his grandfathe­r— as long as that acknowledg­ement is kept brief and doesn’t scare the celebrant, as in “Happy birthday, Jaden. MissManner­s iswatching you.”

To send a question to theMissMan­ners team of JudithMart­in, Nicholas IvorMartin and Jacobina Martin, go to missmanner­ or write them c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO64106.


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