Dear Coach Joan: Career Advice
There is a lot of bellyaching and complaining about the hiring process. I hear it from both job seekers and from employers. Both sides have problems with the ‘other side’.
Yet, both sides are fully justified in their complaints.
The chief compliant from job seekers is that they often feel that they are not hearing back from potential employers, especially after they apply for a job, and or have had an interview, or a series of interviews. They often feel that they encounter the big black hole. They describe this as the place where they send in their resumes, applications and cover letters and don’t hear back.And they complain that after putting in a lot of time, energy and preparation, including the stress of anticipation and hope, they feel letdown by getting no response at all.
The chief complaint from the other side of the table, the employers, is that oftentimes job seekers come ill prepared for their meetings, showing little or no effort to get to know the company, the industry or exactly what attracts them to the job. Employers complain about getting resumes with errors, cover letters with the wrong name or spelling of their organization, and even worse, in-person interviews where the candidate has not thought through how they qualify for the position or how their skills match the job description. Sometimes they complain that it seems that the candidate has not even read the job description.
Which side is right?
Both sides are correct!
From the job seekers perspective, they are entitled to get a timely response from a company after they have taken the time to respond to a job listing. And especially when they have gone through an interview process, they deserve to get a response. A timely response, not more than a week after the meeting. A yes, a now or a further explanation. One job seeker I worked with heard back from a company six months after they had applied for a position and were already in a new job. Another candidate said that the employer circled back to him two months after the interview, actually offering him the position. Two months later?
And from the employer’s perspective, they are correct in expecting a job seeker to do some work to show that they understand the company, the market and how their qualifications fit the position and will result in a positive impact on the company or organization.
Why this disconnect and disappointment?
I believe both sides are often at fault. And, I believe our employment system needs correcting.
Both sides of the table have gotten lax in their sense of responsibility to the process.
So for 2018, let’s all commit the following new NEW STANDARDS IN THE HIRING PROCESS:
On the EMPLOYER SIDE:
Once a job candidate has in good faith applied for a position, including a professional cover letter, resume and or complete job application, you will respond to them in a timely manner. You will respond with either a ‘no thank you, not a good fit’, or ‘not know but we will keep you on file’ or ‘yes, we’d like to interview you’ and they will specify a phone or in person or Skype interview and offer some specific days or time.
And, throughout the interviewing process, make it very clear when you will notify the candidate and ensure that they have your business card and or contact information so they can follow up with you in a timely manner.
On the JOB SEEKER SIDE:
Once you have decided to apply for a job you will commit to doing some research to learn more about the company or organization, the position, the market they are in and figure out how your skills meet the requirements of the job. You will also try to explain in a cover letter why you are attracted to the organization and how you believe your skills
and experience will have a positive impact. Once you have been notified of an interview, do your research and come fully prepared to your meeting/s. Make sure all of your written materials are error free, well presented and that you ask about next steps at the end of the meeting. Make sure to follow up within two days with a thank you note and a reminder of your qualifications for the position.
Yes, readers, both employers and job candidates can do better to professionalize the employment and hiring process.
We are moving into a new year, 2018. If you are a job seeker, or an employer, please try to be sensitive to the folks on the ‘other side of the table’ and do what you can to professionalize and show respect in the hiring process.
Onward to a better, more respectful, and professional hiring process for all in 2018!