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The rules of engagement: candidates & employers
Candidate and employer manners and behavior: although it’s important in any economy, I think we become more aware when things aren’t quite as rosy as we would like. Companies are failing, others are concerned; people are losing jobs, houses, their investments or retirement. It’s precarious times.
This week we’ll talk about employers, next week we’ll tackle candidate behavior.
Your reputation is important in any economy, however especially so now. Your reputation isn’t just what your customers think about you, it is also based on what your community and the general public thinks about you. This includes others in the industry and all the candidates you come into contact with – or even just receive a resume from.
Candidates - just like anyone else - want to be treated with courtesy and respect. What does this mean? It means that basic manners apply. If you receive a resume, it deserves acknowledgement. From a quick email that says “Thank you for your resume. Upon review if we determine there is a possibility of a fit we will contact you” to a personal note. It is important that you be aware that what you chose to do – or not do – will reflect on your company’s reputation.
One thing that we have learned is people involved in an industry talk (and yes, gossip) with others in the industry. While recruiting on a position for a Napa winery recently, I was shocked by the number of potential candidates I spoke to who declined to even have their resume submitted – due only to what they had heard from someone else. In other words, they weren’t even willing to meet with the winery personnel, even though they had not had a negative experience themselves with the winery or its employees. This particular winery had quite a different reputation with industry personnel than they believed. And you better believe this affects their success.
Once you have called or interviewed a candidate, it is important to let them know at any point if they have been eliminated. The most common gripe we hear from candidates is that they were just left hanging. They were fine with being in the process, and they were even fine if they were being let go, but living in the limbo of the middle can be torture. Although this is uncomfortable for many, it is far kinder to be honest. It does not even have to be a personal conversation; a letter will accomplish the same thing.
In a recent survey of employers, 11% acknowledged making no contact after the interview. Interestingly enough, in a survey of candidates, a full 71% said that they had been rejected simply by never being contacted after the interview. Sounds like the perspective of the candidates doesn’t match that of the employers! What is your reality?
How do you normally reject job candidates?
Have you ever been rejected for a job by not hearing from the employer at all after the interview?
Next week: Candidate manners and behavior. Do you have a pet peeve regarding candidates? Let us know!
(Here are some of the comments received already)
You make an excellent point here about the need for employers to acknowledge the interest of candidates and to thank them for participating in the selection process. That sort of thing really means a lot to people and is always remembered. What is remembered not so fondly is having to travel at one's own expense a good distance for an intereview, told you will be hearing from us, and then never hearing a thing, by phone, e-mail, or snail mail. I understand that this is the rule, rather than the exception.
Another great article, and thanks for sharing!
To answer your questions personally:
>>How do you normally reject job candidates?
Well, if it were me, I would simply be honest about it. I find it strange that the majority of people these days live in fear of the truth. There's no need to be afraid of telling the truth if you are sincere and polite in your honesty. Reject people by saying, "We are sorry, but we are looking for someone with a little more experience in this line of work. Thank you for your interest in our company, and good luck in your search." I still get this response once in awhile from employers who are actually willing to communicate. Sometimes I think it sounds pompous, but I have never replied to it with anything more than a "Thank you."
>>Have you ever been rejected for a job by not hearing from the employer at all after the interview?
Usually, no, this doesn't happen. I am almost always rejected *before* I am lucky enough to get an interview, or several months *after* I have been hired to do the job. However, I have been rejected after a PHONE interview in the way that you have described -- they never called me again after the interview, but during the interview, they stated that they don't offer insurance, but mentioned instead that they give $300 a month to employees in lieu of insurance -- Not the greatest sounding job opportunity if you ask me, but it's better than no job at all, and I would have liked to hear something from them afterwards about it.
Luckily, another company called me for an interview that same week; they didn't start ignoring me until AFTER I was hired...
Communication is dying in this country. With e-mail, instant messaging, and fax machines, people have become accustomed to socializing via text, and personal communication is no longer a priority; in fact, I would even say that some people appear to be AFRAID of direct communication. Technology has also made people increasingly impatient. Many people now use the excuse that they did not receive your e-mail or they could not respond to your inquiry simply because they were too busy. Some people take it even further, and state that "YOU did not call US to follow-up..." and so they reject you, claiming that *you* are anti-social.
If anything, people who do not call to follow-up are not doing so simply because they understand how busy the workplace is, and they don't want to impose on anyone. Another sad thing I noticed with this -- many people now EXPECT others to impose; if you're one of those who "never called us to follow up", and you only did it out of what you felt was common courtesy, then they reject you simply because you're not the brave person who kicks down the door to the office and throws your portfolio onto the hiring manager's desk and says, "Give me a job! I am the greatest worker alive!" (well... maybe not that dramatic, but you get my point).
Anyway, it was fun reading this article, and I usually have an opinion of my own, so I'll throw my own $0.02 at you when I get these. I am always in the job market, it seems, so there's always plenty to write about and complain about.
Thanks a bunch!
My pet peeves are candidates not having any questions to ask about the business and then just ask about what they are going to wear for a uniform. Or when applying for a service job state that they are looking for “easy money”.
As a very small lodging property we generally advertise for employees in local hospitality-centric venues. I respond to every email and phone call we receive, even the ones asking me to get them visas and help them escape restrictive family life in far off places.
The candidate behavior that irks immensely is lack of respect for the job. Yes, our jobs are traditionally in housekeeping, which is not everyone's 'dream job.' However, these are well-paying jobs, quite a bit above what you could get at a hotel chain in the area ($4/hour above at last count), which you will never know if you exhibit the following behaviors:
1. Clothing: Entry-level housekeeping position does not mean showing up for the interview in cut-offs, sandals and a cropped tank top on your way to the beach. You will not be dressing like this for the job, don't show up for the interview like that.
2. Children: Do not bring your child to the interview. Yes, he's cute as a button but he will not be coming with you everyday (or will he?) so don't bring him to the interview and laugh as he pulls glassware from the serving trays. Show up with a child in tow for the interview and I will make the assumption you do not have proper child care arrangements made.
3. Taking direction: Calling repeatedly for directions to the interview is a no-no. Write down the directions the first time you speak with me. If you get lost, please do call. Do not continue to ask in 5 phone calls what bus you should take when you were told there is no bus that comes here.
4. Applying on the phone: Perfectly fine with us to call and inquire about the job. Do not do so with children screaming in the background and say, 'What? I didn't hear you,' 10 times in 2 minutes. Find a quiet place from which to call at a time when you can be at your best.
5. Sending an application: If the job posting asks for an application to be sent, do not tell me you will 'gt bk 2 u'. Also, if you are looking for employment in carpentry, don't bother wasting everyone's time applying for the housekeeping position.
6. Accepting the position: If the only reason you are applying for jobs is to keep your unemployment check coming in, waste someone else's time, please. If you accept the job, show up for work.
7. Overestimating your worth: Find out what the same job pays in the area in which you apply. Because you've 'heard' you can make $25/hour doing housekeeping jobs on your own at beachfront cottages in summer colony communities does not mean this job will pay the same. The corollary to this is don't tell my you'll work for $9/hour when I've posted the job at $12/hour, because you'll definitely GET $9/hour. READ the description!
8. Not a candidate peeve, but a peeve just the same- If you are going to quit, give us the consideration of calling or stopping by to say so, don't just stop showing up with no notice. A) we worry you've had an accident on the way to work; we liked you enough to hire you and we just plain worry that something has happened to you.
It's too bad but we had all of the above happen this year. It was a great year, and continues to be so, and would have been excellent pay-wise as well as tip-wise.
Thanks, I love reading the newsletter!
Monica & Rock
I guess the big thing for myself is the energy level people have. In addition to the timing of not being on time and just showing up randomly when we are super busy. When you apply at a business that has posted times to interviewing, respect that. It is impossible to address those people and it is a shame because it makes you wonder if they get the business at all.
The attire, hygiene should be the same if your going to interview for the CEO or just an hourly position. It shows respect, self esteem, and that you want the job. This role out of bed mentality, hurry up and fill out the application messy lends me think all kinds of things. The biggest is, what if they take a message for anyone, will we be able to read the message or what. This again shows pride in what your going to be doing.
I had a friend who was a landlord and would always look at the potential renters car. If the car was clean, he measured that as how clean a tenant they would be.
The idea is to be on your best behavior, manners, courteous, professional, best attire, resume or application filled out in hand, on time, with a smile and a healthy handshake. OH yes and for pete's sake keep up the pace of the interviewer when they say follow me this way for the interview. This depicts your energy level, a spring in your step. Most of the time when someone is interviewing you they aren't just looking at you for the entry level job, but they are looking at you for a year from now, they, want passion, conviction, and commitment.
Please be honest, and say I don't know if you don't. We can train anyone, but if you don't come with a good heart, energy, enthusiasm, and a smile, 9 times out of ten, we don't need you.
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