The Job Search

I have a bone to pick. My younger son is looking for a job. Yeah, I know. It’s unbelievably tough right now. The job market is tight and don’t even get me started on the challenges of COVID. There is no way for him to network the way his older brother did in order to land a job. So he is relegated to online everything – from identifying the job opening to creating his response to interacting with the employer.

My gripe isn’t about that, though. It is what it is and we all have had to adapt.

No, what drives me nuts are employers who don’t respond to job seekers at all. To be clear, I am not talking about engaging with someone who has clearly sent out dozens of unsolicited resumes with generic cover letters to every employer under the sun. Even I delete those “Dear Sir/Madam” emails almost immediately without giving it a second thought.

What I am talking about are those job seekers who find a relevant opening, research the company, identify who within the company is responsible for hiring, craft a carefully considered cover letter and send out a smartly worded email to express interest. And then … crickets. It’s maddening.

And I have to ask myself, why? Why does that happen? I’ve had prospective clients do the same thing including one who, once I called to ask about the status of their hiring, told me we had won the job and they just hadn’t gotten around to calling everyone – after nearly two weeks!

But I digress.

It doesn’t take that much for an employer to drop a few lines to the candidate with some super simple message. Maybe they aren’t hiring now. Maybe the applicant’s qualifications don’t align. Maybe they are overwhelmed by the response to their job post. Maybe they simply don’t think the candidate would be a good fit. It’s important to say something.

And any employer who begs off because they just are too busy – well, I am going to throw a flag on that! Honestly, no one is so mission-critical that they are above taking three minutes out of the day to say, “Hey! Thanks for sending over your information. We aren’t hiring right now but there may be an opening later this year. Please keep your eyes peeled for that announcement because if we are hiring, we’ll include the process for being considered. Until then, feel free to keep in touch. Warm regards.”

How hard is that?

Not responding to a candidate who has taken the time to do their homework and personalize an inquiry regarding an open post is unprofessional, rude and just plain wrong. Moreover, it does nothing to enhance the reputation of the person hiring or that of the organization they represent.

So the next time a potential job candidate comes your way – one who has clearly done all the right things to meaningfully connect and express interest – I hope that you’ll take a few minutes of time to respond thoughtfully to them. Doing so helps both of you.