I was startled this past week, not by the fact that I wasn’t advanced in four different searches because I personally knew that it was going to be a difficult task from the start, but what was startling was the fact that I actually received letters in the mail informing me that though I had remarkable experiences that I wasn’t the right person for the job. We are talking form letters but letters never-the-less that actually informed me of the final resolution of my candidacy. Something I must admit that is highly unusual in today’s digital world.
Years ago in a previous transition I must admit that I was accustomed to letters announcing the chosen one for every position that I applied for but of course those were the days that you actually sent a cover letter and resume in the mail to the potential recruiter or search committee. Times, yes they have changed but unfortunately so have professional courtesies.
Communication is vital for both parties in a job search. I grant you that candidates are inherently sitting on the precipice waiting for correspondence, which unfortunately in many cases never appears but we do continually hope for better. In many cases candidates don’t even receive an automatic response that the resume has been received.
We certainly don’t want to bite the hand that feeds any candidate but in today’s automated world it certainly is not difficult to have an automatic response to a resume. It is a push of a button and is the very least one can do, even if a recruiter or search committee is being inundated with hundreds of resumes. Again, it is only professional courtesy.
In return it is important for the candidate not to be a pest or bother the decision-makers. If there is news they will inform you but it certainly doesn’t do you any good to appear impatient and let the world know that you “really want this position.” By forwarding your Cover Letter and Resume you already have instructed the recruiters or search committee that you are interested. A recruiter recently informed me that there should only be 3 e-mail interactions between the two parties during the search:
1) The Sending of the Cover Letter and Resume to the Recruiter or Search Committee by the candidate.
2) A correspondence from the Recruiter or Search Committee detailing the process and what the candidate should expect (including timelines).
3) An e-mail from the candidate informing the decision-makers that he/she is no longer interested or available for the position or an e-mail from the decision-makers that they are no longer interested in the candidate for the position.
In some cases, we the candidates would be quite pleased if those only 3 occurrences took place because the track record for any correspondence is poor at best. Life moves quickly except for those waiting for an answer about their future. From past experiences I can tell you that it seems like the world has a million other things to do than what a job-seeker has an interest in – namely a decision on where my next posting will be.
Job seekers are impatient by nature, their intention is to rebound rapidly and fill an unpleasant void. Unfortunately the job search process is never as quickly conducted as a candidate desires so it behooves the candidate and the recruiter or search committee to maintain appropriate and timely correspondence. Candidates need not know all the nuances of the process but it is reasonable to be informed when benchmarks are reached.
The job search, in many ways reminds me of a scene in the 1969 movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid where the two are being chased and are stuck on a hill top where the only solution is to jump. Sundance is worried about drowning in the river below but Butch in his infinite wisdom replies that you need not worry about drowning because the fall will kill you first!
The process of finding a new job is full of hazards and detours. You find some wonderful people along the way and sometimes you also run across those who should remember that they too can be in such a position in the future. Finding the right connection can be the cure for all ills and in many cases that cure is the next empathetic recruiter or search committee.
The recruiter’s purpose is to find just the right person for their opening and of course the candidate’s purpose is to find the best employment home for their future. The two goals can be attained with appropriate communication and it is hoped that in the future that communication will indeed be an integral part of the process.
Dan Borschke is a Certified Association Executive who has been a CEO for 3 distinct trade associations in his career. He currently is between positions and has written more than 50,000 words or 75 blogs on the topics of job search and career transition. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.