Tuesday, June 7, 2016

"I’d settle for a “THX BUT NO THX HAVE A NICE LIFE” text"

Good short little essay from Devon Maloney: 
I’M STILL IN THE RUNNING for a job I interviewed for in 2014. At least, I think I am? I never heard one way or another. After an initial phone interview, I hopped on a train, taking an eight-hour, round trip journey to meet my potential employer. I was even asked to write an essay—about as long as this piece—as a test run. But in the weeks that followed, despite promises of “wanting to move quickly on this” from management, I heard nothing. Every check-in email—my teeth grinding with each attempt to play the role of an exceptionally competent, but also totally laidback candidate—went unanswered. After a while, even the crickets should’ve started to feel guilty. I’d been ghosted. It wasn’t the first time—and it certainly wouldn’t be the last...
Solving the problem of non-rejection rejections would be a good start to civility in job applications. 

33 comments:

  1. This is what I don't understand - they pay hundreds of dollars to bring someone to an on-site interview and can't even send a letter/email to tell you you're out of the running. It's not a new problem, unfortunately - I had the same thing happen for a few academic jobs where I had on-campus interviews back in 1996 and 1997.

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    1. The Iron ChemistJune 8, 2016 at 8:55 AM

      Same thing happened to me for an academic job back in 2007. It's safe to say that this isn't a new phenomenon and certainly not attributable to those darn millennials. Not unless time travel was involved.

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  2. In 1991, my first child was less than a month old, and I was maybe back at work part-time. A potential employer pressured me to leave said child at home and fly to an on-site interview with maybe a week's notice. I left said infant behind and did the interview. I have yet to hear if I got that position. Said child got married on Saturday.
    I did run into one of the interviewers at a conference a few years ago, and was able to remind him of that fact. He was embarrassed for his company and gave the excuse that the HR person went out on maternity leave shortly after my trip. For some reason I was not impressed with that excuse.

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    1. lol, congratulations for your kid at least.

      I found out at some point (ages ago) it had become "polite" for young women to turn down a date by accepting a date then simply not showing up. HR departments are typically female heavy, and most probably grew significantly in the last 20-30 years. I wonder if there's a connection there?

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    2. That isn't a female behavior, it's this generation's behavior. I've discovered that a lot of younger people think it's perfectly fine to schedule a date and then simply no-show. Their rationale is that you don't owe the person an explanation. While both men and women justify it, I think that women are more prone to do it. Not because they're more rude, but because they face such severe harassment even if they do politely tell someone no.

      Nonetheless, female or male, I find it unconscionable to not even show the courtesy to send a generic rejection e-mail. I suppose it shouldn't bother me that young people think flaking on a date is okay when older people who are supposed to be professionals don't behave any better.

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    3. Where are you getting this idea about young people dating today? I have never heard of a trend like this and I certainly haven't experienced it myself.

      Sounds a bit like the typical generalizations made about/between "generations" that have literally no basis in reality.

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    4. Back when people had to meet prospective dates socially rather than online, the lack of anonymity cut down on bad behavior like standing someone up. It isn't the current generation, it's an effect of the anonymity of Internet dating. If you're lucky enough to find a recently divorced person who hasn't done much online dating yet, they usually don't do this kind of stuff.

      A lot of people are too limp to have a difficult conversation or give bad news. I can at least understand it with women because they might have had a guy react harshly in the past, but a candidate for a white-collar professional job is unlikely to lash out - there's no excuse for leaving someone hanging.

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    5. Anon 4:42, do a search for Ghosting. Very well documented behavior.

      Anon 4:54, I agree with you, more related to internet anonymity than generation. I just associate online dating with young people because I'm an old fuddy-duddy that refuses to do it (and yes, lots of my peers and people older than me have done it, so I realize that being older doesn't mean you won't try online dating).

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    6. @Dr Mindbender--I think what you're observing is that this generation is simply feminized.

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    7. To quote the great Ron Burgundy..."that escalated quickly". Going from how HR doesn't respond to women in this day and age don't show up for dates to HR is full of women so it's no surprise. Some real bitter people here - shame on some of you.

      No, it's not generational - see story above and below - this has happened well before these lazy millennials have take over (sarcasm). And, no, it's not a gender issue. It's simply incompetence.

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    8. I guess few of us are hip and with-it enough to quote 12-year old movies anymore, fellow kid.

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    9. And, seemingly, even fewer are not sexist.

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    10. Virtue signaled the first time, thx.

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    11. Yet, lost on some, unfortunately. Keep trying, you're getting better.

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    12. Funny to think I accused you of old references when your username is from a 25-year old Simpsons episode.

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    13. I think this particular thread has reached the end of its useful life.

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    14. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    15. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  3. I'm still waiting to hear back from Pfizer about my interview in Ann Arbor in 2001.

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    1. I'm going to go out on a limb and say I don't think you need to worry about reading the real estate listings for Ann Arbor.

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    2. I did hear from Pfizer, Groton. In a voicemail carefully left at my office in the middle of the night. Carefully timed so I would not be there since they also had my home number.

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    3. Maybe they were testing your "dedication"--call at midnight and if you're not in the lab, no job.

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  4. I took a flight to San Francisco in 1977 for an interview with Raychem. Afterwards I was told that they would contact me in a week, and I would have a definitive yes or no within three weeks. I am still waiting to hear anything from them. I have given up on them now that I am retired. This was a rarity back then, but I guess they were just ahead of their time being in the Silicon Valley and all. Too bad good business etiquette has disappears along with chemistry jobs. We are all just so much Kleenex to employers in the end.

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  5. I thought my story about a 1999 interview in Houston would win the prize but I see it is not in the running. After flying from Seattle at their expense, enduring a half day delay because of an explosion at a neighboring plant, and spending two days with them, radio silence. At least I was able to introduce my host to cappuccino, which he had never tried so something good came from it.

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  6. I have been a hiring manager a couple times in the past where felt was a privilege to actually call the candidate who got an offer, sometimes after HR had first given formal offer. Likewise felt obligated to call individuals who had done site interviews with the "bad news" even though HR sent them a letter. Unfortunately I think is sad as now-a-days there is significant legal CYA in the hiring process I wonder if most companies do not provide rejection notices for fear of being used to sue (I know my company for that reason has a policy about providing References that basically is extremely restrictive for work interactions/knowledge and requires me to redirect to HR.

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  7. I can't compete on length of time being left in the lurch, but I did apply for a faculty position a couple of years ago, they flew me in and put me up for a couple of nights for the interview as one of two shortlisted candidates. My 'official' notice came six weeks later when the article congratulating the other candidate appeared on the department website...

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  8. It is, of course, completely unacceptable, but it has happened to me and I've seen it happen to people I've interviewed (which was swiftly followed by a short and blunt call by me to the HR manager about 'professional standards').

    I've heard the 'legal issue' excuse used here in the UK (where we aren't quite as litigious as the US) and I don't buy it at all. It's just an admission that your recruitment process is inherently flawed and you don't want to fix it. If you are scared of being sued by disgruntled candidates, then you need to find a new HR manager who can do their job properly.

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  9. I had a phone interview with Wright State University. Never heard back from them.

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  10. One of my former colleagues (now retired) used to call candidates on the phone that were rejected to give them advice about how to interview better.

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  11. The entire interview process seems to be a disorganized mess at a lot of companies. I think I may have shot myself in the foot at some of my early interviews by acting surprised when an interviewer hadn't seen my resume yet, and answering questions with some phrasing of "RTFM." I soon learned that this is normal, and to bring paper copies of my resume to an interview. I wonder if everyone involved in the process thinks somebody else is going to follow up with the candidates.

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  12. The only companies that sent me rejection letters were the ones that didn't announce layoffs a few years down the road. It's a bit ironic to be explicitly rejected only by good companies, but that's been my experience.

    It shouldn't have been a surprise: A company's culture is demonstrated by how they treat job candidates, and there seems to be a correlation between a company's culture and its performance. Once I figured that out, I never got too bent out of shape when I didn't hear back.

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  13. I cannot help but think the stories above simply mirror the low value society affords chemists and the long standing job crisis in our science. If chemists were in short supply ( or even in demand), then no one would dare pull this stuff.

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  14. I'm still waiting to hear if I got into Stanford for graduate school. Since I got my PhD seven years ago, I probably won't go there if I get in. This particular never-hearing-back phenomenon seems to be the rule rather than the exception for the jobs I've applied for.

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