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I hate to get on a rant, but in this job market, it is such a one way street. The supply & demand ratio is so tilted in the hiring company’s favor, that inconsiderate and unprofessional behavior is widely prevalent and justified. I’m talking about timely personal communications with job applicants.

AStock_000015415417XSmallIt seems everything is automated and even still HR departments are swamped. So much so, they take forever to fill positions and bypass returning phone calls or emails in a timely manner. They get away with it because of the vast numbers of applicants for the scarce job openings available. It’s still unacceptable and probably not consistent with the companies’ values or mission. Imagine if an applicant didn’t return calls or emails in a timely fashion?

Here’s an example of a typical scenario.

Back in March, the 27th, to be exact, I respond to an ad by a large national non-profit for a Vice President of IT position. Less than a week later on April 2nd, I get an email – Would I be up for an intro phone interview with HR? You bet! The next day (April 3rd) I have an hour and fifteen minute call with the in-house recruiter – it goes great. Less than a week later (April 9th), I get another email – Would I be available for another phone interview with their tech consultant? I am moving forward! The next day (April 10th), I have the call and feel it went very well. The next step: within 1 to 2 weeks I should expect an in person meeting in NYC.

Two weeks pass – I have heard nothing; three weeks, still nothing. In early May, roughly a month after my tech call, I call HR to follow up and get voice-mail and leave a polite, succinct message. No return call or email. Finally on June 16th, I receive an email. I don’t even have to open it; the header says Thank You – I know what’s coming. At least they acknowledged my patience throughout the process. It’s signed: Sincerely, Human Resources.

And this case isn’t the worst – most times, the opportunity disappears into a black hole, never to be heard about again. “They” are just too busy or don’t have the time. When I was working full time and heard “too busy,” it was code for “It’s not important” or “they” didn’t want to do it.

Perhaps, HR departments should operate more with the Golden Rule in mind? Or perhaps if they were not trying to hire the “perfect” candidate, they could be more productive and fill positions faster and have less of a backlog. HR departments’ tendency to hire the perfect candidate seems more rooted in CYA (cover your ass) than in doing what’s best for the company. Let’s face it. How much of a difference would an applicant meeting 10 out 10 requirements have over one with 9 or 9.5 out of 10? To me: not much. When I was hiring, I looked for character and passion and then qualifications and credentials. Perhaps, hiring firms should do the same?

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