The Sound of Silence
Let this letter from a frustrated job seeker make us all realize the discourtesy and frustration that occurs when they are offered the sound of silence. This article was written by a job seeker and posted on Recruiting Blog.
I was laid-off from my job as a telecommunications operations manager a year ago and have since had multiple interviews with seven companies in the city and on Long Island. Without exception, every interviewer closes with, "Thanks for coming in; we'll let you know either way," or, "You'll hear from us in two to three weeks."
It is a hopeful three weeks and I regularly check my emails and voice mails for an answer. Ultimately, I rarely hear back from them -- even after several steps of the interview process. At first I took it personally, but have realized that completely disregarding people you were very courteous to three weeks ago has become the norm. I follow all the rules, including writing compelling cover letters, customizing my resume and composing subsequent thank-you letters, yet I end up with "radio silence" that is both deafening and frustrating.
Job seekers don't expect a response to every resume they send out, but if you are lucky enough to be invited in for an interview, I think most would agree they deserve some sort of answer afterward rather than being left to wonder.
Oddly enough, I've found that invitations for initial and follow-up interviews are quite expeditious, so I can only assume that once a choice is made (that doesn't involve you), you're off their radar for good. There is no phone call, no quick email with any one of the canned responses -- "Sorry, we're heading in a different direction" or "We've chosen another candidate, but thank you for applying."
After the promised waiting period, I naturally assume they have not selected me, but I am compelled to follow up and respectfully ask where I stand. Still my phone calls are unreturned and my emails are overlooked. What we job seekers see as initially being persistent, eventually feels like harassment when each inquiry gets no response. It's as if the company packed up and moved out.
I'm embarrassed that I have been reduced to politely following up every few days, but I cannot afford not to ask. I understand that my priorities are just that -- mine. I suppose employers do not have the time or inclination to be sensitive in this tumultuous economy, but it should not mean courtesy is pushed aside. They say the second best answer you can get while job searching is "no," but the worst is no response at all.
It would be good for all parties to be forthcoming with a truthful and quick response so everyone can move on. For 20-plus years, I've taken management and leadership courses, and what is constantly taught is professionalism, timeliness and honesty. This should not only apply internally but externally as well. I am not looking for a three-page dissertation on why I didn't get the job, but in this age of technology and automated emails, everyone deserves some sort of communication.
I suppose the hiring managers just don't care. So this is the reality -- and it's sad. The law of averages argues for putting lost causes behind you, moving on and pushing forward with other companies and opportunities. But as far as getting a response, I guess I'll never really get used to the sound of silence.