This is consistent with the experience of my other outplacement and career coaching clients over the past year or so. Indeed this has been a growing issue for a few years but it now appears to be almost standard practice. Not that long ago I remember it being considered poor form for candidates merely to receive an automated response to applications. These would typically read along the lines “…thank you for your application. If you haven’t heard from us within the next 10 days please assume that your application has been unsuccessful”. Today, automated responses like that are approaching best practice.
In the past when I have discussed this with recruiters the impression I have often had is that it is not considered a major issue and that commercial pressures of time and cost mean that responding to all applications is not viable. I think there is a real issue here with far reaching implications for employers. It is creating a firm mindset among potential employees about organisations and business that is harmful to both. It includes beliefs that companies are exploitative, uncaring, ruthless, faceless and lacking in integrity. I see this is an underlying and almost unspoken assumption and attitude in many of my job seeking clients, and this is naturally exacerbated among those who have recently made redundant.
What are the implications? I believe this behaviour leads to a jaundiced view of organisations when people join them – which is not a great start – and which leads to candidates reciprocating with the same poor treatment and lack of commitment. In the wider picture I think it further diminishes people, their wellbeing and the climate of work and organisational life. This is not healthy for anyone.
Among that flurry of tweets, one follower sent me the flipside – what about a nudge to those candidates who don’t bother showing up for interview and don’t advise of non-attendance? From my conversations with hiring managers and recruitment companies this is increasing too. We need to ask why – I believe this is in part a response to the shoddy treatment many candidates have experienced for years from employers and recruitment companies. In many ways, poor candidate behaviour reflects, and is a symptom of, how they regard employers.
It must be time to turn this around. If you’re an employer or recruitment company, in future how about all applications you receive for a job you’ve advertised get, at least, an acknowledgment? If you’re a candidate how about you meet your interview commitments, or at least advise of non-attendance or lateness? Let’s pick up on consideration for others…
If you have experienced either side of this issue I’d be interested in hearing from you - email me at firstname.lastname@example.org