If you’re a job seeker and you’ve been on the receiving end of any of the disrespectful moves listed below, you aren’t alone. But take heart; smart employers are starting to recognize that an imbalanced job market doesn’t give them free rein to treat applicants poorly. Meanwhile, the faster you shake off the effects of these rude behaviors and move on to the next potential job, the faster you’ll get where you need to be.
1. Broken, inefficient or non-standardized application systems.
Most responsible employers ask for a resume sent as a Word file, a cover letter and possibly some supporting material like a collection of work samples or letters of reference. They ask applicants to send these by email or upload them through a simple and efficient online application system. Irresponsible employers expect applicants to download “submission apps” unique to the company, or navigate through broken links and labyrinthine online submission tools. If an employer expects you to apply by typing a hundred short answers into one text box after another, proceed with skepticism, and factor in the value of an hour of your time.
2. Long unexplained silences.
As painful as it may seem, it’s fairly standard business practice to respond only to resume submissions that pass through the first round of the selection process. So applicants should not necessarily expect an answer after submitting an application. They should, however, expect an answer after being called in for an interview. Job seekers invest a great deal of time, research, expense and travel in each interview they attend, and after making this investment, it’s reasonable to expect a response, even if just a simple letter of rejection. If the particular position or company is one that you’re especially interested in, you can (and should!) always check in with your interviewer after the fact. It’s not uncommon for employers to have huge numbers of applicants, so whether just a thank you or a simple reminder of your interest, don’t let them forget about you. Just be wary though, and red flag any potential employer who allows a post-interview silence to extend for more than a week or two, especially if they haven’t provided you with an expected timeline.
3. Unexpected wait times prior to interviews.
If you show up on time (five minutes early) for your interview, it’s fair to expect the same courtesy and timeliness from your employer. If you’re left idling in the reception area for thirty minutes, it means the company and the hiring manager aren’t showing very much respect for your time.
4. Rude or baiting interview sessions.
It’s never a good idea for an interviewer to ask questions like “Tell me five reasons why I SHOULDN’T hire you,” or “How old are you?” or “If you were a cartoon character/candy bar/80’s pop music star, which would you be and why?” Questions like these are baiting and demeaning, and they’re often asked on the pretext of testing a candidate’s flexibility and sense of humor. If you sense your interviewer is actively trying to fluster you, insult you or pass judgment against you, it may be smart to save your talents for a more professional employer who wants to hear about your qualifications for the job. Answer carefully and be sure to consider whether or not you think you’d fit in with the culture of the company before moving forward.
5. Unexpected and unexplained timeline shifts.
If an employer offers a timeline to a job seeker and the timeline changes, the job seeker should be kept informed. In other words, if a final decision is expected by the end of the month, and this deadline is pushed back to two or three months without explanation, the integrity and professionalism of the employer should be called into question. If you’re a job seeker and you’ve been left waiting by the phone, stop waiting. Resume your job search and move on. Find a position where your skills, commitment, and hard earned credentials will be given the respect they deserve.
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