Business Miscommunication in the Job Hunt

A little courtesy can go a long way.

People looking for work are frequently advised how to go about applying. There is advice about how to put together a good resume, how one should research the company, writing a good cover letter, and on and on. Would that there were something like that for companies.

I am currently looking for work in IT so I am, once again, running into a common case of business miscommunication. About twenty years ago, I first saw companies stating on job postings that they would respond only to candidates they shortlisted. This struck me as being quite rude.

Why is it rude? Compare these two cases.

You are at dinner with friends or family. Someone next to you says, “Please pass the salad.” You pick up the salad and pass it to the person. The person says, “Thank you.”

You are looking for work. A company advertises a job opening and invites applications. You apply for the position. And usually, you will hear nothing back.

This is not very nice treatment at all.

Companies may justify it by stating how costly it is to reply to everyone. In these days of widespread use of E-mail, that just does not wash. It also has an expense. Since the expense is hidden, it may well not be considered.

They might also state that they said they would do that. So? Is something less rude because one said that one would do it? No, it is much ruder since it is obviously premeditated.

A job applicant does not exist solely when looking for work.

Suppose that I apply to Company A and do not get a response and to Company B which does reply. If someone asks me about the companies, I am not likely to mention Company A whereas I might well answer about Company B.

Company B could take advantage of the communication line to promote itself. I may well end up knowing more about Company B than Company A and having gotten some communication from them, I probably feel more favourably toward them. Maybe I or someone I know will end up being a customer or client as a result of some simple courtesy.

Another scenario is that I may have skills that do not quite match the position posted but still could be a good match for the employer. A company that does not allow for such communication is missing out.

I recently contacted a company on this basis and after a short conversation, I was told to apply anyway and that I would get a response. I submitted my application and mentioned the conversation. Later that week, I was invited to write their technical screening test. As this just happened recently, I am awaiting the results, but I might well not have had the opportunity had I not been able to talk to someone.

What if they do not hire me? Well, I will still feel that I was treated decently. That is called goodwill.

A little courtesy can go a long way.