Non-hiring Practices

May 1, 2013

Today I’m thinking about hiring practices.

No, I lie, I’m thinking about non-hiring practices.

I’m looking for work right now; and I have looked for work in the past. It’s something everyone does, now and again.

It is bizarrely standard, if you’ve decided not to hire someone, to simply never contact them again.

Don’t accept this. Don’t behave this way.

I could give arguments about how it benefits the hiring body to send a polite email explaining that an applicant is unwanted. It is beneficial — among other things, keeping in touch is a fundamental part of networking; it saves time sifting through future pitiful “is there anything else you need?” emails; it enhances your corporate image.

But here’s the real reason to do it: it’s the ever-lovin’ decent thing to do. People who are looking for work are stressed, depressed, and juggling a dozen applications. We need to know what efforts to attend to, and what to forget — who might call, and who can be scratched off the list. Not knowing is terrifying; every unresolved job application is a psychic weight, a steel ball-bearing we carry around in our skulls all day.

So, while I could cede that no one wants to be the bearer of bad news, I say that if failing to get a particular job is bad news, never knowing is an ulcer-in-progress.

And while I could cede that sending these notes takes time, I say it takes five seconds. Copy and paste the following three sentences:

Thank you for your application. I’m sorry to say that you’re not what we’re looking for at this time. Good luck in your job search.

That’s it. Reply/Copy/Paste/Send. 5 seconds. If they write back, then you can ignore, reply, procrastinate, delete — do whatever you want, then.

It is not merely rude but evil that anyone accepts a status quo of ignoring the unhired.

Are you part of a hiring process? Remove a burden from some poor soul. Take 10 minutes. Do it right now. You finished hiring last month? Doesn’t matter. This is like writing a letter to your 102-year-old grandmother — as long as the old bird lives, late is better than never.