Impersonal hiring practices means not taking rejection personally


As professionals starting out in our careers we are always taught to follow certain universally accepted parameters of conduct in the business world. These may include the golden rule and similar interpersonal behavior standards suggesting we treat others as we would like to be treated. Ambitious and competitive types are reminded not to trample on others during their ascent up the ladder. If fortunate enough to move onward and upward, bridge burning is generally not advisable.

Though there may not be any proof that following these guidelines is beneficial to one’s career; aside from a certain winning celebrity and his violent torpedo of truth tour, most of us are not bold enough to test the concept. Judging by the treatment most job seekers endure, it is clear that companies and their representatives involved with the hiring process believe they are exempt from these norms. Examples of boorish behavior and damaged employment brands are more abundant than erectile dysfunction pharmaceutical deals and Nigerian inheritance offers flooding our email spam folders.

Being that unemployment has reached and remained at historically high levels, it is possible that employers interpret that to mean there is no reason to show compassion and courtesy to those expressing interest in joining their companies. As long as the current trend of higher supply than demand exists, that may be the case, but it also may be setting the stage for long term and wider reaching challenges.

Over the course of my career as an HR professional I have long believed that the on-boarding and engagement of employees begins well before the requisition is opened, the job posting written and any candidates are sourced or screened. What I mean by this is that the organization owes it to its current workforce and any newcomers to evaluate and assess what exactly they are looking for and why – not just due to the present day needs, but for the future evolution of the business and development of their team members.

Instead of doing a thorough review of current vacancies and changing demands, most employers simply take the path of least resistance. Inevitably they base their search criteria on faulty inputs generating misalignment between applicants’ and hiring managers’ expectations. Likewise, many employers place poorly trained and even unprofessional individuals in positions of authority related to hiring which causes unnecessary grief for all involved.

While offering personalized job search coaching and customized interview preparation guidance to professionals of all levels from multiple industries, I’ve acquired several years’ worth of horrifying anecdotes about how job seekers are mistreated by prospective employers. The most common complaint is lack of response. Another universal problem is inconsiderate behavior by the interviewers who act as though they are doing the applicant a favor by speaking with them.

A typical interview process is predominately one-sided meaning the hiring company gets to find out as much as they need to know, but the candidate is made to feel uncomfortable for asking too many questions. Rather than a two-way conversation to exchange information and learn about each other, the job seeker is put through round after round of interrogation style interactions.

Even when things go well and seem to be favorable, job seekers are repeatedly discarded and dumped without any warning or explanation. They may consider themselves lucky to actually be told they are no longer in the running. However, most often they are either never contacted at all or are just given a generic and useless send off.

After plenty of these rejections it’s tough not to take it all personally. Though I always encourage people to keep moving forward and learn from what they did right regardless of the outcome.

The fact that many employers don’t effectively communicate what they are seeking, creates unlimited obstacles for job seekers to navigate. In most cases, even if they are an extremely qualified and skilled choice, the employer may not recognize their value or provide the candidate adequate opportunity to share what they have to offer.

It seems that it would be common sense not to overlook anyone’s potential to be a customer, client, vendor, reference or business lead. Yet time after time, employers are doing just that through their careless structure of candidate experiences.

Even though this is an unfortunate state of affairs, there is absolutely no reason for job seekers to take such a lack of interest personally. Rather, they should continue building their own professional brand to reflect the qualities that a deserving employer will treasure.

Article by Kelly Blokdijk ~ As a Talent Optimization Coach & Consultant with TalentTalks, Kelly thrives on “Creating a Voice for Talent” by partnering with business professionals and job seekers to build competitive career marketing strategies, customized communication materials and compelling personal branding campaigns to create a lasting positive impression. TalentTalks consults with the business community on innovative, leading-edge human resource and organization development initiatives to enhance talent management, talent acquisition, corporate communications and employee engagement programs. TalentTalks routinely posts employment market and job search related content on Facebook and Twitter – fans and followers welcome!

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