When it comes to recruitment, manners cost nothing

There was an article in the FT this week, all about the new recruitment trend of ‘candidate ghosting’.   Apparently, there has been a rise in people simply disappearing without contact after they’ve been offered a job.  Good jobs, too.

The comments underneath the article mostly blame millennials’ lack of manners, combined with the blind automation of companies’ recruitment processes.  “The tables have turned,” others said gleefully, citing stories of all those times their CV went unacknowledged.

Getting all philosophical for a moment, I just think life in recruitment is moving a lot faster.  It’s harder than ever before to keep up, especially when candidates can ‘Quick Apply’ for reams of jobs with one click of a button, and companies employ just one or two people to sift through hundreds of applications.

All this is why manners matter more than ever.  In a world where you can bark orders at Siri and Alexa without so much as a “thank you”, you’ll get noticed if you’re polite and you pay a bit of attention.  

That goes for both sides of the interview desk, by the way.

I worked in standalone roles throughout most of my HR career, meaning I was solely responsible for recruitment, grievances, disciplinaries, appraisals, rewards, payroll and anything else the directors decided had to do with ‘people’.  I’d usually have at least three job vacancies running at any given time, and my day would usually begin with an inbox bursting with applications I didn’t have time to reply to personally (I set up an automated reply instead).

At least once a week, someone I called for an interview would ask me to remind them what job they’d applied for, and what our company did.  Most people didn’t send a cover letter when the ad I posted specifically asked for one, while others would arrive late for their interview with no explanation. 

On the other side, as a candidate I’ve been through three-stage interview processes that involved a telephone interview, a time-consuming online test and a face-to-face interview, and then been rejected without a word (or at least, not until I followed up).  

In one case I was only offered a job I’d been interviewed for because I called to chase up what had happened four weeks after the interview took place (they admitted shortly after I started that they “hadn’t been that bothered” about appointing anyone).  In another I was told I wouldn’t get paid anything until I had worked at the company for over two months, leaving me with debt piling up.

Recruitment moves so fast, and so stressfully, that I think we forget how it feels to be treated like we matter. 

So the next time you apply for a job, take a bit of time to look at the company you’re contacting and check if it’s right for you.  Don’t just fire off a host of ‘Quick Apply’ messages without thinking about who you’re sending them to, and if you’re invited to an interview, turn up on time.

If you work in recruitment, take some time to contact the people who show genuine interest in working for you.  Keep them updated and offer useful feedback – and don’t conjure up shitty policies that leave them without pay or paperwork for months on end.

It’s all about basic courtesy, really.

There will be no blog post next week, as I’m away.  If you’re pining for my razor-sharp insights – and why wouldn’t you be? –  you can now buy a book full of them