As someone who has embarked on the job hunt I’ve been amazed at the way technology has changed the process. It’s so easy for a prospective employer to hide behind an e-mail — how inhuman the whole exchange can be is fairly disconcerting. On the flip side though, the companies and people who take the time to have a conversation or respond, truly do stand out. For what it’s worth here is a NY Times piece that ruminates on the same subject:
Not too long ago, a magazine in Manhattan invited me, by e-mail, to interview for a job. After meeting with me, the managing editor and the director of human resources asked me to take home the standard editing test and return it ASAP. I dutifully obliged.
And then I waited. One day. Two days. A week. A month. Two months. Three … well, you get the picture.
Not only was there no word on whether I would be offered the job — nobody at the magazine even bothered to e-mail me to say that my completed test had been received!
Back in the good old days, people used to duck your phone calls. Or just not return them. But in this, the electronic era, a whole new brand of disdain has come into vogue. The age of the e-snub is upon us.
I have grown weary of this kind of “dissing.” People who seem to go blind, mute and limp when all you are seeking are a few keystrokes in reply. Prospective employers whose computers appear to crash when asked to give something resembling a definitive answer, one way or the other.
Annoying e-mail messages plague all of us, but those of a more legitimate nature are surely deserving of a simple reply. Unfortunately, basic e-courtesy is in short supply. So, having been burned in the past by e-boors, I decided that enough was enough. The magazine had left me in limbo. I was going to have my revenge.
Sitting down at my computer one morning, I e-mailed the managing editor to say that I had happily accepted the job. More specifically, I wrote that I was “delighted to learn that I will be joining the editorial team!” I went on to say that “the salary and vacation are fine and I will report for duty bright and early Monday morning.”
Whereupon, after the prolonged cold shoulder I had received, I was immediately bombarded with urgent e-mail messages, accompanied by the online equivalent of bells and whistles — the red exclamation point. Urgent messages were left on my answering machine, demanding that I call Human Resources at once. It was just too delicious.
When I finally did call back, the H.R. director was beside herself. “Who authorized this?” she demanded breathlessly. “Who was it that told you? There must have been some mistake. Nobody cleared this with me. I don’t get it.”
“Well,” I said sweetly, “I spoke to the editor in chief and he told me I’ve been hired, so I’ll be there first thing Monday. And, let me tell you, I am truly excited about joining your team!”
“But … but … but …” she sputtered.
Finally, I let the cat out of the bag.
“Listen, lady,” I told her, “when you ask someone to come in for an interview, take a test and physically return it to you, and you can’t be bothered after three months to let that person know where he or she stands, much less acknowledge even receiving the test back, you are nothing but rude, thoughtless, unprofessional amateurs.”
Huffily, she started to give me the stock speech about “our hiring procedures,” until I abruptly cut her off with the appropriate barnyard epithet. Then I barked: “Do you get it now? Well, do you?”
Meekly, she conceded, “Yes, I get it.”
No, I did not get the job. But there have been other satisfactions — most notably, the kudos of other slighted job seekers when I relate the tale. Having been subjected to similar indignities, they tell me they love it, absolutely love it. In fact, it’s been something on the order of a collective cheer.
[via NY Times]