Friday, November 30, 2012

Pardon me ma'am, your ingratitude is showing.

Having just wrapped up another season of campus recruiting, with all my college Seniors hired and ready to start their careers upon graduation next summer, I thought I’d take a minute to discuss something that has become an increasingly underwhelming trend. 

Everyone knows that after your interview, you’re supposed to send a thank you note.  If you aren’t aware of that (or worse, if you are aware of that and still don’t do it), you may as well stop reading this right here and go back to some of my more remedial articles about the basics.  Following up with a thank you note and a phone call are often a deciding factor in who gets hired.  Period.
I’ve seen and heard many people debating whether the thank you note should be emailed or hand-written.  Quite frankly, that’s not even a debate (Sorry if that offends any of you who are old school, but it’s the truth!).  EMAIL IS THE WAY TO GO. Once you get an OFFER, then you can send a handwritten thank you note.  Heck, then you can send them a fruit basket for all I care.  But UNTIL you receive an offer, time is of the essence, and snail mail is good for nothing other than holiday cards and things like the Penny Saver (that place you may be looking for your next job if you’re not learning the Art of the Interview).
BUT that’s not what troubles me.  What I’ve noticed more and more lately is the complete lack of follow up from candidates once they find out that they WEREN’T hired.  The truth is, right now the job market is tough.  So, companies can only hire a certain number of the candidates that get interviewed.  That’s not the hiring manager’s fault, the recruiter’s fault or the candidate’s fault (that is, if the candidate did his or her best in the interview process).  It’s a BUDGET and TIMING issue. 
I’ve been in the talent acquisition space for quite some time now, and I can tell you that many companies don’t even bother with (or forget) to send a formal rejection email or make that tough call to tell someone they didn’t get the job.  Those emails and calls are tough to make!  So when you get that email or call, make sure you’re thankful…and be sure to let them know you appreciate the opportunity.
I’ll give you an example.  I recently had to share the news with dozens of candidates that after multiple interviews, the hiring manager opted to go with another candidate.  <<CRICKETS>>  No response from any of them - that is, except for one guy who we’ll call Jordan.  Upon receiving the “Thanks for interviewing, but we unfortunately decided to hire someone else." email, Jordan immediately took the time to thank me for  my time, reiterate both his desire to get into the industry and his admiration for the company.
BINGO!  I get these emails from time to time, and these candidates are always at the top of my list should anything else come up.
In corporate America, things change all the time: there could be a need to increase headcount, the person who accepted the offer you were hoping for could change their mind, someone could get promoted or resign.  Any one of these things could happen TOMORROW….and they often do. 
I’m not a gambling man.  In fact, I think I’ve only bought about $10 worth of lottery tickets in my entire life.  But you can bet the farm, when one of these events does occur (and they almost always do), Jordan and others like him who take the time to do this will be the first ones I call!
I know that I preach “attitude of gratitude” a lot.  Consider this just an extension of that.  Even when you don’t get the job or promotion you really want, taking the time to show some thanks will ALWAYS make an impression on whoever is on the receiving end of that.
Until next time, best of luck in your career endeavors!

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