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C++ and 5 years’ relevant experience? Don’t call us….

C++ and 5 years’ relevant experience? Don’t call us….

Posted on 19th November 2014

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The advert looked brilliant.  C++, clearly hinting at substantial experience, preferably gained in the special field in which you have been working for, ooh, let’s see, yes - six years, that should be enough – doubly brilliant!

So you apply, full of enthusiasm.  And wait. And wait a bit more.  And a bit more… But you hear nothing, zilch, nada, sweet Miss Adams, nowt, sod all…   And, unsurprisingly, you think, ‘sod you’. Or possibly ‘you sod’.

I make no apology for the slightly risqué language/expressions above.  When you have been looking for a job, possibly your ‘dream’ job - the one you’ve been seeking for what seems like half your working life - you would be less than human not to feel even a bat’s squeak of disappointment when your carefully constructed application doesn’t even make it to first base.

A career spent in recruitment should have inured me to all the bad things that happen in this business, but this basic lack of courtesy is an increasing issue.  Rage is only one of the emotions that I’ve seen regularly from candidates who have been spurned by an employer with a job they coveted.  At the back of the mind is the unspoken fear; did the employer even receive the application?  Tears are, sadly, not infrequent.

Although it shouldn’t be like this, in reality it most definitely is. Research from the USA suggests that well over one quarter of applicants don’t even receive an acknowledgement of their application, and over three-quarters of applicants didn’t receive any reply from at least one prospective employer in a year.   I am sure that it’s much the same here, if not worse. 

There is a simple philosophy I believe all good recruiters should have: treat others as you would like to be treated yourself. Politeness costs (virtually) nothing.  A modern ATS can send an automatic acknowledgement: it might be obviously impersonal, but it’s at least an indication that your application has arrived.  Similarly, automated technology can send those dreaded “I am sorry to inform you” letters, which, while not what you want, are at least communicating the decision that has been made.

Even allowing for the wonders of automated, standard replies, the fact remains that many people simply do not receive any communication once they have made their application, or even after an unsuccessful interview (other than the standard ‘sorry to inform you’ letter).  Moreover, this lack of communication between companies and candidates is now starting to affect the relationships between candidates and recruitment professionals generally, and that’s to no-one’s advantage, as I shall explain in the next part of this blog… (to be continued)

Andrew Finlayson, Associate Director, Be-IT Resourcing


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I couldn't agree more. There really can be no excuse for not acknowledging an application in these days of email. In the past I have applied for senior managment positions (in one case with a small social organisation that boasted on its website how well it interacted with its clients), not received any acknowledgment of my application and been told that 'we are too busy to reply to everyone' when I rang up to enquire. My first reaction in this kind of situation is that I would rather not work for an organisation that treats potential employees so badly (especially as they often require you to apply using their forms only, so you cannot send a CV etc, but have to re-type it all). Secondly, as an employer myself, I try to ensure that I treat any applicants with respect, and also that none of my business goes towards such firms. This basic lack of simple courtesy and respect is simply wrong and we should be doing everything we can to discourage it!
Posted on Thursday, November 20, 2014 07:28 by Mike Winiberg

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