A reader writes:
When I receive resumes, I do one of three things within a week: 1) call them to set up an interview; 2) send a postcard that says we were impressed with their credentials and would contact them when a position opens up for which they are qualified (I really truly do this … I look through resumes already received before I start advertising positions), 3) send them a note or email (depending on how they sent their resume) to say that we appreciate their interest in our company, but we have decided to not offer them an interview. Considering how many resumes go out into the black hole at other companies, I feel this is a good way of providing feedback to applicants.
A few weeks ago, I received a resume from a candidate who indicated she was applying for a management position that she said she’d seen advertised that past month. She also indicated her qualifications and interest in applying for another position within the company as a Radiology Technician. We haven’t had a management position posted since December of 2010 (we prefer to promote from within) and she was, to my mind, applying for whatever she might be able to get. Add that to her cover letter being a rambling mess, and I sent her a note indicating we would not be offering her an interview at this time.
Today I received the following email:
“I had sent in my resume and cover letter to apply for the xray tech position you have open about three weeks ago. I am a certified radiology tech with Connecticut license and have worked in the clinical field for over 20 years.
I also was interested in the manager position you had posted for the same location as I have a degree and management experience as well. I received notification that I would not be considered for an interview. I have the qualifications necessary, and I was wondering if you could offer an explanation as to why I am not considered as I see the need(s) is/are still open.”
Do you respond to an email like this? It baffles me. I find it be kind of rude and actually think it makes me thankful that I declined to interview her in the first place.
Sigh. This is not the way that you ask for feedback after being rejected for a job. It sounds entitled and borderline adversarial, and — as happened here — it tends to make the employer glad they didn’t bother to interview you.
In any case, sure, I’d respond. I’d explain that you don’t have a management position open, and that you aren’t considering her for the other position because ___.
Now, let’s discuss what to put in that blank. If you’re not inclined to give her real feedback (and you’re certainly not obligated to), you’d say something like: “Because of the large response to our posting, we’ve had to turn away a number of highly-qualified candidates.” In other words, being qualified doesn’t automatically secure you an interview; there’s a sea of qualified candidates.
But you can also consider giving her genuine, substantive feedback — for instance, that you look to candidates’ cover letters to get a sense of their communication skills and hers didn’t strengthen her candidacy in the way you were seeking. Of course, be prepared for a defensive response, which sometimes happens when you try to give someone feedback, but that’s her problem, not yours.
And job candidates, make sure that your requests for feedback after a rejection don’t sound like this.