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Mailbag: Job seekers want respect

Aug 31, 20043 mins
Data Center

* Recent newsletter about how companies can improve communication with job applicants strikes cord with readers

A recent newsletter about how companies can improve communication with job applicants struck a chord with several readers. The biggest complaint is that submitted resumes seem to disappear into a black hole, never to be acknowledged by the hiring employer.

Deborah Cain of MITECH+ in Midland, Mich., says that regardless of whether job seekers submit resumes by e-mail, fax, snail mail, or online, employers should at least confirm receipt.

“I have sent out hundreds of resumes and heard from maybe 20. Most of those were thanks but no thanks,” she says. The former network analyst was downsized from a Fortune 500 company three years ago and finally landed as a job as an office professional, but hopes that with time employers will see her potential for project management roles. 

In the 20 months that he has been unemployed, Craig Kensek says he sent out 700 resumes in 2003 and is afraid to count for 2004. He appreciates it when employers get back to him, even when the news isn’t good. Kensek recently received a snail mail rejection letter letting him know that there were other candidates being actively considered. “But the letter was actually signed! I felt like sending them flowers and was thinking (somewhat like Sally Fields), ‘They like me, they really like me!’ even though it was a rejection letter.” He also received an e-mail rejection letter from a high-tech firm with the boilerplate [insert candidate’s name here] and [insert name of position here] brackets left blank.

Another reader who wishes to remain anonymous says that in consideration to HR folks who have to deal with a flood of resumes, he no longer applies for positions unless he is a great match for the requirements. However, he says companies still have a responsibility to treat potential employees with basic consideration and respect.

This reader is frustrated by companies that don’t acknowledge his resume and finds a way to strike back. When the big Fortune 500 firms call him to switch his long distance, pitch their box to his client base or consider anything they have to offer, he asks many in-depth and intelligent questions about the product. “After ten minutes or more, depending on the discussion, I ask them to have their HR department call me.  When they ask why, I tell them I have unfinished business that must be addressed before I can consider anything they have to offer.”

He also considers using alternative products rather than ones from companies that fail to respond to him. “In fact, there are some of those companies I now and will continue to refuse to do business with,” he says.

Next week, we’ll hear from a few more readers who have other sources of discontent regarding how they’re treated by prospective employers.