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Do employers ever say "No Thank You"?

Doing rounds of interviews currently, do employers get back to you in a cetain time frame, if you don't get the job, or assume you take the hint? I have heard nothing from employers after interviews given more than 3-4 weeks back, and I am kind of left lurching in the dark.

anon
Tuesday, March 18, 2003

In my experience it is rare for them to call you unless they want to hire or reinterview you.  I have gotten very few 'No Thank you's" in my career.  Some people say you should follow up with an is-there-anything-else-you-need type letter after a few weeks, but just as many people say you shouldn't.  Your call.

Don't let it get you down.  Keep at it.  It will happen.

Good luck.

Ran
Tuesday, March 18, 2003

The only "No Thank You" I've received is from a company that actually offered my a job but then had to eliminate the posistion because the company went bankrupt.... my luck

apw
Tuesday, March 18, 2003

It happened once that I didnt hear back for weeks and weeks, and then I called back I got the BS about people in charge of hiring is out of the office and such. I took the hint, and accepted another job offer I had (this was back in the day when job hunting was as easy). When the first company finally got back to me I declined their offer, and said they had taken too long getting back to me.

When thinking about it, I would never accept employment at a company that showed such lack of intrest in their would-be staff. Chances are they handle their staff with the same lack of intrest.

Patrik
Tuesday, March 18, 2003

My gut tells me (though I have little experience to back it up with) that taking the initiative yourself wouldn't be bad. You have nothing to lose by trying. Give em a call. Don't nag them, of course, but you give them 3 or 4 weeks, call them.

Mike Swieton
Tuesday, March 18, 2003

Usually it's just a don't call us we'll call you. But I have received letters stating that they chose not to hire me. I always thought it was to cover their ass on some obscure hiring law.

Ian Stallings
Tuesday, March 18, 2003

Ian:

It is my understanding that nearly all companies say that they will call the interviewee, and as you say, it's usually a 'we''ll call you' policy. But: is this actually the case? Or is there a gulf between the stated and followed policies?

Mike Swieton
Tuesday, March 18, 2003

I have tried calling up one place, can never reach them, so left a message, but no responses.

anon
Tuesday, March 18, 2003

I deal with about a hundred job appliccations a month (all teaching jobs). I reply to every single candidate, parlty because it creates a good impression which might be conveyed to another more sutable candidate, and parlty because it will sayve the time of dealing with a follow up query. It does appear I am in a small minority though.

If you've been interviewed they should get back to you, but many don't; lack of common courtesy is ofteh the reason, but it could be that they are either waiting for your hiring to be approved, waiting for the job position to be approved, or, the most likely scenario. they have offered the job to somebody else but he hasn't decided.

I would definitely get back to them. In most secnarios it won't make any difference, but in the last one it will remind them you're stilll around and may clinch the job.

Stephen Jones
Tuesday, March 18, 2003

Although the norm seems to be NOT to tell people when they didn't get the job, my feeling is that it is good etiquette to send them at least a form letter telling them you're not interested.

On the other hand, given that the current employment situation means that there are many people out there who send out hundreds of resumes, and many companies receive hundreds of resumes a day, I think it's fair for companies not to respond to unsolicited resumes.

On the third hand... it's very important for job candidates to remember that the people who are interviewing them are busy people for whom hiring is a distraction. It is VERY VERY common for these people to simply be too busy to respond to a candidate, negatively OR positively, and in these situations the candidate really SHOULD call back. There's nothing wrong with calling back once or even twice if you haven't gotten a definitive answer. There's a VERY good chance that they liked you, but they have been too busy putting out fires to get you hired. Many people are like GUI applications: event-driven. They only do things in response to external events. So if you call them, this might be all it takes to get them off their duff and get you hired.

And fourth... I'm very tempted to implement a policy that candidates for Sales and Marketing positions do not get hired UNLESS they call us back to try and sell themselves, on the theory that if they can't sell themselves, they can't sell our products. Every experienced sales guy knows that persistence really works, and until you get told explicitly to buzz off, you should keep pinging politely. In practice this policy would work like this: we interview all the good people, tell them we'll be in touch, make our decisions, and only hire the people that call us back to ask for the job. (It's called "asking for the sale" in sales and it's salesmanship 101). This would not apply nor would it be appropriate for programmers or techies, of course, and in fact, it's not like we have any openings for sales and marketing, so this is all just my random dreaming.

Joel Spolsky
Tuesday, March 18, 2003

>> Or is there a gulf between the stated and followed policies?

There is a *vast* gulf between stated intentions of companies and what they actually do in real life.  This is a good time for a pointless rant...

It's always seemed to me that HR departments are really into hazing candidates and treating them like s*it just because the talentless HR hacks working in many companies get off on exercizing power over others.
The emotionally correct (but unconstructive) attitude to take is  to be pissed and resentful, because they do mean to put you down with a smirking "we hire for excellence so if we didn't contact you, you must not be excellent". In real life the way HR people treat candidates would be as though the person in front of you entering a store just let the door slam in your face even though they know you're right behind them.
I hate HR departments and I hate personnel people, or at least their operational role and they way most treat candidates. In fact, I hate anyone in business who covers their ass with "higher authority" negotiating stalls. Business excels at exalting haughty human pieces of excrement.
I guess, accept the reality that rudeness is designed into the system, don't let it get you down overly (even though it truly is someone else's negative value judgement of the correctness of not dealing with you) and press on.

Bored Bystander
Tuesday, March 18, 2003

>You have nothing to lose by trying. Give em a call.

Sometimes, it's better than that:  The guy they picked just turned them down.  They feel sad.

The phone rings, it's you asking for the job.  They say "hey, yeah, Bob - let me give your resume another look.  Do you know VC++?  You do?  How long have you been coding in it ... three years? When can you come in to interview?"

I actually had an offer like this, when I was in college, for a chinese food delivery job.  Granted, the difference in selection for those two jobs is vastly different, but you get the point ...

Matt H.
Tuesday, March 18, 2003

My experience has been that, employers do:

1.) Send you an email saying you were good but yada yada yada..

2.) Call and let you know within the specific time frame mentioned by them.

3.) Send a letter.

Generally, the HR/ Recruiting co-ordintaors do this.

Prakash S
Tuesday, March 18, 2003

How does one go about doing it if the contact in the company never answers the phone?All you get is voicemail.

anon
Tuesday, March 18, 2003

Anon,

If all you get is voicemail, chances are all their customers get voicemail too; which means soon enough the company will not have customers, which makes it a bad company to work for anyways.

Im sorry; I dont mean to add insult to injury here, but if they behave like this, chances are they dont treat their staff well either.

If I were you, I would try to find another place to work for.

Patrik
Tuesday, March 18, 2003

I got a "No thank you" call from a great firm (trading; not IT) , but they do not interview many people so it must have been their culture. I think a good company that actually does a face to face interview will respond with a "No thanks" call,email, or letter. Even in this market talent is scarce if the company is doing something creative.


Tuesday, March 18, 2003

If a company interviews you, but doesn't have the decency to tell you within a reasonable time frame that you didn't get the job, be glad you aren't working for them. 

Companies will receive 100s of resumes, but none of them will interview 100s of people unless they are rapidly expanding (which is rare in this economy). So they can bloody well afford to take the 2 seconds to put your name on a form letter or email.  Having you spend the time and energy to be interviewed, then rejecting you without acknowledging you afterwards is a blatant disrespect of people's time, and if you were hired they would continue to treat you like crap.

T. Norman
Tuesday, March 18, 2003

If I were in charge of hiring at a company, I wouldn't send a "No Thanks" letter to every yahoo who sends me a resume either; zero effort deserves a zero-effort reply.  However, I think ignoring those who carefully craft their cover letter as if they're really interested, who call or otherwise follow up, and in general who go above and beyond just sending a resume, is poor manners to say the least.

And if ABC Corp. doesn't consider manners important, at least it ought to consider that those job seekers may one day have other jobs where they'll be in a position to recommend for or against dealing with ABC Corp. and its products/services, and they may well base that recommendation at least partly on how ABC Corp. treated them in the past.

Kyralessa
Tuesday, March 18, 2003

Actually, today's Onion tackles this very question:
http://www.theonion.com/onion3910/job-hunting_tips.html

' Be aggressive: Don't be afraid to call a potential employer every few hours and say, "Is there an opening yet? How 'bout now? How 'bout now? Now?" '

But seriously, when I was looking for a job right after college, I ended up in a game of phone tag - potential employer leaves an enthusiastic message after job fair, I get their voicemail and leave a message. Like an idiot, I let them take a week to get back to me - which they did, and I ended up getting the job.

And yes, their reaction time was a real sign of a disorganized company, but I certainly could've done worse. But I suppose, if I had called them back earlier, the only difference would've been that I'd have started work a few days earlier. 

GersonK
Wednesday, March 19, 2003

I'm sorry I don't agree. Aggressiveness is a swift way to having unreturned calls. Let's face it, who wants to take a call from an axe wielding homicidal maniac (to continue the jocular theme of the article – and yes, I did spot it was in fact satirical).

It is quite important to differentiate between aggressiveness (“WHY HAVEN’T YOU CALLED ME?”) and assertiveness (“I appreciate you have been busy, but I *need* a response about x”).

Obviously you can be increasingly more assertive dependent on the situation.

Justin
Wednesday, March 19, 2003


Things have changed over the last ten years or so... my personal opinion that this lack on the part of potential employers is merely the backlash of the political correctness movement - the concept that it is OK to lie, or be rude, or even ignore someone completely because the ultimate goal is not to hurt someone's "feelings".  Being a wimp is the in thing.

Joe AA
Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Hmmm... backlash...

A lot of what is called 'political correctness' is simply common decency.

A lot of people who whinge about 'political correctness' are simply chafing against any restraints being placed on their rudeness.

It is *impossible* to turn a polite person into a rude person by asking them to conform to a set of 'politically correct' expectations.

A polite person, confronted with a set of 'politically correct' expectations, will at least stop and ask themselves: 'Could it be that I have blind spots in my concepts of common decency? I say my aim is to respect others' feelings, but could it be that I've been unconsciously picking and choosing whose feelings I will respect?'

If, having done this, there are still expectations with which the polite person disagrees, they will respond by complying anyway, or else by challenging those expectations.

No polite person will respond to these expectations by abandoning the concept of politeness altogether and adopting rudeness because they decide that politeness is just too 'wimpy'.

Anyone who responds that way was rude all along, and was just looking for an excuse to let their id off the leash.

Fernanda Stickpot
Wednesday, March 19, 2003

I'd be more impressed if they even said "Thank you" once in a while. Expecting them to write a letter is a pretty forlorn hope.


Wednesday, March 19, 2003

I think the time has changed. A decade ago, I had recevied a lots of thank you 'love letters' from companies. Now not many  are there who bothers. Could be few reasons, including  teaching what is the practical world and do not show  or promote unnecessary  sympathy and reflect the world as materialistic.

Artist
Wednesday, March 19, 2003

On the subject of saying "thank you":

In the past two years, I've interviewed five local high school seniors who had applied for admission to Yale.  Not one sent me a thank-you note afterwards.  I've been letting it slide, but I'm changing my policy.

From now on, I'm going to wait ten days before I file my evaluation.  The presence or absence of a thank-you note will have an effect on my recommendation.

Alex Chernavsky
Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Dear Alex,
                  Why should they say "Thank you". As far as they're concerned you're only doing your job. In general it is the person interviewing who thanks the person who comes to the interview for giving up his time.

                      And on another note, who would be a better student at Yale. The person whose opinion of his ability was so low that he felt really grateful that Yale even thought of him, or the person who reckoned that it was Yale who ought to be thankful he thought of them? The latter might be the more obnoxious socially, but he's a lot more likely to be the better student.

Stephen Jones
Thursday, March 20, 2003


When I use the term Politically Correct, I am not talking the difference between politeness and rudeness.

I am addressing the mandate that sets me (read you) as having total responsibility for the "feelings" of others, and exempting people... either individually, collectively or those belonging to some arbitrary group as needing to be protected from this basic responsibility for themselves.

It is a childish and not an adult view of social relationships.

Joe AA
Thursday, March 20, 2003

Stephen,

Regarding your first point:  I did some Google searches, and I confirmed what I already knew -- namely, that it's considered standard practice for an _interviewee_ to send a thank-you note to the _interviewer_.  This is true not just for college applications but for job interviews, as well.

As for your second point:  I'd like to see my alma maters populated by students who are not just gifted academically, but are also gentlemen and gentlewomen -- people who respect and live by the rules of polite society.

(Incidentally, I don't mean to imply that a thank-you note is a "make or break" item, but I will certainly take it into account when writing my evaluation.)

Alex Chernavsky
Thursday, March 20, 2003

Joe AA, sorry for the misunderstanding.

There also seems to be a mindset that giving a "No" answer where a "Yes/No" answer is expected, is somehow "rude".

E.g. some people say they have no intention of following through on a commitment, but they said yes "just to be polite" and will cancel at the last minute.

The rationale being that they'll upset someone by telling them something they don't want to hear. What these people are really afraid of, of course, is upsetting themselves.

Not that that's got anything to do with HR departments' behaviour, of course. I think they just don't give a toss.

Fernanda Stickpot
Thursday, March 20, 2003

Dear Alex,
                I have attended dozens of jobinterviews in my life, and on the other side of the table, interviewed dozens of people. I have never sent a thank you letter when the interviewee, nor received one when the interviewer. Possibly I should interview more Americans, or may be your interviewing style gives people more to be thankful about :)

                  In my opinion a Google Search will turn up a skewed set of data. Any site that thinks it unnecessary won't show up.

                  Sending a thankyou letter doesn't show someone is a gentleman; it merely shows he has been told he's supposed to send one. And thinking back to the time when I was applying to university there simply wasn't time to waste on non-essential tasks.

Stephen Jones
Thursday, March 20, 2003

It's not merely about "Thank You", but about having enough respect to not keep people hanging.

As an interviewee you don't necessarily have to give a "Thank You" note just for having the interview, but if an offer was made and you didn't accept it, you would at least reply to the employer that you are not taking the job - not just leave them guessing.

Similarly, employers should have enough respect to inform rejected interviewees that they didn't get the job, whether they do so on the spot or via phone, email or snail mail.

T. Norman
Thursday, March 20, 2003

So maybe that's the answer.  If an employer calls with a job which, for whatever reason, we have no intention of taking, we should say, "Thanks, let me think about it and I'll call you back."  And then we never call back.  And after every employer gets its fill of this, maybe they'll clue in to how rude it is to interview, say they'll call, and never call.

Kyralessa
Thursday, March 20, 2003

Well I'm still waiting to hear something back from the employers where I had given interviews, just leaves me very very frustrated in the job hunt.

anon
Thursday, March 20, 2003

"And after every employer gets its fill of this, maybe they'll clue in to how rude it is to interview, say they'll call, and never call."

What would probably happen, is that they'll realize it's not necessary to call back in situations like these, because after all interviewees don't call back. And hey, just calling back wouldn't make them good employers, it would just mean someone told them it was 'polite' to call back. And if the interviewees don't have time to waste on nonessential tasks, and they're unemployed, why should the employers? ;-P

I say this with my tongue firmly in my cheek, of course; but the unfortunate fact remains that responding to rudeness with rudeness never converts the rude. It just makes them think they have an excuse to be even more rude.

Fernanda Stickpot
Friday, March 21, 2003

You're right, of course, but it's still nice to think about.

Kyralessa
Friday, March 21, 2003

When hiring, I've followed these guidelines:

I don't reply to unsolicited mail unless it's to set up an interview.

At the end of an interview, I promise to be in touch if I'm able to move forward. In other words, don't call me, I'll call you.

I respond politely to follow up calls, but it rarely influences my decision. The exception is with inexperienced developers: initiative is valued, but not as valued as experience. With an inexperienced prospective hire, I'm looking for technical follow up: if you take note of the topics we discuss and spend fifteen minutes with Google, you'll stand out if you follow up with an email.

When job hunting, I always follow up. It has never, to my knowledge, gotten me a job, but it has helped me figure out my chances with an employer. YMMV.

--
http://www.braithwaite-lee.com/tips/audition.html

Reginald Braithwaite-Lee
Monday, March 24, 2003

Hmm. As it happens I was not talking about saying "thank you" for attending an interview, more in general. Like, you work your skin off your fingers to get something finished in time for a completely unrealistic deadline and all they say is "Well, I wanted this button to be pink, and it would have been nice if you could also have implemented all these features that I thought about but couldn't be bothered to tell you about until two days before the deadline." Essentially I was saying that if companies are not prepared to treat their current staff in a polite manner, what makes you think they give a monkeys about the people who have only been for an interview?


Tuesday, March 25, 2003

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