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No interview follow-up is poor practice

By Saima Asad, March 14 2017 —

For many students, university is a means to an end — and that end is getting a job. This endeavour is difficult in many ways, from creating that first application to attending the final interview and then waiting to hear the results.

We’ve all been in the situation where we put hours into a job application, rejoice at getting the interview and spend days preparing. But at the end of the interview we hear, “we’ll let you know either way in a couple of weeks.”

So we wait, regularly changing our interpretation of what they meant by “a couple of weeks.”

Sometimes that waiting period never ends. Finally, the start date for the position rolls around and you’re left to accept the fact that you did not get the job. What can make the situation worse is when you didn’t even get a call to follow up and tell you why they went with a different candidate.

It’s poor business practice to not follow up after a job interview because it takes away the candidates’  opportunity to learn from the experience, especially when an employer has explicitly told a candidate that they would “follow up either way,” effectively promising to give a conclusive reason why one candidate was a better fit.

For many students seeking employment, whether it’s summer, full-time or part-time, their plans for the future are based around the decisions of employers. Applicants deserve to know their rationale as to why they were not suitable, so that they can work to better themselves in hopes of becoming a better candidate. Calling or emailing to inform someone that they did not get the position is an employer’s obligation. Simply letting someone know is the least they can do, and letting them know why is one step further.

The time we spend applying for jobs during our university careers can be a transformative experience that helps us hone our job-seeking and interviewing skills. Getting that feedback from employers is essential to guiding our development.

Unfortunately, many employers simply forego this process, leaveing rejected candidates in the dark to figure out the results on their own. The waiting period can be gruelling and stressful. While it is difficult to hear that you did not get a job, it is much better than hearing nothing at all.

Sometimes, employers just say, “we’ll let you know,” as a courtesy and don’t seriously think of it as a commitment to giving you feedback. To prevent getting left in the dark, ask how you will receive this feedback, as in will it be a phone call or email, to imply you are expecting this seriously. This not only shows you’re excited to hear from them either way, but that you value what they have to say.

In the end, sometimes hiring managers may simply want to avoid conflict. No one wants to be the bearer of bad news. This isn’t acceptable or a good thing, but it’s understandable. If an employer can’t be trusted to take the hiring process seriously and understand how much an interview means to someone, they might not be someone you want to work for, anyway.

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