As if the job search experience wasn't already filled with tension, now comes those wearied candidates who once thought they would be highly sought after once word of their availability spread. Many – unemployed for over a year and fueled by media doom and gloom in combination with poor job search skills – are at their wit’s end.
Even though many candidates attempt to maintain a game-face, here is what we are seeing:
- Demonizing employers. Following what they believe to be stellar interviews, candidates are becoming enraged staring at silent telephones, after being told when those headed toward a second interview would be receiving a call.
Unfortunately in an era when companies are buried in résumés in addition to increased workload demands created by a leaner staff, etiquette and civility are sometimes sacrificed. Your hire might be the least priority to the company putting out unexpected fires, and panicked job seekers are really becoming hostile. One frustrated unemployed accounting manager, who perhaps should have known better, was eliminated for consideration by a company who was made aware of his discussion regarding their bad manners. Unfortunately for him, he had been a strong contender.
- Interview after-show. For some reason candidates who either have not been invited back for second interviews or who have been notified that an offer has been extended to another seem compelled to return and secure a “why not me” critique.
Like American Idol contestants who perform and then expect commentary, candidates later approach those who have professionally rejected them wanting – and sometimes expecting – to be enlightened. Some approaches have been known to border confrontation. Because the herds candidates in job hunt have received so little training in its niceties, they don't realize how very little can come from an after-show approach. To avoid liability, companies will watch their words with former contenders presuming they make themselves available at all. When filling an open position employers have their own agendas, one of which is not to mentor those they decided not to hire.
- “Who you know” reality. Note to controller candidate: Just because my brother owns the company doesn't mean you now qualify for the quality manager position for which his vice president is recruiting.
Today’s candidates tend to apply sometimes unrealistic pressure to family, friends and company employees of prospective employers. They are looking to assume positions indicating they can be trained to do the job and expect someone to “get them in.” A personal or professional referral can do little more than put a name and résumé in an e-mail or on a desk. Beyond an introduction, nothing more should be expected. When approaching the executive recruiter community, remember that they will bill an employer a portion of a candidate's first year's compensation if hired by their client. To expect anything less than a perfect match from your candidacy is to invite disappointment. The recruiter community is getting a bad rap from those who don't understand how they do business.
Janice Worthington, MA, CPRW, JCT, is the president of Worthington Career Services, a resume and job search consulting firm that provides strategic career coaching to professionals at all levels of the corporate ladder. Janice works with The Ohio Society as a career coach to the membership, providing regular columns in the Society’s electronic publications and on the Society’s website.