Visit Ask The Headhunter | October 7, 2003
Go to Ask The Headhunter web site

the insider's edge on job search & hiring™

What if employers had to pay for job interviews? 


Get the Newsletter!
** FREE! **

The Ask The Headhunter Newsletter is normally available only to subscribers via e-mail. Only a few editions (like this one) make it onto the web site.

If you'd like to get your own free, weekly Ask The Headhunter Newsletter, please sign up here!

-- Nick          

I just wanted to add to your history of the apparent rudeness that seems to be pervasive out there. I had a first and second round of interviews with a company recently. The second round involved four finalists meeting 12 employees over eight grueling hours. They said in mid-July that they would make a choice by August 1. I called the HR person on August 7 and got her voice mail. I said that I wanted to know their decision based on the timetable she provided and asked that she call me. On August 17, I e-mailed the hiring manager to reinforce my interest and asked if they had made a decision.

The next day the HR manager responded that they hired a candidate who started work the last week of July. She said that a formal notice would be sent to confirm this within the week.

August is over. There's been no notice. One of the other three finalists told me she has heard nothing at all. Are manners and simple courtesy totally dead?

Nick's Reply
The wait after the interview is perhaps the most clawing agony of the job hunt. Candidates appear on time for interviews; devote hours of unpaid professional time to an employer; and then wait patiently for a hiring decision by the promised time. Inevitably, a company ignores the timeline it committed to without any update or comment to the candidates. Why? Because candidates are free.

You could be bold instead of free. Send the HR manager certified mail with a copy to the hiring manager and the CEO: an invoice for your time.

"My time for our first interview was free, as it was an exploratory meeting. You requested more time for the second round of meetings, which I provided at no cost contingent on your company fulfilling its commitment to respond with a decision by the date chosen by you, August 1. You repeatedly ignored your own deadline,without notice.

"I am thus billing you for the eight hours of my professional time spent in the second round of meetings with your staff. As a professional, I would never dream of being irresponsible with the time of my clients, my vendors, or my employer. Time is money. I live by the deadlines I commit to, and I expect others to do the same. Anything less would be irresponsible to our industry and to our profession. None of us could operate with integrity if we ignored our commitments. This is not a joke. I expect payment within 10 days."

Does this seem extreme? It shouldn't. Is there a more polite way to notify a company that it has erred? Sure -- but you've already done that, several times. Every day, companies ignore these time commitments with impunity. Why is a deadline for a hiring decision any less important than a deadline to deliver a product to a customer? The company's ability to meet either deadline establishes its reputation. Yet, while companies worry plenty about dissatisfied customers, they don't give a thought to what professionals in their industry will say about them. A job candidate treated with disrespect can do as much -- if not more -- damage to a company's business as a dissatisfied customer. Do employers really think word doesn't get around?

Maybe hiring managers just assume that their HR departments handle all this stuff. But, just how accountable are HR departments? Does this company's public relations department realize that while it's spending millions on good press, the HR department is scuttling it? If you're a hiring manager, do you have any idea how job candidates are treated after they leave your office?

HR might explain that it takes time to process candidates, job offers, hires, and rejection letters. Tell that to your customer who cancels the order that's a month late, or to the prospect who's waiting for a sales rep to return her call.

The technology to keep candidates informed is there. The will isn't. Why? Because job candidates don't cost anything. Companies can get all your professional time they want, for free, without any obligation to you whatsoever. Fancy that.

What if employers had to pay for job interviews? Should you really send an invoice if they ignore their obligation? Good questions. Would it make any difference? It might, if you copy the company's public relations department and three leading industry publications. (Don't forget to add me to your list.) To paraphrase Arlo Guthrie's song Alice's Restaurant, imagine if 50 people a day sent interview invoices to employers. We might change the world.

This bad behavior is unbusinesslike and has just got to stop. I challenge any HR manager to explain why it's okay to ignore even an implied commitment to a job candidate. If your company shines in this regard, I'd like to hear from you, too. In fact, I'll gladly highlight your company in an upcoming newsletter. Respond here.

Wishing you better than you're getting,

Nick Corcodilos
Ask The Headhunter®

Click for book information

The book behind the newsletter:

Ask The Headhunter:
Reinventing the interview to win the job

"Got to hand it to you, Nicky baby! When it comes to the real world, You know the score! Nicky, You the Man! 5 stars!"
Mike Finn, on Amazon


Got interviews but no offers? Reinvent the interview to win the job.
More info

What is Ask The Headhunter?
Ask a question
Terms of Service
Who is this guy?

Custom editions of this Newsletter are available to publishers, corporations, professional associations, and schools.

Just ask.

Welcome to the Ask The Headhunter Newsletter, which you can expect to receive weekly in your mailbox.

Readers' Comments
Your column and book have helped me immensely. I was downsized twice in the last 9 months but found jobs based on your suggestions and at one point had 4 job offers in front of me. All of this because I went into the interview to "do the work."

Rick Stanley

What is Ask The Headhunter?
Since starting ATH in 1995, I have answered over 15,000 questions about job hunting and hiring... click here to learn more!

Ask A Question
If you have a question, send it to me. I can't answer every question I receive, but each week I'll publish a Q&A that I think everyone will find helpful. (Don't worry; I won't publish your name if your question is selected. Please note that by submitting a question you agree to make it the property of North Bridge Group, Inc.)

Did you like something you read here? Did my advice bug you? Is there a general topic you'd like to see covered? Have an idea about how to improve this newsletter? Please let me know.

Thank you for subscribing!

Nick Corcodilos
Ask The Headhunter®


This newsletter is copyright-protected. Please see notice at bottom of newsletter. Copying, posting on newsgroups, re-distributing, re-printing, and re-publishing are prohibited. However, you can purchase a license to use this content legally.
Just ask.


Visit    Ask A Question    Feedback    Subscribe   Cancel/Change: See bottom of email

Contents of this publication Copyright 1995-2008 North Bridge Group, Inc. All rights reserved. For personal use only.
Reprinting, republication or redissemination, including posting to news groups, is expressly prohibited. (You may share a copy, without altering it in any way, with a friend for personal use, but please ask friends to sign up for their own subscriptions.) Ask The Headhunter® and other titles are trademarks or registered trademarks of North Bridge Group, Inc. and Nick Corcodilos.

Terms of service & disclaimer. In brief: All information herein is offered as-is and without warranty of any kind.
Neither North Bridge Group, Inc., nor its employees nor contributors are responsible for any loss, injury, or damage, direct or consequential, resulting from your choosing to use any information presented here. Click for details.