If you’re in an active job hunt, do you…

  1. Feel that you’re one ideal candidate for the job posted but baffled since the HR has not gotten in touch with you after weeks or even months?
  2. Feel frustrated by HR or recruiters not acknowledging your submission of CV and/or calling you back after you’ve completed an exam or interview?
  3. Feel that the hiring process hasn’t been improved despite that there are many technological advancements (e.g. for scheduling, checking of results, sending of automated response) companies can utilize?
  4. Feel that the HR should be more understanding, more respectful and more polite to make the effort to close the loop on the hiring process (even if it ends with a “No, thank you.”)?

 If yes, I say:

Hello there! We were on the same boat.You are free to express your concerns to the relevant online community to send this problem across to the right people and for them to act to solve the issue respectively.

Else if otherwise, you’re lucky to have met the very few of those courteous HR.

After having at least 20 interviews (most of which have reached the final stages already, just before the presentation of the job offer) and submitting nearly a hundred applications, a conclusion is formed: “Common courtesy is dead, and there is no denying that with many people applying for the same job posts today, HR just rolls with the start of their application process and never look back for negative feedback.”

How hard is it, really, to have a blanket rejection response that can let applicants off the hook?

I researched over the Internet and found many other people complaining about the same thing–about how HR screening and recruiting processes are unruly nowadays (not responding to followups as well). I have read through the generality of HR’s side and summarized the main points:

  1. They only engage with applicants they are really considering. If your qualifications have matched with the job posted, but if the clients don’t feel dead-on positive to get you on board, the recruiters won’t spend their time contacting you again. Another possibility is when they still need more time to find the right job for you, since they are impressed with your background but feel that it does not perfectly fit in with the job domain.
  2. They are reviewing many other resumes and cover letters; they don’t have enough time (or guts) to let down every candidate yet as not to close or burn the bridge between the company and the potential candidates. Their job of getting to piles of profiles every day is overwhelming, more so when they find out in the initial interview that what’s written on the resume is not reflecting how the applicant is portrayed in actuality. (OK. Why not add more headcount?)
  3. They are not ready to hire yet. They are still in the process of doing documentation and signatory approvals of line managers for the job intended to fill. The final hiring decision would be made by the top-most manager after having discussed upon and triggered by multiple levels of managers in one unit in one department. These professionals might be too busy on their own desks as well thus the delay.
  4. They think that everyone in the job hunt recognizes that not everyone wins and they don’t owe anyone an explanation.

On the other side of the spectrum, here are things shared by “sufferers of anticipation”:

End the wonder, please. Indeed, giving or receiving bad news is never comfortable, but it’s better to take uncertainty out of the question. Like what’s mentioned above, HR can use auto-responders which can automatically send out a generic email saying that they have received the resume and thank the person for his or her interest.

If the candidate is unfortunately not chosen, HR can create and send out another generic mail to imply that the job has been filled, apologize and/or maybe inform the candidate that his or her profile will be maintained and kept in the company’s database for reference for future job opportunities. They can put the letter of rejection in any way with decency, to counter ignorance. They can also send an automated SMS message, at least, to tell them that they did not make the cut.

Customer service, including the way an employer or the HR treats job applicants, is one matter rooted to the company’s culture. Empowered by company policies, the HR function reflects how employees own and take their responsibilities as part of the organization. They should note that these applicants would always have tools and venues to bring out their experiences out, and they might cause great damage to an organization’s image in the marketplace if their concerns regarding the “gateway” of employment is not addressed.

I leave you, for the moment, to ponder other implications of this conclusion.

Update: I work now with the largest retailer company in the Philippines, the “best of the best” retail team in the Asia Pacific region (started since June 4, 2012). I got a project with HR and had the opportunity to ask them for feedback regarding this issue. They said the reasons why they don’t contact unqualified candidates are exactly those I mentioned above. So, what do you think?


Health and technology freak. Food and lifestyle blogger with a large appetite for food and travel.

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24 Responses

  1. Ralph Marcuss

    Ang swerte ko naman at di ko na experience ang ganyan pero parang gusto ko rin maka experience yung mag apply apply tapos mag antay ng matagal.\

  2. special education philippines

    I am really enjoying your posts. It saddens me to know that common courtesy is disregarded by HR personnel. It is sad when you are left hanging or made to expect something that will not happen. It also stalls you from taking action. But is it possible also that it is because of our culture? We’d rather not confront the issue head on because we are afraid that we may receive retaliation from disgruntled applicants? So we stay quiet and hope that they get the message somehow?

    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Good thoughts there. Yup, culture can be one of the factors of their way of response. Filipinos, like many Asians, are non-confrontational. They feel like it’s the polite way of saying no, mainly to save their faces. But in a professional setting like this, they should not think that applicants can wear Mdm Auring’s hat and just foretell what the hidden message means.

  3. Kenneth Ravida

    I experienced that on my OJT days, waiting for the call that didn’t came, and it frustrate me to the bones. And make my teeth gnash. and I have to pay for new requirements for another prospect, its really frustrating

  4. RonLeyba

    HRs can make or break the company’s image. I think they must taught how to handle all kind of situations much better in a right, courteous and polite way.

    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Yeah, since they are the first people who applicants interact with, they serve as the windows or the gatekeepers of the company. This means that the way they respond holds crucial value on how applicants would think of the company at large.

  5. jsncruz

    Solid post, and harsh but true. I screen potential applicants too (for my department) and honestly, I never read cover letters. If an applicant can’t fit his/her cover letter in a tweet (140 characters), no chance at all especially in our industry 🙂

  6. Robi

    Rejection is part of the learning process and when it subsides, reinforce the process by acknowledging weaknesses and assess them so it can be better done in the future job haunting. However, there are some HR personnel who fail to follow the proper courtesy maybe because they are too much pressured and or being pushed to deadlines or just simply they don’t care at all. So far, I’ve met a lot of awesome and beautiful HRs — lucky me. 🙂

  7. che

    This could also be true but maybe we can also think the side of the company. Getting an automated system just to do this response thing entails expense for the company including the hiring of an employee to do this. Their reputation? One will not apply for that company if he knows that it has bad reputation.The company’s just saying that they don’t need to prove it.

    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Yes, an automated machine may be an expense but they can always reach out through sending an email. Creating a template for everyone who didn’t make the cut is quite easy.

  8. falz

    Nice article, too bad I didn’t experience this kind of situation because I’m a fresh grad. 😀

  9. EarlPablo

    I encountered HR asking irrelevant questions to me during the time I job-hunt. They’re ridiculous! I conducted job interviews and I’ve got of questions ready before the interview date. Anyway congrats for being hired.

  10. Gemma|My Dailies

    I go for the more applications, the merrier! I just focus on what I really want, and try to like what is out there for me, so I get to have my mind off HR people not contacting me yet! LOL!

  11. Orly Ballesteros

    I hire people and yes I am guilty in some of the things you mentioned. However, the juggling of different tasks make sometimes being courteous impossible, But this is done because of busyness not to the intention to offend people.

    • Rochkirstin Santos

      I now have learned that that is true indeed. I’ve seen how our HR are really busy people and they cannot manage to finish everything at once but in due time.


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