Tag Archives: HR

Remember to Thank the People Who Help You Out in Your Job Search

I have always been a huge advocate of helping people. Whether I am doing it for friends, family or complete strangers, I am always willing to lend a hand.

Recently, I have received a lot of calls and emails from people in the industry looking for PR work. Some are just out of school, some are looking for a career change and sadly, some have been laid off.

Having been out of work for over a year in 2009, I am more than happy to offer any assistance in that department. I know how important connections are and how beneficial networking can be, which is why I don’t think twice about giving back. Help was given to me when I needed it, so I like to think I’m paying it forward.

Recently however, I have found that acquaintances and people who have reached out to me because they are connected to me personally or professionally have zero appreciation for my help. Now don’t get me wrong, my close friends don’t fall into this bucket, but I find it so hard to believe that anyone that offers you help or that you look to for guidance  (especially someone you don’t know all that personally) doesn’t even bat an eye when you’re giving up your time for them.

For example, a guy I work with asked if there were PR openings in my department and if I could assist his friend Cindy with some leads I might be aware of. I was happy to help. The girl reached out to me and I sent her names of recruiters and some background info. I never heard from her again.

A former colleague asked if I could help a family friend apply to a media program my company was hiring for. She reached out to me and I submitted her resume along with a recommendation (it turns out she was also an alumna of my alma mater). I emailed to let her I had done the paperwork and gotten her resume to human resources. I also reached out to the man I used to work with to give him an update. Neither acknowledged my contribution.

A few months ago, a friend reached out to me to see if I could help her friend in his job search. I sent him some listings I knew of from PR groups I was a part of and also some tips on what helped me with my job search. He fell off the planet. When I told our friend, she seemed surprised, but it didn’t make a difference.

Look, I don’t need to be thanked for every single thing I do (hello, I work in PR, one of the most thankless jobs out there), but if you don’t know me, and if you do, but not really all that well, show a little appreciation that I went out of my way for you. I know people’s situations change and life is hectic, but you should never burn bridges. I learned that early on in my career. If someone is willing to take time out of their schedule to help you in a job search or anything else for that matter, make sure to recognize their efforts. It’s really not hard.

So to all you folks who are “networking” and “connecting,” don’t forget those that are trying to help you. It’ll go a long, long way.

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The Curse of the Internal Candidate

Have you ever been the internal candidate? You know who I’m talking about…the employee who is in line for a promotion or moving on the next level at their company. It’s really great for staff morale when companies promote from within; it shows a sense of loyalty and commitment to employees, but it really sucks for the folks that are applying for those same jobs and have no idea the gig has already been promised to someone else.

I completely understand hiring someone from the inside for a new position. They likely have more knowledge on the product, client or brand; they know the style of the company, office and its co-workers; and they’ve probably already been doing something similar to the job at hand for a period of time. It’s great when a corporation moves an assistant to a managerial position. Not only does it show their faith in the candidate, but it lets other employees know they can move up the ladder too.

Now on to us job seekers. It’s so unfair when we apply for a job and get called  to an interview when the job has already been given to another person. As you’re sitting there interviewing, the office manager is ordering new business cards for Johnny Appleseed, who accepted the position two weeks ago. I don’t understand the laws behind posting jobs that have been filled and I certainly don’t think it’s right to put unemployed people through the hassle and disappointment of an interview.

It takes work to interview, much less apply. You prepare, you prep, you research. You write a cover letter, sign up for the company’s job posting/HR portal, divulge your salary history.  You also take time out of your day, maybe find a babysitter for your kids, spend money on public transportation or gas. Either way, you are making an effort and the people interviewing you know all too well that Johnny starts next week and they’re just killing time with you because they have to.

I wish there was a way that companies could just let job hunters know which positions are truly available to them and which are not. It’s a waste of time for HR, recruiters and those of us looking for work. Why put anyone through the hassle of applying, let alone interviewing, when there is no hope for them? Don’t we have enough hopelessness in the job market already? There is zero reason for posting a job that is already promised to someone else. Perhaps a new law, clause or disclaimer can be created on these postings to save everyone some time, energy and frustration. Maybe something like, “Please note – this job has already been awarded to an internal candidate.” Point blank.

The Poorly Written “Form Letter Thank You” From Potential Employers

I am not a huge fan of form letters. Maybe it’s because I am a communications person, but I appreciate the personal touch of being thanked or recognized for something. Otherwise, I almost don’t want to be noticed at all.

I’m not talking about thank yous from friends or family. That ship has sailed. I’m talking about the form letter job seekers get from potential employers when they apply for a job or actually make it through the interview process, either through email or actual snail mail. Can you believe that, some of us actual get rejection letters and thank yous for applying via the U.S. Mail? Now I think that’s a nice touch, even if you are rejecting me.

I don’t mind the automated email informing me that Employer A has received my resume,  my background and qualifications are being evaluated and if I am suitable match or fit, that I will be contacted. What I do mind, is when Employer B sends me the thank you for interviewing with our company email, “It was pleasure meeting you and you were an outstanding candidate, but we have chosen to move in another direction. We will keep your resume on file for one year in the event your skills match another role in our organization.”

Really, you’re going to contact me when my experience matches another job in your company? Has any company ever done that for you? Similar positions open up all the time at companies you and I have applied to, maybe even interviewed at already, but no one ever gets that call saying, “Hey, Jane, this position opened up and it has your name written all over it!”

Maybe it’s some human resources law that says these companies need to send these types of correspondences to folks. And I understand, I really do, and I am not trying to sound bitter, I just think there is a less fake approach, shall we say, to go about this. Tell job seekers to keep looking, not that you’ll find a match for them; we know you’re not going to reach out to us if some keyword matches something on our resume with a job at your company; you must have a million resumes on file! Don’t sell us that short, please!

And while we’re on the topic of selling us short, take a look at the email below which I received this summer from an organization I applied to telling me I was not the chosen candidate. Not only was it not personally addressed (undisclosed recipients!), it left the “insert position here” empty and in plain sight for me to see!! So HR professionals, CEOs, hiring managers, whoever sends these emails and letters to those on the job hunt, please take note, have a bit of compassion or don’t send anything at all. Sometimes no news better than any news at all!

To: undisclosed-recipients

Thank you for the opportunity to interview you for the $(customtext1} position. It was a pleasure meeting you.

Although your credentials and work experience are most impressive, another candidate whose qualifications more closely meet our needs has been selected.

Your interest in this position is appreciated.

How Can I Apply for a Job Online When Your Site Doesn’t Work?

I have been applying for jobs for the last few months. It’s not a fun process. Sometimes I do it through a job site such as Hotjobs, Careerbuilder, Monster; the “Big Three” as we call them here in my household. Other times, there is a direct email address where I can send my resume and cover letter directly to the employer and/or their human resources department. Finally, there is the online site in which companies make you use their online employment portal to apply for job. Sometimes you cannot even get an interview even when someone wants to meet with you without going through this type of system. I hate online employment portals. Here’s why…

I’ve read what I need to apply for said job. I have the qualifications and materials needed to move forward in the application process. I go through the 25 steps it takes to sign up, sign in and register with the company in order to apply. Nine times out of 10, I have to fill out my job history and also paste or attach my resume. I think this is a waste of time because if you are going to read my resume, why am I spending all this time filling in boxes that you can read on the database anyway. I usually have to attach or paste something or I cannot move forward with the application, so why reiterate my entire job history? In addition, sometimes I am asked for samples of my work, but I am only permitted to attach one document…my resume. Make sense? Doesn’t to me either.

I can recite my resume and past job experience by heart. I have filled it out so many times on sites such as these. I understand they may be helpful to human resource professionals by weeding out those of us who don’t exactly match the job description. But does anyone even read what is written on those sites? Or what about how it says this will be helpful in matching you with other opportunities that come along? None of this ever happens. Who knows, maybe this is all true and I am just a pessimist. 

The reason I am writing this piece is not so much because I have to do double the work to apply for jobs on an online portal. I am writing it because I get frustrated when these sites don’t work. I have spent countless hours signing up on these types of sites, from the NJ Department of Labor to large and small corporations throughout the U.S. to job listing sites such as the ones I mentioned above. The problem is, you spend all this time filling in boxes and information and when you get to the end, it doesn’t take. Messages like, “Your request cannot be processed,” or “Invalid submission,” things that don’t make any sense to you because you were careful to fill out everything just as your were supposed to. All the formatting and character counting, it doesn’t stick or take and you’re back at square one by no fault of your own. You can press “back” on your computer, you can call a human resources specialist at a company (but at that point, you are hoping to just get their email and send your resume directly!) or throw your hands up in frustration and give up. I have done all three!

It’s hard enough to find a job in this economy. Even when it wasn’t so bad, it’s still not fun looking for a new job. But to add insult to injury, those of us looking for new gigs are left with wasted time and a failed chance at applying for a job that we might be the perfect fit for. I ask, employers, please make sure your online application sites work. Listen to the messages we leave on your voicemail about it. You are probably losing out on some really great, talented applicants because your systems don’t work properly. And that is a great shame for us all.