Q. After 15 years in an ex pat position in Europe, I’m interviewing for jobs here in Boston. After investing my time interviewing at an organization, several didn’t have the courtesy to even acknowledge my thank you notes or get back to me with an update on my candidacy. Is this lack of consideration and manners the new standard in the U.S. or have I just had some bad luck?
A. Business etiquette is vital for companies and individuals who want to succeed in the world. Your personal brand, or reputation of your organization, depends on how you treat people whether they are employees, customers, vendors or candidates; this is true anywhere in the world. Perhaps your experience has more to do with the changes in recruiting overall than which continent you are on.
Unfortunately etiquette is spotty as many people in the job search process can attest. Some companies are known for an amazingly professional and well-planned interview process, while others show up on Glassdoor as the place you interview for six hours with no offer of water or food, and no follow-up.
Expectations play a huge part in whether you are disappointed in how you are treated by a company or employee, as does setting the stage. Communicating your expectations about follow up after an interview is a must. Your comments would be along the lines of, “I really appreciate the opportunity I’ve had to meet with everyone today. What’s the best way to ensure we can have a follow up phone call? Can I contact you? Would it be easier to schedule a call through Bob, your administrative assistant?” Once a person commits to a specific method of follow up they are far more likely to make it happen. It also becomes easier for you to write a follow up email saying you wanted to make sure to connect as you had agreed, and to make sure you didn’t let anything drop in the process.
Every interaction needs a note of appreciation. Whether the person who made all the arrangements, or a single interviewer, each person needs a verbal thank you, and a written follow up. Companies should follow suit when an interview has occurred. Whoever led the process needs to be sure a close out call of thanks no offer, or thanks delay, or the best, a recruiting call with an offer happens.
Your expectations of yourself need to be in line as well. If you send a cold application, don’t expect an acknowledgment . If you upload a resume, don’t expect someone to be happy to take the call you make to ask if you did it correctly.
-Elaine Varelas, Managing Partner, Keystone Partners