Leadership / Management | Organizational Development | Training & CPE

The worst thing a hiring manager can do? Nothing.


I've seen a ton of these types of headlines lately:

Judging from the number of hiring managers who are lining up to tell their "They did WHAT?" interview horror stories, a lot of job candidates are doing a lot of really stupid things during interviews these days.

I've got news for you, though: There are hiring managers out there who are doing some pretty stupid things, too.

I know someone who's looking for a new job -- advanced degree, tons of experience, smart, well spoken. The kind of person who'd be a terrific addition to any team. In the past few months, this person has been to two separate job interviews, both of which progressed past what Mia Wallace would call the usual getting-to-know-you chit-chat. Second interviews were conducted. References were checked. Hopes were raised.

Since then, this job seeker has heard ... nothing. And when I say "nothing," I mean shear, utter, mind-numbing silence. No rejection. No we're-expanding-the-search-so-stay-tuned. No updates of any kind. Weeks -- no, make that months -- have gone by, and the people in charge of hiring for these positions haven't bothered to write a simple e-mail. "Thanks but no thanks" would do. It's not great, but it's better than the big load of nothing this candidate has received so far.

In the interim, this person also received an unsolicited e-mail from a head-hunter who practically begged for an interview. The candidate responded with a set of dates and times that would work for the interview. And then ... nothing. Again.

Are you kidding me?

Look, I understand that you might not want to hire me. I can take rejection. My skin's pretty thick. You've decided to hire someone else? To go in a different direction? To extend the interview process to a wider population? Fine. But for God's sake, tell me. Don't tell me you're hoping to make a decision in a couple of weeks and then never call me back.

That'll just make me angry. And you wouldn't like me when I'm angry. I have a big mouth and a whole bunch of social media accounts.

See? Treating your candidates like dirt is more than just rude and stupid. In a social world, it's also dangerous.

Let's be clear: I'm talking about a minority of hiring managers here. Most do it the right way.

Those who don't, though, would be wise to remember that the rule is simple: Be nice. Be honest. Be human. Treat others the way we would like to be treated. We learned that one in grade school.

Funny how those childhood lessons are sometimes the ones adults need to learn the most.


Bill Sheridan