Week three of how companies are showing their apathy for the customer.
4. Human Resources
Okay, think back to the good ol’ days and how you used to apply for a job. You probably did something like this: walked into the company, picked up or filled out an application, returned it with your resume, then a week later, called back to inquire about the status of the position and your continued interest. Remember when the last bit was cool? The supervisor would say to him/herself, “Hey, Steve showed real interest by calling back and following up on his application. This other guy didn’t. I think I’ll call Steve and schedule an interview.”
In today’s world you have to deal with a separate department initialed HR (And I’ll let you make up your own fun name for this department using these letters). Similar to the Customer Service Representatives, these people are the first line of defense between you and the people who really make the decision if you get hired. These people don’t make any decisions about your employment (unless of course, you get testy with them for being bureaucratic twits). The whole notion of being courteous and professional by calling back to inquire about a position (and maybe schedule an interview) is out the window. I recently spoke with an HR person and the person actually sounded bothered by the fact I was calling back. The attitude was: “Hey, we have your application; now leave us alone and we’ll get back to you if we’re interested. Okay? Bye.”
All right, I’ll admit, the words were a little nicer, but the message came through.
And don’t even think about asking to talk to the supervisor. That’s demeaning to the HR person. (Ahem, the whole point is to get past this person.)
Call backs lead me to my fifth point appropriately named:
5. Call backs
Have companies become so large or self-important or both that they cannot extend a little courtesy or professionalism to the people who want jobs? A simple phone call or postcard or email saying, “Tough noogies, better luck next time” would suffice.
Some do, I’ll admit. I’ve had several rejection emails, but most companies don’t bother.
If you are fortunate enough to have an interview with a supervisor and that person has to choose between candidates and at the end of the interview says, “I’ll call you tomorrow (or another day in the future) and let you in know one way or another” what would you expect? Yes, a phone call. No, if you don’t get the call on that day, you probably could assume you aren’t getting the job, but wouldn’t it have been nice to know for sure? Maybe your phone was broken or the cell tower had malfunctioned?
I mention this because you’re left hanging and hoping…especially with publishers.
Before all you acquisition editors start firing up the keyboard to email me about how big your slush pile is, hold on. As an author, I do understand. You don’t have time to send back rejection letters/postcards/emails to everybody. Some will and that’s great. Some will send a rejection back long after you’ve gotten published by someone else. (Yes, this happened to me. Twice. For the same book.)
Okay, I’m running long this week so I’ll finish up with Part IV next Friday. So I encourage you publishers to hold off on the smiting until after next week.
Please. I love you guys. I really do. And I’m not just saying that so you’ll publish my next book.