In general I’m an optimistic person; a glass-is-half-full kind of guy. Really!! But I see a systemic societal problem now manifesting itself into corporate America. That is, common courtesy doesn’t seem to be, well, all that common these days and it’s diabolically creeping its way into the interview process – a trend I’d like to see wane as soon as possible.
In an effort to keep things simple, I feel that there are essentially two types of people. Those who make a reservation at a restaurant, end up needing to cancel and actually call the restaurant out of common courtesy and respect … and then there are those that simply never make that call. This example may seem a bit critical of what many might think of as a benign act (especially to those of you that don’t call) but therein lies the problem. It’s all about respecting others!
So, based on this philosophical construct of mine, here are some basics (in my humble opinion) that both parties should exercise during the interview courtship/process:
Those being interviewed:
• If you’re running late/lost for an interview, you call before – not after – the interview start time to let them know what’s up.
• If you’ve taken another job, you call every company that has you in the interview loop… immediately!
• If you never show up for an interview, just keep in mind that it’s a very small town.
Those doing the interviewing:
• If you have any sort of actual direct contact with a potential candidate (beyond an unsolicited email, receipt of a submitted resume, etc.) you absolutely owe them some sort of closure as a professional courtesy in a timely fashion – this is key. Being courteous sends a message to the community that your company cares and is professional. Because San Diego is a small town, doing the opposite simply advertises that you are not respectful so out of pure practicality, it pays to be courteous to applicants. Once again, this simply applies to those applicants that have had some direct contact with an existing employee beyond the receptionist.
• 48 hour rule – If you have a candidate that is actually in the process of interviewing (e.g. has done an initial phone interview, an in person interview, is waiting on a final decision or perhaps an offer letter, etc.) you need to let them know where they stand throughout the process. The key to relationships is that people just want to know what they stand. So be it good news, bad news, no news at all since last time you connected, you never leave somebody hanging for more than 48 hours unless you have specifically set the expectation for a specific future timeframe. For example, if you say you will let an applicant know by the end of the day, or the end of the week, what the status is, you need to reconnect by that promised deadline – even if nothing has changed or a final decision not reached. Often that call is difficult but you’d be surprise how many applicants will say “I realize this process might take some time but I really appreciate the update”.
TAKE AWAY – Simply put yourself in the shoes of the other party and you’ll likely project the common courtesy that such circumstances warrant. Also, try calling that restuarant next time you need to cancel and experience the appreciation at the other end.