Dear Evil HR Lady,
I’m a recent graduate of an MBA program. I was recently interviewed by a firm after spending 3 weeks getting documentation from companies I had worked with in the past. I was told the documentation was required just to start the interview process. This came as a surprise to other people who had knowledge of this company’s application process as no one had heard of this requirement before. Finally, I got all the documentation together and had a brief informational interview, at the end of which a second interview was scheduled. The next day I was informed that my undergraduate gpa was too low to be considered for this position (I had reported my gpa to them almost a month earlier, so this was not news to anyone) and the second interview was unceremoniously canceled. Naturally, I feel the firm was not being truthful with me, especially since I was an experienced candidate with a graduate degree and not an entry-level kid. I feel that road blocks were constantly being thrown at me for the purpose of disqualifying me as quickly as possible. I don’t mind being rejected for a job, but I do mind not being told the real reason.
This has grown very frustrating to me because this has happened before with other companies. Usually the company will just not contact me after an interview and not respond to any follow up e-mail or phone call. And I’ve recently heard that some firms claim to have a policy to not give any feedback on candidates. We need to know why we are rejected so that we can address these issues in the future. Why the secrecy? We put our heart and souls into these interviews. It seems the least a company can do is give us a good reason why we didn’t get the job. I hope you can shed some light on this subject.
Frustrated Job Seeker
This is wrong on so many levels. Now, for the record, there are darn good reasons why companies don’t like to tell you why you aren’t hired. “You weren’t a good fit for our culture” is a perfectly legitimate reason not to hire you, but if you happen to be in a protected class, you might think the real reason is your protected class status.
But, companies should not make any candidate jump through hoops that all candidates don’t have to go through. If your GPA was of concern (who does that? I mean, sure, for entry level jobs, but your undergraduate GPA when you’re finishing up an MBA?), they shouldn’t have interviewed you in the first place.
I really can’t tell you what is going on at that particular company, but I do think recruiters should (at minimum) do the following:
1. Tell candidates all relevant information. For instance, if the job is going to require lots of overtime, that should be laid out prior to the interview. That way, you don’t waste your time interviewing when you aren’t willing/able to work overtime.
2. Require consistent information from candidates. All candidates coming in for an interview should be required to fill out an application. This application should be the same for everyone applying for similar jobs. (Yes, you can have different ones for your sales force or your manufacturing team, but all sales people get the same form, all manufacturing people get the same form.) If you don’t–and you happen to require something different of someone in a protected class, you are in big trouble, Ms. Recruiter.
3. Have the decency to keep every candidate who comes in to interview informed. I know, I know, you’re busy. But, it does not take long to send an e-mail saying, “Dear Jim, Thank yo so much for coming in. The [insert position] has been filled. We appreciate your time and interest and will keep your resume on file for one year. Sincerely, Recruiter.” It took me less than 30 seconds to type that and you recruiters can keep it on file and just copy and paste and change the name and the position.
4. If a decision is going to be post-poned, let the candidate know that as well. “Dear Jim, We wanted to let you know that no decision has been made yet on the [insert position]. We still consider you an active candidate and will let you know when a decision has ben made.
Candidates want to know why they weren’t hired–and I think it can be valuable info to have–but I don’t advise handing that information out wholesale. Something as stupid as GPA should have caused an elimination long before the interview process began. But, candidates, listen up–I would be shocked if you ever get this info from a recruiter. But, you may get it from the hiring manager.
It’s worth a shot.