Don’t Burn Bridges in Your Job Search

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When in need of something to blog about, turn to Twitter. There is so much being Tweeted, ReTweeted and linked to, it’s sort of fascinating…

Anyway, while sifting through Tweets this afternoon, I came across a link to a great blog posted on BrightMove, a provider of Software-as-a-Service applicant tracking and talent management solutions.

Nanci Lamborn, the blog’s author, wrote about an applicant who effectively ruined his chances of getting hired, despite his impressive qualifications. It touched on some things we’ve talked about recently, like employers getting back to you, the “resume black hole” and the things employers consider before deciding to go forward with an interview.

Lamborn talks about how she was sorting through hundreds of applications and sending out a quick reply that basically said, “We got your resume; don’t call us, we’ll call you.” (Much more professionally, obviously.) She assumed this was better than hearing nothing at all, but it seemed that one applicant did not agree.

The subject line of his e-mail was one word, which I can’t republish in its entirety, but I’ll give you hint: “BS!” Lamborn paraphrases his e-mail nicely:

“Please allow me to paraphrase the flipper’s dissertation (my editorial commentary in italics for your amusement): I know your position isn’t real (then why did you email me?). You posted it to cover your arse. And schmucks like me trying to support a family waste allllll this time and energy responding to the job, only to get a BS reply like this (so writing this reply isn’t wasteful?). Why don’t you have the decency to call and tell me if I’m seriously a candidate or not? (Maybe since I’m not Superman I cannot effectively screen 528 resumes in 36 hours?) I am sorry for being so unprofessional (Oh, um, thanks?), but I am perfect for this job (Sure you are! Why ever did I not see it before?). I keep getting responses like this, and you high and mighty HR jerk offs deserve a piece of my mind. (…crickets… I got nothin’…). You better hope this Karma doesn’t catch up with you (Why, did he apply too?). Best Regards, Mr. Nicely Wonderful, Managing Partner. (Managing Partner of what, Psychotic Inc?). There was more, quite a bit of it. But his point is made.”

The worst part is, Lamborn notes that this person was actually pretty qualified for the position, but due to his less-than-appropriate bedside manner, she decided against moving forward with his candidacy.

The way some people behave in their job search never ceases to amaze me. Read Lamborn’s full blog here to learn a few lessons and see how she responded to the situation.

What would you have done?

37 Comments
  1. Pingback: Don’t Burn Bridges in Your Job Search « Customer Service Jobs

  2. Seriously, I kind of agree with the guy. I am so sick of employers being disloyal, chewing me up and spitting me out, maybe it was good for her to hear that. At least she read that email.

    I understand he ‘hurt’ his chances of being hired there, but what are we all supposed to do anyway? Be little timid yes-men and women who will do anything to work for people who post jobs then can’t be bothered to sift through the applicants.

    Sorry to say, but despite conventional ‘wisdom,’ hats off to this guy–someone should hire him for telling that woman off at the risk of his own ‘career.’

  3. Another great way to burn bridges is to do what another person did. He excpeted a job and then the Friday before he was supose to start on a Monday, he called and declined the job. This was not a case of getting a better offer from another company, but just changing his mind and staying unemployeed.

  4. Burning your bridges when interviewing can be an all too common error. Job seekers sometimes can focus on the negatives without taking stock of the positives, for example, if you were interviewed the company must have seen enough on your resume to spark interest. That is good news because you can bet hundreds more werent even brought forward to interview stage. If declined practice your interviewing and remain professional at all times.

  5. This is just sad – no wonder this guy is still unemployed! What happened to respect and professional courtesy? Glad he didn’t get the job. There are plenty of qualified – and respectful – unemployed job seekers out there.

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  12. Personally, I thought the comments in the parentheses were just as unprofessional as the frustrated applicant’s.

    I think this job market has led employers to treat applicants inappropriately. However, if they do it during the application/interview, they probably do like-wise if they employ you.

    The interview process is a two-way street–the applicant evaluates the company and vice-versa.

  13. I can see the frustration in their writing.
    They are trying and know they have nothing to lose since they already aren’t being taken seriously. To mock someone seeking a job isn’t too kind when you have one. Maybe one day you will be out there just like they write and “Karma” will be your resume sent out to hundreds of jobs that you are more than qualified for to be taken on the rollercoaster ride of maybe, maybe I’ll be working soon, maybe I’ll finally be able to pay off these student loans going into default, maybe one day I can use my education and experience in a rewarding environment.

    Maybe instead you’ll find your frustration posted on a website and snickered at for its enthusiasm and true words. I don’t fault this person, they were honest and since when are people not supposed to have a bad day.

  14. I agree with the guy and Katherine and Any Professional and Me. The temerity of your comments about this person’s frustration were completely inappropriate. I am an unwilling professional in the “job market/job hunt” and common courtesy simply does not exist. Consider yourself lucky you are employed and try to have just a shred of human decency and empathy.

    Employers invite our contact when they post job openings. Have the most basic courtesy possible and reply to each and every job seeker who thought YOU were worthy of consideration. Do not use the excuse of work load; expect the work load and hire some temps.

    “The way some people behave in their job search never ceases to amaze me.” The way people like you, in your profession, act with such complete and callous disregard never ceases to amaze me.
    Frank

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    • There are plenty of qualified – and respectful – unemployed job seekers. Job seekers sometimes can focus on the negatives without taking stock of the positives. Job market has led employers to treat applicants inappropriately. Need to education and experience in a rewarding environment.

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