Friday, 2 September 2011

Get a Life....

In her excellent blog a clearly frustrated Libby (a recent CF graduate based in the US) asks the following:

I’ve always been told that after receiving rejection letters, phone calls,etc… that I  should contact the company via email or a phone call and ask in a polite manner what I can do to improve my interview performance or what would make me more employable… I do this after every rejection. I have only received a reply once offering constructive criticism and advice. Why is this? Why only one reply?

Libby is absolutely right to be annoyed.  I always advise people – however senior – to thank the interviewers and ask for any feedback and strongly believe this is the right thing to do when you have invested time and energy in any interview process.  Frankly, I find it impossible to believe that anyone is really too busy to spend three minutes typing out a quick reply: do you?  Maybe the people ignorant enough not to reply are the same people who bore us to death on twitter about how there isn’t enough time in the day/week/month/year etc, etc...Perhaps a time management course could help although I guess they are much too busy/important for that so maybe just some basic manners could suffice?

In recruitment it is sometimes quite amusing observing how situations/people change.   Going back to the often used car salesroom analogy, I appreciate that most people want to just buy a new car, not become best mates with the salesperson at the showroom – and this clearly applies to the recruiter/jobseeker relationship.  

However for me it should be different!!!  For those who don't know me I am a great guy: incredibly charismatic, witty, intelligent, attractive and look great in a fake leopard skin thong 'posing' on the beach.  Therefore, naturally I am incredibly popular (if somewhat deluded) and so most people I know professionally want to be my friend (although not at the beach, surprisingly)....However, hard as it is to believe, some people I have dealt with on a professional basis can be just plain rude when they secure a role and never again have time to take my call.  Of course, when they are then looking for a new role again we are best pals in their eyes....But I don't forget.  Ok, I don't keep a little black book and a wide selection of voodoo dolls (well,  maybe just a few) but often for more experienced people I am asked about their personal characteristics and in discussions with Line Managers their inability to maintain a relationship is always noted.

It is no coincidence that the best and most successful people in my sectors - many of whom I have dealt with for years - make time for all their contacts.  I guess this is networking.  One Global Head of Investigations I have known for 10 years calls me maybe once a month just for five minutes to catch up on the industry gossip and I know he actively maintains other relationships not directly relevant to his daily job.  In terms of our relationship why wouldn't he stay in loose contact as he knows that as a recruiter in his area I often have access to information unavailable elsewhere.  It is human nature that whenever he has asked me (or anyone else in his network) a favour I don’t hesitate to make the time to help.

Going back to Libby, I look forward to the day when she is running a successful Team and treats all people – not just those who can help her short-term career - in the correct way.  By doing this she will reap all the professional benefits and, more importantly, do the right thing by treating people correctly.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Great post David, I agree completely. It's not only foolish not to spare a few minutes a week replying to emails/taking calls from students looking for placements or other enquiring for vacancies, it's a false economy. Although my reply to such enquiries is always "sorry, no", it does no harm and is more likely to sustain your name and your brand in the long term.

    As with almost everything in life it works both ways. Earlier in the year I spent a long time on the phone with one recent graduate, gave him advice via email on one of his first cases, and met him for a coffee when he was in town. Soon after, I asked him a small favour, he said he be happy to oblige. After a couple of weeks I'd heard nothing back. So I reminded him, and again he said it would be OK. It's now 4 months and he still hasn't responded. The upshot is that if anyone asks me about him (I get asked this sort of question often) then I will have to tell them the truth about my experience and in all likelihood he will then be overlooked for that project/job. Very basic lesson; you reap what you sow!