Wednesday, September 6, 2017

I've Said This Before - Communication Is A Two-Way Street

The job application process is pretty standard. You search for potential positions that interest you on the job boards or though recruiters, and you submit an application along with your cover letter and professional references. And in going through these steps, through whichever channels you've chosen, you've effectively started the "conversation" so to speak. Which to your credit, should be step number one in beginning to demonstrate your communications skills. Heck, on any single list of personal characteristics and traits that are required by any given potential employer, communications is almost always a bullet. Look, there it is. I even highlighted it for you.
Personal Characteristics and Traits:
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team
  • Strong desire to build upon existing knowledge and experience
  • Exceptional interpersonal and relationship-building skills
  • Effective oral and written communication skills
  • Embraces continuous improvement 
So, here's where I'm going with this. How is it okay for the hiring employer to require you to have good communication skills, but they don't even communicate well with you throughout the application process?

How many times have you submitted an application only to receive an automated email indicating that your submission has been received? I know it's been received; I got a confirmation on the website.

How many times have you had a phone interview, and they end with, "we will get back to you in a few days/weeks to discuss how to move forward."? Do you ever hear back from them? Even if they decide to pass on hiring you, isn't moving forward knowing that they've passed on you? Wouldn't a follow-up call indicating that they have no intention to hire you be a step forward?

How many times have you had an in-person interview, and the interviewer gives you a business card and invites you to call or email with any further questions or concerns? Of course we all know they are expecting a thank-you email because somehow that's become the polite practice of the modern day interview process. But when you email them a thank-you and ask how you move forward, how come they only respond if they intend on hiring you? Don't you think a simple response to the thank-you would be another thank-you to the applicant for taking the time out to interview, to meet, to exchange information, to get to know another human being?

Please remember, an interview (like communication) is a two-way street also. Not only are you interviewing me for a job, but I am interviewing you to determine if your character is something I can work with. I'm also making a decision on if the environment is positive, if it's a place I can grow and feel comfortable asking questions.

I think some potential employers believe they have the upper hand. Because they are doing the hiring means that applicants need them as employers. Employers feel like that they are shelling out the cash so they are on top and control the situation. But remember, employers, without employees providing you services that you need - you are nothing but an idea without the resources to execute and achieve your goals.

So treat all your candidates well. Give them respect and the courtesies due to all human beings. Communicate with them so they aren't in the dark throughout the process. And give them a reason to continue to think of your institution as highly as they did when they first applied to serve you.

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