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What an (un)eventful couple of weeks we’ve had in recruiting! So many exciting positions open. So many unreturned messages or uninspired responses. And even a few interview no-shows.

So, I have to ask the question – What’s going on out there? We’ve tossed around different ideas at the Intero office:

“Maybe it’s because it’s the end of summer.”

“Maybe it’s generational.” (I’m looking at you, millenials)

“Is it specific to certain industries?” (I’m looking at you, marketing and sales people)

“Haven’t you heard of people suddenly losing their sense of smell? Maybe these candidates have suddenly lost the ability to dial a phone or send an email.”


The No-Shows

I’m hearing similar stories all over the place right now. One super awesome peer of mine recently had seven interviews scheduled in a week and not one person showed up. NOT EVEN ONE PERSON OUT OF SEVEN.

In another example, a friend of mine took the train from Philadelphia to D.C. to meet with a candidate. He waited for an hour at a restaurant before throwing in the towel. Totally frustrated, he called me to vent and said, “What is wrong with people?”

Who would have ever thought that a simple statement like, “Thanks, but I’ve decided I’m not interested,” would be so very challenging for seemingly intelligent and capable people? I think it begs a larger question.


When Did it Become Okay to Not Follow up?

We’ve all been there before; an email goes unanswered for too long, or you say you’ll follow up and the week gets away from you. Or someone sends you an InMail on LinkedIn and it takes you awhile to respond. (You all know that I’m big on responding to InMails). But that’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about people actively engaging in a discussion about an opportunity and then totally dropping out of the conversation.

I’m not sure when it became okay to not follow-up. In fact, it’s not okay! Call me old school, but in this age of technology and virtualization, there is still really basic business etiquette that should be followed:

  1. Do what you say you’re going to do. Be a person of your word. I’ve worked with a lot of professionals over the years and the ones that are most successful, and most sought after, are the ones that do what they say they’re going to do; whether it be sending a request to Connect on LinkedIn or submitting work before a deadline. People want to know that they can trust you and depend on you.
  2. Close the loop. Maybe you’re worried about being rude or disappointing a prospective employer or business partner, so you choose wishy-washy language that doesn’t properly convey your message. Maybe you don’t know what to say so you don’t say anything at all. Either way, you’re leaving someone hanging; someone that is counting on you for information. I much prefer candidates that are upfront and honest about an opportunity, about compensation, about why they’re looking for a new role. It tells me that they’re a person who knows what they want and they’re going after it; even if that means that my opportunity isn’t what they want.
  3. Follow up after an interview. News flash: Sending a thank-you, via mail or via email is still very much a part of the interview process. If you have decided to skip this step, you are rendering yourself totally forgettable against other candidates that have the sense to put minimal effort toward building a relationship with their potential employer.


Your Follow-up Should be Substantive and Accurate

And then there’s the problem of receiving a follow-up that is half-hatched, full of errors and totally uninspired. At Intero, we like to give our candidates an assignment. It’s a simple assignment whose only requirement is a bit of analytical and strategic thought; maybe a paragraph or two with some ideas and then an outline of the process. Simple enough, right?


One person sent us four sentences, no substance. Another person sent us two paragraphs, full of grammatical and spelling errors. It’s difficult to imagine a scenario where this type of nonchalance is okay; it’s not okay when you’re a student; it’s not okay when you’re an intern and it’s most certainly not okay when you’re applying for a job.

Why is this becoming the norm? I really don’t have the answers. But again, I feel it’s important to restate: In this age of technology and virtualization, there is still really basic business etiquette that needs to be followed.

  • Do what you say you’re going to do.
  • Close the loop.
  • Follow up after an interview.
  • And make sure your follow-up is substantive and accurate.

The business world is changing. Communication is changing. Courtesy is not.


Share your thoughts and experiences with us, in the Comments section! Do you have any theories on why we’re experiencing these challenges in recruiting?

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