Simple, yet significant

when you apply for a job

When it was my time to lead a hiring process, I had this great plan: I WILL DO IT DIFFERENTLY. I wasn’t too happy with a lot of recruitment practices, and one that bothered me was the communication with candidates. Or lack thereof.

I knew very well what an anxiousness-filled eternity waiting for a response can be, when all sorts of unlikely scenarios cross the realm of possibility. Yes, surely, the internet did in fact fail just for you, when you’re applying for a job the chances for this increase exponentially. And exactly your application got lost. Oh, and can you even trust your memory that you did, in fact, click Send? Even though you’ve rechecked it three or four times?

why they havent called

The worst is that there are no rules. You might hear back the next day but you might also hear back in a month (even with positive news) or you might hear back just about never. Even if you have already progressed in the selection process, as soon as you’re out, you might be, in fact, out. Out of the candidate pool, out of the communication pool. (And yes, sometimes, there are understandable reasons for it, but it doesn’t change the fact that looking into the mind of a job-seeker who doesn’t see what’s happening on your side, says this doesn’t matter in the moment.)

So, I wanted to do better.

a great plan indeed …

It was my first time leading the selection process, so I’m not going to pretend I did everything the best, nor did I expect to. There was many a struggle indeed. If I could go back, I’d change a thing or two or a million. And if I had full control over everything, I’d change even more.

But timely communication? Well, that was something I, surely, could do. It felt simple but also significant.

I set aside certain times for myself in my calendar when I replied to candidates in batches. Both to those who were not selected for the next step and to those who were. It made no sense to keep the unlucky ones waiting when I had already made a decision after all. Even from a completely selfish perspective, it would be just putting off the inevitable, while it kept burning a hole in my to-do list.

So I followed my system that ensured everyone got a reply within days.

All was well.

… but a plan’s not enough

One day, as I was cleaning my inbox, I came across an application email that I hadn’t replied to. Nothing at all. It arrived late, so I suppose it fell out of the system that I had, if we could even call it that (not that that’s an excuse).

So much for those great intentions!

when the realization hits

Don’t get me wrong, I am not agonizing over this one mistake. I felt bad about it, I wrote back right away, life went on. But it did remind me just how easy it is to slip up, even with the best of intentions. Even with the intentions that are far more than that, the ones that you intentionally try to put to practice. But due to this one mistake, unintentionally, for that one person, the selection process might have looked just about the same as too many out there.

when youre waiting to hear back

(I can’t say this situation made me more empathetic towards recruiters and others involved, but that’s only because I already am empathetic and understanding, believe me. probably too much at times. If I become more understanding, I can only become very much naive.)

As for this slip-up, could I have avoided it? Maybe yes, maybe not. I could have organized a bit better and not get too sure of my ‘system’ that didn’t even fit anymore. But, more generally, since I had this great plan in mind, I could have (and should have) check on it more diligently, to make sure that I followed it through in the end, that I did what I had set out to do.

Simple, yet significant.

I tried to address the convention
Of which I had some apprehension
So I tried my best
But still failed the test
Next time I should pay more attention


March 2, 2021

Tags: Deliberate action, Job search, Recruitment, Fails, Intentional, Impact, Leadership