Top 10 Most Annoying Things for Job-Seekers

December 4, 2009 at 1:13 am 92 comments

[Updated, December 2015 …]

It’s that time of the year when everywhere you look there are “Top 10” lists. Top news events of the year, top songs, top movies, top TV shows, top most interesting celebrities, etc. So, I thought it would be an appropriate time to roll out my own Top 10 list – The Top 10 Most Annoying Things for Job-Seekers!

Now if you’ve been following my blog and reading my many postings with advice for job-seekers, you might have picked up on the fact that I’m generally a positive, optimistic person. I try to give encouragement and helpful advice to everyone, and I’ve certainly preached about the importance of maintaining a positive attitude. [See “The Power of a Positive Attitude.”] However, we all need to vent from time to time. So for now, I’d like to take a moment and reflect on all those annoying things that almost all job-seekers have experienced in today’s challenging market that simply tick us off! So, here it is – in no particular order …


10. People who don’t return voicemail messages.
I can understand not returning emails … some people are overwhelmed with hundreds of emails each day, and simply cannot answer every one. But voicemail messages? I’m sorry, but I have NO patience for people who don’t return calls. As a recruiter, I always made it my rule to return every phone message I got within 24 hours. In my experience, I’d only get one phone message for every 100+ emails – an unfortunate sign of the times. It’s so easy to hit “send” and so hard to pick up the phone and actually try talking to someone! Anyone who makes the effort to call me deserves a response. To do otherwise is just rude. I expect the same professional courtesy from the people that I call and leave messages for, as well.

9. Job postings that don’t identify the company.
I would never apply to a job if I didn’t even know the company’s name. What if it’s a place I’ve already applied and/or interviewed? What if it’s a place that I’ve heard bad things about and would not want to work for? What if I’ve actually already worked there?! Many 3rd-party recruiters call potential candidates and refuse to reveal their clients’ identities. If it’s actually a rare “confidential” search dictated by the client, OK … but usually recruiters are just afraid the candidate will do an end-run around them and apply directly to the company (which, by the way, is a very stupid move for any candidate!) In my many years in the staffing industry working as a contingency recruiter, I always told potential candidates what company I was searching for – preferring an up-front and honest approach with full disclosure of the pros and cons of each opportunity. I found most people to be professional and trustworthy with regard to this issue, and I almost never got burned doing business that way.

8. Lengthy online applications that must be filled out before you can submit your résumé to a job posting.
I often get the feeling that those online applications are designed to be an easy way for some HR person to screen people out. And they take SO long to fill out!!! I expect to be asked to fill out a complete application after I’ve been identified by the company as potential fit. But do I really need to spend an hour filling out their form just so I can get in line with hundreds of other anonymous online applicants?

7. Twitter.
I’m sorry … I know there are probably Twitter fans out there. (I actually have two different Twitter accounts myself, which I occasionally use to broadcast job postings or advertise my blog articles.) I’m really a very tech-savvy person who loves all the latest toys, gizmos, gadgets and technology in general. I’ve configured and repaired computers and networks, designed websites and complex databases, I blog, and I make extensive use of LinkedIn, Facebook and other Social Media to great advantage for both personal and professional purposes. I just don’t see Twitter being a useful tool for job-seeking. In fact, it seems like a supreme waste of time to me! I have yet to find a hidden job opportunity using Twitter that I couldn’t have found just as easily using Google,, or any number of other standard search engines or job boards. And broadcasting quick short bursts of text updating the world on what you are doing minute by minute everywhere you go? Is that really necessary? I’m sure that Twitter deserves a place somewhere in the short attention span of our thumb-typing, text-message-obsessed world. However, I happen to believe that those 140-character messages filled with lazily abbreviated catch-phrases and fractured contractions have contributed to the rapid decline in the writing skills of an entire generation of its users (IMHO LOL!) The English language has never looked worse.

6. Mass “Networking Events.”
Those big events (usually held at hotels or bars) are attended mostly by other job-seekers. Networking with other job-seekers, while sometimes fun, is often a huge waste of time. It’s much more productive to spend your time networking with people specific to your industry niche who can connect you with actual decision-makers in your target companies. [See “Looking for Networking in All the Wrong Places.”]

5. Takers who don’t give back.
I’m talking about job-seekers who set up so-called networking meetings with you, and then ask for your help without any attempt at giving something back. Too many people don’t understand that networking needs to be a 2-way street to be effective. [See “The Art of Giving: the Key to Effective Networking.”]

4. Companies who post jobs, and then don’t even acknowledge receiving your résumé after you apply.
In the Recruiting world, we often refer to this as sending your résumé into the “Black Hole of HR.” Now if a company sends an automated “canned email” response saying they’ve received a person’s résumé, I realize that it generally means nothing … but at least the applicant knows they received it! Most online submissions go totally unanswered. That’s why savvy job searchers do not rely on simply applying to online job postings, but rather spend most of their time networking, finding ways to go around HR, and talking with actual decision-makers at their target companies.

3. No follow-up from a company after you’ve been interviewed.
It’s one thing to be ignored by a company after you’ve sent in your résumé. But if they actually called you and interviewed you by phone or in person – they should pay you the simple courtesy of a follow-up. I’ve heard so many terrible stories from candidates who had multiple interviews with high-level decision-makers at companies who indicated that they were the top candidate, and they were close to making an offer … and then …. NOTHING! No follow-ups, no emails, no calls, no returned messages – just silence. That’s simply an insult! If they decided to hire someone else – or no one at all – then say so! Saying nothing is beyond unprofessional. It’s just plain rude and obnoxious.

2. Companies who ask for your complete salary history and salary requirements before interviewing you.
Sooner or later this issue comes up in every interview process. I have my own opinions on how to deal with those salary questions, and I’ve written extensively on this topic. [See “Answering the Dreaded Salary Question.”] But does it have to come up BEFORE they interview you? Do they have to know your salary history and requirements BEFORE they even look at your résumé?

1. Companies who practice age discrimination.
What a world we live in, where younger less experienced people are preferred by so many companies over people who have the proven success and the seasoned experience, knowledge and accumulated wisdom that only comes with years of hard work. My first posting on this topic seemed to have hit a raw nerve – that blog logged several thousand hits and well over 100 comments in just the first few days, provoking quite a lively discussion. [See “Age Discrimination: Secret Conversations Revealed.”]

So there you have it. Having vented, I know I feel better now! I’m sure I’ve left out other common annoyances that could easily have made this list. (The countless emails I’ve received over the years with “work-at-home” opportunities or invitations to sell insurance come to mind!) I welcome any suggestions for additions to this list in the comments section below. And if you are looking for a more uplifting and positive sounding list, then I suggest you read “Top 10 Most Helpful Things for Job-Seekers.”

Entry filed under: Advice for Job Seekers. Tags: , , , , , , .

Age Discrimination: Secret Conversations Revealed! Top 10 Most Helpful Things for Job-Seekers

92 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Lynda Bell  |  December 4, 2009 at 11:04 am

    Nice article – hit on the ones I have experienced most often. I enjoy the blog – thanks!

  • 2. Michael Sigler  |  December 4, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    Michael, I have one more to add: How about past job seekers who you have connected with, have asked for your assistance (which you have provided) and then when they get employed no longer have the courtesy to respond to messages when it is related to the company they just joined or maybe even just as it relates to how they secured the position? Apparently they were happy to receive assistance but have no time to return the favor? I don’t understand that.

  • 3. Philip Setnik  |  December 4, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    Mike, you know I have the utmost respect for you and your work. And by and large, this is an excellent list.

    But Twitter? Why is Twitter an “annoyance?” I understand if you consider it a waste of time (I don’t, but you’re entitled), and useless as a job-search tool (almost 100% agreement there). But it’s only annoying if you get sucked into it and don’t learn anything about how to use it productively. From that standpoint, anything that is a potential distraction with low added value is an “annoyance.” So add TV, novels, gardening/yardwork, almost every other leisure activity to the list. In fact, any form of social media is in this category, if you don’t learn how to utilize it and manage your time properly.

    And I have to include writing long blog comments… oh, wait. Gotta go.

  • 4. Jeff Wolfe  |  December 4, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    I enjoyed reading your blog posting and agree with most of it! The only item on the list I would disagree with is number 7 (Twitter), as I have used it as a resource to uncover or substantiate opportunities.

  • 5. Erika S  |  December 4, 2009 at 2:18 pm

    Thank you for this article! It is nice to hear someone put the last year of my life into words. #8 — the on-line application really is aggravating. I love it when I go through their lengthy application and then there is a ‘system error’ which makes you have to start all over again! I would add to your list getting one of those canned rejection reponses that because it is so canned it is not appropriate. I got one saying that the position did not meet my experience or skill set, yet it was exactly the type of position I had done for years in the industry I had been in for years. Did a human being ever even see the application? Thanks again for the article.

  • 6. Barb T  |  December 4, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    I couldn’t agree more with the list more but I’ve got to add my most infuriating experience. Getting the canned response letter stating ‘you are not being considered because we have other candidates who more closely meet our needs’ (ok, but I fit it pretty perfectly myself as my cover letter explained) and then to see the same job re-posted over and over again for the next few weeks. Thank you, I’ll think of your article every time one of these things happens to me and I won’t take it as personally.

  • 7. jp  |  December 4, 2009 at 4:25 pm

    I definitely have to disagree about Twitter… I found out about open positions and got the contact information for a huge new tech start up via twitter by tweeting back and forth with them, and there was no contact information ANYWHERE else. Twitter has validated itself in a number of ways so it’s kind of silly to hear anyone trying to discredit the potential of the platform at this point.

  • 8. Shelley  |  December 4, 2009 at 4:32 pm

    Don’t forget the “un-posting”. I can only confirm this for sure because I’ve worked for companies who have actually done this. They don’t really need anyone but post a job just to see what kind of response they get. That’s terrible and wastes precious job seeker time!

  • 9. DLight  |  December 4, 2009 at 5:14 pm

    Really appreciate the list, especially #3. I experienced this with two positions – With both I had no contact whatsoever, no returned emails or phone calls, and I found out via their websites that I had not been selected. Thing about that is that I have been a customer of the first company for 13 years (how long do you suppose THAT relationship is going to last?) and the second was for a company where I have been a part-time employee for 3½ years, and the job I applied for was supervising myself and my co-workers. In other words, were I to remain an employee there, I would be reporting to the person they hired from the outside. There again, guess how long this relationship will last?

  • 10. Tim R  |  December 4, 2009 at 5:52 pm

    I enjoyed the article. This is my first time to the unemployment line (it’s not a lot of fun).

    I have been asked to interview outside of my area on a few occasions. Most travel arrangements are made by the company, or if I have to drive, the company has quickly compensated me for mileage.

    I received a call from a third-party recruiter that asked to book a round trip ticket because the client needed to hire someone immediately. I submitted my expense report to the recruiter but it has been six weeks without receiving payment.

    Yes, TTI of NY, I’m talking about you.

    Interviews you are setting up may be for people that are out of work. Money may be tight for some – pay them back in a timely manner.

  • 11. David K.  |  December 4, 2009 at 6:08 pm

    Michael, great article, I agree with a lot of these that you have mentioned and have experienced a lot of these as well. The one that always bugs me is the no return call after you have had a face-to-face interview. Nothing bugs me more than that. I’ve had HR people tell me to my face that they are not like other companies and will get back to me either way and they don’t, which makes it even more rude than just not getting back to you.

    That salary history/requirements one that I don’t like either. Some even mention that it’s required and will not look at your resume unless you provide either salary requirements or history.

  • 12. Gail L.  |  December 4, 2009 at 6:13 pm

    How about:
    * companies who won’t share costs for a face to face interview
    * testing that doesn’t have anything to do with the actual work
    * psychometric tests
    * recruiters who don’t understand the answers to their own questions
    * recruiters who don’t take time to understand the job requirements
    * job postings that ask for the impossible skill set (and if that person exists they would be looking for a job)
    * recruiters and companies who don’t know how to negotiate terms
    * companies who mitigate their risk but refuse to acknowledge risks the candidate most take (relocation, additional, expenses, cost of living differential)
    * recruiters who don’t really read your resume
    * recruiters who don’t know when they have a really good match
    * interviews with the person you are set to replace
    * job postings that list things companies DON’T want
    * expectation that just because you interviewed you’ve accepted the job
    * expectation that you’ll relocate to a new area within 2 or 3 days of accepting a position
    * placement companies that withhold a portion of your contract hourly until the end of the contract
    * panel interviews full of inexperienced interviewers
    * asking for information and insisting on getting answers to illegal interview questions
    * recruiters who ask for your social security number
    * companies who what all sorts of background checks, credit checks, drug tests, detailed references; but come unglued when you ask them questions or want a formal check
    * recruiters trolling for resumes
    * placement companies that force their people who don’t speak the local language well to cold call (its just miserable for everyone)
    * placement companies and recruiters who forget candidates are people and not just a resource

    The list goes on and on.

    • 13. Tabitha  |  December 15, 2009 at 4:09 pm

      Wow! I thought I was the only one experiencing all this drama. Yes, recruiters, we are people!!! I feel like I have to give my unborn child to get a job. Yet, we have to be so perky and positive and perfect . . . What about being qualified? Does that count for anything?

  • 14. Helen Rosen  |  December 4, 2009 at 6:22 pm

    No. 11.

    A recruiter/hr manager who asks you what MONTH you left the job you had 20 YEARS ago, and how much of a time lag there was between jobs you’ve had 20 YEARS AGO! I can’t believe that recruiters believe that this is what makes them good at what they do. I can’t remember what I had for breakfast this morning!

    The job search process is in need of a major overhaul!

  • 15. Zoltan Puskas  |  December 4, 2009 at 6:34 pm

    Thanks. It’s stressful enough searching for a good job, we don’t need the additional stress of waiting for a callback. Good companies will respond in a timely and courteous manner.

  • 16. Cheri Abbott  |  December 4, 2009 at 7:14 pm

    I totally agree with what Andy (Andy, where are you?) said about #9 and #2! How can they possibly find ideal candidates when they don’t provide their company name or industry — makes no sense. Another frustration I have is when there is no mention of a salary range. It’s so frustrating to jump through all the hoops, only to find an ad for the job (posted with a recruiter) at a maximum salary level well below your desired salary. Please give us a clue — times are tough enough as they are.

  • 17. Lawrence Naiman  |  December 4, 2009 at 7:17 pm

    Michael, I really enjoyed reading this article. I found myself nodding in agreement as I read each point. When applying for a position posted on a job board, It does seem that the computer decides if you are a good fit and if your resume will even be read by a human being. After applying online, I have found some success in going one-step further by trying to network into the company through a Linkedin connection or a Linkedin fellow group member. Just a suggestion. Thanks again for a great article.

  • 18. Teresa  |  December 4, 2009 at 7:35 pm

    Michael, I’m becoming a big fan of yours and your postings. I can relate to several of these, especially the confidential company postings…ugh.

  • 19. Debbie  |  December 4, 2009 at 8:02 pm

    I totally agree and the online application process is a joke, employers think they are in the drivers seat right now……..wait till it turns…….and they will be asking how much do you want to come work for us. As always the economy will turn and employers will be caught unaware……….

  • 20. Vickie  |  December 4, 2009 at 8:19 pm

    #3 has happened to me several times, and it’s just plain tacky. You’ll go through a series of interviews and then….nothing. For those of you in the Des Moines, IA, area, a major publishing firm here is especially bad at that.

  • 21. MattyMat  |  December 4, 2009 at 8:52 pm

    From a recruiters POV:

    10. People who don’t return voicemail messages.

    Eh– not sure about this one— I always return messages, unless it’s a solicitation.

    9. Job postings that don’t identify the company.

    Most companies I’ve worked with request that you DO NOT put thier name in your posting— and go as far as to demand that you “re-word” the requirements

    8. Lengthy online applications that must be filled out before you can submit your resume to a job posting.

    Used mainly for applicant tracking– and a tricky way for a company to say “That candidate’s already been submitted in our database.” Good way to side-step the fee they would have to pay.

    7. Twitter.

    Jury’s still out on that one. btw– I just took a #2 10 min. ago.

    6. Mass “Networking Events.”

    Only good for Kelly Services and the like.

    5. Takers who don’t give back.

    You need to preemptively know what you’re getting before giving.

    4. Companies who post jobs, and then don’t even acknowledge receiving your resume after you apply.
    In the Recruiting world,

    See #8.

    3. No follow-up from a company after you’ve been interviewed.

    Only feedback from company: “Wasn’t a good fit at this time.” …and company won’t give any other details.

    2. Companies who ask for your complete salary history and salary requirements before interviewing you.

    Don’t want to waste thier time with someone who’s too pricey– and alot of the time– don’t want to waste your time as well. Nothing’s worse than spending HOURS and DAYS getting ducks in a row– and finding the salary offer isn’t accepted.

    1. Companies who practice age discrimination.

    These days? Younger = Cheaper

  • 22. Dan  |  December 4, 2009 at 9:26 pm

    For some of your points:

    Age discrimination – companies want younger, but not too young. Even for entry level positions companies are hiring those with 10+ years of experience and paying them entry level salaries.

    Not responding/form emails – I’ve had the experience of talking to someone on LinkedIn about a position. They told me to submit my resume an email address. When I got a response saying they had received my resume it was from the same person I had just talked to 5 minutes prior, but it was a generic form letter. Just made me feel like the time spent discussing the position with them was a waste of time. Most companies I apply to do not send any acknowledgment of any events related to that position.

  • 23. Roy Barudin  |  December 4, 2009 at 9:32 pm

    Thank you for touching on so many things that we all face everyday in our search. You’re right on.

  • 24. wr  |  December 5, 2009 at 12:24 am

    Here are a couple of things that especially irk me:

    1. I want to look over an online application completely before I begin to fill it out, just like I can with a paper application. Far too many sites don’t allow me to do that.

    2. I have too often clicked on links to job postings from Indeed or only to be told “This job has been removed from our site” just a few days, or sometimes even only a few hours, after it was initially posted. If a company is going to remove it that quickly, why did they even bother posting it in the first place?

  • 25. Melissa Stump  |  December 5, 2009 at 11:53 am

    Great List, I have personally experience all 10 this year in my job hunt, but the best thing about this experience has been the friends, contacts, employers and recruiters who have actually been on my side and/or continue provided leads, helpful information and real professional behavior and integrity. I’m glad they are still out there, and I would want to work for the others anyway!

    • 26. Pigbiting mad  |  May 29, 2010 at 12:37 pm

      RE “thing about this experience has been the friends, contacts, employers and recruiters who have actually been on my side and/or continue provided leads, helpful information .” Where the hell do you live? Oz or Wonderland? I have encountered nothing but complete jerks

  • 27. HR Dir  |  December 5, 2009 at 12:31 pm

    Great article, you’ve hit on the frequent typical ones. When did it become acceptable in the business world to be rude and disrespectful to job seekers. Large to small, private or public organizations seem to allow the poor practices you mention…..and more.

    As an HR professional with many years of recruiting rexperience, I would like to add some clarity for HR practices. Most times it’s the hiring manager that drives the hiring confusion. Such as their inability to make a hiring decision, limited availability for interviewing candidates, on-going changes to job/skill/experience requirements, etc. Many hiring manages just don’t like or enjoy hiring/interviewing and easily hide behind HR, thus many times HR gets the bad rap.

    • 28. Lis Kovach  |  December 7, 2009 at 4:11 pm

      Never thought I’d stand up for an HR person, but it is true that a lot of hiring managers procrastinate. How do they get their jobs?

      Also, don’t forget that a lot of experienced or high-level HR professionals have been laid off. What is left behind are inexperienced, uninformed lower level people who are simply out of their league and overwhelmed with the hiring process.

  • 29. Andy MacPhee  |  December 5, 2009 at 2:48 pm

    Here’s my ranking of my most frustrating (using your numbers):

    3. No follow-up from a company after you’ve been interviewed.
    This is my #1 frustration – it is both rude and inconsiderate, but even more, it shows a complete lack of empathy. Can you imagine how much they would care about you as an employee???? Better off not being hired.

    8. Lengthy online applications that must be filled out before you can submit your resume to a job posting.
    These are REALLY frustrating – but especially those that (a) go screen after screen with no idea what % complete you are (b) those that FORCE a salary range to be selected to complete them – see #2 below.

    4. Companies who post jobs, and then don’t even acknowledge receiving your resume after you apply.
    Even an automated reply is some acknowledgement of your existance!

    9. Job postings that don’t identify the company.
    I agree – there are some that won’t even identify the industry! How can you respond to that with a customized application??? I’ll add a sub-category for LinkedIn users: those that don’t identify where in the world they are!

    2. Companies who ask for your complete salary history and salary requirements before interviewing you.
    I refuse to provide this – it is just stupid! Would you expect a firm price before you select the car you want to lease?

    Merry Christmas,
    p.s. Santa – all I want is a job this year

  • 30. Paul Walker  |  December 5, 2009 at 2:55 pm

    Hi Michael. Great post and I agree wholeheartedly with your list. Another addition might be a new position posting that you click on only to find out that is has been removed, closed or no longer accepting applications (even within hours of the same day as the placement of the posting).

  • 31. Jason Fugere  |  December 5, 2009 at 3:12 pm

    Your article certainly resonated with me. In several high level interviews in the past 6 months, all company communication stopped once determined I was not their choice for the position. No follow up conversations or response from the interview panel or even a letter or email.

    It’s even more unprofessional when an interviewer looks you in the eye during the interview process and says “We’ll be letting all candidates know of our hiring choice by next Tuesday” and several weeks pass without any follow-up. How insulting and unprofessional.

    Your words of companies using this behavior as being simply “rude” or “obnoxious” is correct! Too much of that rude or obnoxious behavior over months and years can lead to a dwindling bottom line. Word of mouth matters…

  • 32. Diane Clark-Yeomans  |  December 5, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    The lack of response from the company after an interview is my number one frustration. After making it to the top 3 candidates in interviews with several companies, I received the cold shoulder and no response. I have decided that these companies are probably not worth working for, and would not treat me as a valued employee.

    Employers need to realize that how they treat people (present and potential employees) affects their reputation and eventually their bottom line.

  • 33. C.A.Kinel  |  December 5, 2009 at 6:18 pm

    I agree with #3 – but at least it you have to deal with it less. This has only happened to me once within the past few years – althouglh it was just recent – but it led to my top 2 annoying things.

    1. NO ONE – answers their phones (almost) ever.
    ( I have been trying to make contacts with quite a few places, that I have called up to 150 times, without EVER having the person answer their phone. I mean in the few cases when I finally got an answer, I actually had one guy say that he’d seen my number so many times. Hey, we both would have been better off if I didn’t have to try you 15 times a day.

    2. People who don’t return calls or emails – your #10. I will call several times with no answer and then leave one voicemail. Then we are back to #1, call, call, call… This even happens with people who I’ve had conversations and they led me to believe that they were interested. I was starting to take it personally, but talking to others I find this is the “new normal”.

    Honestly how many of us want these same people to have to experience how they’ve treated others?

    In the past over 20 years, I almost always get the job if I can get the interview, but cripes now you can’t even get any human contact.

    Another of my top complaints. … Contract agencies taking advantage of the economy to make the contractor take the entire hit. What I mean is I spoke with a guy who worked with a colleague for a long time. He told me that people were desperate and willing to work for less than half of what the made even on their last gig. My question was: So are the BILLING rates less than half of what YOU were billing…or are you making the actual resource take the entire hit while you get rich on their back?

  • 34. Debra Bethard-Caplick  |  December 5, 2009 at 9:31 pm

    I once spent an entire morning interviewing with multiple people at a PR agency, following two extensive phone interviews. At every step of the way, I made sure they were aware that I had no previous PR agency experience, and only a year at a small marcomm firm that I had left after it downsized my position to half-time. I also had to drive through a heavy snowstorm both to get there and get home, plus a car breakdown on the way home – overall, the entire enterprise took 16 hours to complete. They waited only three days to have the outside recruiter call me to tell me that I didn’t get the position because “PR agency experience was required.” No kidding!!! I told them I didn’t have that and questioned their wish to have me come in to interview in the first place! One thing that this agency should keep in mind that today’s applicant may be tomorrow’s prospective client – and I would have a very difficult time considering them for any business, knowing how they treat applicants. The devil is very often in the details, and if they are that callous in their treatment of applicants, how considerate are they of others they might encounter as they represent their clients?

  • 35. Henry Shen  |  December 6, 2009 at 3:36 am

    I enjoy reading your articles and I also love your upbeat disposition. Well, talking about “annoyance”, I would take it as a “market” thing. In a seller’s market, buyers are easier getting annoyed and in a buyer’s market, it’s sellers’ turn to be pissed off. It’s all about your value in their eyes. If you hold a great value, you may just lie on your bed watching TV and recruiters will fight for your phone line. If you are weak, however, you stay outside their door day&night and they won’t give you a s**t.

    Late 2007, I didn’t reach out to anybody. What I did was just to make my profile public on monster. Recruiters called in one by one, day and night, until I got a decent job from one of them and I had to “hide” my profile to avoid being called more. Now I want to make some career change. This time I reach out, and I got nothing solid back so far, cuz market is in favor of hirers now.

    Also I don’t think age itself is the real trigger of discrimination. It’s the traits associated with aging that make the difference. So if the guy is 55, but still looks energetic, active, optimistic, inquisitive, fast-learning and aggressive, he can probably beat a guy 10 years younger that appears to be passive, lazy, quiet, pessimistic and slow on learning, on an interview. This is a common sense I guess, for any relationship. For instance on matchmaking too. I would prefer a lady that is old but looks young (physically and mentally) to another one who’s young but looks old. And some very young people are “born old”, who find themselves unattractive to people from the other gender.

    Also I think the key word on this topic is “respect”. No matter the market is on your side or not, you got to respect people. Those who don’t have a job and are desperate to get one are kind of sensitive to how recruiters and hiring companies treat them. They may get hurt by their attitude. You know, as a hiring manager like a year before myself, I got pissed off by some unreasonable job candidates too. It’s a relationship and the keyword is respect.

  • 36. Melanie Pridgen  |  December 6, 2009 at 11:01 am

    I enjoyed reading your post Michael. I also read your post on age discrimination.

    On the topic of discrimination…. I have long suspected corporations use the “EEO” questionnaire as a sneaky way to get around the discrimination laws.
    This questionnaire covers age, race, ethnicity, and sex.

    Just my opinion but…IF this data is actually being collected by the federal government, there should be a toll free number for job applicants to call to provide this data rather than a questionnaire attached to a job application.

    Feel free to add the EEO questionnaire to the list of annoying things for job-seekers!

  • 37. Eli  |  December 6, 2009 at 11:20 am

    The all time worst has got to be when I was flown, twice to visit with a company, met all the decision makers, had great interviews, and then was never given the courtesy of a return call or feedback. What people who are doing the hiring need to understand is that feedback is essential to candidates in this process. I am not going to sue you for rejection. The funny part is that four years later I spoke to the same company and told them my experience. Their internal recruiter (who was the same person who handled me four year prior) told me they had no position for me at that time, but it was the then CEO’s policy to always be scouting for talent all the time. This was fine, but TELL ME UPFRONT so there are limited expectations. This is basic honesty.

  • 38. Susan Kaplan-Williams  |  December 6, 2009 at 3:07 pm

    You are spot on with your blogs! I’ve just read this one and the one on age discrimination and can tell you for a fact that it DOES exist. I applied for a position with a company online that required answers for every single item that is illegal – age, birth date, social security number, drivers license number, etc. – every single one of those was a “mandatory” field.

    I called their corporate headquarters and told them I wanted to apply for the position as it fits my skills perfectly, but I felt very uncomfortable filling in the information requested. I was told to put in all zeros in the required spaces.

    I did as they suggested – less than one day later, I received a very rude e-mail telling me that I would not be considered for the position. I firmly believe it is because I complained about their application process!

    And, regarding your latest blog, you are totally correct – why would we as “older” workers want to work for a company who place so little value on our time and efforts that they cannot provide the courtesy of a response to our interviews/phone calls? Even if it is just to tell us that someone else has been accepted for the position?

    Thank you for allowing me to “rant” on this subject!

  • 39. Tom Sander  |  December 6, 2009 at 5:36 pm

    AMEN! Truer words never spoken!

  • 40. Rob  |  December 6, 2009 at 6:53 pm

    Number 1 is never getting a reply of any kind to a tendered resume. Number 2 is never getting any feedback after a phone screen or interview. Number 3 is the black hole after speaking with a recruiter (c’mon, you’re going to come back, & what kind of impression have you made with me?).

  • 41. John Clark  |  December 6, 2009 at 8:21 pm

    I read your 10 and have one more that just drives me nuts… “Only those currently employed need apply.”

  • 42. careerfitnesspro  |  December 6, 2009 at 8:42 pm

    Another great article. I agree with most and now we need to come up with “How to get around all the obstacles” on the list and all of the ones other people have mentioned.

    I am planning a networking event that is nothing like the ones you have attended. I know exactly what you mean about the MASSES and talking to a bunch of other unemployed people, cannot hear and what’s the point, anyway?

    So, check out “Where are the Jobs” the NEO Job Market Forecast on 1-14-2010. This one has what you need to “Short Cut” your job search and find some answers. Check it out

  • 43. Carol  |  December 7, 2009 at 9:33 am

    You nailed it! I feel better having my “complaints” validated by someone else.
    Thanks! Have a wonderful day.

  • 44. Zhana  |  December 7, 2009 at 9:45 am

    Excellent points. I would add: companies that don’t state up front what salary they are offering, i.e. they wait to find out what you are asking before they divulge what they are offering. You do touch on this in your piece. It’s even worse when recruitment firms do this.

    I wonder how many potential employers have read your piece, and how many actually care.

  • 45. L. Rakosnik  |  December 7, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    Great article. I’ve seen most of those too. Thanks.

  • 46. Brian Whiteley  |  December 7, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    Enjoyed your latest article on the Top 10 Most Annoying Things for Job Seekers, partly because I think I have encountered each one. It makes a difficult task of find ing a job even more daunting when you run into any of them. Please know your blog is one that I check out a few times each week.

  • 47. Mark Gorney  |  December 7, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    That was satisfying. There is so little say from the perspective of the job seeker. So many companies seek job applicants like sh*t. Well done.

  • 48. Lis Kovach  |  December 7, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    That about covers everything. Thanks for the comments.

  • 49. Jim Organ  |  December 7, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    Great posting! I especially agree with your point about online applications. I will be sure to share this with other people ‘in transition.”

  • 50. Jon Vance  |  December 7, 2009 at 4:48 pm

    Great article and I agree with all points, especially #3. This has happened to me more than once.

  • 51. John Craig  |  December 7, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    The lack of follow up after an interview is THE most frustrating thing for me. If I’m not the guy, great, I can handle it and move on. It is extremely frustrating after a good interview where you seemed to connect withe the interviewer and were led to believe the process would continue to hear nothing at all. I’m amazed at how rude business has become.

  • 52. Apurv Majumdar  |  December 7, 2009 at 11:39 pm

    I totally agree with you…
    Many so called educated people (read recruiters) do not have the courtesy of replying back even after they said at the end of the PI round that “we are extremely positive about you and we would work out the whole thing in the next 2/3 days”

  • 53. Jacque  |  December 8, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    As an employer, I think most of you don’t understand the real world. When I get 250 responses for a position, I am not inclined to have HR spend the time (read that $$) to reply when generally 90% of the respondents are clearly not qualified for the position. They are just throwing resumes at everything. For example, out of that 250, five (yes, 5) resumes got past the first round, and all 250 were reviewed. Factor in the money spent on failed drug tests, or background checks that come back with “aggravated battery,” and you have to realize that everything, including someone’s time, costs money. Get over it.

  • 54. HRD  |  December 8, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    I don’t doubt that these things happen. But, there is the other side of the coin as well.

    Candidates who while they are looking for a job, don’t answer their phone. When I do leave a message, they do not listen to it, can’t remember what position they applied for, nor, since they did not listen to the message, know whom to ask for when returning the call. I had to lay off an assistant so just a one=man shop now–I barely have enough time to do my job once, let alone twice. Answer your phone when I call and you WILL be schedule for an interview. don’t answer your phone and I may just fill the position by the time you call back.

    Pet peeve #2. Using all options to apply for a position–faxing, applying on line using both sending resume and on line application form. Again–see above about ‘not having time to do my job once, let alone twice’ I get literally 10’s of resumes within the first 15 minutes–if you send me your info 3x, and everyone else does as well, it takes me that much longer to review all of them.

    On the salary requirement issue-most good HR people know what they will pay the position–knowing that you expect to be paid within our range helps us make sure there is a match from the get go. That may or may not be relevant to what you made before—but at least tell me what your expected range is. I just this week had someone who previously earned 75k applying for a job paying $14/hour–that clearly will not be a match.

    It is frustrating on both sides–understand that HR is usually the first dept to go when downsizing since the census is down, less hiring, benefits are cut. Bombarding us with phone calls, faxes, etc, will not help you. In my 20 yrs of experience, I have never had a ‘pest’ (frequent calls, follow up applicants) work out–never a good sign. Not sure why, but pests never worked out–regardless of the level of position. Know how to balance it….if you have what the co wants, they will call you–you don’t need to call every 3 days.

  • 55. Debra Bethard-Caplick  |  December 8, 2009 at 7:51 pm

    Jacque, it seems to me that most of the issues here are not with getting an acknowledgment of a resume submitted as it is with the dead silence that all too often follows an in person interview. Employers expect the applicant to do their research before coming in and then follow up with a letter after the interview…most of what I am seeing here is a plea for common business courtesy. Resume submissions deserve the equal time in response that they had in the preparation, and blindly blasting out emails don’t deserve a response, although if a company’s application software takes more than 15 minutes to complete, an auto-generated response acknowledging the submission shouldn’t be that difficult to do.

    Hiring companies and HR needs to keep in mind that applicants are also either potential customers or existing ones. For example, I just ended a relationship with a financial services company my husband and I had done business with for nearly 30 years for three reasons: 1) Increasing fees, 2) decreasing service, and 3) my experience with their HR/corporate recruiters over 3 different positions I’d interviewed for. The HR people were rude, unorganized, and poorly prepared for the interviews, as well as providing zero follow up after making me jump through hoops as a candidate. They’ve now lost several thousand dollars per year from me – multiply that by 30 more years, and HR’s behavior has cost them serious money in sales. Oh, yes, and I dumped all the stock of theirs I held – they’re a disaster waiting to happen, given their lack of attention to detail.

  • 56. Jacque  |  December 9, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    HRD, Debra, thank you for your input. You are correct that applicants should be treated as potential or existing customers and I will keep that in mind. We are a Small Defense Contractor in the Southeast, so no on-line applications. It’s all manual. And . . .all of our interviews do get a call back. I’ve also been a job applicant many times and I think that’s a common courtesy.

  • 57. Kristen  |  December 10, 2009 at 5:40 pm

    I agree with all of them except the twitter comment 😉

    And I JUST experienced a “no follow up”…even after I drove 30 minutes, took a writing test and interviewed…no call. I’d rather someone tell me I didn’t get the job, than to just think “Well, if we don’t respond, she’ll get the hint!” There is nothing more frustrating.

    Love the article. I even posted it to my Facebook page 🙂

  • 58. MattyMat  |  December 10, 2009 at 7:48 pm

    Kristen and others— here are some of the real reasons why there’s no callbacks– ethical or non-ethical? You be the judge.

    1. You didn’t get the job, period. No if’s, and’s or but’s about it. And there’s no amount of talking to HR about how you could learn quickly, or “my resume speaks for itself” will change that fact. Move on.

    2. Company HR’s or staffing/recruitment firms do not contact interviewed candidates (sometimes in the 10’s and 20’s for difficult positions) primarily because more times than not, the candidate wants specific information as to why s/he wasn’t hired that the company won’t divulge, or isn’t allowed to divulge by thier own standands or by law. Hanging on a thread waiting for HM’s to call you back is what alot of HR dept’s and staffing/recruitment firms have stopped doing– mainly because the HM rarely calls or emails you with feedback other than “Wasn’t a good fit at this time.”

    3. Some rejected candidates have a tendency to not take the rejection very well– going so far as to yelling and screaming on the phone, badmouthing the client or company, saying thing’s like “I didn’t want to work there anyway!” among other expletives and profanity. And telling candidates that they’re in the top five, basically getting thier hopes up— and then they’re rejected— send’s some candidates into a rage, depression spiral, what have you. Companies have opted for canned responses in light of these reactions from candidates over the years.

    4. More than likely, your position isn’t the only one having to be filled by HR– and many companies have stopped calling multiple candidates back because it takes alot of time and the bottom line is: Time is Money. Companies care about thier profits more than you’re emotional well being. Get used to it. Blame it on the Project Manager that implemented this policy– and is now getting a big fat bonus for saving the company X amount of dollars.

    5. Position could easily have been cancelled or put on hold. Calling or emailing multiple candidates takes time. See #4.

    Capitalism being the American way, many common courtesy’s have gone the way of the dinosaur to save a couple bucks. Everyone wants the dollars and the big numbers!! But when they get treated like a number? It’s a sob story. You can’t have your cake and eat it too.

  • 59. Henry Shen  |  December 10, 2009 at 7:57 pm

    I fully agree with Matty Mat on the 5 points he made. Putting yourself into HR or HM’s shoes, you may be able to figure out why they won’t call you back if they don’t want to hire you. We job seekers are human beings, so are hiring managers and HR folks. I mean, I myself don’t want to be the one who tells bad news to candidates. Who does?

  • 60. Debra Bethard-Caplick  |  December 10, 2009 at 9:34 pm

    MattyMat and others – one last comment on the myriad of excuses offered about the lack of communication following a job interview, courtesy of Mom: Just because everyone else is doing it doesn’t mean you have to do it. In business terms, companies measure in dollars and cents, but people buy and act based on emotions – just look at the most successful ads. They sell dreams and self-image, not products. If HR departments and companies don’t recognize the “social” aspect of today’s social networking economy, they’re going to get in trouble very quickly. The HR function cannot act autonomously from the sales function and the marketing and the finance, etc., etc. EVERY interaction with the company is a sales opportunity and needs to be treated as such, or companies are going to lose customers. It’s that simple. If companies don’t like the cost of sending out a form letter informing unsuccessful candidates that they didn’t get the job, they’d better figure out a cost-effective way to do it, because these are potential customers, and influencers of other potential customers.

  • 61. Henry Shen  |  December 10, 2009 at 10:38 pm

    I think Debra Bethard-Caplick makes sense too. 15 years ago I got interviewed by Nokia. No, no follow-up call or letter. I even wrote to them asking for an “definitive decision” to be made known to me. I was that a green young man. Again, I got nothing back. Even now, I don’t buy from Nokia. Even now. I never did. Whenver I have a choice, I pass on Nokia. Maybe by receiving a letter saying “sorry but we don’t think you are a good match for this position and we will keep your resume for future opportunities”, a young and sensitive man like me can turn to appreciative or at least not that frustrated. I might have bought at least one Nokia cell phone. That’s why I said that could be a hurt to a young and emotional person. Job seekers want to feel respected to say the least.

    Maybe HR can just send out a formal letter without having to take the pain phoning the candidate and share his bad feeling. If I were the HR manager, I may add some gifts, like a bookmark, etc. wishing him my best.

  • 62. Dave Kourtz  |  December 11, 2009 at 1:00 pm

    Its all about respect.

    I’m in HR and if I SEE a person…I call. Yes…its a lousy message, but I can keep it to 1 minute, and its over. Perhaps they’ll buy a product later ….after the disappointment. Perhaps they wont, but I did the best I could.

    For you younger folks in HR try to remember ….what goes around…comes around.
    Treat people as you want to be treated when you are on the other side of the desk.

  • 63. Shelley  |  December 11, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    EXACTLY Dave! Anyone not calling because they’re afriad of giving bad news or angry people is sending a bad message about the company and their own professionalism. I find that people who want to get into specifics are the exception not the norm.

    Using the old “I don’t have time” excuse is just as bad as those employees who walk around saying “That’s not my job.”

    What goes around DOES come around.

  • 64. MattyMat  |  December 11, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    Well– then I might be the exception to the rule– as well as this might be good adice to job seekers in our bad economy.

    I used to work freelance graphic design, illustration, graphics, etc. back in the day– interviewing and working many, many jobs. I found out very quickly I DID NOT like the canned rejection letter, telling me “You weren’t what we were looking for.” knowing I had every skill the job description required. And then the patronizing “But we’ll keep your resume on file for future positions.” is such rubbish— they toss your resume the minute you walk out the door– and I’ve NEVER been called for future positions. I’d rather be thinking that they’re still mulling over who to hire. And I soon realized that if a company didn’t call me in a two week period? I didn’t get the position. I also developed a very thick skin– no amount of rejection bothered me, and if I didn’t have my hands in about 5 pots? i wasn’t paying the rent that month. There’s nothing like going into an interview knowing that you don’t need that job– I’ve got offers in the pipeline. At one point, I had developed interviewing skills where I got offers on EVERY interview! You can’t let the HM see you sweat! If for a SECOND you have a look on your face that “you need this job”, or “you really want this job!” you’re immediately at a disadvantage. I had to hustle– and I NEVER put all my eggs in one basket.

    IMHO— if most companies AREN’T sending rejection letters?? I’m all for it. Makes you a tougher person. And to ask and/or plead that it be different is like wanting the color of the sky to be orange– it an’t gonna happen, sweetheart! Get over yourself and get to the next interview.

  • 65. Henry Shen  |  December 11, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    MattyMat: You really enlightened me! Actually the rules “having hands in 5 pots”, “never putting all eggs in one basket”, “having a look on your face showing you really want the job would put you into an immediate disadvantage”, etc may apply to many kinds of business and even personal relationships. Being crawling and desperate doesn’t always make you a good candidate, employee, boss, spouse, parent, child, seller, vendor, customer, agent, everything, you name it. It’s a point on psychology and even philosophy that touches weakness (if not wickedness) of human beings. I guess we could say, “don’t just expect respect from the hiring company, but from yourself, and don’t make yourself look cheap”.

  • 66. MattyMat  |  December 11, 2009 at 7:10 pm

    Spot on, Henry. Keep moving forward. Rolling stone gathers no moss.

    People are more than willing to push you in your career and life endevours, yet few are willing to pull you.

  • 67. Dave H  |  December 12, 2009 at 12:26 am

    From an HR perspective, one can think about what image you present about the company, whether giving bad news, or not replying at all. Personally, I’d rather hear something back than nothing, even if it’s bad news. I’m a big boy; I can take it.
    Each candidate is different emotionally. Worrying about what he/she might feel when you make that call or e-mail isn’t reasonable. In fact, if someone does fly off the handle, pat yourself on the back after you hang up. What would this person have acted like when working for your company? You probably saved everyone a bunch of headaches, and maybe worse!
    All that being said, Michael Spiro gets a lot right that does drive me crazy. Have me on-site for an interview, which nowadays costs me airfare, rental car, and hotel (because almost no company offers to pay that anymore), then no response afterwards, yes or no? Or saying you’ll reply back after X days or weeks, then no phone call or e-mail returns? Just think about it; which do you think would would show a better image about you and the company you work for: returning calls or sending e-mail reponses, or do nothing?

  • 68. Dave H  |  December 12, 2009 at 5:12 pm

    (From your LinkedIn Post)
    Hi Michael,
    As we approach 2010 with more candidates than jobs, are there rules of thumb candidates can follow for:
    – time we should give after resume submittal before we should ask for status?
    – time between interviews?
    – time after on-site interview and a yes/no decision?

    I’ve been taught to always follow up, but I want to know good guidelines between waiting too long so it looks like you don’t care, and waiting not long enough so you look like a pest.

    Anything you can provide would be tremendous.
    Dave H.

  • 69. Margaret Mulligan  |  December 12, 2009 at 8:54 pm

    Michael, great blog here, and loved the posting on the age issue as well.

    Another thing: If you get this far, I’ve noticed is that once you’re in the interview, some employers don’t (or can’t) expand on what they are really looking for. I’ve sat in discussions where the face-to-face doesn’t reflect a deepening of the initial online or phone exchange, making it difficult to hone your pitch and close the sale, so to speak.

    I sometimes think they figure with so many people looking, they can keep interviewing and will just “know” when the right person comes along. So if they don’t tell me, I ask, “what type of person and skill set is, in your view, be a good fit for this position?” The answer will tell you all you need to know. Or maybe you just need to be the one they are interviewing when they are tired of talking to people. Sometimes the whole thing feels like a crap shoot!

    Thanks for your honesty and great advice in these tough times.

  • 70. Angie Sallese  |  December 13, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    Both articles were very helpful. Sometimes we know these things instinctively, but seeing them in black and white sure drives the point home. Thanks for putting them together in one place.

  • 71. Terrie  |  December 17, 2009 at 1:22 pm

    Loved the article, thank you!

    Another pet peeve is when companies ask you on an application if they can contact your present employer- a question frequently asked before a candidate even steps foot in the door. I am confident that most candidates would prefer you not contact their employer while they are still in job hunting mode! I have heard rumors that there is one particular big box retailer that will not hire those that answer no to this question! My personal response is always “upon job offer, you may contact my current employer”.

    Scary about the age discrimination. I suppose a solid review of a resume can give some indication of age of the applicant. A mature candidate can have so much to offer! It is a shame that we do not embrace that as a society.

  • 72. Henry Shen  |  December 17, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    Mature candidates have all the experience and this is DEFINITELY an advantage. If there is any discrimination, it’s not there against your experience, but your mentality and traits. Like I said in this thread before, some people are born old when some others are all-through-the-life young. Well I’m talking about that kind of jobs that involve little labor work. So if you are looking for a gym coach’s position, the story could be different.

    Hiring companies have but one thing in their mind when employment is concerned: productivity. You can do the job, you can make money for the company, you got it. It’s not directly related to your gender or age. Junior folks ask for less, that’s true, but they do less too. Any long-sighted employer will think well about it and make a balance. Even during tough times, employers still need Sr. employees, if not more. I mean, to survive the hardship, the company has to retain some real good people.

  • 73. Steve Horowitz  |  December 17, 2009 at 5:19 pm


    I won’t be the first and i know I won’t be the last to say, great job on this posting. To you and the others who have contributed their comments above: You’ve all nailed it on the head!

    Steve Horowitz

  • 74. Bruno Aguiar  |  December 18, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    My ranking of annoying things:

    #2. Companies who ask for your complete salary history and salary requirements before interviewing you. That’s the most annoying 4 me. Before even I have an idea of the salary range they are already trying to reduce my negotiation position. If I am there is because my salary is low. If I were happy with my current salary I would probably not even wasting my time interviewing. Not that I don’t like u people, but I would probably not even be networking, at least not taking time to post on LinkedIn discussions. Portugal is a sunny country and it is 13ºC outside!
    Yes, I want to negotiate salary, but before that I want to have a range for the position, especially if it is a career change that is what I am seeking right now.

    #9. Job postings that don’t identify the company: I don’t apply without knowing the company’s name. What if it is my current employer? Not just that, some job announcements are a fake, the enterprise doesn’t want to recruit 4 that position, they just want to get more resumes 4 their databases. Job boards also post fake positions just to gather more resumes and show better statistics. 3rd party recruiters without identifying their client’s name is another scenario that I just avoid applying. In fact, in my last interview about two weeks ago, I saw myself in the position of having sent my resume both for the recruiter and 4 the company 4 the same position. During the interview I always behaved as I was there in result from my candidature to the company. Only after the 15 (yes, only 15) minutes’ interview I realized I also had sent my candidature through the recruiter. Have u ever caught a candidate in this position Mr. Spiro?

    #8 . Lengthy online applications: with all sorts of questions we don’t want to answer before meeting face-to-face. Really annoying! And I bet that before being read by any person, it will have to pass tracking systems to eliminate the greater possible number of applicants.

    #3. Worst than no follow-up is to hear them say they will follow-up till the end of the month, for example, creating expectations, but they only send the no-letters past 3 or 4 months. We’re not only job seekers, we’re also consumers. As someone said in this discussion “they’ll reap what they sow”.

    #4. Yes, go around. That’s what I try to do in social media, to network with the real decision makers, that have already passed through the job you’re applying 4.

    Thanks for the blog Mr. Spiro, I’m even feeling better now! Bet it happened to others.

  • 75. Henry Shen  |  December 18, 2009 at 3:23 pm

    Do you guys also feel bad when the hiring manager says on the phone that “our company is a reputable one that has a very high standard on hiring”? My feeling is like, “get out, I don’t care what your company is like and don’t speak as if you were a patron of mine.” Employment is a kind of business. At negotiation table, both parties are equal. Otherwise they wouldn’t be there negotiating! How “high” is high and how “low” is low? Don’t try to frighten me up front. If the candidate is a qualified one, you upset him by saying that; if the candidate, on the contrary, is not a good match for the position, then why you bother to call him? I hate those people who are on a power trip.

  • 76. Pigbiting mad  |  May 30, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    I usually write off every job after job after I send the resume, and I certainly don’t expect confirmation in every instance. It is only in those cases where they run you through a series of hoops (i.e. three interviews, a three hour long personality test, and subjecting you to a drug test – at least 8 hours of your week). Then they swear up and down they will let you know EITHER WAY. You know the old phony line “it’s between you and ONE other person.” Sorry, but I absolutely expect a call after something like that…..or if you can’t give me the bad news, an email is certainly not so hard is it? MAN THAT PISSES ME OFF!!

    What I usually do when they ASSURE me they will call — and they don’t — is I chase them down like egg sucking dogs. I know it will not help me (and I don’t care because I already know the answer is NO) But it gives me a certain amount of satisfaction to call them every hour for two weeks, making it clear that I will not go away until they just give me an answer.

  • 77. charine  |  December 22, 2010 at 10:28 am

    Great list… I have been unemployed for over a year and recently secured a fantastic job starting in January, I consider myself very fortunate. But I did experience many things on the list, over and over again. The lack of respect some of these employers have for potential candidates is astounding, I was left hanging on several occasions after a 2nd interview, and had to literally bombard the employer with voicemails just to find out what their decision was. Why does this have to be like pulling teeth? I don’t care if its bad news, just give me news!

    My worst experience was arriving for an interview and discovering it was going to be a “group interview”. Worst experience ever, all five candidates were in the same room answering the same questions in front of each other. Needless to say it was the biggest sucking up exercise I have ever had the displeasure of participating in. I felt like I was on the Bachelor. I didn’t make it through that round, which made me angry (I was extremely qualified) but who would want to work there anyway?

  • 78. Amalie  |  May 24, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    This is a great list with really good commentary by the contributors. Here is my two cents. As an experienced financial services professional who has also recruited candidates, I can say that in my former Blue Chip firm, we avoided our HR generalists (high volume recruiters) like the plague. If I think back to all the analyst candidates we extended offers to – none of them came by way of the HR recommendations – they just didn’t do a good job with their suggested candidates that they came back…and we took a look at the whole stack and saw where many great candidates with transferrable skills weren’t even in the consideration pile.

    As for interviewing, even though our team had considerable work loads, we were determined to circumvent HR where interviews were concerned–even for first-round candidates. Quite frankly, I don’t believe that the generalists knew our business, much less to probe to see if they had the skills or the temperaments that would fit with our team. The ones I helped source, interview, and made hiring recommendations? All of them stayed for 3+ years and many are still with the firm and are now VPs within the same division.

    Now that I am done with an MBA and have spent time abroad – and experienced the recruiting process in several European countries – I can safely say, the recruiters in these major firms (of equitable size to where I was before), they actually take the time to review all resumes/CVs and are very happy to provide contact details so potential applicants can ask questions and determine if it’s a good fit. To me, that’s improved my perception of those firms, and I think companies are doing a significant disservice by saying they haven’t got the time to send a quick message to confirm a CV submission – or at least let the candidate know, they’ve decided on a different candidate. I remember most of the companies to this day that haven’t bothered to respond – and I won’t buy their products or services. If I provided lousy service/products to my clients, I shouldn’t expect retention.

    Now fast forward to here in the US – I had an HR manager contact me for a director-level role. I responded 2x (voicemail and email) but the woman never responded back. It’s frustrating when you’re submitting CVs into a seemingly black hole and 95% of the time, you never hear back. Or when they do call, they don’t follow-up after you’ve followed-up.

  • 79. Scott Wagner  |  June 24, 2012 at 7:42 pm

    I have a technical skillset that is in high demand. Due to this, I receive dozens of phone calls, mostly “cold calls,” a day from recruiters who insist that I repeat information that is already in my resume before even telling me what the position is and where.

    Some serious complaints about recruiters:

    – If you leave a message saying “I think I have a position you might be perfect for, please call me back,” I’m not going to call you back. Tell me what the position is or lose out.

    – If you low-ball me, I’m going to find out and you’re going to lose out.

    – Setting up an interview does not constitute a long-standing business relationship. If I decide to no longer pursue the company, suck it up. Be prepared with other candidates and don’t lecture me, I’ve been doing this for a long long time.

    – Don’t leave another voicemail asking me why I’m ignoring you. Move on.

    – Not everyone is desperate for work, and not all people have the same career goals. In the case of IT, not everyone is trying to clear six-figures and not everyone is trying to work for Google or Microsoft. Some of us want flexibility, etc. Don’t go into a conversation assuming all candidates are the same.

    – Only a fool would reveal salary and allow an employer to base your pay on your history. No role is the same, no workload is the same, no environment is the same. Asking rate changes.

    – If you haven’t actually worked in the field before, particularly to the degree your candidate has, again….. do not lecture them on “professionalism” or “the way (whatever their trade is) works.” We are money in your pocket, treat our hard earned experience with respect. This behavior is obnoxious and only serves to make you seem incompetent.

    To the eyes of a candidate, recruiters are in the way and money out of our pockets. It is not an honor to talk to recruiters. If the company didn’t need the candidate’s help, you wouldn’t be calling.

    • 80. Michael Spiro  |  June 25, 2012 at 11:20 am


      Your angry tirade against recruiters is both amazing and revealing. It must be wonderful to be so in-demand and sought-after, and to be able to pick and choose your opportunities in today’s challenging economic times. What comes through loud and clear in your comments is a profound attitude of entitlement and a holier-than-thou, self-centered egotistic narcissism. You are quite the Prima Donna! Wow — dozens of calls a day from money-driven, obnoxious and incompetent recruiters, eh? The nerve of those peons chasing after you! You’re certainly no fool. In fact, clearly you are better than everyone else and should not waste your time dealing with all those bottom-feeding, unprofessional sycophants. Obviously they need you more than you need them.

      Over the years, I’ve occasionally encountered highly talented candidates with in-demand skills that sound very much like you. What I’ve learned from trying to deal with them (and this is a universal truth — not just a staffing thing) is that attitude far outweighs skills in the real world … and after reading what you’ve written, my instinct would be to NEVER represent anyone with an attitude like yours. I hope for your sake that you don’t ever find yourself in the shoes of so many of the highly talented professionals I see who struggle to find work and really do need good recruiters to help them with their job searches.

      Good luck,

      • 81. Scott Wagner  |  July 21, 2012 at 9:03 pm


        I’m not angry, I’m stating facts from the candidate point of view for recruiters to take note of.

        You are correct, I do need good recruiters, and I do have good recruiters and I take every step to ensure we maintain a good relationship. Unfortunately I am inundated with a new recruiting industry full of recent (insert liberal arts degree here) grads, fly-by-night call centers who read off a script and flood me with computer-dialed cold calls, and people who just want to take me to lunch regardless of my interest (I’m assuming this checks off a “keep my job” or “bonus!” box somewhere.)

        I’d imagine by the depth of your site that you are a good recruiter, but your type is few and far between these days in my industry.


  • 82. Michael Spiro  |  July 23, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    It works both ways. As a recruiter, I’m on the receiving end of frequent calls and emails from job-seekers — many of whom have no clue what recruiters do or how they work, and often have minimal marketable skills, terrible resumes and poor communication skills. However, unlike you, I always try to be professional and courteous to those callers, and treat them all with some degree of respect and dignity. I have sympathy for anyone in a position where they have to cold-call lists of people begging for help — I’ve been there and done that, and believe me when I say it is no fun at all! The Golden Rule applies to all of these situations — both yours and mine. What goes around comes around.

  • 83. Jenni Hamilton  |  December 15, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    I would like to point out some of the many benefits of networking with other job seekers, and point out it was the exact opposite of a waste of time in my job search, as I too was given that advice at the beginning of my job search. 1) I found my job through a fellow job seeker who was getting her masters with my “then” future boss. Not only did I get a “heads up” on the opening, I got a recommendation from the job seeker. 2) Other job seekers have friends, relatives and neighbors with jobs in companies that a job seeker may be targeting and can make introductions. 3) Ditto for networking with people outside of your field. i.e. the unemployed accountant probably knows sales managers, advertising managers, etc, who may be hiring at one of his former companies or at his wife’s employer, etc. You never know who knows who until you meet them! The key is getting to know people. They have to know you to recommend you.

    • 84. Michael Spiro  |  December 16, 2012 at 1:31 pm


      I concede that it is possible to find a job by networking with other job-seekers, family members, friends, or other non-targeted people. (It’s also possible to get a job by doing nothing but simply applying to online postings — although that is generally considered to be one of the least likely ways to actually land a job.) I’m not saying it can’t happen. My main point was that such non-targeted networking is far less likely to produce meaningful results than meeting and networking with people in your specific industry niche, and with people who are actually connected to your target companies. By all means, get the word out to everyone you know — family members, friends, neighbors, etc. You are right: someone may know someone else who can actually help you. You never know … and attending meetings with other job-seekers is better than staying at home doing nothing!

      Again, the point I was trying to make (better explained in another article I wrote:  Looking for Networking in All the Wrong Places) is that targeted networking is a much better strategy than hoping to randomly connect with someone who can help you at an event filled with other job-seekers that mostly have no connection to your industry or your list of target companies.


  • 85. Sean  |  January 22, 2013 at 7:05 pm

    Yes I hate long winded on line job application forms, so much so I no longer apply to organizations that do this. Its just a easy way for lazy HR people to avoid doing their job (such as it is).

  • 86. website  |  August 20, 2013 at 4:37 am

    My brother recommended I might like this web site. He was entirely right. This post actually made my day. You can not imagine simply how much time I had spent for this information! Thanks!

  • 87. John  |  August 11, 2014 at 3:46 am

    One of the worst, frustrating obstacles is when you network well with a manager at a company or ngo and she encourages you to apply for a job and says she’ll put in a good word about you, but once you apply with follow-ups eventually you don’t get considered for an interview. Why does such have to be as such especially with the networking and sincere effort done?

    Also, what is the benefit of ‘networking’ or ‘relationships’ helping land a job when there are several different candidates applying for the very same job and all have a close, networking relationship with internal people in the company?

    • 88. Michael Spiro  |  August 11, 2014 at 10:30 am

      There will always be competition. Sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose. All you can do is keep trying.

  • 89. Anna Wolvers  |  December 6, 2014 at 11:12 am

    I love the article, and so true. My big pet peeve is the long on-line applications before even asking to see my resume which would answer 85% of their long list of questions in the application. Please change the background on this page. The snow effect is cute for the season, but does funny things to the reader’s eyes while reading.

    • 90. Michael Spiro  |  December 8, 2014 at 11:41 am

      Thanks, Anna. (I turned off that “snowing” effect … it was a WordPress thing. I appreciate the feedback!)

  • 91. ADW  |  June 1, 2017 at 4:31 pm

    It’s obnoxious that I apply to hundreds of jobs each week yet, the majority of calls and emails I become inundated with are random recruiters. Somehow they get ahold of my information even if my resume on job boards is private. The recruiters are affiliated with companies which I did not apply to; the position(s) they offer are jobs the company can not fill which I’m either not qualified for or have no interest in. Clearly, they failed to read my resume prior contacting me. These recruiters are most often associated with staffing agencies and sales jobs which are 100% commission based. There has only been a few instances where I was contacted by a recruiter for a jobs matching my search criteria and background. The interviews would go smoothly and I was confident however I would not receive a job offer.
    Also, there seems to be a lot of bogus “fake jobs” which are scams.

    • 92. Michael Spiro  |  June 2, 2017 at 11:05 am

      ADW: The fact that you “apply to hundreds of jobs each week” and have not had good results should be a big clue that your job search plan needs adjusting! I’m guessing that the majority of your time is spent applying to online job postings, right? The truth is that this is one of the least productive uses of your time, and has an extremely low success rate. Most online submissions go totally unanswered. Those résumés, cover letters and applications that you’ve labored over usually go into the proverbial “Black Hole of HR.” And those inexperienced recruiters who are calling you for jobs that do not fit your background are the ones who don’t really know how to recruit qualified candidates — they only answer the applications of job-seekers like you who apply online! Savvy job searchers do not rely on simply applying to online job postings, but rather spend most of their time networking, finding ways to go around HR, and talking with actual decision-makers at their target companies. You should read some of the other articles in this blog that detail the steps on how to effectively network your way to a job. Good luck with your search!


Leave a Reply to Jenni Hamilton Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed

Michael Spiro

About the Author:

Michael Spiro has been a 3rd-Party Recruiter and Account Executive for over 20 years. He is currently the Director of Recruiting / NE Ohio Region for Jefferson Wells, a dedicated business unit of ManpowerGroup. Other recent positions include President of Midas Recruiting, a boutique head-hunting firm, Director of Talent at Patina Solutions, and Executive Recruiting positions with two of the largest search firms in North America. Before his career in the staffing industry, Michael was a manager in a large non-profit social-services organization. And in a former life, Michael was active in the entertainment industry, with extensive road-warrior experience as a touring performer (singer-songwriter / guitarist / comedian) and as a recording artist, producer and booking agent.  [More...]

Index (by Topic):

Résumés & Cover Letters:
 The "T" Cover Letter - The
         Only Type Worth Sending

 The Brutal Truth on How
         Résumés Get Eliminated

 Explaining Short Job Stints
         and Employment Gaps

 The Résumé Test &
         Checklist: Does Yours

 Beating the Résumé-
         Elimination Game: Where
         Do Recruiters' Eyes Go?

 The Truth About Lying on

 "Why Did You Leave Your
         Last Job?"

 How to Network: A
         Step-by-Step Guide for
         Job Searching

 Looking for Networking in
         All the Wrong Places

 Targeted Networking: How
         to Effectively Reach Out

 The Art of Giving: the Key to
         Effective Networking

 Face-to-Face Interviews:
         Secrets, Tricks and Tips

 Phone Interviews: Secrets,
         Tricks and Tips

 Skype Interview Tips ...
         Welcome to the Future!

 Nuggets: A Secret
         Interviewing Technique

 Answering the Dreaded
         Salary Question

 20 Surefire Ways to Blow
         an Interview

 "So, Do You Have Any
         Questions?" Nailing the
         Interview Closer

 Cool InfoGraphic: "What
         You Wish You'd Known
         Before Your Job

Age Discrimination:
 Age Discrimination: Secret
         Conversations Revealed

 Age Discrimination:
         Exposing Inconvenient

 Are You "Overqualified?"
         Handling the Age Issue

 Baby Boomers to the
         Rescue! An Idea Whose
         Time Has Come ...

 Overcoming Job-Search
         Obstacles and
         Redefining Your Career
         After 50

 Advice for Recent Grads
         and Career-Changers

Switching Jobs:
 The Proper Way to
         Quit a Job

 Counteroffers: Just Say No!

General Job-Seeking Info:
 The Real Truth About
         Working with Recruiters

 Contract/Consulting Jobs
         Explained ... Available in
         3 Different Flavors

►  What Recruiters Say
         vs. What Job-Seekers

►  The Dirty Truth About
         Misleading Unemployment

►  Let the Jobs Find You:
         Making Yourself More

 "Help ... I Need a Job!" A
         9-Step Guide for Newly
         Minted Job-Seekers

 Avoiding the "Black Hole
         of HR"

 Is Your Elevator Pitch
         Taking You UP
         or DOWN?

 Time Management: Recipe          for a Well-Balanced Job          Search
 Getting Un-Stuck from your

 The Double-Whammy of
         Rejection and Isolation

 "Unemployed Need Not
         Apply" - Working Around
         This Scary Message

 Using Social Media to
         Enhance Job-Searching

 Warning: That Rant You
         Posted Just Went Viral!

 The Golden Rule for
         Business: Never Burn

 The Power of a Positive

 Why Job Hunting is a
         Consultative Sales

 Top 10 Most Helpful Things
         for Job Seekers

 Top 10 Most Annoying
         Things for Job Seekers

 New Year's Resolutions for
         Unemployed Job-

Job-Seeking Humor:
 Comic Relief: Volume 1
 Comic Relief: Volume 2
 Comic Relief: Volume 3
 Comic Relief: Volume 4
 Comic Relief: Volume 5
 Comic Relief: Volume 6
 "In Transition" and Other
         Awkward Euphemisms

 Candidates Gone Wild:
         Recruiter Horror Stories

Share This Blog:

Click the button below to share “Recruiter Musings” on any of nearly 300 social media sites:

Share this blog with any of your favorite Social Networks, email or bookmark it.

Enter your email address below to subscribe to “Recruiter Musings” and receive notifications of new blog posts by email.

Join 879 other followers

Job Opportunities:

Click either of the logos below to see job opportunities listed through the author’s companies, Jefferson Wells or Midas Recruiting:


Blog Visitor Count:

  • 1,107,795 hits