Good Communication Works Both Ways

By Joe Stein

A common complaint from Job Seekers is the poor communication they experience from a prospective employer.  There is often a general feeling that Hiring Managers or Recruiters do not respond quickly enough or provide enough updates to the Job Seeker.  It can be a very annoying and frustrating part of searching for a new job. 

While this may very well be true, it is probably as likely that the potential employer is as frustrated with the Job Seeker and the difficulty in communicating with some of the candidates.  One of the fundamental keys to being a savvy Job Seeker is to make sure you will not be difficult for the Hiring Manager to work with.  You want to provide an effortless process for the busy Hiring Manager to make an easy hiring decision (the one where he or she decides to hire you!).  The thought being that if you are a pain now, you will be as bad (if not worse) as an employee.

Based on my experience, the following are some very basic, common-sense ways to provide professional two-way communication with the prospective employer.

• Provide Multiple Contact Options – In today’s technologically focused society, it should not be difficult to reach a Job Seeker.  Provide at least two (if not more) ways that you can be reached, such as your mobile phone, e-mail address, and a home phone number (if you have one). 
• Answer Your Phone - When you are searching for a new position, it is not the time to be screening all of your calls. If you are available to answer, please do so, as a Recruiter will immediately move on to the next call after leaving you a message.  It could be a while before a Recruiter can call you back and, therefore, the phone tag begins.
• Review Messages 2-3x a Day – Whenever you have the opportunity to check your messages, then do so and try to immediately return the call.  I suggest checking your messages in the morning, mid-day and then one hour prior to the end of a normal business day (approx. 4pm EST).  This will provide you some time to call back before the person calling ends their day.  Reviewing your messages includes your home number answering machine if you provided this as a contact point.
• Return Calls During Business Hours – I know it can sometimes be difficult to call someone back during the business day if you are currently employed.  The effort, however, can really pay off as it will go a long way to moving the process along and eliminating phone tag.
• Communicate Any Time Off From Your Search –If you are going to be away for a period of time (such as a vacation) and have had contact with a Recruiter, then either communicate to the person of your absence or make a point to continue to monitor and answer your phone while out. 
• Let Them Know of Any Delays – Delays happen, especially if you are currently employed, so if you are anticipating not being able to make an appointment, then communicate as soon as you know.  This allows the other person to adjust his or her schedule, while avoiding the conclusion that you are just being late.
• Decline An Offer By Calling – One of the largest aggravations of a Job Seeker is, after being interviewed (sometimes multiple times), to then be declined with a form letter or e-mail, or sometimes even nothing.  Since this can be deservedly bothersome, then informing the Hiring Manager that you will be dropping out of consideration for a position should be a given.  If you have decided to accept another position, then make the attempt to call the Hiring Manager and inform them.  Do not rely on simply sending an e-mail (or if you call, don’t do it off hours when you know no one will answer). If you are able to provide a reason, then do so since you know how aggravating it can be when a Hiring Manager does not provide any feedback to you on why you were not selected.  Finally, on this point, inform them as soon as you possibly know that you will not be accepting. 
• Don’t “No Show” On Your First Day - Do NOT decide to just not show up for your first day of work. Just as you would not expect an employer to inform you (when you arrived for your first day) that the job no longer exists, they expect you to arrive at work. 

Mutual communication is crucial during a job search.  While many Job Seekers will focus their energy on what the potential employer is doing (or not doing), equally important is what you can do to increase communication.  By following some very simple common tips, you can ensure you are providing the strong communication that a Hiring Manager is seeking.

As always, best of luck in your job search