To Area Employers 0
Letter to the Editor
Help wanted ads appearing in this newspaper often include a statement similar to this: "Thank you for your interest but only those chosen for an interview will be contacted". This statement is commonly used, particularly by larger employers. The statement is unfair to the majority of people who have applied and will not receive the courtesy of a reply. Why would an employer chose to do this? This policy serves no good purpose for either party. It is simply wrong. To know that this policy is wrong one merely has to ask "if the positions were reversed, how would I feel about being treated like this?"
Any help wanted ad today is likely to receive a large number of replies. Probably the majority of applicants are unemployed, some perhaps for a considerable time. The ad provides them with a ray of hope. They submit their application with great anticipation and begin to wait. They understand that unless selected for an interview they will not hear back, nevertheless they remain hopeful. As time passes they begin to wonder if their application was even received by the proper person. They will never know. With reluctance they ultimately come to the realization they were not chosen and they give up waiting to hear. The employer has allowed the passage of time to deliver their message. Is this not cruel and unnecessary punishment to a group of people in a vulnerable position?
It is in the employer's best interests to receive a large number of applications. The more people who apply improves the probability of finding the right person for the job. Knowing this the employer is still unwilling to make the effort to reply to everyone. Is it because it would take to much time and cost too much money, to answer all the people? How much money? Thanks to advancements in technology never before in human history has it been as easy (and efficient) to communicate one with another than it is today. A form letter can be personalized (very important) and can be processed in large quantities in a short time. If the answer is via email it is even easier, faster and less costly. There will always be some cost involved, but is it too much? We all know that we can make the time and spend the money to do something we really want to do. It is simply the degree of importance we place upon the matter.
What image of your organization do you wish to convey? To say that you will not reply suggests an uncaring, indifferent and disrespectful attitude to a group of people who are already hurting. Why intentionally do something with such a negative effect? Besides, by not replying you are missing an opportunity to leave a favourable impression. If a carefully written letter were to be sent which lets the applicant down gently and also includes words of encouragement to keep trying, it would go a long way toward making them feel better about you as an employer. It may also make the employer feel better about themselves.
Why should the employer reply to every person who wrote to them? Because the employer invited them to do so. There is an obligation to reply. No, not a legal one, but a moral one. It has to do with politeness, good manners and common decency. You know, the kind of things your mother taught you. What would your mother say about this procedure?
Rotarians have something they call the Four-Way Test (easily found on the internet) which they use to help guide them in their relationships with others. When the above policy is subjected to these tests it fails three of the four.
What would your pastor or priest say about this policy?
Whether you are a religious person or even if you are not, you are probably aware of a important rule which could also be applied to this situation. It is said to be pre-eminent of all rules. It supersedes even company policy. If you know the rule---you will know what to do.
As an employer reading this I would ask you to please reconsider your policy regarding this matter with a view to changing it. Why not turn a negative into a positive? How much better would it be to read something like this in the next help wanted ads. "Please be advised that everyone who submits an application will receive a written reply".