Thursday, May 17, 2012

Job Search Etiquette

I've been looking around our neighborhood via Craigslist lately, seeing if there's a part or full time job that is within Metro/walking distance as I've been thinking it would be fun to have some work again and hey, everyone likes a paycheck.  The problem is, job hunting just starts to drive me nuts after a while.  When you read a job description and it says they're looking for someone to start immediately, and then don't reply to your email for a week, that's a bit irksome.  If they've already found someone to fill the position and they don't reply to your email to let you know, that's annoying.  

My current pet peeve is that I've been asking, in my responses to the ads, that I'd like to know exactly where they're located as my main concern is transportation, and they send me a yahoo messenger and a time to sign on for an online interview and don't answer my question first that would determine whether or not it would be viable for me to even proceed with an interview.  I also did one of these online via messenger interviews and was trying to find out where exactly this office was located and the guy didn't give me a straight answer after two tries-if you're not readily willing to answer what I'd like to know about your company so I can determine if the job would be a good fit for me, I'm not so sure I want to work for you.  Hiring managers: answer questions, get back to people right away whether or not the job position has been filled.  You're not the only ones waiting.  I was complaining about this to Kris and saying that someone should hire me strictly to handle staffing correspondence when a business/company needs a new employee instead of hiring me to fill in the file-clerk position since whoever has been assigned to manage said correspondence is either not in HR or has too much on their plate to sift through all the incoming job-posting reply emails to focus their attention on the person that might be perfect for the position.  Kris said "Huh. Wouldn't that be smart!"  It really would.  (I'd also like to be automatically paid a dollar for every time I have to say the words "she tried to break up a bar fight, broken, splint seriously, in Switzerland," and "no, really" when someone asks me how my adorable little puppy hurt her foot.  I tell the story at least four times a day.  It would almost qualify as part time work.  Can someone figure out how to make that happen?  Would someone out there like to volunteer to pay me for it, just for kicks?  I'll keep a tally and send you the weekly bill.)    

Can we talk about being professional in business communication for a moment? I tried signing into an old yahoo account a few weeks back because it's the one I used to reply to job listings and it's been so long that I don't remember my password, or if I canceled the account because yahoo couldn't find my login name as being an established account.  Go me.  So I created a new Gmail account with a professional login name, no crazy letter combinations and cutesy names because  half of the hiring managers looking for new employees don't bother reading your resume if your email address is "".  It speaks to your maturity level and how seriously you take yourself and how seriously you're going to apply yourself to the position.  So when I reply to ads I use a professional email address.  

But job searchers, we're not the only ones out there making the mistakes.  Someone sent me a reply to my email the other day and the email handle THEY used was quite unprofessional as well.  Let's just say the word "bubblehead" was involved.  I'm not sure I want to work for a self-proclaimed bubblehead.  If you use that to invite people to interview with your company, you obviously don't take your job OR yourself too seriously, either.  I thanked them and said "never mind."  It's the first time I've seen a hiring manager or employee use an immature email address and I'm sure it won't be the last but it's just appalling.  It's not like you have to pay for email.  If you already have an internet connection, guess what, it's free.  Pick an email address that relates to the company you work for.  Use your first or last name and the company name together.  (And reply with the name of the company in the body of the email so the applicant knows that you're being professional, as well.  It also possibly helps the applicant find out more information about the company so they can help determine if they would be a good fit for the job.)  Once you hire the person, you can use whatever email account you wish to memo them but upfront and foremost, be as professional as possible.  I've had a professional email address for forever since I started working part time as a file clerk when I was thirteen.  If a thirteen year old can manage to be professional, a forty-year old hiring manager can be as well.  I also respond to ads with my full first and last name.  If I take the job and we get along, fellow employees can call me Allie if they like. That's fine with me, but my business cards and desk name-plate will still read "Allison" because it's my name.  You really should apply and correspond with the name that is going to be on your paycheck and your tax forms.  It's only reasonable and practical.  Think about it, folks.
Happy Job Hunting! (Or Happy Working!)

Allie H.

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