Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Minding One's Ps & Qs

Ah, gentle readers, you may have guessed that your MatchGirl is a fan of Miss Manners. I believe that it's important to be polite in this digital age - please and thank you and have a good day and giving up your seat on the subway for the elderly or pregnant or injured. There is certainly, especially in Gotham, a decline in - dare I say complete lack of - good manners. People live solely in their own heads and own worlds and pay little or no attention to those around them.

I've written a bit about manners in the job search previously, but it's time to discuss it once again.

It seems to me that the onus is only on the applicant in these rough times. When you apply for a job, it is up to you to make the appropriate phone calls. It is up to you to send the "thank you" card/note/e-mail. It is up to you to do all the follow through. The employer, on the other hand, the one doing the hiring, holds all the cards and, it's seems, is not currently held to any standards of etiquette - from keeping you waiting up to 20 minutes for your scheduled interview to never letting you know whether you've gotten the job or not afterward. Honestly, how hard is it to send out an e-mail?

About a month ago your MatchGirl went for an interview with a luxe fashion company. Though I left the interview feeling very unsure of how it went (I was very nervous going in, as it had been a while since I had gone to an interview). The next day I sent a handwritten "thank you" on beautiful stationary. And I got an e-mail a couple of days later asking to be supplied with references. Oh! Good news! It's always a good sign when one is asked for one's references. So I sent them references from my two NYC jobs. And they phoned them. And they kept them on the phone for 45 minutes. Oh! That's a good sign! I was called in for a second interview - an interview which lasted well over an hour - where we talked about specifics of my previous jobs and duties, about my skill set and my quickness of learning. We spoke of the references my previous employers and co-workers had given (good, all of them). We spoke about money. We shook hands and I left feeling pretty good - still a bit unsure, and definitely not wanting to get ahead of myself, but good. They were off to Paris the next day for fashion week and I didn't expect to hear from them until a couple of days after they returned. I sent them a follow up e-mail while they were in Paris, thanking them again for meeting with me and wishing them a successful trip.

And I never heard from them again.

A few days after they returned from Paris, I was doing my usual morning troll of Craigslist and shock! there was the job I had applied for re-listed! But without a word from the company to me. I sent another e-mail, saying I was looking forward to speaking with them further. Nada. Nothing. I was reticent to write about it here earlier in the month, dear ones, as one of the bosses and I had discussed this little site and I wanted to be quite careful about what I was putting out there. But, enough time has passed that, even if they were being exceedingly careful in vetting the appropriate person, it is quite clear that I did not get the job. I can't say why. I know I wanted the high end of their pay scale. I know that my Illustrator skills are a bit less than they wanted. And that's all well and good. If I wasn't the person for the job, I wasn't the person for the job - it's a small company and fit most certainly matters. But how hard is it to send an e-mail and tell me that you have gone with someone else?

I most certainly don't understand.

In a recent conversation with a fellow unemployed gal, we were drawing parallels between being on the hunt for a job and the dating life of a single girl in NYC. She said that when she didn't get a call back after an interview, it was just like dating. I totally agree. You go on that first date with that cute guy. You have dinner or a couple of drinks. You're wearing a great outfit. The conversation sparkles. he walks you to the subway or your door or opens the car door for you. You have a chaste good night kiss (or maybe one that's a little hotter) and you go home and to bed with a smile on your face, thinking how wonderful the night was and how you can't wait to hear from him again. And the night was wonderful. And you never hear from him again. And you have absolutely no idea why.

Right now, job hunting is exactly the same. You don't know what happened. You thought you connected. You thought it was all good. You thought, at the very least that they had enough respect for you to reply to an e-mail or tell you that they didn't think it was going to work out.

The decline of manners has long been on my mind, dear readers. It's so very sad how little we respect one another in this city (and probably in the rest of the country, as well). But, honestly, in the business world? Please. Even though we're unemployed, we're still people deserving of respect.

How hard is it to be a little polite?


  1. Great post, really well written. Good luck on your search!

  2. I am with you. I also find it unbelievable when you're introduced to potential hirers through other contacts (you're not just a stranger sending in a random resume) and yet they never even say, oh, thanks for sending, sorry, we're going with someone else. It's like the immature guy who breaks up with you but doesn't tell you, hoping you'll figure it out for yourself. Ugh.

  3. the exact same thing happened to me! SO incredibly rude.

  4. Ah yes, all so true. What is just as infuriating is the rejection letter that comes two days after you apply for a job online. Instead of: "Dear Julie, your qualifications don't meet our needs," It should say: "Dear Julie, our online filter rejected your resume for lack of the appropriate key words." Hehe. Anyways, it all seems to lack the appropriate manners...

  5. Yes, it is embarrassingly rude. Then again, if the general population is anything to go by, it is not a surprise. Consider that daily you see: people putting their dirty feet on subway seats, people spitting on the ground, people cutting in line, people yapping on their cell phones where ever they go, etc. Sadly, most people have forgot the golden rule like we all learned in kindergarten: Treat others how you would like to be treated. Think of it this way, but not getting that job you just avoided spending years with a really unreliable, crappy boyfriend who takes you for granted. By not getting the job, you now are free to meet someone you really love and who really loves and appreciates you.

  6. I realize you want a boyfriend, but just let me remind you that being unemployed (for me 10 months) and living with a girlfriend who is amazingly successful with her career isn't so great either. Sure she helps with the finances, but the stress of not getting work, not being able to help much with rent & utilities, not being able to afford a vacation, a car and a dog that she can easily afford and wants is a huge ass bit of stress, that you single people do not have to deal with. Just saying..

  7. I've been thinking about you and that job opportunity since the last happy hour, was wondering what happened. It is so infuriating to see a company completely diss you, and particularly so after your set of events. To find the same job reposted on Craigslist, Stylecareers, etc, after hearing not a damn word from the company is tough. Not to be fashion industry jaded, but I think this industry is particularly cruel and rude in terms of letting you know what's up.

  8. Here, here! Very well said. You're not the only one that this happens to. It's rude and it's a reflection of the employer's lack of manners and respect for people.

  9. I had a similar experience but it was for a wholesale company run by women who pride themselves on community responsibility. I live in a much, much smaller city than NYC in California. I submitted my resume, writing sample and cover letter. There was an exchange of emails to set up a phone interview, which lasted somewhere in the range of 20-30 minutes. I thought it went well but I realize that's a subjective opinion. One of the company owners told me there were 15 people being offered a phone interview. I didn't hear anything for a few days so sent a follow up email. Nothing. How hard would it have been to send a brief mass email to those of us who didn't get further in the process? Or, to those of us who didn't get the job? I could write one in less than 5 minutes! Sorry, it was upsetting because those opportunities to interview are so rare.

  10. I've been formally rejected by a few computer-generated emails. Sadly I'll take that over nothing at all! I hate when they leave you hanging, grrr....