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Job Hunting & Rejection Letters

May 24, 2019Will Leffert

I've been applying to jobs for a couple months now. Since I left Quincy Media, putting through job applications has been like tossing pennies into a wishing well; I've typically been applying for remote work positions, as I am not ready to move again at this time, and the competition is fierce. In round 1 interviews, I've had potential employers tell me that they had anywhere from 100 to 300 applicants.

That's a lot of job hunters and rejection letters right there.

Or is it?

I'm someone who sweats the details, in a way. Most programmers are. We need to know why something failed in order to fix it.

The irony of this is, we don't typically get those details when we fail to get the position we're applying for.

In fact, feedback is non-existent in many cases. I've discovered through research that someone was hired at various places I've applied, and I've not even received a rejection letter.

I'm OK with not getting the position. That's not a big deal. Employers have to seek out the best fit for the job, and with as many as 300 applicants, they've got a lot of choices, even after weeding out the grossly unqualified applicants.

At best, I typically get an email back saying "We appreciate your application, but we've decided to move forward with someone else at this time. We'll keep your resume on file, and please check X for future job postings from us."

I understand that it is the way things are, but should we just accept the status-quo?

I work in a field of innovation. The web is constantly changing and growing. Why do we continue to follow the same old process for hiring?

I'm not talking about the application process itself; I've actually had some great application processes. One place had an AMAZING logic quiz that I thoroughly enjoyed. Another one had a round-one interview that was focused on culture first, and I enjoyed my conversation with the person in charge. ZipRecruiter is actually pretty interesting; I get notifications when they like my application, or when they view it a second time.

I'm talking about the rejection process.

Let's provide details.

Why did I not make it to round 2, or 3, or get the job? Are there any areas for improvement?

For smaller places hiring locally, this information is usually just an email away. In fact, I've gotten rejections over the phone, and was able to ask right there what held me back from getting the position.

So, how do we change this for the rest of the hiring world?

From what I've seen, many larger organizations utilize a CRM-style system for managing the job posting applicants. These systems, should they not contain anything allowing you to store feedback, should absolutely be updated to do so.

By providing feedback to job applicants, you're actually increasing your pool of future applicants. If I learn that I didn't make it because they'd like more experience in React, or a portfolio of items more in-line with what they do, then I add that to my list of ways to improve.

You might be wondering the following: How many people apply a second time for a position?

I did. In fact, my last job I had I got the second time the position became available.. And you know what? They gave me feedback when I failed the first time (not enough agency experience - I hadn't done any agency work back then).

So, future employers, hiring agencies, and job boards, listen up - we want feedback. In the UI/UX world, feedback is critical to improving the user experience. Let's not just talk about it, but actually do it, in everything we do!