The continuing interest in this topic makes me want to share what I wrote back in April as an Open Letter to design firms, after my experiences working with many fresh graduate level students and their job searches. It’s in my blog but here it is in full:
Open letter to design studios, on hiring etiquette
My observation is limited to the design industry, to studios of all sizes, flavors and locations. I’m not sure yet whether it’s due to the nature of your profession, which leads to the need for an attitude, a hipness, a certain cultlike culture to be projected outward to portray success or whether it’s due to “we’re so creative and busy, we let these things slide” or a bit of both but design studios have the reputation for being some of the rudest companies during the “hiring dance”.
My experience has been largely through hearsay while working with numerous grad students nearing the end of their degree and beginning their job searches along with some personal interactions of my own.
I’m not asking you to respond to every unsolicited portfolio, resume or URL. What I am asking you to do, is that once you have begun a dialogue, and it has reached a certain depth, two or three hour long phone interviews, perhaps a visit to the office, or in some cases over 7 weeks of conversations, it behooves you to end the relationship with a modicum of courtesy or closure. Not radio silence once you fill the position.
This is more noticeable when the employer has been actively pursuing the candidate, with emails and follow ups and phone calls, until the final interview and decision making stage. Then the classic reaction to the email or phone call sent by the applicant, asking if the decision has been made. Silence.
Far better to respond with a quick note to say that the position has been filled by another, though we would have loved to have you work with us. Takes two minutes of your time.
For keep in mind that any designer that you called in and spoke to, or looked at their portfolio, if good enough to attract your attention, is going to be around the same small industry we all work in, and may show up in a collaborator’s office, a client’s design department or across the table in management, if not working for the competition. Do you then want the bad taste of the silent ending or discourteous lack of response in the form of blowback?
Empathy for the other goes a long way.