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A Strong Job Market Doesn't Give You The Right to be a Jerk!

Posted on September 13, 2018
empty board room

The strong job market seems to be causing some people to forget some basic common courtesies. A recent article, The Job Market is so Good, Candidates Aren’t Even Showing Up for Interviews by Kathryn Vasel, addresses this very issue. She explores this notion that since the job market is so strong, job candidates are feeling emboldened to trash certain norms, such as showing up for a scheduled interview, and in one case a candidate was flown out at the company’s expense and didn’t bother to show up. And in other instances, new hires are forgoing their first day of work, presumably having taking a different position, while neglecting to tell the first company that hired them.

It takes only three words to address this – THIS IS WRONG!

It does not matter how strong the job market is, this kind of laissez-faire approach to your job search is inexcusable. Manners, while some may believe them to be old fashion, are still quite important. If a company is interested in you and offers you an opportunity to interview, then go or cancel, but to ghost them deeply damages your reputation. If you accepted a plane ticket to attend an interview and don’t show, the company could take you to small claims court to be reimbursed for their expense. Let’s look at it a different way, if you were getting married and offered to pay for your attendants’ flights and then one of your attendants blew you off to sight see or hang with other friends, you would likely never forget it. Well, the same is likely true for a company when they pay for a flight and the candidate doesn’t bother to show up.

I have said this many times, all you have is your personal reputation, and when you flush it down the toilet by blowing off an interview, you are only hurting yourself. You never know when the hiring manager at company B will be hired by your current company, or be the hiring manager for the job you really want. In that case, it won’t matter how strong the job market is, that hiring manager wouldn’t hire you if you were the only applicant - nor should they. Your lack of concern for their time and the company’s time says a great deal about you as a person and the type of employee you will be. If you don’t care about a company or its people before you start a position, why would you care about them once you do start?

Common courtesies such as showing up for an interview, saying thank you, holding the door for a colleague (of either gender), etc. may seem old-fashioned and out of date, but I assure they are not because each of these demonstrate respect for another human being and for the group of people who make up a company.

If you are looking for a new position, do so with pride, confidence, and respect. Treat every encounter as if it is your dream job. When you know it is not, then bow out by saying, "Thank you, but I have decided to take a different position or pursue some other options."

While a hiring manager might be disappointed, especially if you were their top choice, they will respect you and be appreciative for the way you opted to take a different path.


Anne Converse Willkomm
Assistant Clinical Professor
Department Head of Graduate Studies
Goodwin College
Drexel University
Posted in professional-development-career-tips