Q: I am completely fed up with rude and unprofessional recruiters. A few months ago, one of them contacted me about a job and asked me to send her a resume. When I heard nothing after a couple of weeks, I sent a follow-up email, but received no response.
Several weeks later, the same person emailed me about a different position. She said she was sending the employer my resume, but again there was no follow-up. Yesterday, I received yet another email from her regarding a possible job.
At this point, I'm so angry that I want to tell this woman exactly what I think about her disrespectful behavior. Why do recruiters act like this?
A: Your frustration with unresponsive recruiters is shared by many job-seekers. But while some may indeed be inconsiderate jerks, this lack of communication typically stems from the nature of the recruiting process itself.
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When searching for viable candidates, recruiters consider applicants from a wide range of sources and then contact those who appear to be a possible match for the job. While the applicant may view this as the start of a promising relationship, in reality it may just be the first step in narrowing a large field.
Because many recruiters lack the administrative support needed to follow up with everyone, priority is given to those applicants who are most appealing to the employers who have paid for this service. The unfortunate result is that many preliminary contacts are simply left hanging.
This does not let recruiters off the hook, however. Instead of making anxious applicants wait for an email that will never come, they need to establish reasonable expectations. Every contact should be told exactly what will happen next, including the likelihood of receiving feedback.
As for your own situation, don't shoot yourself in the foot. Since this woman continues to reach out, your connection with her may eventually pay off. But if you lash out in frustration, you won't hear from her again, because no one wants to hire an angry person.
Q: I'm not sure how to handle questions from my manager about my retirement plans. I had previously shared some preliminary thoughts with him, so now he's asking if that's what I intend to do. Although he has emphasized that he wants me to stay, he seems to be thinking about my successor. Is this legal? And how should I respond to him?
A: If I were talking to your boss, I would strongly advise him to drop this line of inquiry. While a question about retirement may not actually be illegal, broaching the subject can easily be interpreted as age discrimination. For you, however, pointing out his error would not be the best response.
With uncomfortable or inappropriate questions, the most effective replies tend to be brief and vague. For example: "Since I really like my job, I'm not currently thinking about retirement plans. But when that time comes, I will be sure to give you sufficient notice."
As I'm sure you now realize, your initial mistake was in sharing those "preliminary retirement thoughts." Whenever an employee mentions leaving, management immediately sees a flight risk and begins pondering possible replacements.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Marie G. McIntyre is a workplace coach and the author of "Secrets to Winning at Office Politics." Send in questions and get free coaching tips at http://www.yourofficecoach.com, or follow her on Twitter @officecoach.