Monday, August 20, 2012

Common courtesy, or lack thereof

An open letter to companies and institutions who solicit applications (for employment, fellowships, scholarships, etc.) yet never bother to respond to them:

To whom it may concern:

I noticed that you failed to offer any sort of response to the application that I submitted two months ago, though when I contacted you, you curtly assured me you'd received it. I would like to point out the following:

  • Responding to email is actually not that hard. You click "reply" and type a few words. Might I suggest: "Thank you for your interest in this scholarship/job/unpaid-internship-slash-free-labor. We have decided to go in a different direction, but we appreciate the time you put into your application. We wish you all the best."
  • Do you know how long it just took me to type those three sentences? Forty-seven seconds.
  • I understand that you likely received numerous applications. There are several high-tech ways to approach this challenge. One is to learn a function widely known as "copy and paste." This function allows you to place the same sentence (see above) into multiple emails without having to type it again and again. Now all you have to do is modify the "Dear So-and-So" and the email address, and voila! 
  • Perhaps that sounds too hard, or maybe you are too important to send individual replies to each application. No matter. There's a solution for that, too. Simply place the email addresses of all recipients in the little box labeled "bcc" (if you don't know what that means, try the Google). Avoid personal greetings altogether. Go for the blatantly canned rejection. Then type your response (see suggestion above) and press the little button that says "send." At this point, everyone who was included in the reply will receive the message, but they won't see the names of anyone else who received it. I know, it's like magic! It WILL take three minutes of your precious time, though. If that's too much for you, try...
  • ...having your administrative assistant do the dirty work for you. If you are really that important, so important that you can't be bothered to contact your applicants, you will work with someone who actually knows what he/she is doing.
  • If you're responsible for deciding who gets the scholarship/job/internship and you aren't aware of the techniques described in the previous three bullet points, then might I suggest you pass on your job to someone with some life skills.
  • Keep in mind that people put a lot of time into their applications, especially now when the chances of actually getting the carrot are so slim. That's time these people could be spending with their families, with their children, researching other opportunities, etc. These individuals will understand that they might not receive an offer. Nevertheless, they do deserve some sort of response. You know... because they're human. They deserve respect, too.
  • Karma's a bitch. Just FYI.
Stationary Runner

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