Clegg: The right to know

BY CHRIS CLEGG | JUNE 16, 2015 5:00 AM

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The process of landing a job is stressful. Now more than ever, it takes preparation, skill, and time for potential job candidates to make the jump from unemployed to employed. Even with a solid application of the three afore mentioned concepts, being hired is certainly no guarantee.

However, something that is perhaps even more stressful than going through the application process itself is the limbo one occupies while waiting to hear back from an employer. “You’ll hear from us” are often the last words you actually do hear from whoever is doing the hiring, which is a problem because individuals deserve to know where they stand.

Currently, employers are not required to reveal their reasons for disdaining from hiring someone. A quick Google search of “why didn’t I get hired” reveals a ton of information on why employers do this. Take Dana Manciagli’s column, “Why Didn’t You Get That Job? Don’t Waste Your Energy Asking the Hiring Company,” for example. Manciagli bluntly states that any attempt to gain any sort of feedback from the interviewer is “… a waste of your time” because “your odds of figuring out the real reason are slim to none.”

But why? Some of the most common answers that I found to this question are logical enough but can ultimately be broken down.

The most common reason I could find on why employers abstain from offering feedback to rejected candidates comes from a purely legal standpoint: They are afraid of getting sued. OK, sure, that makes sense. After all, no individual or corporation wants to be sued, but an individual can’t sue a company for being less qualified than her or his counterpart, which should be the premise of hiring one person over another.

If a business is truly afraid of getting sued over revealing the reasons it did not hire someone, then it is probably a good chance that the reasons for not hiring that person are bogus in the first place.

Another common reason that I ran into was that employers are not obligated to reveal such reasons to rejected candidates, nor is it not their job. After all, it is likely that the two will never cross paths again. My answer to this is simple: Grow up.

I’m not obligated to brush my teeth every night, but I still do it. Likewise, it’s not my job to pick up garbage, but I still throw away my trash. Furthermore, you could very well make the argument that that is someone’s job, say, the person doing the interview. If one can go through the trouble of organizing an interview from start to finish, is it really that big of a burden to offer a simple explanation of why an individual wouldn’t fit in a certain place?

Finally, I’m not saying that our government needs to go all gung-ho on this problem and start drafting laws requiring employers to reveal why they are rejecting candidates. I simply believe that if employees knew where they were coming up short, even half the time, it would translate into a more adaptable worker with a more diverse set of skills.

This change in employment culture over time would thus lead to a national workforce with much more capability than the generation of workers prior. Unfortunately, we cannot expect our workers to change if our employers don’t lead the way.

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