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Rejection etiquette from editors

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by STLwriter, Feb 1, 2013.

  1. STLwriter

    STLwriter Member

    I've been thinking about this a lot lately. Do editors owe it to applicants to give them some sort of response after they apply for a job?

    In other words, if an editor knows they aren't going to hire someone, do they owe it to the applicant to at least say, "thanks for applying, but you're not our guy"? The reason I ask is because I've applied for several jobs and not gotten any response from editors, sometimes even after multiple follow-ups.

    I fully understand that some jobs can have hundreds of applicants and it might be overwhelming to respond to everyone. On the other hand, it's frustrating to take time and effort to put together an application and have former bosses/colleagues write thoughtful cover letters that garner no response.

    Just curious what the consensus on this is. Is it really too much to ask for an editor to acknowledge your application and simply say you aren't the person they want to hire?
  2. CD Boogie

    CD Boogie Well-Known Member

    Yes. It's kind of like dating. If they don't get back to you, it's nothing personal (or maybe it is) but they're not interested.

    And you have former bosses/colleagues write cover letters on your behalf? That's an interesting tack. In my experience, if people want references they'll ask for them AFTER you've interviewed.

    At any rate, yeah, editors don't have time to say thanks but no thanks anymore than they have time to respond to every PR pitch they receive. It's not personal. It's just how it is.
  3. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    Depending on the job, there might be 100 or more applicants. Can't see an editor having time to personalize rejections like that.
  4. KJIM

    KJIM Well-Known Member

    The absence of rejection letters is by no means limited to journalism.

    No, I don't think in most instances editors "owe" anything. It's nice to get a confirmation of an application received, but that's about I'd hope for these days.

    If an interview is given, I do think rejections should be sent, but only at that point.

    It takes a good bit of time (a friend has a communications position open: 300 applicants), and few people -- in any industry -- has that.

    And in some instances, the editor -- or eventual supervisor -- doesn't even see the resumes. They're vetted by HR first.

    And I, too, don't understand why a former employer would write a cover letter for an applicant.
  5. STLwriter

    STLwriter Member

    It was my supervisor for an internship who wrote a reference letter. I should have clarified. Hopefully that makes more sense.
  6. Tim Stephens

    Tim Stephens Member

    I've always tried to send a note if someone applied acknowledging receipt of clips. That's not always possible depending on many factors.

    Whenever someone was eliminated, I'd usually send a quick note. I will admit I am more likely to do this with people who applied via email than snail mail, but I try to respond to everyone.

    If I talked to them, I definitely tried to at least send a note, and if they got an extended conversation, I would give a call. And I would usually give people updates on where things stand (we're in a holding partern, you're still under consideration, etc.)

    Obviously, anyone brought in as a finalist gets a call if they don't get the job.

    Number of applications combined with what else is going on at the time influence responses. If I'm running a job search in the middle of football season and get 300 applicants, well, it's simply not possible to get to them all.

    There is also some correlation between my response and how well applicants follow directions. In other words, if I said no phone calls, don't call asking; if I said 5 clips, don't send me your entire portfolio in some impossible-to-download file that is going to crash my computer.

    And one pointer for job applications: Please remember what I am going to do with your stuff if you are a potential serious candidate: I am going to share it with people above me in the hiring chain. So please don't send me something I have to clean up or format to make it be presentable to show. Follow instructions. Be neat. Compete for the job on all levels -- not just your work, which, contrary to popular thought, does not completely speak for itself most of the time. How you compete FOR a job says something about how you compete IN the job. The applicants who get this important detail tend to stand out in the pile.
  7. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    In this business you are way ahead just to have someone to apply to.

    In a lot of jobs outside of newspapers, you have to be a detective to get around recruiters to figure out who is actually doing the hiring.
  8. Mark2010

    Mark2010 Active Member

    I agree with Tim. It's very nice if an editor, or even the HR person, shoots me an email to let me know the status of an opening. Now, obviously, no one likes bad news, but I always appreciated them taking the time to acknowledge my application.

    On the other hand, yes, I can understand that a large company that is weeding through hundreds of applications/resumes may not have the time to do that. So I try not to let my feelings get hurt, either.
  9. spikechiquet

    spikechiquet Well-Known Member

    In a word, since you asked a yes or no question: Yes.

    Reasons above state it...there just isn't time to turn everyone down.
  10. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    If they bring you in for an interview, they should give you the courtesy of a call, email or note.
    If you don't make it that far, then no.
  11. trifectarich

    trifectarich Well-Known Member

    I don't buy the argument that an editor doesn't have enough time. It's not overly taxing to write a thanks-but-no-thanks e-mail that's applicable to all candidates, personalize it with a "Dear _____" at the top and hit the send button. That takes 30 seconds.
  12. Mark2010

    Mark2010 Active Member

    That's true. I recently got a form email rejection letter that surely was sent to dozens, maybe hundreds, of others. Better than indefinite silence.
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